Wittgenstein’s Critique of Frazer and Realism/Anti-realism Concerning Religion

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This article addresses the impact the reception of Wittgenstein’s works has had on philosophy of religion and the study of religion. Wittgenstein’s critique of Frazer has inspired the current fundamental dichotomy between two views on religious belief: a cognitivist, realist interpretation and an expressivist, anti-realist interpretation. Wittgenstein’s account provides an interpretation of religious language that makes sense of existential and non-literal meaning of religious practices and cognitive content, and his account has become a stepping stone for a tradition in philosophy of religion that seeks to counter and replace realist accounts. In this article I show how instead of forming a dichotomy, the realist and the anti-realist descriptions of religious beliefs ought to be seen as two extremes on a continuum. I also point to ways in which realist accounts can accommodate the intuitions that helped shape Wittgenstein’s game-changing contribution. In this way Wittgenstein’s contribution is not a refutation of realism, but rather it offers an additional fruitful approach.
TitelWittgenstein’s Remarks on Frazer : The Text and the Matter
RedaktørerLars Albinus, Josef G. F. Rothhaupt, Aidan Seery
ForlagDe Gruyter
ISBN (Trykt)978-3-11-045347-8
ISBN (Elektronisk)978-3-11-045372-0
StatusUdgivet - 2016
NavnOn Wittgenstein


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