Existential Feelings and Religious Language: The Later Wittgenstein and Protestant Theology of the Mystical

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Abstract

Mystical experience can be interpreted as experience in which existential feelings have a prominent role - unintentional, all-encompassing, affective states which open (or close) the world of possibilities of being for one and enable intentionality (beliefs, emotional feelings, etc.) in the first place (Heidegger, Ratcliffe). What is the relationship between relevant existential feelings and Christian religious language? In this essay I am asking this question with the help of a phenomenological understanding of existential feelings, late-Wittgensteinian understanding of religious language, and a protestant (Schleiermacher-Tillichian) mystical theology. The result is a somewhat counter-intuitive "late-Wittgensteinian phenomenology of mystical experience", which is possible, however, because Wittgenstein's critique of (Jamesian) religious experience is not a complete rejection, i.e. anti-experientialist, but aimed at a particular model of the mind in which an 'inner person' supposedly looks at an 'internal screen of consciousness'. Once such picture of religiously significant, felt experience is abandoned, a late-Wittgensteinian phenomenology of feelings is enabled which, I argue, is a promising framework for understanding the relationship between certain kinds of existential feelings and religious language.
Translated title of the contributionExistential Feelings and Religious Language: The Later Wittgenstein and Protestant Theology of the Mystical
Original languageOther
Pages (from-to)93-120
Number of pages26
JournalPoligrafi
Volume18
Issue number71/72
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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