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PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION

425 Pages · 2002 · 1.12 MB · English

  • PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION



    PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION





    “As a contemporary introduction to philosophy of religion, it is a God-send


    or, if you prefer, a dharma-gift. Keith Yandell succeeds admirably in


    producing a textbook which has clarity, wit and rigour and that engages


    religion in its historical and cultural diversity . . . He grasps that religious


    traditions are irreducibly different: they make different types of claims,


    argue from different sorts of grounds, cultivate diverse values and aim at


    divergent goals.”


    John Clayton, Boston University




    “The central strength of the book is its willingness to argue points out in


    detail rather than just reporting on arguments. It is a model of rigorous


    argument applied to questions of religion.”


    Mark Wynn, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane



    Philosophy of Religion is one of the first comprehensive textbooks to


    consider the subject with reference to religions other than Christianity. As


    an experienced textbook author and an established generalist in philosophy


    of religion, Keith Yandell deals lucidly and constructively with


    representative views and competing issues from Judaism, Christianity,


    Islam, Buddhism and Jainism. He also shows how such issues and


    competing views can be rationally assessed. He includes discussion of major


    philosophical figures in religious traditions as well as important


    contemporary philosophers. This engaging text will appeal to students of


    both philosophy and religion as well as to the general reader interested in


    the subject.


    Keith E. Yandell is Professor of Philosophy at the University of


    Wisconsin at Madison. He has written widely on philosophy and


    philosophy of religion and among his most recent books are Hume’s


    “Inexplicable Mystery” (1990) and The Epistemology of Religious


    Experience (1995).


    Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy


    Series Editor:


    Paul K. Moser


    Loyola University of Chicago


    This innovative, well-structured series is for students who have already done


    an introductory course in philosophy. Each book introduces a core general


    subject in contemporary philosophy and offers students an accessible but


    substantial transition from introductory to higher-level college work in that


    subject. The series is accessible to nonspecialists and each book clearly


    motivates and expounds the problems and positions introduced. An orientating


    chapter briefly introduces its topic and reminds readers of any crucial material


    they need to have retained from a typical introductory course. Considerable


    attention is given to explaining the central philosophical problems of a subject


    and the main competing solutions and arguments for those solutions. The


    primary aim is to educate students in the main problems, positions and


    arguments of contemporary philosophy rather than to convince students of a


    single position. The initial eight central books in the series are written by


    experienced authors and teachers, and treat topics essential to a well-rounded


    philosophy curriculum.


    Epistemology


    Robert Audi


    Ethics


    Harry Gensler


    Metaphysics


    Michael J. Loux


    Philosophy of Art


    Noel Carroll


    Philosophy of Language


    William G. Lycan


    Philosophy of Mind


    John Heil


    Philosophy of Religion


    Keith E. Yandell


    Philosophy of Science


    Alexander Rosenberg



    PHILOSOPHY OF


    RELIGION


    A contemporary introduction







    Keith E. Yandell







    London and New York


    Thanks are due to Karen Buege Yandell for illustrations of


    the various Digitators.



    First published in 1999


    by Routledge


    11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE


    This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2002.



    Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada


    by Routledge


    29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001



    © 1999 Keith E. Yandell



    All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or


    reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic,


    mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter


    invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any


    information storage or retrieval system, without permission


    in writing from the publishers.



    British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data


    A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library


    Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data


    A catalog record for this book has been requested


    ISBN 0-415-13213-4 (hbk)


    ISBN 0-415-13214-2 (pbk)


    ISBN 0-203-00708-5 Master e-book ISBN


    ISBN 0-203-20854-4 (Glassbook Format) To Alvin Plantinga


    —he led the way.


    Contents



    Preface xiii


    Chapter 1: Introduction 1


    PART I: PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION 9


    Chapter 2: What is philosophy? What is religion? What is


    philosophy of religion? 11


    Philosophy 13


    Objectivity 15


    Religion 16


    Philosophy of religion 17


    Questions for reflection 18


    Annotated reading 18


    Chapter 3: What sorts of religion are there? 21


    Monotheism 24


    Advaita Vedanta 28


    Jainism 30


    Buddhism 31


    Comparison 32


    The criteria applied 32


    Questions for reflection 34


    Annotated reading 35


    Chapter 4: What sorts of religious experience are there? 37


    Structure and content 39


    Descriptions 41


    Criteria and their application 46


    Questions for reflection 50


    Annotated reading 50 viii CONTENTS


    Chapter 5: The importance of doctrine and the distinctness of


    religious traditions 51


    Doctrine 53


    “Truth-claims” 56


    Identity 57


    Diversity 61


    Questions for reflection 64


    Annotated reading 64


    Chapter 6: Religious pluralism 65


    Religious plurality and religious pluralism 67


    The content of religious pluralism 67


    Some religion-relevant consequences of RP 68


    A critical discussion of RP: Part one 69


    A critical discussion of RP: Part two 74


    A critical discussion of RP: Part three 77


    Questions for reflection 79


    Annotated reading 79


    PART II: RELIGIOUS CONCEPTIONS OF ULTIMATE


    REALITY 81


    Chapter 7: Monotheistic conceptions of ultimate reality 83


    Generic philosophical monotheism 85


    Greek monotheism 86


    Semitic monotheism 89


    Hindu monotheism 90


    Monotheisms and atheisms 91


    Questions for reflection 95


    Annotated reading 96


    Chapter 8: Nonmonotheistic conceptions of ultimate


    reality 99


    Advaita Vedanta Hinduism 102


    Jainism and Buddhism 109


    Conclusion 116


    Questions for reflection 116


    Annotated reading 116 CONTENTS ix


    PART III: ARGUMENTS CONCERNING


    MONOTHEISTIC CONCEPTIONS 119


    Chapter 9: Arguments against monotheism 121


    Three questions 123


    The problem of evil 124


    Failed escapes 125


    The consistency issue 128


    The evidential issue 131


    Conclusion 161


    Epilogue 161


    Questions for reflection 164


    Annotated reading 164


    Chapter 10: Arguments for monotheism 167


    Proof 169


    Logical necessity 171


    Purely conceptual proofs and the Ontological


    Argument 174


    Empirical proofs, argument strategies, and principles of


    sufficient reason 181


    Arguments by Thomas Aquinas 184


    Questions for reflection 210


    Annotated reading 211


    Chapter 11: Monotheism and religious experience 213


    Phenomenologically thick experiences 215


    Experience as direct evidence 216


    A principle of experiential evidence 218


    Being evidence versus providing evidence 228


    The evidential argument from religious experience 230


    The principle of experiential evidence applied 231


    Questions for reflection 235


    Annotated reading 235


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