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WITTGENSTEIN AND TOLSTOY: THE AUTHENTIC ORIENTATION

  • EMYR VAUGHAN THOMAS (a1)
    • Published online: 01 December 1997
Abstract

Many philosophers as well as many non-philosophers assume that there is no problem about just what religious belief is. They assume that it is something its adherents would like treated along the lines of (if not wholly in the same way as) any other form of belief. But because religious belief does not relate to any empirical entity or person then the belief element in it is conceived of as directed to some trans-empirical or metaphysical realm.

Both Tolstoy and Wittgenstein conceived of religious belief in a very different way from this. They conceded, I believe, that some forms of religious belief do seem to be directed at some apparently trans-empirical Being. However, for them, the genuine religious spirit involves something else. We can best appreciate their shared conception in terms of what I shall call an ‘authentic orientation to the world’.

My purpose in this paper is to elucidate just what this ‘authentic orientation’ consists of and to show how it can be said to be something that both Tolstoy and Wittgenstein had essentially the same view of.

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Religious Studies
  • ISSN: 0034-4125
  • EISSN: 1469-901X
  • URL: /core/journals/religious-studies
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