ePistemologian’s Progress

Courtesy to Bunyan,

This list was taken from Craig and Moreland (2003): 627-639.  It’s a specialized list of technical works in philosophy and theology.  The theology section was kind of soft, so I didn’t spend too much time transmitting those titles.  I only listed works that a) are in LC’s library or b) I otherwise must have, assuming they weren’t in LC’s library.

I hope to have this finished by 2020.

This list doesn’t include a lot of previously read philosophy (Coplestone, Gilson, Bahnsen, Van Til et al)

Books that have an (*) by them are books I’ve added to Moreland’s list.

Chapter 1: General Philosophy; History of Philosophy; basic issues

*Coplestone, Fr. History of Philosophy (about four volumes). (read)

*Russell, Bertrand.  A History of Western Philosophy (read).

Chapter 4: The Problem of Skepticism

Slote, Michael.  Reason and Scepticism (1970).

Chapter 5: The Structure of Justification

Audi, Robert.  Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction (1998).

Chapter 6: Theories of truth and postmodernism

Groothuis, Douglas.  Truth Decay.  (Have read); mostly fantastic, but DG has since rejected the presuppositional outlook in this book.

Willard, Dallas.  “How Concepts Relate the Mind to its Objects: The God’s Eye View Vindicated?” Philosophia Christi, 2nd ser., vol 1, no.2 (1999): 5-20.

*Stackhouse, John.  Humble Apologetics.

Chapter 7: Religious Epistemology

Alston, William.  Perceiving God (1991).

Plantinga, Alvin.  “The Foundations of Theism: A Reply.”  Faith and Philosophy 3 (1986): 298-313.

——————.  Warrant: The Current Debate.

——————.  Warrant and Proper Function (currently reading).

——————.  Warranted Christian Belief (have read).

Plantinga, Alvin, and Nicholas Wolterstorff.  Faith and rationality (have read).

*Wolterstorff, Nicholas.  Reason within the Limits of Religion. (read)

Chapter 8: What is Metaphysics?

Chisholm, Roderick.  On Metaphysics (1989).

*Hasker, William.  Metaphysics (1983) (read)

Plantinga, Alvin.  The Nature of Necessity (1974).

van Inwagen, Peter.  Metaphysics (1993).

Chapter 9: General Ontology: Existence, Identity and Reductionism

Craig, William Lane, and J. P. Moreland, eds. Naturalism: A Critical Analysis (2000).

Suarez, Francis. On the various kinds of distinctions.

Chapter 10: General Ontology: Two categories–property and substance

Chapters 11 and 12: The Mind-Body Problem

Kim, Jaegwon.  Mind in a Physical World (1998).

Moreland, J. P.  and Scott Rae.  Body and Soul: Human Nature and the crisis in ethics.

Chapter 13: Free Will and Determinism

Fischer, John.  The Metaphysics of Free Will. (1994).

Kane, Robert.  A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will (2005).

Rowe, William.  Thomas Reid on Freedom and Morality (1991).

Chapter 14: Personal Identity and Life After Death

Hick, John.  Death and Eternal Life (1976).

Chapter 15: Scientific Methodology

Moreland, J. P.  Christianity and the Nature of Science (1989).

Chapter 16: The Realism-Antirealism Debate

Chapter 17: Philosophy and the Integration of Science

Chapter 18: Philosophy of Time and Space

Craig, William Lane.  God, Time, and Eternity: The Coherence of Theism II.

———————–.  Time and Eternity: Exploring God’s Relationship to Time.

Einstein, Albert.  Relativity: General and Special Theories.

Chapters 19-22: Issues in Ethics

Geisler, Norman.  Christian Ethics: Issues and Options.

*Feinberg, John and Paul. Ethics for a Brave New World (2010) (have read)

*Holmes, Arthur.  Ethics.

Pojman, Louis.  Ethics: Discovering Right from Wrong.

Chapters 23-24: The Existence of God

Barrow, John.  The Anthropic Cosmological Principle.

