• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Religious Language can be understood in the context of religious belief" - Discuss and evaluate this claim with reference to language games.

Extracts from this document...


Q. "Religious Language can be understood in the context of religious belief." Discuss and evaluate this claim with reference to language games. (20) Ludwig Wittgenstein once believed that language's function was to name objects and the meaning of language was found in the objects for which it stands. He later rejected this and centred on how language works and is used, believing that problems of religious language come from misunderstanding its usage. Wittgenstein was no longer concerned with the truth or falsity of language but the way it is used and the functions that it performs, as he said 'Don't ask for the meaning ask for the use.' Wittgenstein recognised that language is equivocal as words have many different meanings, such as the word 'pen' whose meaning changes in different contexts. He saw language as a game, which like all games had its own set of rules. Different contexts or 'forms of life' are like different language games with their own self contained rules. ...read more.


He argued that is usage and meaning is dependent upon its function and society uses language in a specific and agreed way. Wittgenstein called these rules 'grammar', for example, to say that 'God has big feet' is not playing to the rules of the game because a convention says it is inappropriate to God. Wittgenstein said that 'philosophy may in no way interfere with the usage of language only describe it'. However, to change the description of a language game can have dramatic effects. D.Z. Phillips used the example of 'God is love', which he argued was not a description but a rule for how the word 'God' is to be used. Statements about religious belief are actually descriptions of the grammar of the religious game. This implies that something cannot be both a rule of grammar and at the same time a description of reality. This approach leaves the religious language game forever defining its own rules. ...read more.


However, it is very apparent that they can. Also people of different denominations could be seen to have slightly different rules, akin to the differences between rugby leagues and union. This would imply that they would also not be able to, or have great difficulty in communicating, but they can. Religious believers are also involved in other language games because they are involved in other aspects of life. This means that religious language is not totally isolated and there will be some common ground with other 'language games'. This may suggest that the non-believer may be able to understand religious language and decide if it holds any meaning for them. It is also argued that if anything, non-believers may be able to understand religious language better than a believer, as they can be more objective about it. It seems that Wittgenstein was mistaken as seeing religious language only being intelligible in the context of religious belief. Many religious statements entail a truth which is not dependent upon context, but statements such as 'Jesus died to bring salvation' are though of as true for everyone. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks essays

  1. Religious Language can be understood in the context of religious belief

    Such problems would disappear if people realised that the 'physical object game' didn't apply in this case. It was argued that language is a social product, therefore individuals could not have their own private language as one could not be certain that language was being used correctly.

  2. Investigation into Gender Differences in the Language of Personal Profiles on Dating Websites

    Hyde, J.S (1984). Children's Understanding of Sexist Language, Developmental Psychology. Appendix 1 ali2484 new to the area new to online dating!!! 22-year-old man Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom seeking women 18-24 within 30 miles of Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom Relationships: Never Married Have kids: None Want kids: Someday (2)

  1. Language Investigation on Shampoo Bottles

    An example of this minimal persuasive method is the catchphrase "Treats your scalp, cares for your hair". The verb "cares" can only be ascribed to humans or animals and not inanimate objects; by using this verb metaphorically for the shampoo personifies it giving it human value which reflects on the

  2. Language Investigation: Barack Obama Inaugural Address

    We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.

  1. The topic of religious language has many facets for exploration. The area of research ...

    shortly thereafter is reference to the exact passage from the Bible that is concerned in the sermon. The abstract noun "priority" in line 27, which is repeated in line 30, is noticed by the stress attributed to it. The two nouns surround the priority to which they refer; to emphasise

  2. Тhe Welsh language

    The most obvious sign of the change was the loss of the final syllables of nouns; when bardos (poet), aratron (plough) and abona (river) had become bardd, aradr and afon, Brittonic had become Welsh. There are four periods in the history of the Welsh language: early, old, middle and new.

  1. "It's easy to become a football hooligan!" - Discuss

    Thirdly, many of the English Hooligans create trouble at National level, while traveling with the national team as well as in clubs. Many a times, trouble has been created at international levels by English Hooligans. Comparatively, other countries, such as Holland, France, Italy, Spain only have hooligan related cases confided to clubs.

  2. Early and Later Wittgenstein's conception of the world, ethics and later analysis of language.

    He says that attempts to say anything about the limits of language result in senseless proposition and attempts to say anything about what lies on the other side of the limit end in non-sense. For Him, the task of philosophy is not to express the logical form of propositions, but

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work