February 5th, 2015
Rationalism & Empiricism, a priori & a posteriori, Analytic & Synthetic—Differences?
In regards to rationalism and empiricism, the rationalist says that knowledge can be known by reason alone whereas the empiricist will claim that knowledge is derived from the senses–we are born tabula rasa, a blank slate for a mind and we fill that slate with sense perceptions. The rationalist will have no problem affirming the synthetic a priori and analytic a posteriori category. The empiricist will primarily affirm the analytic a priori and synthetic a posteriori (although there is definite psychological overlap–the affirmations primarily concern epistemic justification).
||“All bachelors are not married.”
“Triangles have three angles.”
Objective Morality? (e.g. Kant’s pure reason)
||“Gold has the atomic weight of 196.966543”
||“This elephant is gray.”
“Edinburgh receives more rain than the Sahara.”
Subjective Morality? (e.g. “Twenty’s Plenty”)
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July 12th, 2014
I recently had a great interview with Julian Charles at The Mind Renewed on questions concerning Molinism. Please listen to the interview and subscribe to his podcast. See the tags at the bottom of the page for all the topics that came up and were mentioned during the interview.
TMR 076 : Max Andrews : Molinism – A Glimpse into the Mind of God?
If God knows the future, how can I be free? If there’s human evil in the world, how can God be good? If people live beyond the reach of the Gospel, how can God be all-loving?
This week we are joined by the philosopher Max Andrews for a fascinating look at the mind-bending and strange (yet potentially illuminating) world of Molinism, a philosophical position on God’s omniscience and providence that offers potential solutions to a whole host of theological conundrums.
The interview was two hours but we had to cut out some material so if you are looking for more information to fill in any gaps or if you have any questions please check out my ebook:
An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered
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January 18th, 2014
As I do my PhD I’m either very, very naïve or I’m understanding something very few have ever told me. I find that everyone around me is constantly reading and writing and I sit here and think. I find that 10% of my work is reading and writing. Sometimes it may be more depending on comprehension of the text and my articulation of what I want to say. The remaining 90% is genius–and I don’t mean that to be puffed-up. What I mean by that is that as a PhD student I should be contributing more to my field than repeating or reworking my predecessors. Much of my thinking comes in the shower (inconvenient), on the bus, or and in random scenarios. I always have a small notebook with a pen on me to write down ideas. I recommend you do the same. Spend more time thinking about what you’ve read rather then immediately responding to or agreeing with it. You don’t want that PhD to be just another PhD. Be seminal. Be a genius. Be a thinker.
The following is a post on advice to academics and university studies from before that would be relevant here:
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January 15th, 2014
The folks over at Uncommon Descent have decided to endorse much of the my material.
Here are some directories that may help you find a name, a fact, or a representative article, if you must write something:
May 13th, 2013
Thomas F. Torrance (1913 – 2007) – the developer of scientific theology
Thomas Torrance was a professor of Christian Dogmatics at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He was heavily influenced by Karl Barth and contemporary science. He translated Barth’s Dogmatics from German to English. (Which is quite voluminous–thirteen volumes, six million words). He was also a recipient of the Templeton Prize for the advancement of religion.
In reality all entities are ontologically connected or interrelated in the field in which they are found. If this is true then the relation is the most significant thing to know regarding an object. Thus, to know entities as they actually are what they are in their relation “webs”. Thomas Torrance termed this as onto-relations, which points more to the entity or reality, as it is what it is as a result of its constitutive relations.
The methodology of the epistemological realist concerns propositions of which are a posteriori, or “thinking after,” the objective disclosure of reality. Thus, epistemology follows from ontology. False thinking or methodology (particularly in scientific knowledge) has brought about a failure to recognize the intelligibility actually present in nature and the kinship in the human knowing capacity to the objective rationality to be known.
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March 30th, 2013
The following is a guest blog post by Shaun Smith. Shaun is completing his MA in Philosophy and attended the debate.
Thursday night at Liberty University there was a debate over the existence of God. This debate was meant to liberate all thinkers from every walk of life. Theist, Atheist, and Agnostics alike were going to usher forth the new age, with perfected reasons, a scope towards utopia, and a… said no one ever. Max Andrews of Liberty University brought forth compelling arguments, including the infamous ontological argument. Dan Linford, of Virginia Tech, came with a few scattered thoughts, and a selected amount of tactics to try and move the conversation into, well, nothing really. Though, Linford I think had a few great points that he really could have sponged out for the audience. Listen, it isn’t about a winner or loser, its about reasoning together and furthering the discussion. However, I found that there were a few issues that did not bring out that initial goal.
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January 28th, 2013
Do you know of any viable philosophical-theological conceptualizations of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity which capture the fullness of the doctrine whilst not lapsing into the heresies of either Modalism, Tritheism or, of course, any form of Unitarianism? Thank you for all you do.
– B. P. Burnett.
Thanks for your question! I chose this one for this week because I happen to use the Trinity as an example in my philosophy class when teaching logic, which I’m currently teaching. So, this is rather good timing!
To give a recollection for those who may not be familiar with the Orthodox doctrine of the Trinity and important heresies I’ve provided a simple chart:
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January 19th, 2013
A logical order of argument for why the author of the fourth Gospel, John, was written by John the apostle.
- The author identified himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (21:20, 24), a prominent figure in the Johannine narrative (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20).
- The author used the first person in 1:14, “we have seen his glory,” revealing that he was an eyewitness to the accounts contained in his Gospel.
- The “we” of 1:14 refers to the same people as does 2:11, Jesus’ disciples. Thus the writer was an apostle, an eyewitness, and a disciple of Jesus.
- Since the author never referred to himself by name, he cannot be any of the named disciples at the Last Supper: Judas Iscariot (13:2, 26–27), Peter (13:6–9), Thomas (14:5), Philip (14:8–9), or Judas the son of James (14:22).
- The disciple that Jesus loved is also one of the seven mentioned in the last chapter: “Simon Peter, Thomas (called ‘Twin’), Nathanael from Cana of Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two other of his disciples” (21:2; see 21:7).
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October 4th, 2012
The following is the abstract and a link to the paper written by Thomas Talbott.
I argue that, contrary to the opinion of Wes Morriston, William Rowe, and others, a supremely perfect God, if one should exist, would be the freest of all beings and would represent the clearest example of what it means to act freely. I suggest further that, if we regard human freedom as a reflection of God’s ideal freedom, we can avoid some of the pitfalls in both the standard libertarian and the standard compatibilist accounts of freewill.
My purpose in this paper is to set forth a theory of agency that makes no appeal to mysterious notions of agent causation. But lest I be misunderstood at the very outset, I should perhaps clarify the point that my emphasis here is on the term “mysterious” and not on the expression “agent causation.” I shall begin with what seems to me the best possible example of agent causation: the sense in which a supremely perfect God, if one should ex- ist, would initiate or originate his own actions. I shall not, however, simply adopt without modification the standard understanding of agent causa- tion, assuming there to be such an understanding.
Please continue reading…