Analogy, Metaphor, and Coherence

Herman Philipse

in God in the Age of Science?

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199697533
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738470 | DOI:
Analogy, Metaphor, and Coherence

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Theism can be an existential hypothesis confirmable by empirical evidence only if the reference of the proper name ‘God’ can be spelled out in words that are mostly used literally. However, it is argued in Chapter 7 that all psychological terms characterizing God are used in an irreducibly analogical manner, because by claiming that God is bodiless, theists annul the very conditions for applying psychological predicates to another entity literally. The term ‘person’ as applied to God cannot be used literally either. But if theism can only be formulated in terms that are used in irreducibly analogical ways, it conveys virtually nothing by what it says, so that it cannot be an existential hypothesis that is confirmable by empirical evidence. Richard Swinburne’s attempts to show that theism can be stated in words, most of which are used literally, are criticized, as are his philosophical arguments for substance dualism, which are meant to show that even human identity consists in the continuing life of a spirit, which can exist without a body.

Keywords: Theism; Explanatory theory; Credal statements; Analogy; Metaphor; Coherence; Irreducible metaphors; Cartesian dualism; Logical behaviourism; Wittgenstein; Anthony Kenny; Criteria; Meaninglessness of ‘God’; Coherence of theism; Proofs of coherence; Entity and identity; Analytic; Synthetic; Syntactic and semantic rules; Similarity rider; God; Person; Bodiless; M-predicates; P-predicates; Peter Strawson; Omnipresent spirit; Personal identity; Empiricist theories of personal identity; Mad surgeon

Chapter.  15409 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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