Philosophy and the Study of Religions: A Manifesto advocates a radical transformation of the discipline from its current, narrow focus on questions of God, to a fully global form of critical reflection on religions in all their variety and dimensions. * 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).
Preface xi Acknowledgments xix 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 Endnotes 27 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 Endnotes 51 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 Endnotes 80 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 Endnotes 110 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 Endnotes 147 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 Endnotes 172 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 Endnotes 205 Works Cited 207 Index 223