"If you can keep your head when all about you / are losing theirs and blaming it on you": Head and Heart in Recent Analytical Philosophy of Religion and Natural Theology

Russell Robert Re Manning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Analytical philosophy of religion is widely associated with an account of reason that makes a firm distinction between head knowledge and heart knowledge. From its outset, analytical philosophy of religion has tended to analyze and evaluate the often imprecise and emotive claims of the heart, characteristic of religious discourse, in terms of the precision and rigor of the head. The latter half of the twentieth century, however, saw something of a “turn to the heart” in analytical philosophy of religion, with the recognition that religious discourse is unavoidably, and unproblematically, embedded in contexts of religious practices. Largely inspired by a particular interpretation of Wittgenstein, this expressionistic approach tended to prioritize the noncognitive (or at least the nonpropositional) character of religious discourse, but frequently at the expense of a loss of public accountability. More recently, much work in analytical philosophy of religion has been characterized by a desire to move beyond the rationalist/expressionist either/or to embrace both head and heart as mutually reinforcing aspects of the rationality of religious discourse. This chapter endorses such an approach and draws on recent work in the phenomenology of religious experience (as materially mediated) to suggest further areas of fruitful development. In conclusion, the chapter will defend an account of the rationality of religious discourse of the discernment of the transcendent in nature—a theme central to natural theology—as both inferential and experiential. Such an account of the “logic of discernment” will be presented as exemplary for a natural theology characteristic of analytical philosophy of religion that recognizes and holds together both the reason of both head and of the heart.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHead and Heart
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives from Religion and Pyschology
EditorsFraser Watts, Geoff Dumbreck
Place of PublicationWest Conshohocken, PA
PublisherTempleton Press
Pages71-94
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9781599474397
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2013

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    Re Manning, R. R. (2013). "If you can keep your head when all about you / are losing theirs and blaming it on you": Head and Heart in Recent Analytical Philosophy of Religion and Natural Theology. In F. Watts, & G. Dumbreck (Eds.), Head and Heart: Perspectives from Religion and Pyschology (pp. 71-94). Templeton Press.