Religion and Radical Empiricism

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Rarely in modern times has religion been associated with empiricism except to its own peril. This book represents a comprehensive and systematic effort to retrieve and develop the tradition of American religious empiricism for religious inquiry.

Religion and Radical Empiricism offers a challenging account of how and why reflection on religious truth-claims must seek justification of those claims finally in terms of empirical criteria. Ranging through many of the major questions in philosophy of religion, the author weaves together a study of the varieties of empiricism in all its historical forms from Hume to Quine. She finds in James and Dewey; in Wieman, Meland, and Loomer of the Chicago School; in Whitehead; and in Abhidharma Buddhism constructive elements of a radically empirical approach to the controversial topic of religious experience. This work provides a strong counter-argument to critics of “revisionary theism,” to caricatures of philosophy as “conversation,” and to any collapse of the category of experience into its linguistic forms.
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About the author

Nancy Frankenberry is Associate Professor of Religion at Dartmouth College.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Pages
226
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ISBN
9781438403229
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The Faith of Scientists is an anthology of writings by twenty-one legendary scientists, from the dawn of the Scientific Revolution to the frontiers of science today, about their faith, their views about God, and the place religion holds--or doesn't--in their lives in light of their commitment to science. This is the first book to bring together so many world-renowned figures of Western science and present them in their own words, offering an intimate window into their private and public reflections on science and faith.

Leading religion scholar Nancy Frankenberry draws from diaries, personal letters, speeches, essays, and interviews, and reveals that the faith of scientists can take many different forms, whether religious or secular, supernatural or naturalistic, conventional or unorthodox. These eloquent writings reflect a spectrum of views from diverse areas of scientific inquiry. Represented here are some of the most influential and colossal personalities in the history of science, from the founders of science such as Galileo, Johannes Kepler, Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Albert Einstein, to modern-day scientists like Carl Sagan, Stephen Jay Gould, Jane Goodall, Freeman Dyson, Stephen Hawking, Edward O. Wilson, and Ursula Goodenough. Frankenberry provides a general introduction as well as concise introductions to each chapter that place these writings in context and suggest further reading from the latest scholarship.


As surprising as it is illuminating and inspiring, The Faith of Scientists is indispensable for students, scholars, and anyone seeking to immerse themselves in important questions about God, the universe, and science.

Often different religious traditions offer very different pictures of the world. In fact, religions are so fascinating partly because they present alternative pictures of the nature of time, space, persons, food, community, life, death, and so on. How are we to make sense of this radical diversity of belief? The most common response is to say that religions are alternative conceptual frameworks or schemes, whose categories organize experience in sometimes diverse ways. On this view of the framework model of religious belief we cannot map religious frameworks onto a single, comprehensive grid because they themselves function as the maps. In this sense, the Buddhist and Baptist are sometimes said to live in different worlds.Religion, Interpretation, and Diversity of Belief traces the history of the framework model from Kant to Durkheim, and then argues for its replacement. Rather than seeing religions as all-encompassing grids, we must recognize that they themseleves are constrained in at least two unavoidable ways: first, by the formal rules that make human experience possible at all, and second, by the fact that as language users we must presuppose that we hold the vast bulk of our beliefs in common. Given these constraints, we can then see religious differences, however dramatic, as relatively limited and largely theoretical.The framework model is deeply entrenched in those disciplines central to the study of religion, especially so in philosophy, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and theology. The negative thrust of this is to suggest this allegiance needs to be reconsidered. Positively, the book sketches a picture of linguistic interpretation on which our differences, religious or otherwise, stand out against the background of what we have in common
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