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Kant and Hume

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  • hamgears
    I ve started reading a book by Diogenes Allen, philosophy prof at Princeton Seminary, a book called Christian Belief in a Postmodern World: The Full Wealth of
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 2, 2004
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      I've started reading a book by Diogenes Allen, philosophy prof at Princeton
      Seminary, a book called "Christian Belief in a Postmodern World: The Full
      Wealth of Conviction." Like Wm. Abraham, he is promoting a "full" belief in the
      great traditional beliefs of Christianity. Near the start of the book, Allen says
      that among other things, the writings of Kant and Hume made it very difficult
      for many to maintain "the full wealth of conviction."
      Allen may explain this later in the book. But I'm wondering if you, Ulysses, or
      others might comment on what Kant and Hume did, philosophically, that
      eroded many people's faith. Larry
    • Ulysses Castillo
      Kant, Hume, and Darwin all came on the scene in the western world and turned things upside down and the church of the 18th century didn t know how to respond
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 2, 2004
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        Kant, Hume, and Darwin all came on the scene in the western world and turned
        things upside down and the church of the 18th century didn't know how to
        respond to it.

        Hume is the world's greatest skeptic. He convinced many that only
        mathematics (pure reasoning) and "matters of fact" (science) could ever be
        known. He wrote (my own paraphrase), "Take any book of religion, such as
        the Bible. Does it contain any matters of pure reason such as can be found
        in mathematics? No. Does it contain any matters of fact such as we find in
        the sciences? No. Then submit it to the flames, for it can be only
        sophistry and illusion." He also attacked the philosophical first principal
        of causation (that effects must have causes).

        Kant, though a churchman, convinced the philosophical world that everything
        was divided into the "noumenal" world (what reality really is) and the
        "phenomenal" world (what reality appears to be to us), and that the only
        thing we can know, beyond pure reason, is the phenomenal world. According
        to Kant, nothing that we experience can ever be known in its reality. He
        also argued that matters of morality can be decided on the basis of pure
        reason (the "universal maxim" in his words), and that God was not needed as
        a foundation for morality.

        These three influences (Hume, Kant, and Darwin) changed the western world.
        The response of the church at that time was to retreat into fideism, a la
        Soren Kierkegaard, so that matters of religion were known by "faith", not
        because they are actually true and real. And that is how secularism creeped
        into society, because the church no longer had anything to say about the
        real world, and science and "pure reason" began to dominate.

        But their philosophies are flawed, and much of the writing of twentieth
        century philosophers have been spent in debating both Hume and Kant. Hume's
        own statement that I paraphrased above fails its own test. The statement
        itself claims to be true, but is not itself a mathematical proposition or a
        matter of scientific fact, and according to Hume's own test, must be
        submitted to the flames as an illusion.

        Kant's theory is flawed too. If the noumenal world cannot actually be
        known, then how did Kant come to know that? It would seem that Kant claims
        to know at least one thing about the noumenal world: that it has the
        property of unknowability, and thus his theory is incoherent.

        Yet despite their flaws, they still influence the world, and there is a
        great skepticism in the world about what we can and cannot know, and that
        has opened the door to postmodernism.

        Hope that helps a bit. :)

        Ulysses
        P.S. Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga has probably done the best job of
        critiquing both Hume and Kant in his work, although his stuff is really hard
        to understand...at least for me.


        -----Original Message-----
        From: hamgears [mailto:lmitchell@...]
        Sent: Friday, July 02, 2004 12:15 PM
        To: wesleyantheology@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [Wesleyan Theology] Kant and Hume

        I've started reading a book by Diogenes Allen, philosophy prof at Princeton
        Seminary, a book called "Christian Belief in a Postmodern World: The Full
        Wealth of Conviction." Like Wm. Abraham, he is promoting a "full" belief in
        the
        great traditional beliefs of Christianity. Near the start of the book, Allen
        says
        that among other things, the writings of Kant and Hume made it very
        difficult
        for many to maintain "the full wealth of conviction."
        Allen may explain this later in the book. But I'm wondering if you,
        Ulysses, or
        others might comment on what Kant and Hume did, philosophically, that
        eroded many people's faith. Larry





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      • hamgears
        Thanks, Ulysses. That is helpful. Kant s formulation of things , with the noumenal as the really real sounds to me somewhat like Plato s idea that what we
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 3, 2004
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          Thanks, Ulysses. That is helpful. Kant's formulation of things , with the
          noumenal as the "really real" sounds to me somewhat like Plato's idea that
          what we normally see is illusionary and that the really really lies beyond in a
          world of pure forms. Do you think there are similarities?

          Larry
        • Ulysses Castillo
          Yep. It is very similar to Plato s idea of forms. Ulysses ... From: hamgears [mailto:lmitchell@chicoer.com] Sent: Saturday, July 03, 2004 6:30 PM To:
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 3, 2004
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            Yep. It is very similar to Plato's idea of forms.

            Ulysses

            -----Original Message-----
            From: hamgears [mailto:lmitchell@...]
            Sent: Saturday, July 03, 2004 6:30 PM
            To: wesleyantheology@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [Wesleyan Theology] Re: Kant and Hume

            Thanks, Ulysses. That is helpful. Kant's formulation of things , with the
            noumenal as the "really real" sounds to me somewhat like Plato's idea that
            what we normally see is illusionary and that the really really lies beyond
            in a
            world of pure forms. Do you think there are similarities?

            Larry





            Yahoo! Groups Links
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