Philosophy Introduction Unit

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What is Philosophy?
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“Philosophy provides unintelligible answers to insoluble problems.” -Henry Brooks Adams, historian “A philosopher is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn’t there.” -Lord Bauer, Professor of Economics “Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made the foolish the wisdom of the world?” -The Apostle Paul, I Corinthians 1:20 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” -The Apostle Paul, Colossians 2:8
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Common Christian Objections to Philosophy
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1. The Bible teaches us to resist philosophy 2. Faith and Reason cannot be married 3. The Human mind is depraved
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Response to: The Bible teaches us to resist Philosophy
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It is not “philosophy” that Paul is critiquing here, but rather “ungodly” philosophy
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Response to: Faith and Reason cannot be married
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Many Christians believe that reasonable faith is better than blind faith
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Response to: The Human mind is depraved
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We can’t think perfectly, but with God’s help we can think clearly and accurately about many things in life
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Ten reasons to study Philosophy
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1. Response to the Great Commandment 2. Develop analytical and critical thinking skills 3. Philosophy helps in constructing a Christian worldview 4. Philosophy offers assistance in developing a holistic faith 5. Philosophy helps us gain intellectual confidence in the Christian faith 6. Philosophy helps with evangelism and apologetics 7. To understand history we need to be familiar with philosophical thinkers, eras, and issues 8. We need to study philosophy because “bad philosophy needs to be answered” 9. Philosophy is both a first-and-second order question 10. We should study philosophy because we are all philosophers
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Response to the Great Commandment
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“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” -Mark 12:30
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Develop Analytical and Critical Thinking Skills
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1. Analyze: to see connections between ideas and identify assumptions 2. Assess: to weigh the evidence 3. Argue: to give a reasoned presentation of ideas
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Philosophy Helps in Constructing a Christian Worldview
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1. Comprehensive: covers all the facts 2. Coherent: holds together 3. Livable: can be lived in the real world
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Philosophy Offers Assistance in Developing Holistic Faith
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1. Complete conversion; all of your faculties have to be converted 2. Mind 3. Will 4. Emotions 5. It can help us see these things (mind, will, emotions) clearly
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Philosophy Helps Us Gain Intellectual Confidence in the Christian Faith
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1. God is big enough to handle our questions 2. It’s not unusual to have questions about your faith; God made us inquisitive, we are required to seek intellectual resolution 3. God is big enough to handle our biggest questions – He already knows you’re wrestling with these things 4. When you work through the questions you will have a stronger faith 5. It can provide consolation and confirmation that Christianity can hold up under the most intense scrutiny 6. This is healthy
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Philosophy Helps with Evangelism and Apologetics
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1. Apologetics: to offer a reasoned defense 2. Not only a Christian term 3. Showing your faith in the most generous light 4. “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” -1 Peter 3:15-16 a. This is written for all of us, we are all called to do this – to be prepared to give an answer to everyone b. Morally upright life, treat them with respect – it’s hard to respond with gentleness and respect when we’re being attacked but it is what we are called to do c. We are all human beings – we’re all trying to find the truth, it’s not an us versus them d. We don’t have to shy away from our confidence, but we do have to avoid arrogance e. Listen – they might have something to treat you f. Apologetics rely highly on philosophy
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To Understand History We Need to Be Familiar with Philosophical Thinkers, Eras and Issues
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The history of Western culture has been largely framed by philosophical questions
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We Need to Study Philosophy Because “Bad Philosophy Needs to Be Answered.”
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1. “To be ignorant and simple now – not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground – would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have under God, no defence but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” -C.S. Lewis, famous Christian apologist 2. Using military language in religious debate is something we should move past 3. The point Lewis is making is that bad philosophy exists a. Lived in an era where atheism ruled the day
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Philosophy Is Both a First- and Second-Order Discipline
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1. Epistemology: the study of knowledge a. How do we acquire our beliefs? Through reason, experience, are we born with innate ideas already in place, are we born with a blank slate? Is it something we acquire over time? b. How do we justify our truth claims; how do we know we know that our claims are tethered to reality? 2. Metaphysics: the study of ultimate reality and human existence a. Francis Schaefer – the one who came up with these favors below b. Universe and its form -Deals with the external world; the physical domain of the world like cosmology, astronomy, chemistry; hard sciences -What is ultimate reality? Is it simply nature, matter, energy? Or is there something beyond that? Is there a spiritual dimension? Is there a dimension we can access other than with our senses? c. Mannishness of man -What are the facets of humanity? -Moral judgments -Aesthetic sensibilities; conscious of our existence; free will, long to be in love – all of what it means to be human -How do we make sense of that 3. Axiology: the study of quality and value a. Ethics -Grounding for our ethical sensibility and judgment -Purely subjective -Human project, we’ve come up with it on our own -Moral judgments -Transcendent? Objective or subjective b. Aesthetics -Beauty -Art -Purely subjective judgment? Is there an objective piece? Are some things just objectively beautiful? Or is it all just a subjective project
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We Should Study Philosophy Because We are All Philosophers
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1. The word philosophy literally means “love of wisdom” 2. It’s not the pursuit of knowledge in a sheer cognitive sense that we’re talking about here 3. It shapes our way of living and helps us become better followers of Christ

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