By Wesley J. Wildman

Argues that philosophy, as multidisciplinary comparative inquiry, is vital to the modern educational learn of religion.

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Extra info for Religious Philosophy as Multidisciplinary Comparative Inquiry: Envisioning a Future for the Philosophy of Religion

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Everyone affirms the near ubiquity of theology in religion, to the point that rare instances of its absence in religious sub-traditions are noteworthy and puzzling. The alliance of theology with the institutional interests of religious traditions has made it difficult for religious philosophers to claim the word theology. Religious philosophy has no difficulty recognizing the value and legitimacy of theological work allied closely with religious traditions and institutions, even though it cannot accept the limitations on inquiry into ultimate matters that prevail in such forms of theology.

At the strategic level, Kant’s approach is not effective in a fallibilist epistemological framework. Only the foundationalist for whom nothing less than certainty will do could feel convinced that the dueling arguments of the four antinomies, if sound, decisively dispose of the sorts of reasoning involved. The fallibilist engaged in the hypothetical form of inquiry I describe here will see only the lack of corrective resources needed to advance inquiry at that point, and will not incautiously generalize this negative result as Kant did.

Most expect to work alongside people with quite different types of expertise, and they are accustomed to making use of insights from other disciplines that operate according to methods quite different than those of their chief specialization. This drives home the fundamental goal of religious studies: it is to understand religion as such—not merely what any one given discipline can comprehend of religion, but religion as a whole, in all its intricate variations and manifestations. This goal is supported by the cultivation of specific virtues in religious studies.

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