Newman Lecture: Is the ‘Intelligibility of Religious Language’ Debate Dead?

Professor William Sweet of St. Francis Xavier University has sent along the title and abstract for his Newman Lecture, which will be offered during the 2012 AGM in Waterloo, ON at the end of May. We are very much looking forward to a busy few days at Congress and Professor Sweet’s talk will no doubt be a highlight of our time together. Hope to see you there!

Is the ‘Intelligibility of Religious Language’ Debate Dead?

One standard argument in Anglo-American philosophy of religion of the last half century is that religious language is unintelligible or not cognitively meaningful. Many have regarded such an argument as problematic, but the current status of the debate is not clear. Arguably this is, in part, because relatively little consideration has been given to explaining how religious language is intelligible. I review some of the history of this philosophical debate, note some contributions from recent discussion in theology on this question, and propose how one might defend the intelligibility of religious language.