Religious Language

What does univocal mean?
only one possible meaning for something
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what does equivocal mean?
open to opinion, can be applied to multiple meanings
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what does cognitive mean?
can prove a cognitive statement to be true
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what does a non-cognitive statement mean?
there is no evidence to prove a non-cognitive statement
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what does tautology mean?
a logical statement we know to be true
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What is the Vienna Circle?
formed by logical positivists, came up with the verification principle
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what is the verification principle?
a statement is only meaningful if it is able to be verified by an actual experience or is a tautology
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What was the Vienna Circle based upon?
the ideas of empiricists such as Hume and Locke - they argued that truth and knowledge were to be found in that which was observable by the senses
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The Verification Principle in relation to God?
claimed that because God cannot be experience or proven it is therefore meaningless nonsense to talk about him
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What are the difficulties of the Verification Principle (strong verification principle)?
suggests that we can't make statements about history as we can't experience them to verify them, scientific laws meaningless, can;t verify that gravity is present all places on earth,
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What was Swinburne's criticism of the verification principle?
universal statements cannot be verified - 'all ravens are black' is meaningful but would be classed as meaningless nonsense
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What did A.J Ayer say?
supported verification, 'meaningless' means not factually significant to him, he didnt deny that people make statements that are important to them just that they are not factually significant
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What is Ayers Putative Proposition?
suggested it to determine whether a statement is verifiable
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What is practical verifiability? (putative proposition)
statements that could be tested in reality
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What is distinguishable between strong and weak verificationism? (putative proposition)
STRONG- anything that could be verified conclusively through observation and experience. WEAK- can be shown to be probable by observation and experience
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What did Ayer believe about verificationism?
that it should be done in a weak sense as strong sense has no real possible application
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What is Ayer's Second Edition?
changed his views, rejected the use of putative propositions, changed definition to say that single experiences are what happens, they are reality, dismissed strong/weak verificationism
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What does Ayer's ideas of Directly and Indirectly verifiable mean?
DIRECTLY-verifiable by observation, INDIRECTLY-anything that cannot be directly verifiable
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What are some of the responses to verificationism?
verification itself is unverifiable, what classes as evidence?, Schrodingers cat; it is meaningful yet unverifiable
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What is John Hicks criticism of verificationism?
God talk is eschatologically verifiable - at the general judgement
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What is Aquinas' criticism of verificationism?
'It seems no word can be used literally of God'
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What is the Via Negativa?
'The negative way' - God can only be talked about in terms of what he is not. those who support it say that ultimately language cannot be used to support God - He is totally INEFFABLE
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What does Pseudo-Dionysuis say?
God is beyond assertion and beyond denial
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What does Tillich say?
he uses symbols to talk about God - this way he can communicate things that are hard to put into words
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What is Analogy?
describing something unfamiliar by making a comparison to do something we know
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What does Aquinas say about analogy?
he uses 2 ways; analogy of attribution and the analogy of proportion
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What is the analogy of attribution?
the qualities we have are a reflection of the qualities of God
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What is the analogy of proportion?
words used change meaning dependant upon the person
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Responses to analogy?
not absurd and provides some understanding of God
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What does Hick say about analogy?
enables us to make statements about God
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What is a weakness of analogy?
assumes some similarity between God and humans
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What are some criticisms of Analogy?
are we really created in God's image? Is the evil of our world reflective of God?
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What does Swinburne criticise Aquinas of doing?
creating an unnecessary theory - we can speak of God
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What is Falsification?
positive claims we make also assume that we deny its negativity
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What did Flew say about Falsification?
positive claims we make also assume that we deny its negativity, language is only meaningful if we can conceive of some evidence that can count against it, the problem with 'God Talk' is that it can never be falsified - God is a mystery
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What did RM Hare say about Falsification?
supported it - came up with a BLIK; a non rational belief which could never be falsified- not necessary but they are groundless
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What did Hick say about Falsification?
argues that there are reasons behind religious beliefs - there is no way to distinguish sane or insane bilks
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What did Basil Mitchell say about Falsification?
objects to the idea that religious claims are groundless bilks, some facts ground religious beliefs
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What did Paul Tillich say about Falsification?
Religious language can be meaningful, symbols are not signs, symbols participate in what they point to, Symbols point to something beyond themselves, open up levels of reality, open up dimensions to the soul
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What did Hick say to criticise Tillich?
participating in a symbol is unclear
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What did Alston say to criticise Tillich?
symbolism means 'there is no point trying to determine whether the statement is true or false' As Tillichs symbols are not literally true
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What does Wittgenstein put forward?
language games - certain words have to fit in with the context of which they are being used to appear meaningful - analogy of 2 builders
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What did DZ Phillips say about Wittgenstein's Language games?
applied it to religious belief - religion cannot be grounded or criticised, 'the reality' of God or religion does not lie in the issue of whether God exists, but is located within the words and practise of religion - we have to take part to find out
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What are the criticisms of Language Games?
how do we become a part of the game? indicates that there can be no progress in philosophical debates. why should believers be able to say the game of religious language require no justification
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What does Stewart Sutherland say about religious language?
term 'God' means we should look at out lives and those of others, rejects personal God, reduces all religious language to talk of morals
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What does RB Braithwaite say about religious language?
sees religious language as moral discourse, religious claim is basically a moral claim, allows us to speak equally of all religions - makes life lonely and impossible to live without relationship with creator
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


what does equivocal mean?


open to opinion, can be applied to multiple meanings

Card 3


what does cognitive mean?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


what does a non-cognitive statement mean?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


what does tautology mean?


Preview of the front of card 5
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