Philosophical Seminar: Dr Mario von der Ruhr 'Faith Without Apology? – D. Z. Phillips, Religious Belief and Apologetics '

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - 12:00 to 13:00
Hall D, Arts Building

D. Z. Phillips describes the contemplative philosopher’s task as a descriptive one: that of bringing out the kind of language involved in religious belief and the notion of reality embodied in it. However, this teasing-out of the kind of thing religious belief is, is not an exercise in apologetics or a mode of advocacy, since the results of the enquiry can be seen to be just as relevant to an understanding of atheism as they are to an understanding of religious belief. What the philosopher must have, Phillips says, is “respect for the belief he is investigating. He may want to oppose it, proclaim it or simply note it as a serious point of view, but he cannot dismiss it as a product of confusion”. This paper explores some of the implications of Phillips’ radically pluralist approach for atheist perspectives on religion, on the one hand, and the limits of Christian apologetics, on the other.

Speaker: From 1981-1984, Mario von der Ruhr  read Philosophy and Theology at King's College London, graduating with a B.A. Honours degree and A.K.C. (Associate of King's College) in 1984. In the following year (1984-1985), he studied Philosophy, Sociology and Educational Science at the Universities of Bielefeld and Berlin (Germany). In 1985, he embarked on an M.Phil. research programme in Contemporary Moral Theory and Political Philosophy at the University of St. Andrews. In 1987, he returned to the Free University of Berlin for further studies of Philosophy, Sociology, and Educational Theory. In the summer of 1988, he transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA), for a Philosophy and, in 1992, was appointed Lecturer in Philosophy at Swansea. He joined the Department of Political and Cultural Studies in the autumn of 2009.