A Grand Strategy

Herman Philipse

in God in the Age of Science?

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199697533
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738470 | DOI:
A Grand Strategy

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Can we validate domain-specific methods of research for natural theology? All these methods have turned out to be unreliable, as is illustrated by the example of prayer (Mantra II, STEP). This fact raises a dilemma for natural theologians: should they claim that their methods of investigation must be able to pass stringent tests of validation, like methods in science and historical scholarship? Or should they rather hold that the area of the divine is so totally different from all other areas of research that validation of methods is neither needed nor possible? The Wittgensteinean non-cognitivist escape from this dilemma turns out to be unattractive. Those who opt for its first horn are faced with the problem called The Tension: on the one hand the rationality of natural theology should resemble scientific rationality in order to be respectable in our age of science, but on the other hand it should not resemble scientific rationality too much, because in that case natural theology will be doomed to failure. Can the natural theologian solve this problem by devising a Grand Strategy?

Keywords: Domain-specific methods of investigating the divine; Validation of methods; Effectiveness of prayer; Elijah; Mount Carmel; Mantra II; STEP; Wittgenstein; D. Z. Phillips; Non-cognitivism; Richard Swinburne; Methodological dilemma for natural theology

Chapter.  9254 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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