Lectures on Religious Belief

  • W. Donald Hudson
Part of the New Studies in the Philosophy of Religion book series (NSPR)


In the last two chapters we have considered critically how religion appeared to Wittgenstein in the light firstly of the Tractatus, which was published in 1921, and secondly of the empiricist verificationism with which he seems to have sympathised during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Now we must turn to such evidence as we have concerning the views on religion which he held in the light of his late philosophy. This evidence consists mainly of notes taken by students who attended lectures on religious belief which he gave in Cambridge during 1938. Cyril Barrett, who compiled and published them in a volume entitled Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology and Religious Belief Oxford, 1966), is careful to emphasise in his preface that they are not Wittgenstein’s own lecture notes, that he neither now nor checked them, and that he might not have approved of their publication in the present form. However, those who book them down were amongst Wittgenstein’s most ardent disciples and we may safely assume that they have provided a faithful record of his teaching.


Religious Belief Moral Obligation Religious People Real Existence Affective Attitude 


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Notes and References

  1. 4.
    See e.g. H.H. Price, Belief (London, 1969), Lecture 9;Google Scholar
  2. N. Malcolm, ‘Is it a Religious Belief that God exists?’ in Faith and the Philosophers, edited by J. Hick (London, 1964), and my A Philosophical Approach to Religion (London, 1974) pp.90–94.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    See R.M. Hare, ‘Theology and Falsification, B’ in A. Flew and A. Maclntyre, New Essays in Philosophical Theology (London, 1955);Google Scholar
  4. D.D. Evans, The Logic of Self-Involvement (London, 1963);Google Scholar
  5. P. van Buren, The Secular Meaning of the Gospel (London, 1963).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cf. J.J. Macintosh, ‘Belief-in’, Mind, 1970.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    See J.L. Austin’s, How To Do Things with Words (Oxford, 1962) p.159.Google Scholar
  8. 26.
    Cf. S.C. Brown, Do Religious Claims Make Sense? (London, 1969) p. 178.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© W. Donald Hudson 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Donald Hudson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ExeterUK

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