Wittgenstein, Meaning and Religious Truth

  • Patrick Sherry
Part of the Library of Philosophy and Religion book series (LPR)


During the late 1920s and early 1930s Ludwig Wittgenstein met with some members of the Vienna Circle to discuss philosophical issues. A few of these discussions touched on religious questions. Moritz Schlick took the view that religion belonged to a childhood phase of humanity and would, eventually disappear. Wittgenstein rejected this view, but he agreed with Schlick that religious doctrines have no theoretical content (Carnap (1) p. 26). Waisrnann records him as making the following remarks in December, 1930:

Is speech essential for religion? I can quite well imagine a religion in which there are no doctrines and hence nothing is said. Obviously the essence of religion can have nothing to do with the fact that speech occurs — or rather: if speech does occur this itself is a component of religious behaviour and not a theory. Therefore nothing turns on whether the words are true, false, or nonsensical. (trans. Max Black, Philosophical Review (1965) 16)

These remarks were made at a transitional phase of Wittgenstein’s philosophical development.


Private Process Religious Doctrine Vienna Circle Religious Believer Religious Language 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Patrick Sherry 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Sherry
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LancasterUK

Personalised recommendations