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Non-cognitivism in religious faith and language Michael Lacewing [email protected] [email protected]

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Text of Non-cognitivism in religious faith and language Michael Lacewing [email protected] [email protected]

  • Slide 1
  • Non-cognitivism in religious faith and language Michael Lacewing [email protected] [email protected]
  • Slide 2
  • Non-cognitivism The door is in the corner - true or false; factual belief; can be known (cognition) The door is in the corner - true or false; factual belief; can be known (cognition) A different kind of belief: I believe in love - expression of a value I hold, not something I know (non-cognitive) A different kind of belief: I believe in love - expression of a value I hold, not something I know (non-cognitive) Is religious language like the first or the second? Is religious language like the first or the second? The door is in the corner - true or false; factual belief; can be known (cognition) The door is in the corner - true or false; factual belief; can be known (cognition) A different kind of belief: I believe in love - expression of a value I hold, not something I know (non-cognitive) A different kind of belief: I believe in love - expression of a value I hold, not something I know (non-cognitive) Is religious language like the first or the second? Is religious language like the first or the second?
  • Slide 3
  • Sren Kierkegaard Religious faith is not a philosophical system or set of beliefs; it is held passionately. Religious faith is not a philosophical system or set of beliefs; it is held passionately. To believe that God exists, but to treat this as just another fact, about which we feel nothing, is not to have faith. Faith isnt (just) a matter of what, but of how, we believe. To believe that God exists, but to treat this as just another fact, about which we feel nothing, is not to have faith. Faith isnt (just) a matter of what, but of how, we believe. Religious faith is not a philosophical system or set of beliefs; it is held passionately. Religious faith is not a philosophical system or set of beliefs; it is held passionately. To believe that God exists, but to treat this as just another fact, about which we feel nothing, is not to have faith. Faith isnt (just) a matter of what, but of how, we believe. To believe that God exists, but to treat this as just another fact, about which we feel nothing, is not to have faith. Faith isnt (just) a matter of what, but of how, we believe.
  • Slide 4
  • Objective uncertainty The commitment that characterizes faith requires a decision, a leap. This leap requires objective uncertainty. The commitment that characterizes faith requires a decision, a leap. This leap requires objective uncertainty. Objective certainty will not have the same impact on ones life as faith in the face of uncertainty - perhaps God prevents certainty for this reason. Objective certainty will not have the same impact on ones life as faith in the face of uncertainty - perhaps God prevents certainty for this reason. The commitment that characterizes faith requires a decision, a leap. This leap requires objective uncertainty. The commitment that characterizes faith requires a decision, a leap. This leap requires objective uncertainty. Objective certainty will not have the same impact on ones life as faith in the face of uncertainty - perhaps God prevents certainty for this reason. Objective certainty will not have the same impact on ones life as faith in the face of uncertainty - perhaps God prevents certainty for this reason.
  • Slide 5
  • Is faith irrational? Faith is incomprehensible, but it is not irrational: we cannot believe nonsense against the understanding because the understanding will penetratingly perceive that it is nonsense and hinder [us] in believing it. Faith is incomprehensible, but it is not irrational: we cannot believe nonsense against the understanding because the understanding will penetratingly perceive that it is nonsense and hinder [us] in believing it. Religious faith in its trust and commitment is incomprehensible in that it lies outside the limits that reason can reach for itself. Religious faith in its trust and commitment is incomprehensible in that it lies outside the limits that reason can reach for itself. Faith is incomprehensible, but it is not irrational: we cannot believe nonsense against the understanding because the understanding will penetratingly perceive that it is nonsense and hinder [us] in believing it. Faith is incomprehensible, but it is not irrational: we cannot believe nonsense against the understanding because the understanding will penetratingly perceive that it is nonsense and hinder [us] in believing it. Religious faith in its trust and commitment is incomprehensible in that it lies outside the limits that reason can reach for itself. Religious faith in its trust and commitment is incomprehensible in that it lies outside the limits that reason can reach for itself.
