World-Views Clashing? The Possibilities of Dialogue

Patrick Riordan


Inter-religious dialogue, specifically the engagement between Shi’a Islam and Catholic Christianity, is an example in practice of the encounter between different world-views. The dialogue explores difficulties in interpretation of the fundamental tenets of the religions since the existence of common language conceals divergence of meaning. What possibilities of argument exist in this context, if any? Help is found in the related field of political philosophy. John Rawls in his late essay ‘The Idea of Public Reason Revisited’ (1997, ’99) discusses three forms of argument outside of public reason which might be useful in the encounter of comprehensive doctrines seeking an overlapping consensus. He calls these Declaration, Conjecture and Witnessing. This paper will explore the possible usefulness of these argument forms in the dialogue between religious world-views. In particular, conjecture is found to be particularly fruitful for the self-correcting dynamic of a world-view.


20th century philosophy; philosophy; social studies; Wittgenstein Ludwig; Catholic Sh'ia encounter; conjecture; dialogue; non public reason; Rawls' proviso; religious liberty; religious world view

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