Archives For Philosophy

 

This Saturday (Oct 20) is the birthday of philosopher and educator, John Dewey.

In honor of the occasion, we offer this excerpt from his helpful book:

How We Think
John Dewey

D.C. Heath, 1910.
*** FREE Ebook:
Kindle ] [ Various Formats – Project Gutenberg ]

 
 

WHAT IS THOUGHT?

§ 1. Varied Senses of the Term

 
Four senses of thought, from the wider to the limited

No words are oftener on our lips than thinking and thought. So profuse and varied, indeed, is our use of these words that it is not easy to define just what we mean by them. The aim of this chapter is to find a single consistent meaning. Assistance may be had by considering some typical ways in which the terms are employed. In the first place thought is used broadly, not to say loosely. Everything that comes to mind, that “goes through our heads,” is called a thought. To think of a thing is just to be conscious of it in any way whatsoever. Second, the term is restricted by excluding whatever is directly presented; we think (or think of) only such things as we do not directly see, hear, smell, or taste. Then, third, the meaning is further limited to beliefs that rest upon some kind of evidence or testimony. Of this third type, two kinds—or, rather, two degrees—must be discriminated. In some cases, a belief is accepted with slight or almost no attempt to state the grounds that support it. In other cases, the ground or basis for a belief is deliberately sought and its adequacy to support the belief examined. This process is called reflective thought; it alone is truly educative in value, and it forms, accordingly, the principal subject of this volume. We shall now briefly describe each of the four senses.
 
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 Looking inward.
 
 A Feature Review of

The Character Gap: How Good are We?
Christian B. Miller

Hardback: Oxford UP, 2018.
Buy Now: 

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Reviewed by Mary VanderGoot

 

When you pick up The Character Gap and see a picture of Mahatma Gandhi and Adolf Hitler on the dust jacket, you might expect the author is going to sort the good guys from the bad guys. Once you start reading, however, you realize that far from helping you point the finger at anyone else or create another hero, the author, Christian Miller, is inviting you to look inward.

This is a book written by the Director of the Character Project, which is being funded by the Templeton Foundation, and involves researchers around the world who are addressing basic questions about how people make moral choices. Gathering a wide range of findings together into an elaborate view of human behavior, the team of the Character Project is addressing one of the big questions: how good (or not) are we?

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I’ve recently been digging into one of Alasdair MacIntyre’s recent books (that somehow slipped past our radar)
 

Ethics in the Conflicts of Modernity:
An Essay on Desire, Practical Reasoning, and Narrative
Alasdair MacIntyre

Hardback: Cambridge UP, 2016
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Our Intro Guide to
MacIntyre’s AFTER VIRTUE

 
I turned to MacIntyre to help me understand the desires we have has humans and where they come from. Those familiar with MacIntyre’s work will not be surprised to find that his exploration of these questions winds its way back in history through St. Thomas Aquinas to Aristotle. It has been very helpful for me to follow this trajectory, and I thought it might also be helpful for some of our readers. 

[ MacIntyre ]  [ Aquinas ]  [ Aristotle ]

 
 
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Dallas Willard’s unfinished masterpiece, was finished after his death by three of his students and is being published later this month.
 

The Disappearance
of Moral Knowledge

Dallas Willard
(Edited and Completed by Steven Porter, Aaron Preston, and Gregg Ten Elshof)

Hardback: Routledge, June 2018
Buy Now: [ Amazon

 

This is a very expensive academic book (if you’re interested in it and cannot afford a copy, maybe your local public or university library can purchase a copy).

The publisher has graciously released a 99-page excerpt from the book to give readers a substantial taste for the book’s contents.
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Eerdmans has just released an audiobook edition of James K.A. Smith’s important book on Charles Taylor.

 
 

Enter now to win a copy of this audiobook!

 
 
We’re giving away TEN copies of:
(Each winner will receive a code to download
one copy of the audiobook from Audible.com)
 

How (Not) to Be Secular:
Reading Charles Taylor
James K.A. Smith

Audiobook: Eerdmans
 

[ Read our review of this book ]

 

Enter to win a copy of this book!

Enter now to win (It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!) :
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January 28 is the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, perhaps the most important theologian in the history of the church.

Aquinas was an astute student of the first millennium of Christian theology, and his works have been read over the intervening centuries as a solid representation of the Christian theological tradition. Over the last century, the theological witness of Aquinas has dimmed a bit (as has the project of systematic theology that he initiated), but agree with him or not, his influence on Christian theology, but also Western philosophy and culture cannot be ignored.

 

We offer this guide as a helpful way to begin reading the works of Aquinas…

 
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November 15 marked the birthday of Alvin Plantinga, the noted philosopher, who was awarded the distinguished Templeton Prize this fall.

 
In honor of the occasion, we offer a series of brief video clips that introduce his legacy…

*** Books by Alvin Plantinga

Introduction (Templeton Prize):

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Or So I Like to Think:
The Great Talk of
David Bentley Hart

 
 

The Hidden and the Manifest:
Essays in Theology and Metaphysics

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2017
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The Dream-Child’s Progress And Other Essays

Paperback: Angelico Press, 2017
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Essay by Martyn Wendell Jones

 

*** This essay first appeared in our Fall 2017 magazine issue.
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There are few things as pleasing to me as the great garrulous tradition in American literature. Our country’s abundance of grandly verbose storytellers represents the best of our cultural inheritance. Think of Melville, the wild and abyssal “thought-diver,” author of one of the world’s greatest stories of maritime and metaphysical adventure; think too of Whitman, irrepressible and expansive and democratic, who shed tears at the death of Lincoln—“O Captain!”; then there is Twain, whose creation Huckleberry sees his raft go “all to smash and scatteration,” which the critic Michael Schmidt identifies as evidence of a thrill for great speech.

Since our nation’s founding, we have been a polemical people; Gilbert Seldes’s The Stammering Century, American to its core, is a record of people of the 19th century, some of real eminence, giving themselves over to various utopianisms and cultic enthusiasms—the snake oil pitches and True Enlightenment hustles mixing with earnest seeking after the God-of-backwoods-revival. Our nation’s complete spiritual history and profile would show us to be strivers after the ineffable by way of quite a lot of declaiming.

Numbered among our country’s current generation of great talkers would certainly be the Eastern Orthodox philosopher-theologian David Bentley Hart, whose two recent essay collections attest to his capacity for a great speechifying all his own.

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A Good and Useful Guide to Kierkegaard

A Review of

Existing Before God: Søren Kierkegaard and the Human Venture
Paul Sponheim

Paperback: Fortress Press, 2017
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Reviewed by Brandon Pierce
 

Kierkegaard is one of those figures with a certain amount of theological sex appeal. Perhaps it is on account of his “existential” approach to faith or his almost prophetic invective against Christendom that still resonates today. The problem is that he’s a writer that takes a long time to really get to know. It is easier to know a few things about his work than to have actually read any of it. There are reasons for this.

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I have just started reading this excellent new book written in the style of a graphic novel…
 

Heretics!: The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy
Ben Nadler / Steven Nadler

Paperback: Princeton UP, 2017
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Read the Introduction to this book, and an excerpt of it… 
(via Google Books)

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