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Slide 1

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Religious Language
Language Games ­ Wittgenstein
Argued that it was about the USE of
language, rather than meaning
Anti- realist approach ­ language is about an
expression of a FORM OF LIFE
It does not make statements that are true or
false but rather that are CORRECTLY or
"ask not the meaning, but the use"…read more

Slide 2

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Religious Language ­ Games
Non-cognitive approach of language ­
primary purpose is not to make factual
Each form of life stands alone, with its own
game (e.g. volume ­ different meanings ­
music, maths; stand ­ science, drama)
One form of life might not understand the
other and so it cannot criticise it…read more

Slide 3

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Religious Language - Games
Example used by Wittgenstein
Someone who is ill says `this is a punishment'
Someone else does not express suffering in
this way
Too simplistic to suggest that one is right and
1 is wrong
Religious Language is therefore a peculiar
game of its own
For someone to say `God has big feet' they
have made a category error…read more

Slide 4

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Language Games
We can see how someone can misunderstand
or have cross purposes
It the scientist hears the believer declare
`here is the blood of Jesus'
The scientist grabs the chalice and rushes to
the lab to have it tested
They have failed to grasp the context of
religious language
`For a blunder, that's too big' declares W…read more

Slide 5

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Religious Language - Games
Strengths / Positives
It recognises the distinctive nature of religious language
and distinguishes it from other language use
As religious language is now non-cognitive, it makes no
factual assertions and therefore cannot be disproved
In focussing on the use and not the meaning religious
language claims are not assumed to be objectively true
Language games unite believers in a common bond
Provides boundaries for language use
Can be initiated into the use of language
Defence against criticism of other types of language.
Religious language does not play by the same rules…read more

Slide 6

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Religious Language - Games
Claims made cannot be objectively true
Alienates those outside the game
Who makes the rules?
Can the rules be changed? By whom?…read more

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