Essay / Culture

Progress for the Sake of…

As I was driving around LA the other day listening to NPR, two stories run back-to-back caught my attention. The first was a story about the recent Nobel-prize winners John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka, who have uncovered a means for turning any cell into

Essay / Philosophy

John Hick (1922-2012), Philosopher of Religion

John Hick, a major philosopher of religion, has died at age 90. Friends and students had just brought out a festschrift in his honor weeks before his death. Hick’s theological conclusions were decidedly on the liberal side of the spectrum, and his intellectual legacy will

Essay / Culture

Excerpts & Essays: The Great Books Reader

Here’s a 656-page grand tour of some of the greatest moments in Western civilization: The Great Books Reader, edited by John Mark Reynolds. I highly recommend it. Then again, since I contributed to it, work with or for many of the contributors, and already like

Essay / Philosophy

Needy and Rational: Existential Reasons for Belief in God

Once you’ve encountered solid evidence for belief in God, it’s hard to settle for anything less. That is, if you think you have reasons for affirming that the Christian God is real, and that believing in him means having actual knowledge about reality, it’s hard

Essay / Philosophy

Jews and Arabs in Search of Wisdom: Two Book Reviews

Scholars and students who have worked their way through Seyyed Hossein Nasr’s and Oliver Leaman’s masterfully edited work, A History of Islamic Philosophy (Routledge, 2001) will, if they had bother to read the two introductions by Nasr and Leaman respectively, come away with an appreciation

Essay / Literature

Literally, Plato

“This is intended to be a literal translation,” says Allan Bloom in the preface to his 1968 edition of Plato’s Republic. And it is, famously, or infamously, literal. Bloom puts his head down and digs out as word-for-word a translation as he can. What drove

Essay / Philosophy

Boethius according to C.S. Lewis

In 1962, C.S. Lewis made a “ten books that have influenced me most” list at the request of The Christian Century. Read it here. (He agreed to do this even though, in a letter to Clyde Kilby in 1958, he had worried that publishing anything

Essay / Philosophy

Plato for Pleasure

Hey, everybody, Plato is fun! Everybody ought to read him! Yay Plato! That, at least, is the argument of Adam Fox in his 1945 book Plato for Pleasure (revised edtion 1962). “The works of Plato have generally been in the hands of philosophers and scholars

Essay / Literature

Menand: Uncommonly Successful in Keeping the Felicities of Prose

I just finished a very fast read-through (with permission to skip some sections) of Louis Menand’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2001 book The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America. It’s a 500-page book about one school of American philosophy. I picked it up used and

Essay / Education

An Excerpt on Knowledge and Rhetoric From “Education for Human Flourishing”

To follow up Fred Sanders’ review of my book, I have posted a short excerpt from Education for Human Flourishing published by IVP Academic. The passage below describes the difference between rhetoric and knowledge, and how important it is for us to be able to

Essay / Education

Education for Human Flourishing

There’s no easier job in the world than being a bad teacher. It’s a cinch, with short hours and plenty of long vacations. The pay’s not always great, but as long as your standards are low, and all you’re looking for is an easy job,

John Toland pantheisticon

Essay / On This Day

Today John Toland Died: Pantheisticon!

John Toland (born 1670, died March 11, 1722) was a philosopher most famous for his book Christianity Not Mysterious (1696). In that book, Toland scores some good points against obscurantism and mystery-mongering, but he gets greedy about it, puts God into his Locke-box, and demands