Beck, David.  “The Cosmological Argument: A Current Bibliographical Appraisal.”

Craig, William Lane.  The Kalaam Cosmological Argument.

Craig, WIlliam Lane and Quentin Smith.  Theism, Atheism, and Big-Bang Cosmology.

Denton, Michael. Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.

Ganssle, Gregory.  “Necessary Moral Truths and the Need for an Explanation.”

Hackett, Stuart.  Resurrection of theism.

Hume, David.  Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

Martin, Michael.  Atheism: A Philosophical Justification.

Plantinga, Alvin.  The Nature of Necessity.

—————–.  The Ontological Argument.

Rowe, William.  “Circular Explanations, Cosmological Arguments and Sufficient Reason.”

Vallicella, William. “On an Insufficient Argument Against Sufficient Reason.”

Chapters 25-26: The Coherence of Theism.

Adams, Robert.  “Divine Necessity”

Craig, William Lane.  God, Time, and Eternity: The Coherence of Theism II.

Creel, Richard. Divine Impassibility.

Hasker, William. The Emergent Self.

Helm, Paul.  Divine Commands and Morality.

Leftow, Brian.  “God and Abstract Entities.”

Molina, Luis de. On Divine Foreknowledge

Nielsen, Kai.  Ethics without God.

Plantinga, Alvin.  Does God Have a Nature?  (read)

————–.  “How to be an Anti-Realist.”

—————.  The Nature of Necessity.

Wolterstorff, Nicholas.  “Divine Simplicity.”

* ——————–.  Divine Discourse (1993) (read)

Chapter 27: The Problem of Evil

Hick, John.  Evil and the God of Love

Plantinga, Alvin.  God, Freedom, and Evil.

—————–.  The Nature of Necessity.

Rowe, William.  “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism.”

Chapter 28: Creation, Providence, and Miracle

Craig, William Lane.  “Creation and Conservation Once More.”

Freddoso, Alfred.  “The Necessity of Nature.”

Helm, Paul. The Providence of God.

Hume, David. “Of Miracles.”

Morris, Thomas.  Divine and Human Action.

*Strobel, Lee. ed. The Case for a Creator.

Suarez, Francisco.  On Creation, Conservation, and Concurrence.

Chapter 29: Christian Doctrines (I): The Trinity

(see other sources)

Chapter 30: Christian Doctrines (II): The Incarnation

Bayne, Tim. “The Inclusion Model of the Incarnation: Problems and Prospects.”

Freddoso, Alfred. “Human Nature, Potency and the Incarnation.”

Morris, Thomas.  The Logic of God Incarnate.

Chapter 31: Christian Doctrines (III): Christian Particularism

Internalism and Warrant

Some notes in Reformed Epistemology.   Helps to know these ahead of time before reading Plantinga. Parenthetical citations are from Plantinga’s Warrant and Proper Function.

Internalism in epistemology sees warrant as justification.

    • justification is necessary for warrant.
      • satisfaction of epistemic duty.
      • Descartes: epistemic deontologism.
        formation of belief; hence, internal
      • involves a view of cognitive accessibility (36).

Warrant: Objections and Refinements

  • Gettier:  knowledge cannot be just justified, true belief.  A fourth condition is necessary.  Internalist accounts of warrant are fundamentally wanting, thus the continuing epicycles added to the Gettier problem (32).
    • an externalist account of warrant would also take in the “epistemic credentials the proposition you believe has from the person whom you acquired it” (34).
    • credulity is valid when it operates under certain conditions:
  • Gettier’s problems show that even if internalism meets all of its conditions for knowledge, it can still fail to give knowledge.  If my internal cognitive faculties are working, and they arrive at a belief, there are still a number of counters- (ala Gettier) that show it can’t reach knowledge (36-37).  As Plantinga notes, “Justification is insufficient for warrant” (36).

The Solzhenitsyn Files: Intro

A few years ago in a book store in Missouri I picked up Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago I-II.  Being a Russophile at the time, I had to pick it up.  I got about 80 pages into it before the rest of life happened.  It sat on my book shelf for a few years.   I picked it back up yesterday.

