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Document Details :

Title: Against Theory
Subtitle: D.Z. Phillips' Response to thet Collapse of Foundationalism
Author(s): SANDERS, Andy F.
Journal: Bijdragen
Volume: 61    Issue: 1   Date: 2000   
Pages: 3-16
DOI: 10.2143/BIJ.61.1.565658

Abstract :
In this article I show how Phillips neo-Wittgensteinian approach in the philosophy of religion is a viable alternative to those varieties of theism that are parasitic on foundationalism. Taking philosophy of religion as the custodian of the grammar of theology, Phillips’ aim is clarifying the meaning of religious expressions as used in religious practice. This makes his philosophy non-systematic and diametrically opposed to a priori epistemology and metaphysical theorizing. Since practice is primary, such theorizing is criticized by Phillips as idle academic games which in fact confuse and distort the concepts embedded in the Christian form of life. Another consequence of Phillips’ position is that questions regarding the truth or rationality of religious expressions are not to be decided by appeal to universal criteria but in terms of the religious language game in question. Finally, I consider some standard criticisms of his approach, especially the insularity charge, and I conclude that they are largely based on misconceptions of notions like ‘form of life’ and ‘language game’. Phillips’ position in no way implies that religions are immune to critique or insensitive to cultural change.