A Search for the "Really" Real
Philosophically Approaching the Task of Defining Religion
Keywords:Definition of Religion, Philosophy of Religion
In this article, I offer a decidedly philosophical response to Schaffalitzky de Muckadell's essay "On Essentialism and Real Definitions of Religion." I contend that her account is not appropriately motivated by the evidence supplied. Focusing nearly entirely on the first half of her essay, in which she sets up an exclusive disjunction regarding three forms of definition, I argue that this disjunction should not be understood as exclusive and, hence, her account of the necessity of “real definitions” is less compelling than it might otherwise be. Even though I am sympathetic to the importance of striving toward real definitions, in response to Schaffalitzky de Muchadell, I resituate how such striving might look when the exclusive disjunction is abandoned.
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Schaffalitzky de Muckadell, Caroline. 2014. “On Essentialism and Real Definitions of Religion.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 82 (2): 495–520. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lfu015.n>
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