Contemplation of the Variety of the World

Timo Koistinen


This paper explores D. Z. Phillips’s contemplative conception of philosophy and
philosophy of religion. On the one hand, Phillips argues that philosophy is not
a guide to life but, on the other hand, he holds that its task is not merely to
clarify conceptual confusions. Instead, it is concerned with what it means to
say something. It shows the variety and complexity of the world and tries to do
justice to different perspectives, including those which are at variance with
the philosopher’s own personal perspective. In this respect, an analogy exists
between contemplative philosophy and great literature. I will begin with an
account of some central ideas of Phillips’s contemplative conception in
philosophy. After that I will turn to critical discussion of his approach in
philosophy of religion. My main question is whether contemplative philosophy of
religion can exhibit the kind of religious neutrality that Phillips sees as
essential to it.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; philosophy of religion; method of philosophy; philosophical criticism of religion; neutrality of philosophy

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