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Theological Realism and the Observability of God

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A popular way of arguing for theological realism depends on analogies with defences of realism in the philosophy of science. This article questions the success and theological propriety of this strategy by comparing theological and scientific methodologies. First, for the analogies to work it is necessary to show that the theological counterparts of objections to scientific realism can be rebutted; however, it appears that orthodox theology cannot accomplish this. Second, the topic of un/observability in science and theology is analysed. It is shown that the two disciplines have different accounts of the topic and that comparisons between the two undermine a central argument of versions of theological realism based on the philosophy of science.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Oxford, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2000

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