Critically Evaluate Wittgenstein’s Language Games Theory as an Approach to Religious Language.

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Critically evaluate Wittgenstein’s language games theory as an approach to religious language. God’s transcendence means there is widespread discussion as to how any statements in regards to his existence or nature can be deemed as ‘meaningful’. Influential philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein 1889 - 1951 was heavily involved in studies of Language and developed the idea that the purpose of philosophy was to clear up the conceptual confusions that arose through our unexamined use of language (including statements of religious significance and any religious language) and that words are a function of language, not just simply a signifying of an object. 'Whereof one cannot speak, therefore one must be silent.' Wittgenstein believed, in opposition to Rene Descartes’ Cogito Ergo Sum (I think, therefore I am) that language was a social product, and that statements made about the world were basic and 'groundless' and believed that judgement through opposing 'language games' was not possible, as they are parts of different discourse. Wittgenstein's theory of Language Games was built upon in his later works 'Philosophical Investigations'. Wittgenstein likened language to a game that the rules and context must be understood first to play. Most famous in an attempt to demonstrate this is the idea of a game of chess. For example, the queen, or a pawn moving to ‘D5’ is only understandable in the context of the rules of chess, such as language only making sense within its contextual background, or ‘game’. In terms of religious language, for a Christian to say 'God exists', this cannot be analysed or understood using scientific language as they are simply far too different. This is why Wittgenstein went on to opposing the views of the Logical Positivists and their strict criterion for verifying statements via mathematical, synthetic and analytical testing. Wittgenstein was more
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