It’s standard criticism to say Obama is a tyrant.  Of course he is.  The more astute will point out that FEMA is a soft version of the GULAG (a prototype?).  An even deeper analysis will see Obama’s private armies analogous to the Cheka (yes, I am aware of the factchecker’s response. All FactChecker does is say that it isn’t meant to be the Gestapo.  Obama’s own words say security force).  What is not talked about, not in depth anyway, is the nature of “shock” engineering on society to create these desired effects.   Solzhenitsyn saw it clearly, even if he didn’t call it by that.

A Russian Prophecy for America?

Yesterday I offered an olive branch to the Orthodox.  They have many astute social thinkers who have not bowed the knee to the Regime.  Seraphim Rose is one.

fr-seraphim-rose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I must quote Fr Damascene’s account in full detail.

In 1978 Fr. Seraphim contemplated the possibility of such a global system…Never has there been more talk of ‘peace and security’ than today. One of the chief organs of the United Nations is the Security Council and organizations for world peace are everywhere. If men do achieve finally a semblance of peace and security, it would seem to contemporary man to be a state like heaven on earth…The practical way to do this is to unite all governments under one. For the first time in world history such an idea becomes a possible goal in practical politics–a world ruler is conceivable now. For the first time, the Antichrist becomes an historical possibility” (Damascene, 697).

What Fr Seraphim is saying is nothing new. People used to laugh at those who said, “You know, world leaders really do want power. These guys really are corrupt. Maybe they do want world government.” People would laugh and say, “Oh that could never happen. What are you, a kook? World leaders do not really want that.”

Except that when you ask the elitists what they want, they say exactly that:

Admiral Charles Ward, former member of the Council on Foreign Relations, “The most powerful cliques in these elitist groups have an objective in common–they want to bring about the surrender of the sovereignty and the national independence of the United States .  A second clique of international members in the CFR…comprises the Wall Street International bankers and their key agents. Primarily, they want the world banking monopoly from whatever power ends up in the control of global government” (Rear Admiral Chester Ward, Review of the News, April 9, 1980, pp37-38, quoted in Fr Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, 697-698).

Fr Damascene goes on to mention,

With the establishment of the European Union, the creation of the Euro currency, the control of former Eastern-bloc countries by Western financial interests, the advances towards a cashless society, the formation of an international criminal tribunal by the United Nations and NATO, we see what appear to be the forerunners of such a one-world system. Some of these developments are not necessarily evil by themselves. Taken together, however, they help to set up a global apparatus which can make way for the rising religion of the future. Such was the expectation of Alice Bailey, who in 1940 wrote, The expressed aims and efforts of the United Nations will be eventually brought to fruition, and a new church of God, gathered out of all religions and spiritual groups, will unitedly bring an end to the great heresy of separatedness’ (cf. Alice Bailey, The Destiny of the Nations, p.52, quoted in Fr Seraphim Rose, 698). Robert Muller, former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, expressed the same belief on the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations in 1995: ‘At the beginning the United Nations was only a hope. Today it is a political reality. Tomorrow it will be the world’s religion’ (Fr Seraphim Rose, 698).

It doesn’t get any more straightforward than that.  Further, I am not yet quoting the remarks by David Rockefeller who is quite open on the need for a supranational body.  While this is the domain of conspiracy-theorist kooks, there is nothing secret about it.  These remarks have been in the open for almost half a century, and have been actively pursued for about a generation on the political level.

Back to Solzhenitsyn

Damascene writes,

When Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago came out in 1974, Seraphim not only read it, he studied it as a textbook…he [Rose] wrote…Communism as such is incidental to the terrible events described in this book; the villains of this book do not act the way they do because they are Communists, but because they are victims of an ideology far deeper and more deadly than Communism” (Damascene 651).

