procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wood - Epistemology

all grown up now - finished my bridging assignment (with a respectable 'Pass' mind you), and into Philosophy 2.

set reading: Wood, W, Jay, Epistemology: Becoming Intellectually Virtuous. Leicester: Apollos, 1998.

some highlights from chapter 1:
  • We achieve excellence in the intellectual life, according to this tradition, when we form within ourselves qualities like wisdom, prudence, understanding, intellectual humility, love of truth and similar traits—in short, as we embody intellectual virtues.

  • Your intellectual life is important, according to [Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas], for the simple reason that your very character, the kind of person you are and are becoming, is at stake.

  • God cares about how you think, not just what you think. A godly mind is not merely one devoid of vile thoughts, nor are the faithful stewards of the mind necessarily the ones who die with all their doctrinal ps and qs in place (brainwashing might as effectively accomplish this).

  • "The good of the intellect is truth," writes Aquinas, "and falsehood is its evil.

  • Søren Kierkegaard stresses the importance of those truths that nourish the soul.

  • i think it would be really easy to just 'do' philosophy - but this collection of quotes is reminding me that that is a dumb attitude. whether Christian or non-Christian, being intellectually lazy - not thinking about what you believe, why you believe, what what you believe means - isn't really an option. this isn't to say that everyone needs to or should nerd-up (as Wood helpfully notes), but we need to be thoughtful about what, why, and wherefore.



    Blogger Mark said...

    God cares about how you think, not just what you think.

    I'd love to hear more as to why this is true Doug. Does Wood give a rationale?

    7:39 pm  
    Blogger psychodougie said...

    he says, (p18) Exercising care over the formation of our minds is not a purely academic pursuit; it is also a spiritual one. God enjoins us in Scripture to pursue the intellectual virtues. The Bible is unequivocally clear that Christians are to super-intend the life of the mind. "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds" (Rom 12:3).

    hmmm... now i read it, it doesn't feel as rigorous as at first (at least as regards his understanding of Rom 12:3).
    i think the comment that follows does almost stand on its own however, in that we can do things, say things, that are outwardly good, yet are inwardly unregenerate. when pressed on what such think, the only answer is that that's what they've been taught - how is that different to brain-washing?

    i guess where this can be taken too far, as Wood cautions also, is in requiring (insisting upon) such rigour of all Christians. i think rather it's about a true, rational, reasoned and defensible understanding of what one believes. the faith without the preceeding points is the issue.

    8:11 pm  
    Blogger geoffc said...

    It's funny how after reading Wood and moving on to Basics of Verbal Aspect, I realise on what epistemilogical grounds and justification do I have to believe verbal aspect is right, or even worth reading?
    The answer is probably "Con is my lecturer, and he is smarter than me and what other choice to I have?"

    But like you, i really appreciated his last paragraph, that whether we want to be scholars or not, we have a responsibility to think well. I;m really looking forward to philosophy this year.

    11:42 pm  
    Blogger Mark said...

    I reckon you could pull together an interesting thematic talk on the mind/thinking in Romans, even a gospel outline perhaps (2WTT?).

    1:02 pm  

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