William J. Wainwright

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780195331356
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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This article traces the development of the philosophy of religion as a distinct field. The philosophy of religion was comparatively neglected by academic philosophers in the first half of the twentieth century. There were several reasons for this. One was the widespread conviction that the traditional “proofs” were bankrupt. Believers and nonbelievers alike were persuaded that Hume and Kant had clearly exposed their fatal weaknesses. Another was the demise of nineteenth-century idealism. The twentieth-century heirs of the German and Anglo-American idealists had many interesting things to say about God, immortality, and humanity's religious life. But their views increasingly fell on deaf ears as analytic philosophy replaced idealism as the dominant approach among English-speaking academics. After a half century of comparative neglect, analytic philosophers began to take an interest in religion in the 1950s.

Keywords: philosophy of religion; academic philosophers; idealism; immortality; Kant; believers

Article.  4045 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Religion

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