Rose identifies the ideology as nihilism.  I’ll take it a step further:  Luciferianism.  In any case, it’s important not to reduce it to Communism.  Communism is a Satanic evil.  One we must hate with all of our being, but by reducing all of the problems to Communism we implicitly excuse the current Regime from culpability, since they can legitimately claim they are not communists (yet).

Well, if Communism is so evil, does this mean the West or Hitler was right to oppose it?  The question is misplaced.  Rose gives an insightful answer:

The actions of those temporarily opposed to Bolshevism temporarily out of envy (Hitler) or hypocrisy (the Western Allies) are only historical episodes [of the Spirit of Revolution]” (652).

An Olive branch to the Orthodox?

Maybe.  While I criticize the weaker and more beggarly arguments against Reformed Protestantism, I fear that might mean I don’t see anything good in Orthodoxy.  I want to put that misconception to rest.

To Those Orthodox Who Fight the New World Order

My hat is off to you.   You have seen the occultic underpinnings of modern society.  You know that the Regime wants (and pursues) a war to the death with any kind of principled Christianity.  You have refused to compromise with Freemasonry and the power elites. The mainstream Orthodox do not love you, yet you truly know St Cyril of Jerusalem’s statement, “In the last days believers will fight with antichrist in the flesh.”

If some Reformed guy came up to me and said, “I think I might convert to Orthodoxy because, you know, liturgy and apostolic succession and the are ‘the only True Church (TM)’ and stuff,” well, that is not intellectually justifiable or warranted.

But if someone came up to me and said, “I’ve really wrestled with what Fr Raphael Johnson has been saying and I think he has a point…I think I might become ‘true’ Orthodox.”  Well, I will disagree with you, but as long as you know the hardship ahead of you, I can respect that.  And I can join you in our fight against Antichrist.

But now comes the dialectic.  Now comes the antithesis.  What of Orthodoxy in America today?

Will They Become Liberal Hipsterdox?

Maybe.  It will be worth watching. While I have problems with the former Metr. Jonah’s semi-Pelagianism, he was removed in areas for which he probably took biblical stands.   I hope American Orthodox can resist the Lavender Mafia.   Until two years ago, my money would have been on OCA that they could.  I am not so sure anymore.  The Greek church, while conservative in conciliar theology, is liberal in social issues.

A healthy plea to theonomists

Imagine a scenario.  You and the pastor disagree on one point.  What are your options?  Split the church and have a martyr-complex, obviously.  Attack him.

Or maybe not.

I am trying to let theonomists know that it’s okay to disagree with someone and let that disagreement be just that.  What does “acting like a theonomist” in the church actually mean?  No one has given a clear answer to that.   People say, “Accepting the Word of God.”  Yeah, that means nothing.   Quakers claim they do that.  I kept asking theonomists for clear, concrete details on what this actually looks like.  I haven’t gotten any.

As I’ve told theonomists,

Bahnsen was irenic. Bahnsen was a good churchman. Unlike another prominent Reconstructionist, Bahnsen didn’t sever himself from the church for 8 years and serve himself communion. That’s because Bahnsen knew that theonomy is theonomy *in* Christian ethics, not as. That means one can disagree on theonomy and the gospel, the Reformed, witness, and Confessionalism is not threatened. Bahnsen knew that.

Rich Christians Age of Hunger (Sider)

If there is one book that summarizes the cultural ethos and failed nerve of Christianity Today and InterVarsityPress, it would be Ron Sider’s Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger.  First, I will highlight some good points, then I will say a few really ugly remarks, then I will critique the book.

Some Good Points

He has a fairly decent take on the Sabbatical year (83ff).  I don’t think he realizes that his master, The United Nations, isn’t that concerned with biblical law.  Further, I like how he notes that Scripture “prescribes justice” (83; cf. Dt 15:9-10).  Sider even approaches (and at times affirms) the godly principle that “sinful persons and societies will always produce poor people” (83).  Amen, and amen.   I have to ask though, if Sider can name some societies in the 20th century that adopted his principles and if they were sinful and produced poor people.  One such society had four letters in its abbreviation.

