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Theological noncognitivism is the position that religious language – specifically, words such as "God" – are not cognitively meaningful. It is sometimes considered as synonymous with ignosticism.

Contents

1 Overview 2 See also 3 Notes and references 4 External links

Overview[edit] Theological noncognitivists argue in different ways, depending on what one considers the "theory of meaning" to be. One argument holds to the claim that definitions of God
God
are irreducible, self-instituting relational, circular. For example, a sentence stating that " God
God
is He who created everything, apart from Himself", is seen as circular rather than an irreducible truth. Michael Martin writing from a verificationist perspective concludes that religious language is meaningless because it is not verifiable.[1][2] George H. Smith uses an attribute-based approach in an attempt to prove that there is no concept for God: he argues that there are no meaningful attributes, only negatively defined or relational attributes, making the term meaningless. An example: Consider the proposition of the existence of a "pink unicorn". When asserting the proposition, one can use attributes to at least describe the concept such a cohesive idea is transferred in language. With no knowledge of "pink unicorn", it can be described minimally with the attributes "pink", "horse", and "horn". Only then can the proposition be accepted or rejected. The acceptance or rejection of the proposition is distinct from the concept. It is asserted by Steven J. Conifer that to be an atheist, one who not only lacks a belief in gods but who furthermore denies that gods exist, is to give credence to the existence of a concept of something for God
God
to refer to, because it assumes that there is something understandable to not believe in.[3] See also[edit]

Newton's flaming laser sword Problem of religious language

Notes and references[edit]

^ Martin, Michael. Atheism: A Philosophical Justification. Temple University Press, 1990. ISBN 978-0-87722-642-0 ^ Martin, Michael. "Positive Atheism
Atheism
and The Meaninglessness of Theism", Infidels.org ^ Conifer, Steven J. "Theological Noncognitivism Examined" (archive)

External links[edit]

Look up theological noncognitivism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Atheism, Agnosticism, Noncognitivism (1998) by Theodore M. Drange The Argument from Non-Cognitivism, by James Lazarus, is a discussion of Smith-style noncognitivism.

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