Critically Assess the Claim That Religious Language Is Meaningless

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By Nenna
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Candidates may begin with an account of the work of the Logical Positivists, possibly even giving an account of the forming of the Vienna Circle and the writings which led these philosophers to come together. Some may mention Wittgenstein’s Tractatus but they should be aware that he was not himself a member of the Circle.
This may lead to an exploration of the strengths and weaknesses of the Verification Principle, with some demonstration of the self-refuting nature of the principle itself. Some may use examples from religious language of the kinds of statements which the Vienna circle were accusing of meaninglessness such as; ‘God is all-loving, all powerful, your God is a jealous God.’
Some candidates may take their arguments towards an explanation of the later writings of Wittgenstein and introduce the ideas of language games; and his claim that language gets its meaning from the context in which it is used or the rules of the game you are playing at any given time.
Others may explore the approach taken by the Vienna Circle to analytic and synthetic statements, explaining the need for synthetic statements to be verifiable by empirical evidence if they were to be considered meaningful. In this context some may address the issue of strong and weak verification.
In their evaluation candidates may assess the underlying assumption of Logical Positivism that it is only scientific propositions which can accurately describe the reality of our world. Arguably not religious language but also poetry and music contribute a great deal to our understanding of reality. Who would say that a Shakespearean sonnet tells us nothing about the world?
Others may assess the extent to which Wittgenstein helped to make all kinds of language meaningful again by his introduction of language games. They may discuss the extent to which he only allowed for communication within…...

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