Theorizing Religion in Antiquity - Nickolas P. Roubekas

Theorizing Religion in Antiquity - Nickolas P. Roubekas

5. Philosophical Reflections on the Presocratics: A Contribution to the Scientific Study of Religion

Theorizing Religion in Antiquity - Nickolas P. Roubekas

Donald Wiebe [+-]
University of Toronto
Donald Wiebe is Professor of Philosophy of Religion at the University of Toronto, Canada. His primary areas of research interest are philosophy of the social sciences, epistemology, philosophy of religion, the history of the academic and scientific study of religion, and method and theory in the study of religion. He is the author of Religion and Truth: Towards and Alternative Paradigm for the Study of Religion (De Gruyter, 1981), The Irony of Theology and the Nature of Religious Thought (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1991), Beyond Legitimation: Essays on the Problem of Religious Knowledge (Palgrave Macmillan, 1994), and The Politics of Religious Studies: The Continuing Conflict with Theology in the Academy (Palgrave Macmillan, 1999). He is a founding member of the North American Association for the Study of Religion, and served as President of that Association twice (1986/1987; 1991/1992).

Description

Implicit in the thought of the pre-Socratic cosmologists from the Milesians to the Atomists lies a new understanding of 'knowledge' in which beliefs are open to rational criticism and assessment. This kind of knowledge about the world and states of affairs in the world simply amounts to the espousal of beliefs about an objectively existing reality that have found rational and evidential support. This 'knowledge as rationally justifiable beliefs' stands in radical contrast to knowledge as metaphysical 'Truths' regarding indisputable realities such as the gods and the meaning of life vouchsafed to people either by way of revelation, intuition, or imagination. It is the emergence of this new conception of knowledge as entirely reliant on autonomous reason that constitutes a 'critical episode' in the development of human thought essential to the eventual emergence of science (and of the scientific study of religion) as we understand it today.

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Citation

Wiebe, Donald. 5. Philosophical Reflections on the Presocratics: A Contribution to the Scientific Study of Religion. Theorizing Religion in Antiquity. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 81-102 May 2019. ISBN 9781781793572. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=27965. Date accessed: 16 Dec 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.27965. May 2019

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