The Squirrel does not Infer by Induction: Wittgenstein and the Natural History of Religion

Part of the Claremont Studies in the Philosophy of Religion book series (CSPR)


In the ‘Author’s Introduction’ to The Natural History of Religion David Hume distinguishes between two questions regarding religion: ‘that concerning its foundation in reason and that concerning its origin in human nature’ (p. 21). Wittgenstein’s work pursues a similar, if less explicitly announced, distinction concerning all rule-governed practices. In this essay I examine the concept ‘language-game’ as it applies to the groundlessness — in reason — of our proceedings in language, and also as it applies to the non-rational bases in human nature of our operating with words. Wittgenstein argues that explanations come to an end; that is, we must acknowledge that reasons finally appeal to things that are not reasons.


Human Nature Religious Belief Causal Reasoning Heuristic Model Philosophical Investigation 
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© Timothy Tessin and Mario von der Ruhr 1995

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