  • Slide 6
  • Is Kierkegaard a non- cognitivist? There are facts about God, but we cannot know these facts using reason. There are facts about God, but we cannot know these facts using reason. Religious faith must involve an emotional response. Religious faith must involve an emotional response. So religious language is expressive, not merely fact-stating. So religious language is expressive, not merely fact-stating. There are facts about God, but we cannot know these facts using reason. There are facts about God, but we cannot know these facts using reason. Religious faith must involve an emotional response. Religious faith must involve an emotional response. So religious language is expressive, not merely fact-stating. So religious language is expressive, not merely fact-stating.
  • Slide 7
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein Language can be compared to games Both are guided by rules - what you can do, what words mean The meaning of words lies in how they are used Cp. the peace of the Lord passes understanding; the car passes the house
  • Slide 8
  • Language games Examples: asking, thanking, cursing, praying, greeting Examples: asking, thanking, cursing, praying, greeting A language game is the spoken aspect of a form of life; a form of life is a whole collection of cultural practices, but Wittgenstein also emphasises its biological basis A language game is the spoken aspect of a form of life; a form of life is a whole collection of cultural practices, but Wittgenstein also emphasises its biological basis Examples: asking, thanking, cursing, praying, greeting Examples: asking, thanking, cursing, praying, greeting A language game is the spoken aspect of a form of life; a form of life is a whole collection of cultural practices, but Wittgenstein also emphasises its biological basis A language game is the spoken aspect of a form of life; a form of life is a whole collection of cultural practices, but Wittgenstein also emphasises its biological basis
  • Slide 9
  • Religion Religion involves many language games, but not a whole form of life Religion involves many language games, but not a whole form of life A distinctive part of a distinctively human form of life; rooted in natural human responses A distinctive part of a distinctively human form of life; rooted in natural human responses Religion involves many language games, but not a whole form of life Religion involves many language games, but not a whole form of life A distinctive part of a distinctively human form of life; rooted in natural human responses A distinctive part of a distinctively human form of life; rooted in natural human responses
  • Slide 10
  • Religious language Religious language governed by quite different rules, e.g. asking God and asking your boss for prosperity Religious language governed by quite different rules, e.g. asking God and asking your boss for prosperity God exists - God is not a thing God exists - God is not a thing a religious belief could only be something like a passionate commitment to a system of reference. Hence, although its a belief, its really a way of living, or a way of assessing life. Its passionately seizing hold of this interpretation. (Culture and Value 64) a religious belief could only be something like a passionate commitment to a system of reference. Hence, although its a belief, its really a way of living, or a way of assessing life. Its passionately seizing hold of this interpretation. (Culture and Value 64) Religious language is not descriptive, but expressive Religious language is not descriptive, but expressive Religious language governed by quite different rules, e.g. asking God and asking your boss for prosperity Religious language governed by quite different rules, e.g. asking God and asking your boss for prosperity God exists - God is not a thing God exists - God is not a thing a religious belief could only be something like a passionate commitment to a system of reference. Hence, although its a belief, its really a way of living, or a way of assessing life. Its passionately seizing hold of this interpretation. (Culture and Value 64) a religious belief could only be something like a passionate commitment to a system of reference. Hence, although its a belief, its really a way of living, or a way of assessing life. Its passionately seizing hold of this interpretation. (Culture and Value 64) Religious language is not descriptive, but expressive Religious language is not descriptive, but expressive
  • Slide 11
  • Phillips: defending Wittgenstein Wittgenstein isolates religion from all rational criticism Wittgenstein isolates religion from all rational criticism Religion has something to say about birth, death, joy, misery, despair, hope, fortune, and misfortune. If religion doesnt help us make sense of these, we are right to reject it. Religion has something to say about birth, death, joy, misery, despair, hope, fo

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