Religion, philosophy of

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-K113-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

Philosophy of religion is philosophical reflection on religion. It is as old as philosophy itself and has been a standard part of Western philosophy in every period (see Religion, history of philosophy of). In the last half of the twentieth century, there has been a great growth of interest in it, and the range of topics philosophers of religion have considered has also expanded considerably.

Philosophy of religion is sometimes divided into philosophy of religion proper and philosophical theology. This distinction reflects the unease of an earlier period in analytic philosophy, during which philosophers felt that reflection on religion was philosophically respectable only if it confined itself to mere theism and abstracted from all particular religions; anything else was taken to be theology, not philosophy. But most philosophers now feel free to examine philosophically any aspect of religion, including doctrines or practices peculiar to individual religions. Not only are these doctrines and practices generally philosophically interesting in their own right, but often they also raise questions that are helpful for issues in other areas of philosophy. Reflection on the Christian notion of sanctification, for example, sheds light on certain contemporary debates over the nature of freedom of the will (see Sanctification).

Citing this article:
Stump, Eleonore. Religion, philosophy of, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-K113-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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