Philosophical Perspectives REV1

Philosophical Perspectives REV1 - Philosophical...

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Philosophical Perspectives Fundamentally, the conflict between religions is a philosophical one. This means that it involves philosophical issues about how humans answer basic questions. Questions about how to attain knowledge, about the nature and structure of reality, and about good and evil are the most basic of these questions. Conflicts over less basic issues often occupy more attention because people are engaged with practical and emotional problems and commonly ignore the philosophical presuppositions that are behind these. Such philosophical presuppositions are found in every religion and worldview and serve as the foundation for other, less basic aspects of the religion or worldview. Religions (worldviews) share in common the use of basic beliefs to interpret experiences. Because of their role as foundational, progress cannot be made on less basic problems and disputes without first making progress on philosophical issues. Where there has been long standing and unresolved conflict this indicates that differences about philosophical issues are not being addressed or resolved; if philosophical differences can be resolved then less basic conflicts can also be resolved. Because people seldom deal with basic questions involving philosophical issues they rarely make progress in religious conflicts. Failure to engage with these issues leads to conflicts that can span centuries, incorporate numerous people, and large geographical areas. These conflicts can be within a religion as variants of that religion challenge each other, or they can be between religions. In each case the more visible conflicts, often involving political and military engagements, are given the most attention while philosophical issues are largely ignored or passed aside as unanswerable. As each side is
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drained of political and military energy the religious conflict may become less visible (for instance, tension between Serbs and Croats), but unless the philosophical differences about basic questions have been resolved the conflict will not be addressed and will eventually emerge again in its more visible manifestations. Because final conflict resolution requires finding agreement about philosophical issues, it is important not to allow these to be avoided. Some common ways of avoiding dealing with philosophical issues are skepticism, fideism, pragmatism/voluntarism, and emotivism. Each of these devalues philosophical issues and instead shifts the focus to a less basic area of conflict, such as politics or economics. They also tend to be based on a view of human nature, which de-emphasizes the intellect and instead places emotions or actions as the primary feature of human nature. There are three problems with this shift. First, and most obviously, it is self-refuting.
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2011 for the course REL 100 taught by Professor Woodword during the Fall '08 term at ASU.

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Philosophical Perspectives REV1 - Philosophical...

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