Showing posts from June, 2012

A brief summary of the Epistemological and Metaphysical systems of the Modern Philosophers

The Continental Rationalists
Although both the Empiricists and the Rationalists shared many common ideas, the Rationalists are so named due to their emphasis on reason as the sole infallible way to obtain knowledge. Some of the philosophers who fit under this banner are Malebranche, Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Wolff, and D’Alembert. However, just because they can all be called rationalists does not mean that they all hold to the exact same views on epistemology and metaphysics. In fact, some of their systems are so different, that there are only a few common threads that hold them together. These threads, however, are foundational to their views, and important enough to be used as a way of distinguishing them from other philosophers. We will look at the main threads that are used to distinguish them from the empirical philosophers, first in epistemology, and secondly in their metaphysics. We will follow this order due to the fact that their metaphysical systems are built upon their ep…

Some more thoughts on Authority and Christian doctrine and practice

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any thoughts on my blog. I have recently finished reading D. H. Williams’ book Evangelicals and Tradition, and decided to continue some of my brief thoughts on the problem of biblical interpretation and authority for Christian doctrine and practice (see here). The debate in question is, of course, of importance for all of the different groups that would claim to be Christian.
            Now Protestants make the claim that the Bible, the inspired word of God, alone, is the only authority for all Christian practice and doctrine. The protestant would deny that tradition, in any form, can exercise any authority on Christian doctrine and practice. There are, however, a number of problems to such a claim. First of all, it is a matter of historical fact that the canon of the New Testament was discovered, defended, and worked out by the early church during the first 500 years of its existence. Therefore, the New Testament, and therefore the Bible as we kn…

The Problem of Authority in Church Doctrine and Practice

I have been thinking about this subject for quite a while, and find the problem quite interesting. Basically, the problem is as follows. Is the Bible the sole authority for all Christian doctrine and practice. Protestants affirm that it is - SolaScriptura. However, the positive affirmation brings forward a further problem - the Bible as interpreted by whom? There are many divergent interpretations of the Sacred Scriptures, frequently upon subjects that are important doctrines or practices, such as Justification, the Lord's Supper, baptism, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, etc. The differences of interpretation are not only between such groups as the Catholics and Protestants. Within the ranks of Protestantism there are many important differences (such as the debates between Calvinists and Arminians). Which interpretation of the Bible is authoritative?      In working through this argument I began with the assumption that any authority must,of necessity, be infallible. However, u…