Imagining Philosophy of Religion Differently: Interdisciplinary Wittgensteinian Approaches



Despite a growing interest in philosophy of religion in secondary level education , especially in the United Kingdom, courses at undergraduate level frequently fail to build upon the preliminary understanding that students have gained. A fixation on the evaluation of religious “truth-claims” tends to detract from an appreciation of the variegated nature of religious forms of life and practice , while a limited palette of examples constrains the cross-cultural reach of the subject . After outlining weaknesses in the approach often taken to teaching philosophy of religion , this chapter considers both how increased interdisciplinary engagement can deepen and expand the cultural range of philosophy of religion and how Wittgenstein -inspired modes of investigation can facilitate such interdisciplinarity. The influence of Wittgenstein’s ideas in the study of religion outside philosophy is concisely surveyed, and examples are given from my own teaching of how to integrate Wittgensteinian and interdisciplinary dimensions into an undergraduate course.


Philosophy of religion Ludwig Wittgenstein Interdisciplinary approaches Cross-cultural Anthropology 



An earlier version of this chapter was presented at the 50th anniversary conference of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain, 29 July 2015. I am grateful to Paul Standish and Naomi Hodgson for the invitation to participate in that conference and to members of the audience for their lively questions and discussion. Special thanks go to David Cockburn and Ieuan Lloyd, both of whom engaged me in correspondence subsequent to the conference.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of ScienceUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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