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The Evidential Force of Religious Experience$
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Caroline Franks Davis

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198250012

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198250012.001.0001

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Some Presuppositions

Some Presuppositions

(p.5) I Some Presuppositions
The Evidential Force of Religious Experience

Caroline Franks Davis

Oxford University Press

Many philosophers and theologians who are themselves religious see religious experiences as completely non-cognitive and hence useless as evidence for anything beyond the subject's own psychological states. This view is usually bound up with a radically demythologised or non-realist picture of religious language. In order to investigate religious experience as evidence for something beyond purely autobiographical claims, it is important to defend the presupposition that religious experiences and religious utterances can and ought to be treated as capable of having cognitive content. This chapter examines the views of those who are sympathetic to religion and who yet maintain that religious utterances are not intended to be factual assertions. The role of models and metaphors in describing religious experience is also discussed.

Keywords:   religious experiences, critical realism, evidence, religious utterances, cognitive aspects, religious language, models, metaphors

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