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The DominantConception.rtf

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Ryerson University
PHL 110
David Chalmers

The DominantTraditional Conception of the Nature of Religious FaithTraditionally the first concern of philosophy of religion has been with the truth of religious doctrinesThis question while of the greatest importance may profitably be preceded by another What makes a doctrine dogma or article of faith religiousOr we can ask of a particular religious utterance for example the sentences And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done What kind of claim is thatThe contemporary American philosopher Daniel Dennett defines religions as social systems whose participants avow belief in a supernatural agent or agents whose approval is to be sought Dennett is willing to accept the consequence that eg many forms of Buddhism are not religions because they lack such avowed beliefSo for Dennett theism is the heart of all religionThere are assumptions at work in Dennetts conception that remains unstated and which I think partially constitute the dominant conception of religion both today and over many centuries at least in the WestOne central idea of what I am calling the Dominant Conception emerges and is exemplified in Frazers account religions are or at least centrally involve
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