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(2017) Human Studies 40 (4).

A Schutzian analysis of prayer with perspectives from linguistic philosophy

K. Hoshikawa , Michael Staudigl

pp. 543-563

In this paper, we propose to analyze the phenomenon of Christian prayer by way of combining two different analytical frameworks. We start by applying Schutz's theories of "intersubjectivity," "inner time," "politheticality," and "multiple realities," and then proceed by drawing on the ideas and insights of linguistic philosophers, notably, Wittgenstein's "language-game," Austin's "speech act," and Evans's "logic of self-involvement". In conjoining these accounts, we wish to demonstrate how their combination sheds new light on understanding the phenomenon of prayer. Prayer is a complex phenomenon that involves two major dimensions: the private and the social, as Matthew (6: 6) and Acts (1: 14), respectively, demonstrate. Schutz's study of the phenomenon of "inner time" and the "polithetical" structure of consciousness, at both the subjective and intersubjective level, provides a useful lens to analyze these two dimensions. In addition, prayer, in following a specific set of rules, can also be considered as a specific, i.e., religious "language-game". In the last analysis, however, we propose to analyze prayer (and, finally, religion) within the Schutzian framework of "multiple realities," "enclaves," and "symbolic appresentation," which permits accessing the "religious finite province of meaning" in the very midst of the paramount reality of everyday life. In a nutshell, we claim that Christian prayer is a practice of constructing and living within a "religious province of meaning" in the everyday world; it is a practice that revolves around self-involving language-activities such as praising, confessing, thanksgiving, or requesting to God, which enable the praying subject to transfigure the language of everydayness and "see through" (Schutz) the world of everyday life in order to let it appear in a different light, e.g., the light of grace, gift, and salvation.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s10746-015-9377-x

Full citation [Harvard style]:

Hoshikawa, K. , Staudigl, M. (2017). A Schutzian analysis of prayer with perspectives from linguistic philosophy. Human Studies 40 (4), pp. 543-563.

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