Religious Language - theme 4

  • Created by: catliz
  • Created on: 05-03-22 19:24


  • FLEW- uses parable of the gardener to show that if religious beliefs cannot be falsified they are meaningless/ empty/ vacuous - RELIGIOUS STATEMENTS ARE UNFALSIFIABLE = MEANINGLES
  • HARE -uses parable of lunatic and concept of blicks to show that unfalsifibale beliefs do not have to be meaningless - all people religious/ non religious hold non empirical bliks which nonrational cannot be falsified - are meaningful because they form the basis for how they understand and react to the world - believed some bliks were correct and others were not - did not tell us how to distinguish between them - RELIGIOUS STATEMENTS ARE NON COGNITIVE, UNFALSIFIABLE BUT STILL MEANINGFUL WAYS OF ENGAGING WITH THE WORLD
  • MITCHELL - uses parable of partisan and the stranger to show that unfalsifibale beliefs can be logical - belivers faith can be tested with evidence but there are still rational reasons to hold on to faith - beliver will not allow their faith to be decisively falsified but will accept the existence of evidence that could count against their belief - RELIGIOUS STATEMENTS CANNOT BE DECISIVELY MEANINGFUL AND BASED ON RATIONALITY, PRIOR FAITH COMMITMENT 
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  • FLEW - believer will not allow their assertion to be falsified by evidence - it becomes so qualified that it dies the death of a thousand qualifications - refusal to allow falsification renders theological utterances - meaningless. RS look like assertions are are intended to be cognitive but flew says they are not - example of fatherly love of god for his children illustrates spite of no loving intention the believer maintains/ qualifies their belief
  • HARE- lunatic uni student believes teachers will muder him, he will not change his mind- this parable shows the problem with flews theory - there is no evidence that can be counted against/ falsifies his belief, asserts nothing = meaningless/ delusional/. assertions that cannot be falsifed are still meaningful -bliks - sane and insane
  • MITCHELL - a parable of the partisan - faith is based on reasons, the lunatics is not because bliks do not have reasons - flew is right to say that RS are assertions because the partisan is making an assertion about the stranger - explains and makes sense of the strangers behaviour 'god is love' is equivalent to 'the stranger is on our side' both are not conlusively falsifiable and can be treated in 3 ways 1. provisional hypothesis than can be discarded with evidence 2. articles of faith 3. empty statements that mean nothing. the believer denies the first but does not have to slip into the third
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  • BRAITHWAITE - religious statements are not cognitive but moral claims that express attitudes
  • SWINBURNE - unfalsifiable beliefs are meaningful because they can also be true, even if they cannot be observed ie toys becoming alive in the cupboard - toy story
  • HARE - religious statements are unfalsifiable, but still meaningful ways of engaging with the world
  • MITCHELL - religious statements cannot be decisively falsified but are still meaningful, based on rationality 
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  • before aquinas it was believed that any description of god as limiting/ misrepresenting
  • in response it was argued that we restrict descriptions of god to what he is not shown by the example of a ship - you will come nearer to god by the negative attributes
  • strengths - not limiting/ misleading, not anthromorphic, applicable to all cultures
  • weaknesses - is god comparable to a ship? negatives no helpful, negatives amount to nothing, what are you worhipping? scriptures use positive descriptions
  • 1. UNIVOCAL - meaning is clear/ exact in all circumstances ie with god/ humans
  • 2. EQUIVOCAL LANGUAGE - meanings is unclear/ there are multiple meanings ie gods love is not like human love
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  • ANALOGY - partial similarity between 2 things or ideas - analogy is a compromise/ middle way between univocal and equivocal language - avoids anthropomorphism
  • ANALOGY OF ATTRIBUTION - there is a point of comparision between earthly things and god, all good attributes come directly from god - gods attributes causes our attributes - uses the baker example - bread is good because the baker is good
  • EXTRINSIC ATTRIBUTION - god is our efficient cause/ it is meaningful to make comparisons since we are the effect/ cause, but the cause does not posses this characteristic - uncaused
  • INTRINSIC ATTRIBUTION - where the cause is both the cause/ effect, being made in gods image is an example, god is the cause and effect
  • REJECTED VIA NEGATIVA - does not explain why some words are used but not others, believers what to talk about god
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  • ANALOGY - partial similarity between 2 things or ideas - analogy is a compromise/ middle way between univocal and equivocal language - avoids anthropomorphism
