Archives For Philosophy

 

Today is the birthday of Jewish theologian Martin Buber, born 1878.

In honor of the occasion, here is an excerpt from his important book:

I and Thou
Martin Buber

First Translated to English, 1937
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Simone_Weil_06

Today is the birthday of twentieth-century French philosopher Simone Weil, born 1909.

Here’s a wonderful and concise overview of why Weil’s work matters, and especially to Christians.

This is Leslie Fiedler’s introduction to Weil’s book:

Waiting For God
Simone Weil

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*** Other Books by Simone Weil

 

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Alasdair_MacIntyre

 

Today (January 12) is the 87th birthday of philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre.

 
MacIntyre’s book, After Virtue, is arguably the most important work of contemporary philosophy for Christians today, and this book has greatly shaped theological discourse since its release in 1981.
 

After Virtue: 3rd Edition
Alasdair MacIntyre

Paperback:  Notre Dame, 2006
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
 
Here are some helpful resources that introduce and guide you through this important book…

  1. Read Stanley Hauerwas’s brief introduction to MacIntyre:
    The Virtues of Alasdair MacIntyre  
    (First Things, October 2007)

  2. Continue Reading…

 

Rene-Girard

 

This week marked the death of one of the most important social and theological thinkers of the last century, Rene Girard.

Receiving his PhD in history, Girard began his academic career by teaching French literature, and it was his work in literary theory that would guide him into the study of scripture, theology and society.

At the core of Girard’s work is the concept of mimetic theory, i.e., that our human desires take shape by imitation, by desiring things that others desire. But these desires lead us into conflict and violence because there is a scarcity of the thing desired.

In remembrance of Girard, we offer the following introductory guide to his work (which focuses particularly on his theological work).

 

Introduction to Mimetic Theory:

This is a great, half-hour video in which Girard lays out the basic components of his mimetic theory. It is a good place to start engaging Girard’s work, as it is clear and relatively concise…

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Wholly Without Weapons

 
A review of

Theology’s Epistemological Dilemma: How Karl Barth and Alvin Plantinga Provide a Unified Response
Kevin Diller

InterVarsity Press Academic, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 
Reviewed by Joe Krall

 

“What are you doing, Joe?”

“I’m reading a book for my internship!”

“Oh, cool. What’s the book?”

[reads the title]

“Wow…Okay, have fun with that.”

 

I’ve had at least six versions of this conversation since starting Kevin Diller’s Theology’s Epistemological Dilemma this summer. So let me quickly assure you that this book, a volume of analytic theology, is one of the best things I’ve read all year.

A professor of philosophy at Taylor University, Diller attempts in this book to critically and clearly about God’s revelation and how we know God. This is no abstruse research project, but a task with practical implications for Christian doctrine and practice. If you’re looking for an academic review of analytic precision, this review may cause you to shake your head in disappointment. But I learned much reading Theology’s Epistemological Dilemma, and I wish to pass that on, however imperfectly, to the readers of The Englewood Review of Books.
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A Book You Can Sink Your Teeth Into?

 

A Feature Review of

Dracula and Philosophy: Dying to Know
(Popular Culture and Philosophy Series)
Edited by Nicolas Michaud and Janelle Pötzsch

Paperback: Open Court, 2015.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by John W. Morehead

 

Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula is one of the most influential books ever written. It has been featured in a number of different forums, including stage plays, films, television programs, graphic novels, and more. It has also led to a wealth of discussion over the years. One of the latest comes in Dracula and Philosophy, an exploration of philosophical issues that come by way of reflection on this classic novel’s horror story.

 

Dracula and Philosophy is comprised of five sections and twenty-four chapters. Section I is “The Downside of Undeath,” with five chapters. The second section is “A Vampire’s Values” that includes five chapters. Another five chapters make up Section III with “What’s It Like to Be Dracula?”.  The fourth section discusses “Why We’re Afraid” of the undead count in five chapters, while Section V explores “From the Dracula Files” through four chapters. This book also includes an introduction, a listing of references, contributor bios, and an index.

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Discerning Meaning Through Experience
 
A Review of 
 
Seeing Things as They Are: A Theory of Perception
John Searle

Hardback:  Oxford UP, 2015
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Reviewed by Tyler Campbell
 
 

John Searle has taught philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley since 1959, and is the winner of several prestigious awards within the humanities. His curriculum vitae is extensive, and features robust works ranging in topics from speech, political commentary, the philosophy of language, logic, social reality, and consciousness. Throughout his career, Searle has always been an entertaining read not only for the subject matter that he works with, but for the ways in which he goes about engaging these topics. The tone in his writing is at all times confident, procedural, and steeped within the history of philosophy. However, aided by the topics he most frequently engages, the examples and justifications for his arguments are frequently overwhelmingly human. Often times it is precisely at the moment when the reader begins feeling perplexed that Searle employs the example of his furniture, dog, or the scene from his window to help explain his point. His latest book, Seeing Things as They Are: A Theory of Perception, finds its foundations in this sort of allegorical mastery. Through this, Searle creates a highly technical account of the intentionality of our perceived experiences; pushing the reader to think more acutely of how their brains process the things they interact with in their daily lives.

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

People Over Profit: Break the System, Live with Purpose, Be More Successful

By Dale Partridge

Watch a talk that the author did about this book at Qideas

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

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Opening Doors for the Mystery of Faith

A Review of

The Divine Magician: The Disappearance of Religion and the Discovery of Faith
Peter Rollins

Paperback: Howard Books, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 

Reviewed by Stephen Milliken

 

Peter Rollins is an Irish-born philosopher and theologian with a knack for maintaining traditional Christian traditions, yet emptying them of their previous meaning. Through this kenotic process and his use of culturally-charged parables, he gives us new perspectives and deeper meanings with which to experience and understand that Christian tradition. In his newest work, Rollins continues to dish out a healthy dose of paradoxical truth along with a side of provocation.

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A Wonderful, Funny, and Sly Story.

A Brief Review of

No Time to Be Lost
Christopher Yates

Paperback: Wiseblood Books, 2014
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Paul D. Gregory

 

I taught a section of Social Problems for three years at a regional university in the Midwest. A class targeting freshman and sophomore students, Social Problems focused on various institutional problems that at least some people find undesirable. For example, we read and talked about inequality and how it contributes to poverty, crime, etc. After two years of teaching the class in this general format, I found the class lacking, as it focused too much on the mere understanding and interpretation of social problems and less on the real actions of combating those problems. Thankfully, I was not the only one unhappy with this format of the class. Student evaluations consistently included a similar critique: “I appreciated learning about social problems, but isn’t that only part of the answer? What can we actually do about it?” As a result, I changed the class structure to include an action component. Briefly, students were not only required to research a specific social problem, but also were expected to go out into the local community and work to combat it. In many ways, this is the message No Time to Be Lost by Christopher Yates portrays to the reader. That is Yates seems to be highlighting the failure of the academic world to act on behalf of the theoretical knowledge gained over the years.

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