Wednesday, July 29, 2015
After my recent series of long posts on sola scriptura (here, here, and here), I fear that you, dear reader, may be starting to feel as burned out on the topic as I do. But one final post is in order, both because there are a couple of further points I think worth making, and because Andrew Fulford at The Calvinist International has now posted a rejoinder to my response to him. And as it happens, what I have to say about his latest article dovetails somewhat with what I was going to say anyway. (Be warned that the post to follow is pretty long. But it’s also the last post I hope to write on this topic for a long while.)
Following Feyerabend, I’ve been comparing sola scriptura to early modern empiricism. Let’s pursue the analogy a little further and consider two specific parallels between the doctrines. First, both face a fatal dilemma of being either self-defeating or vacuous. Second, each is committed to a reductionism which crudely distorts the very epistemic criterion it claims zealously to uphold. Let’s consider these issues in turn.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Let’s return to Andrew Fulford’s reply at The Calvinist International to my recent post on Feyerabend, empiricism, and sola scriptura. Recall that the early Jesuit critique of sola scriptura cited by Feyerabend maintains that (a) scripture alone can never tell you what counts as scripture, (b) scripture alone cannot tell you how to interpret scripture, and (c) scripture alone cannot give us a procedure for deriving consequences from scripture, applying it to new circumstances, etc. In an earlier post I addressed Fulford’s reply to point (a). Let’s now consider his attempt to rebut the other two points.
Saturday, July 18, 2015
At The Calvinist International, Andrew Fulford replies to my recent post on Feyerabend, empiricism, and sola scriptura. You’ll recall that the early Jesuit critique of sola scriptura cited by Feyerabend maintains that (a) scripture alone can never tell you what counts as scripture, (b) scripture alone cannot tell you how to interpret scripture, and (c) scripture alone cannot give us a procedure for deriving consequences from scripture, applying it to new circumstances, etc. Fulford says that these objections “essentially rely on a caricature of the teaching,” and offers responses to each point. Let’s consider them in order.
Monday, July 13, 2015
In his essay “Classical Empiricism,” available in Problems of Empiricism: Philosophical Papers, Volume 2, philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend compares the empiricism of the early moderns to the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura. He suggests that there are important parallels between them; in particular, he finds them both incoherent, and for the same reasons. (No, Feyerabend is not doing Catholic apologetics. He’s critiquing empiricism.)
Thursday, July 9, 2015
For the Platonist, the essences or natures of the things of our experience are not in the things themselves, but exist in the Platonic “third realm.” The essence or nature of a tree, for example, is not to be looked for in the tree itself, but in the Form of Tree; the essence of a man is not to be looked for in any human being but rather in the Form of Man; and so forth. Now, if the essence of being a tree (treeness, if you will) is not to be found in a tree, nor the essence of being a man (humanness) in a man, then it is hard to see how what we ordinarily call a tree really exists as a tree, or how what we call a man really exists as a man. Indeed, the trees and men we see are said by Plato merely imperfectly to “resemble” something else, namely the Forms. So, what we call a tree seems at the end of the day to be no more genuinely tree-like than a statue or mirror image of a tree is; what we call a man seems no more genuinely human than a statue or mirror image of a man is; and so forth.
Monday, July 6, 2015
Some of the regular readers and commenters at this blog have started up a Classical Theism, Philosophy, and Religion discussion forum. Check it out.
Philosopher Stephen Mumford brings his Arts Matters blog to an end with a post on why he is pro-science and anti-scientism. Then he inaugurates his new blog at Philosophers Magazine with a post on a new and improved Cogito argument for the reality of causation.
Speaking of which: At Aeon, Mathias Frisch discusses the debate over causation and physics.
The Guardian asks: Is Richard Dawkins destroying his reputation? And at Scientific American, John Horgan says that biologist Jerry Coyne’s new book “goes too far” in denouncing religion.