Locating: iii The Religious Way of Life

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


One of the cryptic references to theology in Wittgenstein’s work goes ‘How words are understood is not told by words alone (Theology)’ (Z. 144). He does not explain the reference to theology, but the surrounding passages enable us to grasp his general point. In the previous section he had asked what gives meaning to a configuration of chess pieces (a favourite example of his) and what distinguishes paper money from mere printed slips. He goes on to investigate what is involved in understanding music, poetry and language generally. In all these cases significance depends on the surroundings and use in our lives: ‘Only in the stream of thought and life do words have meaning’ (Z. 173). We have already seen how Wittgenstein maintained that language is part of an activity or form of life, and that meaning and sense are not something internal and mysterious.


Religious Experience Religious Doctrine Religious Believer Religious Language Religious Concept 
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Copyright information

© Patrick Sherry 1977

Authors and Affiliations

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

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