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15. Philosophy of Religion


Subject Philosophy, Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631219088.2002.00020.x


Philosophy of religion has grown substantially since the 1970s to become one of the largest fields within philosophy. Fruitful new works in philosophy of religion have launched a host of new journals, societies, institutes and websites dedicated to it. (For a sampling of these resources see the Further Reading at the end of this chapter.) The popularity of the field may be due in part to increased awareness of the diversity of religious traditions and communities. It is less likely than before for someone in the West to grow up with only one religious alternative to secular life. It is therefore quite natural for many to employ the tools of philosophy in their investigation and assessment of different religious and secular values. Philosophy of religion is the second most requested philosophy course by students in the United States. Another reason for growth in the field is the retreat of a restrictive, empirical theory of meaning and evidence called logical positivism (sometimes referred to as ‘verificationism’). Logical positivism has deep roots in empiricism (see H ume , chapter 31 ), but its epicentre in the twentieth century was a group of philosophers who met in the 1920s and 1930s at the University of Vienna called the Vienna Circle. Logical positivists insisted that much of traditional metaphysics, including the belief that there is a God, is incapable of evidential testing ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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