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Practical Theology Theory-Building Based On A Pragmatic Notion Of Weak Rationality

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on epistemological questions of theory-building within practical theology. Practical theology focuses at the study of religious praxis in view of the development of theories about actions (such as ritual, preaching, care) of persons, groups or institutions (Churches). The chapter explains pragmatic perspectives on rationality of inquiry into religious practices (Stout 2004). Pragmatism offers a possibility to sail between the Charybdis of strong rationality and the Scylla of relativism. This seems to be especially fruitful in a time in which the shape of religion is changing. The chapter argues that a notion of weak rationality combines a principle of fallibalism and a principle of traditionalism. Then, it draws some consequences for practical theological theories. The chapter starts with an analysis of two scholars which have been influential social scientific theories of practical rationality (Gadamer and Habermas).

Keywords: eschatological claim; fallibalism; Gadamer; Habermas; practical theology theory-building; pragmatism; relativism; traditionalism



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