religiosity as taking God as the meaning of life (is this too reductive?)--does Wittgenstein's religiosity mean this?

'Trying to make sense of one's life' via 'religion'.

(what is Wittgensteinian Fideism?)

Malcolm (143) the difficulty in realizing the extent of our groundless believing: our 'mere acceptance' (certain things are just not open to us, and this 'closure' is not grounded...) the closure of our beliefs... at some level we just say and do things.

(often when evidence runs out we do not give up our explanation)

--explanatory underdetermination (many accounts fit the evidence, but we choose one)--and at bottom we often choose for no reason... (hinge/framework beliefs)

(the status of the 'system'?)--is there an inter-system language game, inter- but not meta-... overlap.

how can we justify a system? (from another system? --but what value does that have here?)

Malcolm--framework propositions are pressed on us by human community: a language game is only possible if one trusts something" -Wittgenstein (not can, but do)


religious belief is not a conjecture: not tentative in the sense of a hypothesis: evidence does't matter here

there can be evidence within the language game of religion but it does not play the same kind of role as proof for the existence of God
'the stern realities of the world'--- what does that mean? ("a rationalist's dream")
Kant/Wittgenstein= how to face up to our lack of evidence and still act?

--(it has to be more than "we just do" (or is this demand just an instance of 'vertigo'?)

  • ((agreement in forms of life))--philosophical pathology: the attempt to justify our language games, or that we need to

  • but how is criticism possible? is it simply a leap like trusting 'at bottom' so that we can talk and act? (think of Foucault, HS3)

  • how are language games linked? --criticism between language games? --fuck incommensurability of language games (Deleuze touchpoints, Davidson's charity)

  • Malcolm 153: that "a whole system of thought might be groundless" bothers us

The problem of self-evidence of self-justification in philosophy
finding something that 'can't be doubted' -this doesn't mean self-evident!

....what about performaive self-contradictions? --Habermas/Austin....

any doctrine (even Pyrrho's) is irrefutible if we act according to it... but can we act according to every doctrine?

--living comfortably withou a sure-footed epistemology (is this not what Kant, Foucault, Wittgenstein, Quine, Rorty, Taylor, Davidson, McDowell all encourage?)--is it? I'm not sure here. How ironic.

(the obsessive concern with proofs reveals the assumption that religious belief is academically respectable only with rational justification...)--i.e. you can't rely on religion without such proof, but we follow rules and we can count (pace Wittgenstein's 1004, 1008 example)--but is religion a form of life? ("language embedded in action")

...or is religion only a form of life? (what else could it be?)

  • (the relation between religion and theology)
  • Philosophy for Wittgenstein, Nielsen= not a form of life--but what is it then? not a meta-language game...
  • isn't there a difference between not advocating and being uncommitted? (can one be uncommitted, what form of life makes that possible?)--this seems all very un-Wittgensteinian...
  • (sense/nonsense: do religion and philosophy compete in giving an account of reality? = what would that be like? are they separable so rigorously?

Winch: helps us understand Azande society, but can he (or does he) help us evaluate or 'explain' (even) the Azande culture?
can we evaluate forms of life? or are they "just there"--what does that mean? (we can evaluate people's deeds, can't we?)

how do we establish something's intelligibility?

--category mistakes in Wordsworth

"Too deep for tears" (our emotional responses are not so bland and univocal to make this incoherent!)

  • --(the subtlety of connotation: the problem with reducing religious talk to mere coneptual incoherence)
  • -philosophy needs to talk to religion differently: "the meaning and the point that religious utterances have" --is this to miss the 'point' already?
  • Winch: doesn't want to characterize religion as belief in God, (in order to capture all religions, not just theisms)--cf. the notion of family resemblances here...

one's religious beliefs and one's philosophical attitude toward religion--(are these separable? entirely?)--what about Putnam's religious belief and his philosophy?

(man cannot be brought to belief in God through rational belief alone)--and here the difference between theology and religion is apparent.

Nielsen: "can't even philosophers learn by experience?" ("what makes meaning possible?")--?? agreed upon projection in the use of words? (whence agreement?)

the life of language...(Heidegger)--doesn't it go both ways, and how far?

Simone Weil: "hesitating before all our projects" ((what makes us hesitate? is it outside all projects?))--the status of thought.


keeping linguistic analyses at bay: limit it, don't let it run rough shod (should we apply our Wittgensteinian therapy to religious believers?)

