Wittgenstein, Nature, and Religion

2nd ERB Project Workshop

Nova Institute of Philosophy (IFILNOVA)

Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities – Nova University of Lisbon (NOVA FCSH)

29 July 2020 

Is it right to think, as Daniel Dennett does, of religion as a natural phenomenon? Is religion to be explained in terms of evolutionary theory and cognitive science? Or should we perhaps explain it in cultural, economic, or philosophical terms? Are each of these kinds of explanations of religion legitimate? Are they in competition with each other? These are the kinds of questions that we hope to shed some light on in our Zoom workshop by examining cognitive science of religion and naturalistic understandings of religion in the light of Wittgenstein’s work.


09:15 – 09:30   Nuno Venturinha (Nova University of Lisbon) and Sofia Miguens (University of Porto)


09:30 – 10:15   Robert Vinten (Nova University of Lisbon)

A Wittgensteinian Critique of Cognitive Science of Religion

10:15 – 11:00   Alexandra Dias Fortes (Nova University of Lisbon)

‘From a Religious Point of View’: Wittgenstein on Nature and Belief

11:00 – 11:30   Break

11:30 – 12:30   Modesto Gómez Alonso (University of La Laguna)

Wittgenstein, Religious Belief, and Human Agency     

12:30 – 13:30   Break

13:30 – 14:30   Thomas D. Carroll (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen)

Wittgenstein, Naturalism, and Interpreting Religious Phenomena

14:30 – 15:00   Break

15:00 – 16:00   Gorazd Andrejč (University of Groningen / University of Cambridge)

                         Wittgenstein, Religion, and Posthumanism

16:00 – 16:30   Break

16:30 – 17:30   Guy Axtell (Radford University)

Natural Thoughts and Unnatural Oughts: Wittgenstein, Faith, and the Inescapability of Inductive Normativity

17:30 – 18:00   Break

18:00 – 19:00   Duncan Pritchard (University of California, Irvine / University of Edinburgh)

                          Exploring Quasi-Fideism

This workshop is organized by Nuno Venturinha, Sofia Miguens and Robert Vinten within the framework of the FCT-funded project “Epistemology of Religious Belief: Wittgenstein, Grammar and the Contemporary World” (PTDC/FER-FIL/32203/2017), hosted by the Reasoning and Argumentation Laboratory (ArgLab) of IFILNOVA.

Attendance is free of charge. Please contact Robert Vinten at  for details of the Zoom workshop if you would like to attend.For more information about the project, please visit: www.arglab.ifilnova.pt/en/projects/erb