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David Baggett on Philosophy of Religion

Philosophy should not rest content with merely verbal squabbles, technical debates among specialists, or games of intellectual gymnastics. Whether there’s a God, what God’s like if there is one, whether life persists beyond the grave, what life’s meaning is if one there be—these are the questions that often spur people to pursue the study of philosophy in the first place, and philosophy of religion indulges the chance to explore them. ¶ The questions are engaging even to children, but the difference between a child asking such questions and a philosopher is that the philosopher, in an effort to honor the wide-eyed childlike wonder of it all, has developed tools, strategies, and resources to answer such questions—or at least inch, however incrementally, toward answers. Philosophers do so by refining the questions themselves, ruling out certain answers, defending other answers against objections, revealing how various answers produce yet new questions. In the process they subject various proposals to critical scrutiny every step of the way, separating the wheat from the chaff, in an effort to make progress. It’s exploration predicated on assuming that reason and rationality, properly exercised, make for progress.


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