Theology, Philosophy and History

  • Dorothy Emmet


The story of the relations between theology and philosophy would be almost co-terminous with the history of thought. The relation of either to science is of course another important chapter in that history. But whereas science has achieved its own freedom of enquiry by discovering its determinate methods and its determinate subject matter, the question of the right relation between philosophy and theology remains a present one. This is partly because, unlike science, neither of these has a determinate and generally accepted method. Perhaps part of the reason why philosophy and theology are to-day further apart than they were a generation ago is due to this malaise concerning method. Each is in process of trying to discover its appropriate method, and in the meantime, in the effort to become conscious of its methods, each insists on its own distinctiveness, rather than on the possibility of contributing in co-operation with the other to a common truth. But another reason why it is difficult to determine their relationship is one not of method, but of subject matter. Neither can be confined to a departmental subject matter, since both are concerned with the presuppositions which in the end colour our thinking about everything else.


Religious Community Symbolic Form Human Purpose Natural Theology Collective Wisdom 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1966

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothy Emmet
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.The University of ManchesterOxfordUK
  2. 2.Lady Margaret HallOxfordUK

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