Karl Bühler

German Psychologist and Theorician of Language

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(2019) Philosophies of christianity, Dordrecht, Springer.

From philosophical theology to philosophy of religion

an illocutionary turning point

Savina Raynaud

pp. 55-66

Savina Raynaud's essay describes the path from a philosophy of language (from the consideration of "god" as a common noun) to a philosophy of religion, and of Christian religion (to a consideration of the proper noun of the Christian God, the triune God of Jesus Christ). Professor Raynaud develops a semantics of common nouns in order to describe what it is to refer to "god" as a common noun. In such a semantics, we are inclined to think that there is somebody or something which deserves to be named "god", somebody or something which would be picked out by the intension of the noun "god", but we do not yet know of any such candidate. On this semantics, the intension of the noun "god" is not that which is intended, but that by which an unknown is intended. But this semantic structure implies the structure of a religious quest, or even of salvation history: the existential situation of an inquiry into what one can ask about but does not yet know, or a process of getting to know intimately what one has been referring to from the beginning. Referring to God by name marks a shift to a radically different semantics: direct address. In this sort of language use, a name refers because it is surrounded by meaningful states of affairs and praxes. Here, the relevant 'surroundings' of the name of God are God's presence, acts, and utterances in salvation history. The primary resources in Professor Raynaud's account are Thomas Aquinas, theoretician of language Karl Bühler, and an analysis of Biblical instances of direct address. Finally, Professor Raynaud locates her semantic and illocutionary analysis of naming God within developments in the last fifty years of Italian philosophy of religion.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-22632-9_4

Full citation:

Raynaud, S. (2019)., From philosophical theology to philosophy of religion: an illocutionary turning point, in B. M. Mezei & M. Z. Vale (eds.), Philosophies of christianity, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 55-66.

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