John Schellenberg is Professor of Philosophy at Mount Saint Vincent University in Canada. We invited him to answer the question “What is Philosophy of Religion?” as part of our “Philosophers of Religion on Philosophy of Religion” series.
In my experience, people unfamiliar with the set of ‘philosophy-ofs’ belonging to contemporary philosophy (philosophy of science, philosophy of art, and so on), in which philosophy of religion is included, easily conflate philosophy of religion with religious philosophy. “So you do religious philosophy,” they say. Or, worse: “So you’re a religious philosopher.” A lot of things can go wrong if you start with religion instead of philosophy.
This is a lesson that even some professional philosophers concerned with religion seem still to be learning. More on that in a moment. For now, let’s put philosophy firmly in the driver’s seat. Philosophy of religion is, first of all, philosophy.