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Philosophy Abstracts

 

Ascending Foundationalism

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In the debates on realism in hermeneutics and in theology, the issue of foundationalism is a major plank in the evangelical position (Carnell, 1957; Collins, 1967; MacGregor, 1973; Rahner, 1978; Fiorenza, 1987; Clinton, 1988). In biblical or conceptual hermeneutics such foundational realism is usually assumed. Similarly, in the theological debates on Christology, the issue of ascending or descending methodology based on a two-story (noumenal and phenomenal, real and appearance) view of the world, has often been critical for modern apologetic and theological debates. Both of these positions assume a realism which includes a foundationalist position, i.e. that there is an external reality which is accessible from the human perspective. The paper shall be concerned with realistic theism and the starting point for metaphysical reflection: ascending foundationalism.

 

Developing a Reformed World View

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Enjoy living in God's world, because He made it and put you there. Jesus did, and they thought he was having too much fun. Such joy was serious to the death, but until then his life was all grace and all truth. No one will fail in their calling to this Postmodern/Modern world if mercy and truth meet together in his or her daily life.

 

Elements of a Christian World View

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There is a logical relationship between the disciplines of apologetics, philosophy of religion and a Christian world view. From the perspective of formal philosophy, that is metaphysics and epistemology, there are common commitments among these three disciplines as to God, reality, values, etc. These philosophical commitments are similar for all who are Trinitarian theists: Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant. There are also common elements in the development of each discipline as a system of thought, in terms of having a starting point, proceeding rationally, relating consistently to its own parts, etc. This paper will briefly explore the elements of a Christian world view, and examine the parallels between these elements and the elements of apologetics and philosophy of religion. The goal of this investigation is to be able better to define and defend the system of truth as we know it.

 

Epistemology and Spirituality

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A number of writers have proposed spirituality as a means of knowledge and I present the possibility of taking spirituality as a means of knowledge parallel to other methods of epistemology. The starting point, methodology, and limits of spirituality are examined.

 

Ethics and Future Generations

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The issue of obligation to future generations raises interesting questions. One question which has not been given thorough treatment concerns the identity of those future generations. The discussion usually centers on the identity of future persons based on specific genetic criteria, i.e. they are persons linked to us genetically and so form specific links between us and future people. However, in reading the literature I did not find one proposed definition of identity dealing with the problem in light of the problem of identity over time. . What then would constitute a link between ourselves and those to whom we supposedly have an obligation?   Another question concerns the possibility of seeing future obligations as obligations to all future generations taken as a group, without regard to the specific identity of the individuals in that group.  But moral obligations are usually undertaken in reference to one's own promises or commitments to specific individuals. It is unclear what type of obligation exists with reference to a group of people to whom no promises have been made. This relates to the question of the biblical understanding that each generation has a God-given responsibility to each succeeding generation, at least (both spiritual teaching and father-son relationship).  We will investigate some proposed solutions given to some of these problems.

 

Intuition in Kant and Confucius

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This paper argues that modern versions of Confucianism, which draw on Kant, can be even better related the post-Kantian tradition using intuition found in Broad, Ross and Audi.  This argument includes a dialog about modern versions of realism.

 

Ethical Foundations for the Future

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The U.S., Europe, and China have a common foundation in various philosophers who hold a version of realism and a belief in an natural good. These foundations are explored and related.

 

Is God an Internal Realist?

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This paper argues that realism, understood in a very modern sense, is the proper foundation for a biblically oriented systematic theology. Historically, naive realism was replaced with Scottish (critical common-sense) realism. In the 20th century the primary form of realism is known in secular philosophy as scientific realism. The particular version of realism presented here is called theistic realism. In previous papers I have examined the contributions to a contemporary theistic realism from E. J. Carnell, James Collins, Karl Rahner, Geddys MacGregor, and Bernard Lonergan. Here I want to examine the view of realism articulated by Hilary Putnam. His position has been characterized as "internal realism," although he prefers the term "pragmatic realism." This paper presents his position briefly and examine it for its fruitfulness in the development of theistic realism. Then we examine some related implications of Hauerwas' work on community and I suggest direction for the road ahead. Like Gregory of Nyssa, the desire is for philosophy to be a handmaiden to theology, not the director of the system.

 

Knowledge of Self and the World

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This investigation leads to the deeper level question of the epistemological status of claims to knowledge of any kind and of the ontological status concerning that which a person is claiming to know, i.e. the object of our knowledge claims. Philosophers have continued, since Kant, to deepen the investigation of the status of knowledge claims and of the claims to ontological existence of a self, other beings, the world, absolutes, and God.

 

Philosophical Thinking and Systematic Theology

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Philosophy also would offer us a much greater use of personal and corporate experience in a much more controlled way than the usual sweeping generalizations which occur in most theology books.  Since Roger Bacon, western philosophy has been attempting to balance reason and experience in careful ways.  Today, the use of controlled experiments and empirical generalizations based on multiple studies informs all research in the social sciences and professional fields, as well as in science and technology.  Such use of modern social investigation is almost completely absent from the construction of theology.  Presentation of a system of understanding God and the world demands our best reasoning, our best empirical investigation, out best biblical study to evaluate the Bible, world history, and personal experience, in order to build true systematic theology.

 

Realism, Identity and Time

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The debates on realism always include the element of time in order to preserve the dynamic element of action and responsibility.  Most of the experiential and ontological elements of this search are defined today in terms of existential presence, perceptual factors, modalities of probability and choice, and contrary to fact conditions.  The phenomena of time, when included in these discussions, is treated in terms of our perspective on experience, i.e., learning from the past, etc., rarely in terms of the effect of time on identity.  Yet our sense of identity is strongly modified during the passage of time and the events of history.  On the topic of time, Bill Craig, David Ford, Wolfhart Pannenberg, and Karl Rahner have interacted with Kant, Heidegger, Lonergan, and sometimes Putnam. This discussion is reviewed and includes implications of scriptural teaching. 

 

The Collapse of Marxism

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There are four dynamic world views in competition today: Christianity, Marxism, Islam, Materialistic Humanism. The past ten years has seen the greatest change in the role of Marxism, both in Russia and in China. We need to understand the three main deficiencies and what has happened in order to make sense of history and to prepare for service in the future.

 

Would Kant Tell A Lie?

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This article discusses three questions which arise in connection with the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant:
1.    Why is it wrong to lie?
2.    How is not lying derived from the categorical imperative?
3.    Is it always wrong to lie?

 

The Nature of Ethical Systems

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This paper studies six major competing ethical systems and suggests the criteria for building or evaluating any ethical system.

 

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