“I believe that one of the things Christianity says is that sound doctrines are all useless. That you have to change your life. (Or the direction of your life.) It says that all wisdom is cold; and that you can no more use it for setting your life to rights that you can forge iron when it is cold. The point is that a sound doctrine need not take hold of you; you can follow it as you would a doctor’s prescription. — But here you need something to move you and turn you in a new direction. — (I.e. this is how I understand it.) Once you have been turned around, you must stay turned around. Wisdom is passionless. But faith by contrast is what Kierkegaard calls a passion.” (Culture and Value. Ludwig Wittgenstein)
Wittgenstein’s fideism (as well as Kierkegaard’s assumingly) has reached its excess in the claim that sound doctrines are all useless. The relationship between sound doctrine and life are not among the polarized binaries like good and evil. The danger is to adopt one to the exclusion of the other. A life without sound doctrine is much like Tom Petty’s rebel without a clue. The absence of sound doctrine does not leave one with no doctrine rather what one is left with is doctrine that is unsound. The opposing distinction “sound doctrine” is articulated by Wittgenstein’s claim to passionless wisdom. This is a turn from the facts of objective reality to the personalized experience of the subjective self. But this does not necessarily capture the Christian condition.
Within Christianity there is an exchange between the two so that the Christian life is influenced by sound doctrine. It is because of sound doctrine that the subjective does not drift into the great wide open. Conversely it is the subjectivity which gives life to the objective content of sound doctrine. Why will the subjective hearts of many believers be stirred tomorrow morning on Easter Sunday? Because of something objective that Christ did 2000 years ago by taking their sin upon Himself and giving them His merited righteousness. This is the relationship between sound doctrine and passion.
Do you remember a few posts ago when I discussed the publication of Martin Heidegger’s “schwarze hefte” (black notebooks) and said something interesting will be revealed? Well apparently that’s not the case. You can read about it here.
Here is a global study conducted by Pew Research asking who believes that belief in God is essential for morality. After reviewing the study I can already anticipate the response coming from those of the “non-belief” persuasion.
Take a look this document over and tell me what you think.
I have never judged that something could not be made by God except on the grounds that there would be a contradiction in my perceiving it distinctly [that is, in my conceiving of a situation in which it is true].
In other words Descartes is asserting that all things that one can conceive of without contradiction are possible.
Descartes develops this assertion later in the Meditation:
I know that everything which I clearly and distinctly understand is capable of being created by God so as to correspond exactly with my understanding of it. Hence, the fact that I can clearly and distinctly understand one thing apart from another is enough to make me certain that the two things are distinct, since they are capable of being separated, at least by God… It is true that I may have…a body that is very closely joined to me. But nevertheless, on the one hand I have a clear and distinct idea of myself, in so far as I am simply a thinking, non-extended thing; and on the other hand, I have a distinct idea of body, in so far as this is simply an extended, non-thinking thing. And accordingly, it is certain that I am really distinct from my body, and can exist without it.
The thing to keep in mind is to “conceive of” anything does not necessitate that one believe. To “conceive of” anything means one can coherently think about that situation. Thus, one can conceive of a situation where donkeys fly or that the IRS would cease to over tax, but one can’t conceive of a situation where 1+1=10.
The argument can be formulated this way:
Here is an interesting piece from Sreejith
Originally posted on Pleas and Excuses:
My fantastic colleague, Ty Fagan, made this graphic from recent data coming from the Educational Testing Service.
I thought it was worth a blog post, because students interested in a philosophy major often ask me whether they should do a double-major or minor in “something more practical.” Often, business is the major considered to be more practical. Sometimes Political Science, History and English are even cited by students and parents to be more useful than philosophy.
One of my good friends, Andrew Wicklander, runs his own project management group and software company. His wife, Maile, owns a yoga studio. They are both the sort of “job-creators” touted as crucial to the success of America. Andrew says that when he and Maile are hiring, they do not consider a business major to be practical preparation for job candidates. Instead, Andrew and Maile look for evidence that a candidate can…
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