Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Robert L. Arrington - Chair

Second Advisor

Andrew Altman

Third Advisor

Timothy Renick


This thesis considers the implications of Wittgenstein’s early and later philosophy for the issue of religious belief, as well as the relation of religion to Wittgenstein’s thought. In the first chapter I provide an overview of the Tractatus and discuss the place of religion within the Tractarian framework. I then provide an overview of Philosophical Investigations. In the second chapter I consider interpretations by Norman Malcolm and Peter Winch of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy in relation to religion, as well as Kai Nielsen’s famous critique of ‘Wittgensteinian Fideism.’ The third and final chapter takes up the issue of construing religious belief as a distinctive language-game. I consider arguments from D. Z. Phillips and criticisms of Phillips from Mark Addis and Gareth Moore.

Included in

Philosophy Commons