By James F. Harris

While Gene lengthy, editor of Kluwer's instruction manual of up to date Philosophy of faith sequence, first invited me to put in writing the quantity on Analytic Philosophy of faith, I permitted with nice enthusiasm. My purely reason for that enthusiasm now's that i used to be more youthful and extra naive on the time. quickly after beginning paintings at the quantity, my enthusiasm was once dampened via the daunting significance of the duty. i started as a sprinter and speedy settled into the velocity of a long-distance runner. even if I thought of myself good learn within the topic, I quickly came upon that I had loads of examine to do to be convinced that I had thought of the entire significant contributions to a few of the discussions, concerns, and of faith. As I learn an increasing number of difficulties came upon inside of analytic philosophy books and articles, i spotted that I had rushed right into a territory already good trodden by way of the angels. i'm vastly inspired by means of the sophistication and subtlety of philosophical argument that represent the several debates in modern analytic philosophy of faith. This quantity covers an unlimited volume of fabric. i've got endeavored to supply the fairest attainable examining of other authors, and, in situations the place I comprise my very own serious reviews and boost my very own positions, i've got endeavored to supply the most powerful attainable interpretations of the positions I criticize.

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If we know that the reviewer has a vested interest in the product, then we are likely to demand a more explicit explanation of the rationale for the judgments and a higher standard for the methods and the principles that are the bases for those judgments. The ideal of the analytic philosopher of religion is to commit to an objective and neutral methodology that involves the analysis of language and concepts in a genuine attempt to understand and elucidate the claims and practices of religion. When the inquiry is conducted by theists and in defense of theism, we ought to be especially cautious to scrutinize both the method of inquiry and the results.

Thus, it seems that we could never completely understand "Flew does not exist" and that Flew's suggestion, as a general theory of meaning, has the unhappy consequence that we could never completely understand the meaning of simple, straightforward claims. 15 However, things are not as difficult for Flew as they initially appear to be. Yandell himself recognizes that Flew can respond to this criticism by maintaining that the countless various events, states of affairs, and facts that count against his existence should be disjoined and not conjoined.

Are there other kinds of meaningfulness besides cognitive meaningfulness? If so, what about the criteria for "noncognitive meaningfulness"? But what about these questions themselves? Do they presuppose certain rigid ways of categorizing possible approaches to religious language? In some Wittgensteinian-based views, these very distinctions between cognitive and noncognitive meaningfulness and between literal and metaphorical truth and falsity are regarded as arbitrary and restrictive. In pursuing answers to these questions, as well as the others addressed in this chapter, it is a mistake to talk about and treat religious language monolithically.

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