Arguing Religion

The aim of this line of research is to improve our understanding of the goals, prospects and reach of argumentative debate in responding to religious disagreements. Whereas the question of how societies can accommodate religious disagreement in ethically and politically legitimate ways has been the topic of extensive research, the question of how much room this kind of disagreement leaves for argumentative debate in its own right and terms has attracted less attention. Building on past and ongoing ISR research in the fields of secularity, post-secularity, and argumentation theory, the line of research “Arguing Religion” takes steps towards remedying this situation.

We consider religious disagreements in three different settings:

●        between believers of the same faith (intra-faith disagreement)

●        between believers of distinct faiths (cross-faith disagreement)

●        between believers and non-believers (either atheists or agnostics).

The role, the goals, and the reach of argumentative debate can be expected to differ across these settings and in relation to the religious faiths that are, respectively, involved. Often, convergence of judgment or even consensus are taken to be the intrinsic goals of argumentative debate. Can this convergence or consensus-based conception of the goals of public argumentation be usefully applied to the case of arguing religion? If not so, are there promising alternative conceptions? The line of research addresses these questions from different disciplinary perspectives (philosophy of religion, epistemology, theory of argumentation, theology, religious studies).


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