Document Type : Research Paper
Master of Philosophy of Religion, University of Tehran. Tehran. Iran,
Assistant Professor, Department of Islamic Philosophy and Theology, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
This paper evaluates Ian Barbour's view on the role of paradigms and models in the formation and understanding of religion. Based on Thomas Cohen's view about the role of paradigms in scientific theories, Barbour has shown that just as we do not have pure empirical observations, we also do not have pure religious experience, stories and rituals, for, just as observations are theory-laden and scientific theories are paradigm-laden, religious experiences, stories and religious rituals are also religious beliefs-laden, and religious beliefs are religious paradigm-laden. On the other hand, he believes that just as models within a paradigm are effective in forming and understanding scientific theories, they also play a fundamental role in the formation and understanding of religious beliefs. In this paper, the Barbour's view is first explained, then in the evaluation of his view, the paradigmatic view of religion, Barbour's attention to the role of models in religion and the hermeneutic aspect are considered the positive points of his view, and an attempt has been made to overcome criticisms such as unrealism and relativism of the paradigmatic view and models. But it seems that, firstly, the definition of religion by religious experience, religious stories and rituals is considered a kind of reductionism, and, secondly, it is possible to use religious theories instead of "religious beliefs" and consider religious theories as corresponding to scientific theories.