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Lars Albinus

The Limitation of Truth-Semantics in the Understanding of Religion

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While this article salutes attempts to use Donald Davidson’s principles of radical interpretation in the study of religion in order to avoid the pitfalls of correspondence theory of truth, on the one hand, and cultural relativism, on the other, it suggests that an adequate understanding of religion may also take other pragmatic aspects of meaning into account. Buying into Jürgen Habermas’ critique of Davidson, the more specific argument is that a differentiation of validity criteria serves to disclose the restricted role “truth” plays in speech acts. It is also argued that although Richard Rorty’s skepticism towards universal criteria of rationality borders on relativism, he is justified in focusing more radically—along with Robert Brandom—on pragmatic and situational
criteria of meaning. Finally, drawing on Wittgenstein’s concept of “perspicuous representation” I suggest an alternate way of coming to grips with meaning potentials in religious ways of life.
Original languageDanish
Article number1
JournalMethod & Theory in the Study of Religion
Pages (from-to)447-474
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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