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Religious Language
Realist view ­ words have objective meanings
Anti-realist view ­ words have subjective meanings
Tautology ­ the saying of the same thing twice in different words
A priori ­ based on theoretical deduction rather than empirical observation
A posteriori ­ knowledge which comes from empirical observation
Vienna Circle…

Page 2

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These ideas led Ayer to form strong verification and weak verification.
Strong verification ­ verified conclusively by observation and experience
Weak verification ­ shown to be probable by observation and experience
Ayer then rejected strong verification as he believed this was too extreme.
Evaluation ­ Verification Principle
The design argument…

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The explorer who doesn't believe in the gardener finally asks the other, `just
how does what you call an invisible, intangible and elusive gardener differ
from an imaginary gardener or even from no gardener at all?'
Flew argues that sometimes it seems as though believers continually qualify their
beliefs in…

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Science can never disprove God because God isn't measurable in
scientific terms ­ science is limited in its abilities
Swinburne believes the falsification principle does not work for all statements
but they are still meaningful. He uses the analogy of the toys in a cupboard.
There are toys in a…

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How does one interpret religious language from an atheistic viewpoint?
If an atheist cannot comprehend the religious language game, how are they
supposed to comprehend and make sense of a supposed God?
Religious language alienates those outside of the game
Via Negativa
Via Negativa is based on the idea that…

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Univocal ­ the idea that words have one objective meaning. Aquinas believes
it is two different things when we refer to God as `holy' and when we refer to
ourselves as `holy'; they do not mean the same thing, therefore we cannot
speak univocally about religion
Equivocal ­ the idea…

Page 7

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Aquinas avoids anthropomorphising God; this is good as we cannot
understand God's greatness if we reduce his nature to language that can only
explain contingent beings
Some people argue that Jesus is the anthropomorphised version of
God; they share the same attributes and qualities, but Jesus was placed on
Earth…

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He also argued that religious language is symbolic, communicating things which are
often difficult to put into words. E.g. Catholics believe a lighted tabernacle candle is
scared and represents the presence of God, while to others it means nothing.
Tillich also believes symbols can lose their meaning, for example the…

Page 9

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Evaluation ­ Myth
Stories are meaningful and memorable, and they can be taught to children
to help them understand religious values
How do we know which myths are communicating an objective truth? If
there is a truth to be expressed, then it should be able to be expressed
directly
How…

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