Sider has some surprisingly astute comments on interest and he realizes that Christendom’s painful back-and-forth on interest wasn’t pretty and so we shouldn’t generalize (85).

He further notes that Marxists and Capitalists worship the same god: Economic forces (105).  Of course, Sider himself labours (pun) for world revolutionary forces, so he can’t be taken all that seriously.  Further, he rightly criticises the business model that has infected churches today (107).

He has an excellent section on asceticism (111ff) and its false ontology/anthropology.  He writes, “Christian asceticism has a long history, but Jesus’s life undermines its basic assumptions” (112).  Of course, a lot of the biblical examples Sider cites assume that one can legitimately spend one’s wealth on grain, alcohol, or feasts without feeling guilty by socialist agitators.

Ugly Remarks

David Chilton has correctly pointed out that this book is a guilt trip.  But that’s not why I am mad.  Religious people of various denominations have been trying to guilt trip me over silly stuff for years. I’m largely immune to it.  But when he projects “guilt-psychoses” onto godly, hard-working Christians who have made cuts in their lifestyles and to hear “they have earned hell-fire” because they didn’t meet Sider’s arbitrary “line of essentials.”  To quote Chris Rock,

Shut the f%$k up

Criticisms

Hidden assumptions

Sider makes routine comments like “And justice, as we have seen, means things like the Jubilee and sabbatical remission of debts” (115; statements like these are throughout the book). It raises the obvious question:  Who will enforce this?  Laws without sanctions are no different than PCA “recommendations.”

peacekeepers

Holier than God?

Sider has modified his tone from his first edition where he was adding to the gospel (yea, preaching another gospel).  Still, he makes comments like “It is sinful abomination for one part of the world’s Christians to grow richer year by year while our brothers and sisters in the third world suffer” (98).  This would be a true statement if a number of other conditions were met.  Are North American Christians causing other Christians to suffer?  If they are, Sider has given us no argument nor shown any evidence.  Further, would he have N.A. Christians be just as poor?  If so, then how could they help?  If they didn’t have any wealth, then how could Sider’s globalist masters take it from them?  He hasn’t thought these things through.

Vague Terminology

He notes that conservative pastors speak on “personal sins” but rarely on “structural sins” (119).  He does cite some texts trying to prove the existence of “structural sins,” but the texts mention sophisticated personal sins (ala Amos 2:6-7).  If there is such a category of structural sins–by which he seems to mean a certain way of society in which participation is sinful–they usually appear as a complex of personal sins in a social setting.  It’s hard to really talk about structural evils outside of presupposing Marx.

The institutional evils that Sider does criticize are in fact evil.  I just worry about using a Marxist term to categorize it.  But are the evils perversions of goods (private property) or are they embedded in the nature of things (private property, discipline use of scarce resources)?  Sider has elsewhere affirmed private property, so it isn’t clear exactly what he has to say here.

To be fair, Sider does define what he means by structural evils:  “Initial injustices, unless corrected, mushroom” (127).  This is actually insightful, but he never disentangles his rhetoric from Marxist terminology.  Marx saw society as inherently violent and could only progress by historical dialectic, which itself would probably be violent.

Plainly Misreads Texts

The most glaring misreading of texts is his appeal to the Jubilee principle (80ff).  While he correctly notes that the text says “all land should be returned to original owners,” and that “it was the poor person’s right to receive back his inheritance” (81).  While he doesn’t draw the conclusion, this is a brilliant argument against the evil and satanic practice of Federal inheritance taxes.

He does correctly note that Yahweh says “The Land is mine” (Lev. 25:23), but what principle should we draw from that?   Only the dominum can thus distribute the land.   This is the same dominion economics that Wyclif argued.  Well and good, but one suspects that Sider has another dominum in mind: The State.

I don’t know how he thinks his model will work.  He says “the specific provisions of the Jubilee year aren’t binding today” (85).  I agree with him, so how does he apply it?  Why is this law binding today but the ones about stoning sodomites and idolaters not?  He gives us no answer.

