April 29, 2009

Locke, Berkeley, and 'Common Sense'

John Locke is often portrayed as a 'philosopher of common sense' (or, 'tempered common sense', some say), and George Berkeley as a proponent of a bizarre and novel metaphysics which is radically discontinuous with common sense. However, it is Berkeley, much more than Locke, who is constantly appealing to 'common sense' in support of his views. Why is this? And how is it that Berkeley, with his radical metaphysical claims, purports to be a defender of common sense? The answer, I believe, is that the philosophies of Locke and Berkeley are related to our ordinary beliefs in radically different ways...
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April 18, 2009

Quote of the Day: Aristotle on the Law of Contradiction

The most certain principle of all [is one] it is impossible to be mistaken about ... A [principle] one must have in order to understand any being whatsoever - this is not a [mere] hypothesis! ... Next we will state what this principle is: it is impossible for the same thing at the same time to exist and not to exist in the same [subject] and in the same respect (and however many other [qualifications] we [previously] defined, let them be defined [here] on account of the logical difficulties). ... But we now have accepted that it is impossible for a being to be and not be at the same time, and we showed that this was the most certain of all principles. In fact, some people, because [they are] uneducated, think that even this ought to be proven. [Someone who] doesn't know that it is necessary to prove some things and not others is uneducated...
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April 12, 2009

Quote of the Day: Athanasius on the Destruction of Death

A very strong proof of this destruction of death and its conquest by the cross is supplied by a present fact, namely this. All the disciples of Christ despise death; they take the offensive against it and, instead of fearing it, by the sign of the cross and by faith in Christ trample on it as on something dead. Before the divine sojourn of the Savior, even the holiest of men were afraid of death, and mourned the dead as those who perish. But now that the Saviour has raised His body, death is no longer terrible, but all those...
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April 8, 2009

Christian Carnival CCLXXI

My post Apologetics: The Good and the Bad has been included in the latest Christian Carnival at Fathom Deep. I haven't been participating in the Christian Carnival recently, but when I wrote this post it occurred to me that it might be of interest to that carnival's readers.
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April 7, 2009

Repenting For Fear of Hell

Paul Gowder is discussing a recent case in which a man by the name of Elwin Wilson who used to be a violent racist and KKK member has changed his ways and gone around apologizing to the people he harmed or otherwise offended. Paul wants to know how we ought to respond to Wilson's repentance, given that Wilson states that he changed his ways out of fear of hell. Brandon's comments on that post are insightful (he notes, among other things, that the article gives another reason for Wilson's repentance: Wilson evidently believes that there will be blacks in heaven)....
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April 3, 2009

Apologetics: The Good and the Bad

I have been meaning for some time to write a post about apologetics: not to engage in it - though I do that sometimes - but to examine it as a practice. Brandon's recent post, "On Controversial Blogging and Temperament," touches some of the same issues I have been thinking about, so I thought that I would build on it. To start from the beginning: 'apologetics' derives from the Greek apologia, meaning 'defense' (as, for instance, a court-room defense), and it means just that: the giving of reasoned defenses. Christians often talk about the importance of engaging in apologetics...
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