  • ANALOGY OF PROPORTION - proportionate relationship between all things and god is the ultimate cause/ point of correspondence ie god has life - is the cause of life - giver of life
  • REAL PROPORTION - humans posses wisdom but in comparison to gods is like foolishness it must be scaled up
  • METAPHORICAL PROPORTION - god is not literally like a word/ light, it is a metaphor which must be scaled up
  • REJECTED UNIVOCAL/ EQUIVOCAL LANGUAGE - religious words like holy are not univocal, univocal word anthromorphises god. equivocal language is too subjective
  • believers treat phrases ie god is good - as propositional, cognitive fact and aquinas would agree that analogies communicates facts - in limited ways 
  • logical positivists say analogies can't be verified = non cognitive 
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  • agrees with aquinas that we should use analogies to avoid univocal/ equivocal language
  • we should use models which qualify our understanding and qualifiers relate them to god with more accuracy ie creation
  • we create things so we have a model of what creation means but the creation of god is qualified by it being ex nihilo
  • MODELS - points of reference things we know that aid our understanding ie love, freind, power
  • QUALIFIERS - things that relate it to God more accurately ie omnibenevolence, unconditional friend, omnipotent 
  • a model is a small inferior version of something but similar
  • a qualifier the superior elevated reality that the model points
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  • are analogies meaningless? hume said god is a metaphysical being, cannot be meaningfully compared to anything in the world
  • analogies ignore gods otherness
  • aquinas use of analogy tells us nothing new
  • aquinas analogies are based on his religious assumptions = literal beliefs about creation
  • should we describe god with negative/ evil analogies? analogies cannot be verified empircally
  • analogies only works for people who already play the language game
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  • REPRESENTATIVE SYMBOL - described with adjectives and contains 5 characteristics
  • 1. point beyond themselves, something ultimate, nonempirical, transcndntal which cant be grapsed directly
  • 2. allows participation in the reality they represent it expresss the being/ meaning of that which it represens
  • 3. cannot be created at will, symbols must be accepted, understood, expresed by a group, if rejected the symbol is lost
  • 4. opens up new dimensions of reality, all access to ultimate reality
  • 5. intergrating/ disintergrating power - symbols include creative effect and exlude destructive effect individuals and groups
  • discursive symbol - these are signs - which point beyond themseles but have no direct connection to what they represent
  • symbols refer 2 types of approaches.
  • 1. PHENOMENOLOGICAL - ordinary objects used in specific way to give them meaning, cant express whether experience is valid.
  • 2. ONTOLOGICAL - deaks with the nature of being and the world becomes symbolic
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  • PRIMARY SYMBOLS - lead us directly to god
  • speak of divine actions such as creation, miracles, incarnation - often understood literaly
  • the realm of divine manifestations in infinite and concrete reality point directly to the object of religious symbols
  • SECONDARY SYMBOLS - do not refer to god directly - general suppoting symbols ie water
  • 'lord is my shepard' = lord = primary symbol, shepard = secondary poetic metaphor
  • is it valid/ adequate?
  • are they authentic? non authentic symbols lose their experiential basis is it truthful?
  • quality of the symbol, does it remain?
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  • signs and symbols are used as indicators to communicate/ explain something
  • a symbol is there to explain more complex concepts that we might not understand 
  • a symbol is not signposting - should not been seen as completely separate to one thing
  • if a symbol is going to have meaning it cant be made up
  • to become a symbol the whole group has to understand meaning that is attributed 
  • symbols help us to understand things that we might not know - help us understand spirituality
  • symbols are very powerful and can unite, divide the community 
  • PRIMARY PHENOMENOLOGICAL - Ordinary objects used in specific ways that refer direct;y to god ie rosary beads
  • SECONDARY PHENOMENOLOGICAL- ordinary objects used in ways that are nonreligous, dont refer directly to god ie water, light, dove
  • PRIMARY ONTOLOGICAL- aspects of the whole world that refer directly to god ie death, birth
  • SECONDARY ONTOLOGICAL - aspects of the whole world that are nonreligious, do not refer directly to god ie shooting stars 
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  • symbols are meaningless as they can't be verified 
  • symbols can't represent gods as we have no way of knowing the referent to which they point
  • symbols can become outdated ie. patriarchal 
  • symbols can be abused and misused 
  • how do symbols enable us to participate in a reality? 
