Prolegomena to a Philosophy of Religion

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"There is no attempt here to lay down as inviolable or to legislate certain ways of looking at things or ways of proceeding for philosophers of religion, only proposals for how to deal with a range of basic issues—proposals that I hope will ignite much fruitful discussion and which, in any case, I shall take as a basis for my own ongoing work in the field."—from the Preface

Providing an original and systematic treatment of foundational issues in philosophy of religion, J. L. Schellenberg's new book addresses the structure of religious and irreligious belief, the varieties of religious skepticism, and the nature of religion itself. From the author's searching analysis of faith emerges a novel understanding of propositional faith as requiring the absence of belief. Schellenberg asks what the aims of the field should be, setting out a series of principles for carrying out some of the most important of these aims.

His account of justification considers not only belief but also other responses to religious claims and distinguishes the justification of responses, propositions, and persons. Throughout Prolegomena to a Philosophy of Religion, Schellenberg is laying the groundwork for an elaboration of his own vision while at the same time suggesting how philosophers might rethink assumptions guiding most of today's work in analytic philosophy of religion.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Both Schellenberg's treatment of skepticism and his argument for principles of evaluation are superb and will draw wide attention. Indeed, the lucid writing and well-constructed arguments of this engaging, honest book draw readers into thinking and arguing of their own. Highly recommended."—Choice, April 2006

"Prolegomena to a Philosophy of Religion exhibits the characteristic virtues of J. L. Schellenberg's philosophizing. It is beautifully organized and clearly expounded. It goes into the issues it treats in great detail. It is loaded with acute and ingenious argumentation. Furthermore it is a work of great originality. This book is indispensable reading for everyone engaged, at whatever level, in the philosophy of religion."—William P. Alston, author of Beyond"Justification": Dimensions of Epistemic Evaluation

"J. L. Schellenberg has written an original and provocative book. I strongly recommend it."—William J. Wainwright, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801478505
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 10/30/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 242
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

J. L. Schellenberg is Professor of Philosophy at Mount Saint Vincent University and Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at Dalhousie University. He is the author of Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason, Prolegomena to a Philosophy of Religion, The Wisdom to Doubt: A Justification of Religious Skepticism, and The Will to Imagine: A Justification of Skeptical Religion, all from Cornell.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 On Religion 1

1 Why Discuss This Issue? 1

2 Religion and the Religions 3

3 The Family Resemblance Approach 7

4 A Definition of "Religion"? 12

5 Defining "Religion" for Philosophy 23

6 From Theism to Ultimism 37

2 On Belief 39

1 Propositional Belief as a Form of Thought 40

2 A Contrary View: Belief as Confidence 50

3 Thought-Plus? 59

4 The Involuntariness of Propositional Belief 65

5 A Distinct Impression: Affective Belief 67

3 On Religious Belief and Religious Disbelief 75

1 Propositional Religious Belief 75

2 Affective Religious Belief 85

3 Propositionals Religious Disbelief 88

4 Affective Religious Disbelief 91

4 On Religious Skepticism 95

1 Doubts and Doubting 95

2 Four Types of Religious Skepticism 97

3 Passive and Active Skepticism 101

5 On Religious Faith (I) 106

1 Finding "Faith" 107

2 Faith and Action: The Nature of Trust 109

3 Is Trust Present in All Forms of Religion? 120

4 Trust and the Nature of Faith 123

5 Faith: Propositional and Operational 125

6 On Religious Faith (II) 127

1 Propositional Faith as a Nonbelieving State 129

2 Some Operational Corollaries 139

3 Related Views 141

4 Religious Language and the Voluntariness of Faith 147

5 Replies to Religious Objections 160

7 On the Aims of Philosophy of Religion 167

1 The Received View: Meaning and Justification 168

2 The Nature of Justification 173

3 Building on the Received View: Theory and Practices 184

4 The Aims of Philosophy of Religion-A Proposal 191

8 On Principles of Evaluation in Philosophy of Religion 195

1 Some Principles of Response Justification 197

2 Truth or Consequences? 206

3 Evaluation Responses to Ultimism: Priority and Strategy 220

Index 223

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