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Inquiries into the status of truth-claims in religious discourse: some interpretations of the philosophical system of Donald Davidson

Pratt, Eric (1991) Inquiries into the status of truth-claims in religious discourse: some interpretations of the philosophical system of Donald Davidson. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This work reflects its title in that it is in two parts. The first two chapters attempt to show that truth is not the property of statements or propositions alone but is directly related to the beliefs or intentions (or other dispositions) which they encode. The role of Christian expectation as a truth-bearer is given some prominence. The third chapter begins the interpretative aspect of the analysis. The truth-theory of Donald Davidson is outlined against the background of his whole philosophical system. This leads to a new understanding of propositional attitudes, for they are now seen to express a causal relationship with the reality which underlies them. Davidson's method of seeking a correspondence with that reality via a coherence theory of truth is then analysed. This relies upon a so-called 'Convention of Charity' embodying a holistic agreement about what it is to call a thing 'real'. Considerable attention is given to the way that Davidson is continually developing his philosophy in this respect. The fourth chapter discusses the ways in which the truth-conditional theory of Davidson could be applied to religious discourse. The problems of religious divergence and of figurative or metaphorical language are singled out for special attention. The final chapter attempts to unite the study by evaluating this interpretation in the light of the claims for truth which theologians might make. This involves outlining the form which a new non-foundationalist theological epistemology might take, given the application of a Davidsonian philosophical system. This study is seen as particularly fruitful in generating areas for future research. A secondary aim of this analysis has been to investigate what sort of realism is possible for religious discourse.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1991
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Dec 2012 12:02

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