External Contradictions with Scripture

Sider’s most notorious point is the graduated tithe.  I just want to point out one Scriptural difficulty with it. The Bible tells us that a godly man leaves an inheritance for his seed (Prov. 13:22).  Yet, if Sider has his way it’s hard to see how this could happen.  There would be no inheritance.  It would all have been given away!

Internal Contradictions with Logic

Sider’s book is riddle with inconsistencies.  He notes (rightly) that “the right of each person to have means to earn his own way takes precedence over a purchaser’s property rights” (81).  Absolutely.  But when the state is interfering with regulations, how can he seriously claim the above?

Further, if Sider complains about world debt (and I don’t really disagree with him) yet he presupposes structures like the World Bank and the United Nations (which, ironically, are structural evils!), then his problem shouldn’t be with right-wing Christians but with his own statist overlords.

He complains about LDC (limited developing countries) “protein deficiency,” yet he ignores a concrete solution to the problem.  A country like India with such a deficiency has a lot of cattle.  Unfortunately, they worship the cows instead of eating them.  Idolatry and economic devastation are connected.  Sider doesn’t seem to see it.

Keynes or Smith?

Sider urges us not to make an idol of private property nor seek the advice of “that deist Adam Smith” (102).  In the next paragraph he praises the Keynesian revolution.  If we are going to make irrelevant comments about Adam Smith’s religious views, is now the time to mention that Keynes liked to molest little black Tunisian boys?

Fat Cat Corporations

I won’t address the sections on corporatism.   A lot has changed in 30 years (both good and bad) and neither Sider nor I am really competent to speak on these matters.  I would simply challenge him that his beloved World Bank is probably culpable in a lot of these international corporate schemes.

‘Merica

There is a lot of America-bashing in this book.  For all of America’s evils, real or supposed, I do suspect that if America were to disappear, millions more would die.

Our Reaction

Am I guilty?

Jesus asked, “Is your eye evil because mine is good?”  I refuse to let socialist agitators make me hate God’s blessings.   Still, per Sider’s recommendations, I really don’t eat all that much beef (for reasons other than guilt-trips), both of my cars were made in the last millennium (and breaking now, for what it’s worth), both churches I was a member of in the last ten years contributed to concrete, local charities that actually made a difference.

Sider’s Recommendations

Graduated tithe:  he realizes he can’t make this binding on Christians today, so I will ignore it.

Communal Living:  This is almost funny.  One should study the history of communal living in America.  Besides a nigh-100% failure rate, they more often than not end up being sex orgies.  In any case, the agrarian in me does gravitate towards simplicity, but not because of Sider’s guilt trips.

How should we live in response to Sider?  For one, who are these cozy, fat-cat, presumably white and conservative Christians that are so callous to the poor?  He doesn’t list any names.  Further, I am not aware of conservative churches that don’t give money to charities (who are better able to manage it than some bureaucrat in Washington).

The danger isn’t that my feelings are hurt because Sider shamelessly libeled his brothers in Christ.  No, he isn’t stupid.  He is against charitable giving.  Therefore, the only solution is the Government.  But even here we have a problem.   At least in theory, America’s government is democratic.  Those white males don’t elect socialists.  That’s no problem, though, for Sider has a stronger play:  The United Nations.

Sider is long on saying governments should adopt biblical principles (79, 144, 194) but I get the sneaky suspicion that this is merely suppressing fire for a globalist order.  He says America and Russia have biblical obligations to give their resources to poorer countries (194), yet he lists no bible verses proving these obligations.

He says this is not a call for a violent revolution (194).  Okay, how will you enforce it then?  What if I say no to your demands.  What are you going to do then?  At this point Sider has two options:  something like PCA recommendations or the point of a bayonet.

Because I love my country, I won’t take up arms against the Government (unless I am led by a godly lesser magistrate; then I would be on the front line).   I will fight to the death any bureaucrat from Brussels or Paris or London or wherever).

WELCOME-TO-AMERICA-UN-DEMOTIVATIONAL