Conclusion: Concept Formation and Spirituality

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


If my argument in the last chapter is correct, then I have knocked the final nail in the coffin of some of the views considered in Chapter 2 by showing that there is no special kind of religious truth as such. I have not, of course, disposed of the claim that the language-games of religion are in some sense autonomous, nor have I wished to do so. But I have argued that this claim amounts to asserting that religion uses peculiar concepts and methods of representation to describe special beings or states of affairs, which may in turn call for some special knowledge or understanding. Now there are indeed such concepts in religion — though they constitute a relatively small part of ‘religious language’. But when we employ them we must explain how they are formed, what role they play in our life and how they are to be related to other concepts: in other words, to use my own earlier terminology, they must be located and related. The upshot of the last chapter, and indeed of the last six chapters, then, is that philosophers of religion must proceed by carrying out in the case of particular concepts and language-games the procedure which I have sketched out in general terms. I do not think that any general account of religious truth can be given beyond the kind which I have provided: we can only look at each case on its merits, to see if a concept has application, a language-game has a point or a judgement is true.


Religious Belief Concept Formation Religious Experience Religious Doctrine Religious Believer 
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Copyright information

© Patrick Sherry 1977

Authors and Affiliations

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

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