Peter Byrne’s study of God and realism offers a critical survey of issues surrounding the realist interpretation of theism and theology. Byrne presents a general argument for interpreting the intent of talk about God in a realist fashion and argues that judging the intent of theistic discourse should be the primary object of concern in the philosophy of religion. He considers a number of important ideas and thinkers supporting global anti-realism, and finds them all wanting. After the refutation of global anti-realism, Byrne considers a number of important arguments in favour of the notion that there is something specific to talk about God which invites an anti-realist interpretation of it. Here he looks at verificationism, the writings of Don Cupitt, forms of radical feminist theory and the ideas of D.Z. Phillips. The book concludes with a discussion of whether theology as a discursive, academic discipline can be interpreted realistically. Offering a comprehensive survey of the topic and of the leading literature in the field, this book presents key arguments for exploring issues brought to bear upon the realism debate. Students and scholars of philosophy of religion, philosophy of language, metaphysics, theory of knowledge and theology, will find this an invaluable new contribution to the field.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Theistic and theological realism: an analytic account; Global or non-contrastive anti-realism; Scheming; Realism and verification; Cupitt, postmodernism and all that jazz; Constrastive anti-realism; A realist interpretation of theology?; Bibliography; Index.
'It is to the great credit of Peter Byrne, a highly respected philosopher of religion from King's College, London, that he has written an intelligent yet accessible book that offers a critical survey of all the important issues that currently surround a realist interpretation of theism and theology... There is much to admire in this book. The style of writing is crisp and pithy, a feature which generally helps to facilitate the smooth exposition of several complicated arguments. The book is replete with references to on-going research in the field, and can be said to serve as an authoritative guide to this area of English-speaking philosophy of religion... God and Realism is an important contribution to the philosophy of religion; it is deserving of a wide readership especially among those few hardy souls who still believe that matters of theological importance can be broached and clarified by means of reason and argument.' The Tablet 'Byrne's careful and detailed treatment of realism in relation to God is a welcome contribution....his clear and incisive treatment of the issue of realism provides an invaluable guide for anyone concerned with the discussion of realism and anti-realism in contemporary philosophy and theology.' Reviews in Religion and Theology '... thought-provoking publication... a clear and persuasive argument for the realist view.' The Bookseller 'Peter Byrne's book is a valuable addition to the discussion of religious realism... The principal strengths of the book lie in the way it lends additional clarity to the structure of the debate about religious realism, and Byrne's provocative concluding argument that while it is plausible to interpret common theistic discourse (hereafter, 'folk theistic discouse') in a realist fashion, it is not possible to do so when discursively developed in theology... As is evident from the foregoing, this is a book rich in thought-provoking arguments. Students (advanced undergraduate and graduate) as well as pr