Social anthropology and the philosophy of religion

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 6 (1-4):287-299 (1963)
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The pursuit of linguistic analysis should mean that philosophers pay attention to the facts: in particular, the philosophy of religion cannot ignore the comparative study of religion, social anthropology, etc. A main aim should be to discover a ?grammar? of religious experience, which may help to illuminate the reasons for certain patterns of religious belief, etc. Here it is necessary to resist the functionalist views of some social anthropologists, stemming from the conviction that religion is an illusion and from a conflation of reasons and causes. But in so far as a functionalist approach applies, it can help to exhibit the accidental and ?non?religious? features of a given religion



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