Wittgenstein's (Misunderstood) Religious Thought

Wittgenstein's (Misunderstood) Religious Thought

by Earl Stanley B. Fronda



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Wittgenstein's (Misunderstood) Religious Thought by Earl Stanley B. Fronda

Wittgenstein's religious thought is not well understood. And Wittgensteinian philosophy of religion is charged with fideism, religious non-realism, and even crypto-atheism. These charges, however, are borne of misunderstandings that are a result of the critics' being oblivious of apophatic theology. This book is intended to help clear some of those misunderstandings and neutralize the above-mentioned charges. It argues that Wittgenstein's religious thought shares kinship with the thought of apophaticists in Christendom such as the Pseudo-Dionysius and St. Thomas Aquinas. What appear to be fideism, non-realism, or crypto-atheism to the critics appear differently to those who see Wittgensteinian philosophy of religion from the apophaticists' point of view—Wittgenstein's religious point of view.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789004186095
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 08/13/2010
Series: Philosophy of Religion - World Religions Series , #1
Pages: 242
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Earl Stanley B. Fronda, Ph.D. in Philosophy, University of Wales, is Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

Table of Contents

Volume Foreword ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgement xiii

List of Initials and Abbreviations xv

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Wittgenstein's Religious Point of View 5

I To take or not to take Wittgenstein's remark at face value 5

II Mysticism as Wittgenstein's religious point of View 14

III The merits of positing mysticism as Wittgenstein's religious point of view 17

Chapter 2 The Theology of the Early Wittgenstein 27

I The mystical Wittgenstein 27

II Wittgenstein's apophaticism 38

III The Pseudo-Dionysian theology 44

IV Wittgenstein's theology is Pseudo-Dionysian 51

Chapter 3 The Mature Wittgenstein on (Religious) Language 53

I On language 54

II On the limits of language 61

III The trouble with speaking of the unspeakable 65

IV On religious language 69

Chapter 4 The Mature Wittgenstein on Seeing and (not) Speaking of God 79

I Speaking of the mind 79

II Speaking of God 87

III Some objections 92

IV Wittgenstein à la St. Thomas Aquinas 98

V Seeing God 99

Chapter 5 'God exists' after Wittgenstein after St. Thomas Aquinas 109

I 'God exists' after Wittgenstein 110

II God exists as a grammatical hinge 115

III St. Thomas Aquinas on 'God exists' 121

IV Wittgenstein à la St. Thomas 128

Chapter 6 Wittgenstein on the (Supposed) Evidence for God's Existence 129

I On miracles as evidence of the divine 130

II On religious experience as evidence of the divine 140

III The orderliness of the universe as evidence of the divine 144

IV Faith creates the evidence that justifies faith 149

Chapter 7 Wittgenstein's Religious Realism with Attitude 157

I Cupitt's idealist Wittgenstein 157

II From behaviourism to religious non-realism 163

III Wittgenstein's anti-realism and his realist attitude 170

IV Realism/non-realism and Wittgenstein's God 176

V 'God' and 'colour' 180

VI Apophatic theology and God-universe bi-conditionality 185

Chapter 8 The Wittgensteinian Philosophy of Religion is misunderstood 189

I The criticisms against the Wittgensteinian philosophy of religion 190

II Two discursive traditions about God as (not) a being 195

III Wittgenstein in line with the Plotinian tradition 201

IV The criticisms are borne of nescience or obliviousness 205

Chapter 9 Concluding remarks: The difference it makes in understanding Wittgenstein's religious point of view 213

I Wittgenstein's religious point of view and other non-religious matters 213

II Wittgenstein's religious point of view and the conduct of philosophy of religion 220

III Concluding remarks on non-realism, crypto-atheism and fideism 221

Bibliography 231

Index 239

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