Introduction to Philosophy textbook

March 11, 2009

books

My philosophy professor from college, Dr. Steven B. Cowan, has a new book coming out with James Spiegl of Taylor U.  It is a christian intro to philosophy textbook entitled The Love of Wisdom. If the content in the book is anything like Dr. Cowan’s lectures, then I am sure that it will be a very helpful and engaging work.

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Philosophical Reflections…

February 3, 2009

I am currently reading through David K. Clark’s To Know and Love God, which is an excellent primer on Theological Method (an area too much neglected in Evangelicalism).   Besides being one of the best books I have read in quite a long time, it also has tons of great quotes, one of which I share with you now:

Total relativism is incoherent.  Once it is judged impossible to assert anything as true, nothing, not even relativism, can be stated in language….The only honest alternative to accepting the notion of objective truth is silence” (pg 148 Clark).

This quote brings out a crucial point for anyone involved in the debate between those who hold that (a) Truth is knowable (to some degree), or (b) Truth (defined broadly as the connection between statements and reality) does not exist or is totally relative.  The point is that language is necessarily connected to something other than its utterance.  The minute I say that “I ate double chocolate fudge ice cream yesterday,” I have stated something which is either true or not.  Either, it is true that I did eat this delectable dairy treat, or it is not.  One might say something which does not initially seem to make any contact with reality, such as, “I rode a unicorn yesterday.”  Indeed, presumably noone has ever ridden a unicorn.  Thus, it would seem reasonable to assert that the statement does not connect to anything in reality.  This state of affairs, then, is precisely what would allow us to conclude that it is a false statement. 

One might object to the quote above, which would cause me to ask a few questions:

1) Why is it not true that silence is the consistent option for the relativist?

2) What is it that you are proving if you demonstrate that the above statement is false?

3) How is it that you are able to communicate to me through written words which communicate something fixed to me?

On another note, I greatly appreciate the tempered commitment to modernistic principles.  By tempered I mean that Clark is willing to agree that Modernism has its real problems.  Postmodernism has brought some needed and helpful criticisms of modernism to the table. 

Consider the following quote from the book:

The real consquence of the Elightenment, ” wrote Hans-Georg Gadamer, was ” the subjection of all authority to reason.”  The Enlightenment gospel went like this: the human individual, liberated from external authority, appealing to autonomous human reason, can discover absolute truth which, implemented through rational planning emphasizing standardization and science, leads to social progress.

Yet, as the modernistic project unfolded we saw that, while we had many technological advances, the human condition didn’t seem to improve, and in many ways it only got worse.  The modernist project was guilty of intellectual pelagianism.  Yet, Postmodernism isn’t the best alternative. 

Don Carson summarized pointedly, “Postmodernism gently applied rightly questions the arrogance of modernism; postmodernism ruthlessly applied nurtures a new hubris and deifies agnosticism.”

So, what are we to do in our theological projects?  I, like Clark, think we need a via media.  And since he says it much better than I ever will, I will quote him:

In building a theology faithful to the gospel for all peopls, we cannot hitch our wagon to the Englightenment and its cultural trappings.  But neither can we make peace with deconstructive versions of postmodernity that recognize “truth” only within intellectual ghettoes. 

More thoughts coming soon.


Areopagus Journal

August 3, 2008

Areopagus Journal is published bimonthly by the Apologetics Resource Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to equipping Christians with a culturally relevant apologetic, enabling them to have a deeper level of personal faith, contend for that faith, and to enter arenas of resistance and reclaim ground lost to skepticism, secularism, and other alien philosophies. A one-year, bi-monthly subscription to Areopagus Journal is $30 (Canadian $35). All contributions to the Apologetics Resource Center are tax deductible.

This is a great apologetic resource, especially for Bible college/seminary students and educated lay people! Pictured above is the March-April 2008 issue, titled “Miracles.” In addition to books reviews, this issue contains the following contributions:
“Veritas: Miracles” by Craig Branch
“Discerning the Voice of God: The Apologetic Function of Miracles” by Steven B. Cowan, PhD
“Miracles and Their Omniscient Critics” by Winfried Corduan, PhD
“Point/Counterpoint: Do Miraculous Gifts Exist Today?” by Samuel E. Waldron, PhD and C. Samuel Storms, PhD
“Against Heresies: Liberation Theology the ‘Wright’ Way” by Clete Hux, MDiv


Beckwith’s “Mormon Theism, the Traditional Christian Concept of God, and Greek Philosophy: A Critical Analysis”

June 11, 2008

Here is a link to Beckwith’s article, which may be found in print in JETS 44/4 (Dec. 2001): 671-95. This is an outstanding article, highly recommended.


Review of _Why Good Arguments often Fail_ by James Sire

May 21, 2008

This is not a book of arguments per se; that is, it does not outline several recommended arguments for, say, the existence of God. In it, rather, professor James Sire, author of numerous books, including The Universe Next Door, Scripture Twisting, and How To Read Slowly, insightfully yet accessibly discusses “the pitfalls facing Christians who wish not merely to assert the truth of the Christian faith but to do so with the greatest likelihood of success” (p. 15). Read the rest of this entry »


W.L. Craig on whether numbers exist

January 14, 2008

The article is here (you may have to log in).


Peter Kreeft debate this Friday in Boulder, CO.

January 12, 2008

Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College, will be debating Dr. David Boonin of U. of Colorado at Boulder. The question of debate will be “Is Abortion Morally Justifiable?” The debate will be at The University of Colorado at Boulder on January 18 at Humanities Room 1B50 at 7:00 PM. I plan on attending if possible!

HT: Constructive Curmudgeon