November 25, 2008
What the ESV is Good For
It's been a long time since I wrote much about Bible translation, but I thought I'd step up on this one. There has recently been a long series of posts on Better Bibles Blog
containing a paper Mark Strauss presented to the Evangelical Theological Society entitled "Why The English Standard Version Should Not Become the Standard English Version."
There is now a brief response
from Bill Mounce
, the New Testament Chair of the ESV translation committee.
I, on the one hand, agree with Strauss that some of the ESVs decisions make for misleading or awkward English text. On the other hand...
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November 20, 2008
What Is Composition?
I am currently doing research for a term paper in which I will argue that composition requires a 'principle of unity'. That is (to a first approximation), that given some objects, the xs, there cannot be any y which has all and only the xs as parts unless there is some feature of the world which bestows some degree of unity or oneness on y. I hope to argue that this is a conceptual truth - that is, that it flows from what we mean by composition. I haven't finished reading up on the subject yet, so there may already...
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Peter van Inwagen
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November 16, 2008
Three Varieties of Certainty
'Certainty,' whatever that is supposed to be, would certainly (!) seem to be important in epistemology. Like a lot of important words, it frequently gets thrown around without definition. I know of at least three totally distinct ways of using this term, and the only thing they all seem to have in common is 'very high epistemic status' - i.e. something is certain if we really know it, in some way that is 'better' (more certain!) than ordinary knowledge. I'm going to outline here these three different varieties of certainty. Cartesian Certainty (also called 'demon-proof certainty') is attributed to a...
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November 15, 2008
Quote of the Day: Beer and Philosophy
"The claim that atoms arranged baseballwise fail to compose a baseball might be hard to swallow. But it goes down like draught Guinness compared to the claim that baseballs are simples." - Trenton Merricks, Objects and Persons, p. 63. Some context: so-called 'folk ontology' (i.e. 'commonsense' beliefs about what sorts of things there are, modified by just a bit of modern science) claims that there are a bunch of atoms bonded together in a spherical region which compose an object called a baseball. Merricks is arguing that, while all of those atoms exist, there does not exist, in addition to...
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November 11, 2008
Does Philosophy 'Trickle Down'?
One of the interesting things about George Berkeley as a historical figure is that he labors under the peculiar belief that he is writing philosophy out of pastoral
concerns. I like to illustrate Berkeley's purposes by reference to the subtitles he gave to his works. The Treatise on the Principles of Human Knowledge
is subtitled, "wherein the Chief Causes of Error and Difficulty in the Sciences
, with the Grounds of Scepticism, Atheism, and Irreligion, are inquired into." Berkeley thinks he has discovered two philosophical doctrines which are indeed "the Chief Causes of Error and Difficulty in the Sciences
" and also "the Grounds of Scepticism, Atheism, and Irreligion." These are the epistemic/linguistic doctrine of abstraction
, and the metaphysical doctrine of corporeal substance
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November 10, 2008
Quote of the Day: Politics in Perspective
"The blessed Polycarp bore witness [i.e. was martyred] ... He was arrested by Herod while Philip of Tralles was high priest and Statius Quadratus was proconsul, but Jesus Christ - to whom be glory, honor, majesty and an eternal throne from generation to generation - was reigning as king forever. Amen."
- The Martyrdom of Polycarp
, ch. 21, my translation, based on Ehrman's)
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