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One of these figures was the famous pragmatist William James.
His 1902 Gifford lectures and book The Varieties of Religious Experience examined religion from a psychological-philosophical perspective and is still influential today.
Because of these three different potential meanings, an etymological analysis alone does not resolve the ambiguity of defining religion, since each verb points to a different understanding of what religion is.
During the Medieval Period, the term "religious" was used as a noun to describe someone who had joined a monastic order (a "religious").
Western philosophy has traditionally been employed by English speaking scholars.His essay The Will to Believe defends the rationality of faith.Max Weber studied religion from an economic perspective in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904-1905), his most famous work.The religious studies scholar Walter Capps described the purpose of the discipline as to provide "training and practice...in directing and conducting inquiry regarding the subject of religion". Segal characterised the discipline as "a subject matter" that is "open to many approaches", and thus it "does not require either a distinctive method or a distinctive explanation to be worthy of disciplinary status." Different scholars operating in the field have different interests and intentions; some for instance seek to defend religion, while others seek to explain it away, and others wish to use religion as an example with which to prove a theory of their own.