SOPhiA 2018

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Literally or Figuratively? -- Reflections on Bolzano's Philosophy of Religion and his Hermeneutics (Bolzano Lecture 2018)
(Plenary Lecture, English, Location: HS E.002)

More than once Bernard Bolzano declared that he regarded it as ''the main purpose in his life to restore, as much as possible, the ever more declining reputation of religion''. His sincerity is beyond any reasonable doubt, so I think analytic philosophers should not simply shrug off this confession of their 'great-grandfather' (as Dummett called him) even if they find it embarrassing. -- I shall focus on two central contentions in Bolzano's philosophy of revealed religion that are apparently incompatible. On the one hand, he declares that a divine revelation that deserves its name is always an attempt to communicate something that is true. On the other hand, he maintains that many if not all revealed doctrines are to be taken as figurative (bildlich), ''that is, as doctrines that represent their subject matter not as it is but rather as it is most beneficial for us to think of it''. Obviously, one has to ponder Bolzano's conception of figurative speech if one wants to find out whether the appearance of incompatibility is deceptive. I, for one, find it hard to imagine that the greatest logician between Leibniz and Frege overlooked a glaring contradiction at the very centre of his philosophy of religion that so much mattered to him.

Download the invitation of the International Bernard Bolzano Society here.


Chair: Edgar Morscher
Time: 17:00-18:30, 14 September 2018 (Friday)
Location: HS E.002

Wolfgang Künne 
(University of Hamburg, Germany)

Wolfgang Künne is Professor emeritus of the Institute of Philosophy at Hamburg University. He is full member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and of the Academia Europaea. He was Winchester Lecturer at the University of Oxford and President of the International Bolzano Society, and he was the first to receive the Frege-Preis of the Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie. He wrote Abstrakte Gegenstände - Semantik und Ontologie (Frankfurt am Main 1983, 2. erw. Aufl. 2007), Conceptions of Truth (Oxford: Clarendon Press 2003), Versuche über Bolzano / Essays on Bolzano (St. Augustin 2008), Die Philosophische Logik Gottlob Freges (Ffm 2010), Epimenides und andere Lügner (Ffm 2013) and -- with Petr Píŝa -- Bolzano auf dem Index (St. Augustin 2018).

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