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  • symbols are non cognitive
  • symbols are anti realist - do not express objective truths
  • symbols funtion to nurture moral/ community values
  • means of expressing deeply felt emotions of all kinds like loyalty/ prejudice
  • 4 functions of symbols
  • 1. arose emotion and action
  • 2. stimulate and insipre community/ cooperative action
  • 3. allow non literal expression
  • 4. clarify and reveal experiences of god
  • aesthetic analogy - like a painter, poet - symbols awaken us to discern new qualities help us to see new things makes us receptive 
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  •  everyday myths refers to an imaginary story that we dismiss as fantasy
  • theology myth means narrative - issue of truth, falsity was not a consideration - myths embody wisdom and existential issues
  • incarnation birth myths - good vs evil - some myths are aetiological attempt to explain the cause of things ie life, death, sin, suffering
  • myths in christianity are no longer seen as historical events - seen as non literal, non cognitive
  • jasper - myths tell stories, express intuitive insights, carry meanings
  • barbour - myths have psychological funtion of reducing insecurities, expressing unconscious wishes and unite the community
  • bultman - myths - supernaturalism - express a pre modern worldview that is incompatiable with a modern view of the universe. The modern believer must choose between two contradictory worldview - take the demythologising - ***** back the myth to find the existential truth in the text
  • jenkins - trie to differenciate the doctrines from stories they found in which are non literal
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  • JENKINS accused of being a heretic because he denies doctrines of faith wants to separate the doctrine from the stories which have been told
  • we should not take biblical stories literally = misunderstanding of their nature
  • maintains the bible is not to be used as an accurate account because stroies were passed on through generations - no direct personal experience
  • claims that we should demythologise :
  • the last supper - edit story to serve purpose
  • virgin birth -greek language may be misinterpreted
  • resurrection - key issue is not historical accuracy but what it meant to the disciple 
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  • Part of the vienna circle, encouraged idea that only empirical statements were meaningful he is an anti realist, non cognitive view of RL
  • believes language exists to enable us to picture the world
  • liguistic statements correspond to facts - so empirical world provides the limits of our language
  • since god exists beyond the world we cannot talk of god
  • uses analogy of language games - only makes sense to members found within the game, not outside of it, no one outside the game is in a position to attack religious claims because they are simply misunderstood
  • have similarities ...
  • 1. all games and al languages have rules, playing the game means learning about the rules
  • 2. games and language both require participation
  • 3. there is no one unique game and no one unique meaning of language
  • 4. in games and language mistakes can be made
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  • WITTGENSTEIN adopted a anti realist stance - argued meaning of language was found in how it is used- only members can understand
  • words do not have intrinsic meaning but our found only in context 'form of life'
  • language is not private but social
  • inner subjective language is like a private box - can have a beetle in the box, cant have a beetle in the box - actual contents is hidden/ irrelevant - there is no way of knowing
  • the meaning of language must be public with public rules
  • inner private sensations cannot be scrutinised
  • meaning is established by user agreement
  • limits of my language are the limits of my reality
  • argues 'god exists' only have meaning to the extent that we use shared language to describe these things
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  • wisdom - emphasied interpretation of LG not actual evidence ie within the design arguement theists and atheists look at the same evidence but interpret it differently
  • Ramsey - argued logical positivism is too limiting, emotion involved in discussing belief means we cannot talk about god from a verification viewpoint
  • neilson - took language game theory and applied it to religion - wittgensteins fideism - different discourses are distinctive forms of life and have logic of their own, not subject to criticism
  • DZ phillips - argued LG are inaccessible to outsiders, philosophers, sociologists will try to change RL into their own terms but faith statements can't be evaluated by a criteria external to them
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