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- Opens the discipline of philosophy of religion to the religious diversity that characterizes the world today
- Builds bridges between philosophy of religion and the other interpretative and explanatory approaches in the field of religious studies
- Provides a manifesto for a global approach to the subject that is a practice-centred rather than a belief-centred activity
- Gives attention to reflexive critical studies of 'religion' as socially constructed and historically located
Kevin Schilbrack is Professor and Head of Department of Religion and Philosophy at Western Carolina University. Schilbrack has served as president of the American Academy of Religion for the Southeast, as a senior fellow with Harvard University’s Center for the Study of World Religions, and as a participant in a Fulbright-Hays Faculty Development Seminar in Taiwan and Thailand. An award-winning teacher, he has published numerous articles in philosophy and theory of religion, and is the contributing editor of Thinking through Rituals: Philosophical Perspectives (2007) and The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religious Diversity (forthcoming).
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Full Task of Philosophy of Religion 1
i. What is “Traditional Philosophy of Religion”? 3
ii. The First Task of Philosophy of Religion 10
iii. The Second Task of Philosophy of Religion 14
iv. The Third Task of Philosophy of Religion 19
v. What is the Big Idea? 24
Bibliographic Essay 25
Chapter 2: Are Religious Practices Philosophical? 29
i. Toward a Philosophy of Religious Practice 31
ii. Embodiment as a Paradigm for Philosophy of Religion 33
iii. Conceptual Metaphors and Embodied Religious Reason 36
iv. Religious Material Culture as Cognitive Prosthetics 40
v. A Toolkit for the Philosophical Study of Religious Practices 47
Bibliographic Essay 49
Chapter 3: Must Religious People Have Religious Beliefs? 53
i. The Place of Belief in the Study of Religions 55
ii. Objections to the Concept of Religious Belief 57
iii. Holding One’s Beliefs in Public 61
iv. What We Presuppose When We Attribute Beliefs 66
v. The Universality of Belief 70
Bibliographic Essay 76
Chapter 4: Do Religions Exist? 83
i. The Critique of “Religion” 85
ii. The Ontology of “Religion” 89
iii. Can There be Religion Without “Religion”? 92
iv. “Religion” as Distortion 96
v. The Ideology of “Religion” 101
Bibliographic Essay 105
Chapter 5: What Isn’t Religion? 113
i. Strategies for Defining Religion 115
ii. Making Promises: The Functional or Pragmatic Aspect of Religion 121
iii. Keeping Promises: The Substantive or Ontological Aspect of Religion 127
iv. The Growing Variety of Religious Realities 129
v. What this Definition Excludes 135
Bibliographic Essay 141
Chapter 6: Are Religions Out of Touch With Reality? 149
i. Religious Metaphysics in a Postmetaphysical Age 151
ii. Antimetaphysics Today 154
iii. Constructive Postmodernism and Unmediated Experience 158
iv. Unmediated Experience and Metaphysics 163
v. The Rehabilitation of Religious Metaphysics 167
Bibliographic Essay 171
Chapter 7: The Academic Study of Religions: a Map With Bridges 175
i. Religious Studies as a Tripartite Field 177
ii. Describing and Explaining Religious Phenomena 180
iii. Evaluating Religious Phenomena 185
iv. Do Evaluative Approaches Belong in the Academy? 189
v. Interdisciplinary Bridges 197
Bibliographic Essay 203
Works Cited 207