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Durham e-Theses
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Transcending Fictionalism: God, Minimalism and Realism

EASTWOOD, JESSICA,GRACE (2021) Transcending Fictionalism: God, Minimalism and Realism. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Abstract

This thesis develops a distinctive combination of a kind of realism with a minimalist conception of God. To explore this, I locate my position by using two ‘axes’. The first axis offers different conceptions of God, ranging from classical philosophical theism to a distinctive minimalism. The second axis sets out different religious commitments, from a standard ‘anti-realist’ approach to a traditional ‘realist’ approach. The introductory chapter explores what it means for both the realist and the anti-realist to hold a ‘serious’ religious position, and the challenges that come with each interpretation of ‘religious seriousness’. Chapter one investigates four different kinds of ‘faith’ and the in/voluntary nature of ‘belief’. Chapter two explores Don Cupitt’s anti-realism, including his shifting conception of God, and the mind-dependent reality he ascribes to God. Chapter three investigates types of ‘faith’ that do not include a ‘belief’ component and instead replace belief with ‘steadfastness’ or ‘assuming’, engaging with some cutting-edge literature on this movement (Howard-Synder and Buchak). Chapter four attempts to dissolve the ‘paradox of fiction’ and in doing so to counter the claim that the fictionalist is simply confused if they allow religious narratives to shape their emotional lives (engaging with Le Poidevin). Chapter five measures the extent to which fictionalism honours some of the epistemic characteristics that are associated with the ‘humane turn’, such as exercising the human imaginative faculty, and respecting a holistic reaction against an atomistic approach to meaning. Chapter six unpacks post-traditionalism through an analogy between the kind of reality ascribed to abstract objects in mathematics, and the kind ascribed to the abstract object in theology (God).

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Fictionalism, God, Minimalism and Realism
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Jun 2021 15:20

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