....not wanting to explain away religion seems hard to reconcile with a sociological or psychological of religion (in Nielsen's Naturalism and Religion, these positions seem to be combined)...

causal explanations alone say nothing about belief validity

"why do people hang onto beliefs even when they are shown to be unreasonable?" -Nielsen

(but why someone doesn't believe in God has similar causal conditions)

Nielsen thinks there are 'neutral fallibilistic reasons for not believing in God, reasons which an impartial adjudicant could accept...i.e., his attempt at converting people to atheism doesn't violate his respect for religion, or his desire to avoid explaining away religious belief

(impartial on the question of God?)-- what does that mean?

what kind of impartiality?

being prepared to be wrong is a kind of impartiality: being open to hear other arguments...

(fallibilism isn't a secularist doctrine-- it may lead one to secularism though)

but what are the commitments of fallibilism?

how do you see the world? What commitments do your bring to fallibilism?

What should we see as the role for our our enculturation? (What does our background have to do with fallibilism?) does it forbid impartiality?

"an eror theory of religion" (??) (religious beliefs as projections of emotions onto a fictitious being)

!!-- "if you take the emotion out of religion, it pretty much disappears" -Nielsen

Philosophy/living a meaningful life= trying to make something coherent, making things hang together well

You can't just change the subject with religious believers like you can with global sceptics because religion is connected to a sense of life, it is more of a live option than scepticism

--->but doesn't that mean you are convincing people not to be religious for reasons other than coherence? (global skeptics are incoherent too, but we're not worried about this)

(Is this talk about incoherence just a way of pricking up the ears of intellectual believers?)--a tactic?

(is the reason to attack religion precisely because Nielsen thinks the world would be better without religion?

--Nielsen: he uses incoherence instrumentally only sometimes

Nielsen on Wittgenstein: Wittgenstein holds that all metaphysical claims are nonsense, he also holds that all religious beliefs are necessarily metaphysical (or at least involve metaphysics)-- and thus all religious beliefs are nonsense. But Wittgenstein also holds that we can't judge a form of life, so how can Wittgenstein judge religion as 'nonsense'?

This seems wrong from beginning to end (about Wittgenstein, not in its structure necessarily)-- but how is it wrong? --specifics! (reread Wittgenstein on this)

Wittgenstein's problem with metaphysics is that it unreasonably emphasizes ordinary language, but religious metaphysics is the same as ordinary religious talk: so there is no objecion here. Perhaps.

Nielsen: the metaphysical claims are inseparable but not completely coterminous with religious claims as such (can we separate 'ordinary God' and 'metaphysical God')?

Is this reponse missing the point? The point that religious metaphysics is livable and, in fact, lived?

Does Wittgenstein really hold that forms of life can't be criticized, or does he only hold that forms of life can't be criticized 'essentially'? (i.e. we can't criticize forms of life insofar as they fail to measure up to 'reality' (reality thought of as something extra-linguistic or noumenal in some sense)).

What does Wittgenstein mean when he says we can't criticize forms of life? (perhaps not what Nielsen thinks he mans)--what does Nielsen mean though?

"What drives people to be religious?" there is no one answer here, no essence to the religious drive...)--family resemblances--if that, even (think: Buddhism and Lutherans here...)

"What's the big deal about religion?"

(Theology as a reinterpretation of the 'crude' notion of God--Putnam sees this as a mistake (why?--Putnam suggests that belief and God depend on who one is and how one lives all the way down

Maimonides: predicates of God are always equivocal, used in a totally different way than they are of regular things, this leads to a negative theology: if you don't understand the predicates, you miss everything.

(the uselessness of a theory of meaning...)

God is the tallest man in the world.

Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard as rejecting the philosophical attempt to reinterpret the concept of God-- 'It's like trying to improve the appearance of gold by covering it in tinsel' -Putnam (God and the Philosophers)

how you understand God is reflected in how you live.

you can't criticize a form of life from an external standpoint, you can batter a form of life with your own, but criticism can find no puchase

what is a form of life though?

    are they so distinct?

(isn't the Wittgensteinian point just this? i.e. that if you think of science as a unit, you cannot construct some bridge between it and religion without coming to participate in the form of life you criticize, i.e. the units begin to blur...

to me, it seems that Wittgenstein's point is just that forms of life are not so distinct (but I should reread the relevant points in the Investigations and On Cerainty to confirm this. the recalcitrance of events (how do events contradict forms of life or at least jar them?--McDowell (would McDowell solve this?) slippage between a form of life and its grip on the world

"God is a horrible bully in the sky" -paraphrase

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