ABSTRACT

One feature of the writings of members of this 'school' is that they make use of a theoretical vocabulary that is derived from the writings —and, in particular, the later writings —of Wittgenstein: 'language game', 'form of life', 'grammatical observation', 'philosophical grammar', 'depth grammar', and the like. Critics of 'the Wittgensteinian school of philosophy of religion' are apt to complain that the crucial theoretical vocabulary involved in these formulations is, at best, 'obscure and ambiguous'. The most prominent member of 'the Wittgensteinian school of philosophy of religion' is undoubtedly D. Z. Phillips. The chapter begins with Phillips's critique of the traditional philosophical understanding of God as a 'metaphysically real' or 'independently existing' being. It considers his reasons for rejecting views of religious language which hold that such language is in some important respects 'fact-stating'. In particular, the language of religious believers must not be assimilated to the kind of fact-stating, physical-object discourse that characterizes the empirical sciences.