D. Z. Phillips

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780195331356
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199540891 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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The twentieth century saw a revolution in philosophy. The philosophical giant in that revolution was Ludwig Wittgenstein. P. M. S. Hacker writes: “Wittgenstein's influence dominated philosophy from the 1920s until the mid 1970s. He was the prime figure behind both the Vienna Circle and the Cambridge school of analysis, and the major influence upon Oxford analytic philosophy in the quarter of a century after the Second World War”. Yet, the influence of Wittgenstein on the philosophy of religion, even during this period, was never dominant. Neither is it dominant today, although Wittgensteinianism is one of the main movements in the subject. One of the reasons stems from the influence of logical positivism, which held that all religious and theological propositions to be meaningless. People wrongly associated Wittgenstein with this view. He, by contrast, respected religious belief as a deep tendency in human beings, but, in his early views, struggled with the issue of how its sense is to be understood.

Keywords: Wittgensteinianism; Ludwig Wittgenstein; Vienna Circle; Cambridge school of analysis; logical positivism; philosophy of religion

Article.  11590 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Language

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