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What Do We Mean When We Say “Amen”? A Philosophical Approach to Religious Language

November 20, 2022 @ 10:30 AM 12:00 PM

Sandy Goldberg, Ph.D., Chester D. Tripp Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University, will speak on the topic, What Do We Mean When We Say “Amen”? A Philosophical Approach to Religious Language.  The word “Amen” is among the most familiar words in many religions, but its usage goes beyond religious contexts.  Interestingly, a good deal of the work that has been done on the significance of the word has been done by people who were not conversant with the tools of linguistics or of philosophy of language.  In this discourse, Goldberg applies tools from philosophy of language to help shed light on the significance of “Amen,” both within and outside of religious contexts.  He does so by using that part of philosophy of language known as Speech Act Theory – a theory that aims to understand the various actions we perform in speaking.  This talk is intended as an introduction to this sort of theory, as applied to the use of “Amen.”

Dr. Goldberg is also Professorial Fellow at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.  His research focuses on the nature of mind, language, and knowledge.  His most recent books include Foundations and Applications of Social Epistemology (Oxford U Press, 2021), Conversational Pressure (Oxford U Press, 2020), To the Best of Our Knowledge (Oxford U Press, 2018), and Assertion (Oxford U Press, 2015). His PhD is from Columbia University.

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