J P Moreland

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J P Moreland

Postby starseven » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:18 am

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. I'd most been reading Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview by J P Moreland. I'd also been reading Confessions by Augustine. I'm interested hear if anyone else is reading anything by J P Moreland. I've read some of J P Moreland's Scaling the Secular City.
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Re: J P Moreland

Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:30 am

I have Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview.

Not really into it. I also think Christian apologetics is severely limiting.
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Re: J P Moreland

Postby starseven » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:17 am

It can be limiting in some respects if that's the only perspective your taking into account. I'm also reading some of Plato and Aristotle. I'm also interested to start reading some of Thomas Aquinas books.
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Re: J P Moreland

Postby Sammy Boy » Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:54 am

starseven wrote:I've been doing a lot of reading lately. I'd most been reading Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview by J P Moreland. I'd also been reading Confessions by Augustine. I'm interested hear if anyone else is reading anything by J P Moreland. I've read some of J P Moreland's Scaling the Secular City.


I also have that book and have read parts of it. But much of my reading time these days is taken up by reading manuals and documentation for work. ><

I mean to get back into reading it some day when I have time...
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Re: J P Moreland

Postby starseven » Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:40 am

The funny thing is I'm not in college. The introduction for the book indicates it's originally a college textbook. I'm reading it because I want to study philosophy. There's great deal that can be learned. The interesting thing for me about it is that it has given me an interest to study a great many other topics as well. I do think sometimes that the books over complicate the line of reason. I know they're only trying to describe thoroughly what they mean.
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Re: J P Moreland

Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:49 pm

The problem with presuppositional apologetics (the only kind of apologetics that I think can carry any sort of weight) is that it presumes God as some sort of analytic a priori. We know things because God exists. Without God knowledge would not exist. It's one big lofty and baseless argument and it's completely regressive.
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Re: J P Moreland

Postby starseven » Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:43 pm

I haven't really seen that. Many of the arguments I've been reading have not been upon that. They are based on the establishment of objective truth. This is the true starting point in my point of view. I think as we establish what objective truth it is proof of the existence of God. Now don't get me wrong God being (the unmoved mover) first cause. God is absolutely necessary as the creator of all.
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Re: J P Moreland

Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:52 pm

I think people like the existentialists, postmodernists, and poststructuralists did a necessary job of disproving that we have the ability to interpret or know objective truth. Like a hot knife through butter. Nietzsche goes on about how basically stupid people like Plato or Kant were (Yes he straight up insults their intelligence, lol). It's presumptious to assume that simply because we perceive what may be the subjective/form/phenomena, that doesn't exactly prove that there is an objective/essence/noumena. The bridge between signifier and signified is socially (or individually) constructed and completely arbitrary. Heck even Kierkegaard, a Christian, does the same with such intensity.

That's my problem with things like positivism and critical realism. And at this point it'll all regress back to a discourse on epistemology; and that's where things, at best, get shaky for them. This is why a lot of Christian apologists pull out presuppositional apologetics when it comes to epistemology because it's the best answer they have when it comes to epistemology. But I don't think it really works.
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Re: J P Moreland

Postby Peanut » Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:39 pm

Mr. SmartyPants wrote:The problem with presuppositional apologetics (the only kind of apologetics that I think can carry any sort of weight) is that it presumes God as some sort of analytic a priori. We know things because God exists. Without God knowledge would not exist. It's one big lofty and baseless argument and it's completely regressive.

I don't think JP Moreland really goes the presuppositional route with any of his apologetics or at least he doesn't do it in Scaling the Secular City. He's more into the arguments for the existence of God. So this really isn't relevant to this thread at all. Still I like talking Apologetics so I'll give some quick thoughts about this and other things.

I think most people in the school of presuppositional apologetics would concede that God is a presupposition. Their goal isn't to prove that God isn't and that we can know with 100% certainty that God exists but to either prove that any system that doesn't presuppose the existence of God is less rational then their own system of thought (usually Christian) or show that you are already presupposing the existence of God and . The reason for this is that, at their core, every argument (or at least all the arguments I can think of) for or against the existence of God either presupposes God's existence or God's non-existence. They fall into the same circle of logic you illustrated so instead of trying to trade those back and forth, the presuppositional apologist tries to show that their own system of thought is more consistent than their opponents system of thought. It should be noted that the basics behind presuppositional apologetics can be used by any system of thought. Its mostly used by Christians but it doesn't have to be.

Mr. SmartyPants wrote:I think people like the existentialists, postmodernists, and poststructuralists did a necessary job of disproving that we have the ability to interpret or know objective truth. Like a hot knife through butter. Nietzsche goes on about how basically stupid people like Plato or Kant were (Yes he straight up insults their intelligence, lol). It's presumptious to assume that simply because we perceive what may be the subjective/form/phenomena, that doesn't exactly prove that there is an objective/essence/noumena. The bridge between signifier and signified is socially (or individually) constructed and completely arbitrary. Heck even Kierkegaard, a Christian, does the same with such intensity.

I tend to agree with the existentialists, postmodernists and poststructuarlists on this point but there is an issue. Namely, that it too is a subjective statement of truth by there own admission. There is nothing, then, to stop the person who holds that there is objective truth and it can be known from saying "That's a nice opinion you got there but I disagree" and being totally justified. The statement caves in on itself because you cannot declare "We only know subjective truths" as though it is an objective truth, it has to be subjective.

I think the better route is to recognize that what we know is filtered through our own personal lens and therefore is subjective and instead
Mr. SmartyPants wrote:That's my problem with things like positivism and critical realism. And at this point it'll all regress back to a discourse on epistemology; and that's where things, at best, get shaky for them. This is why a lot of Christian apologists pull out presuppositional apologetics when it comes to epistemology because it's the best answer they have when it comes to epistemology. But I don't think it really works.

Doesn't work? Ryan,that test was right, you are a pragmatist. :lol: I think it does work when its employed with other schools or arguments as well. Its biggest problem is, simply put, its too offensive. Namely, it is focused almost purely on destroying other worldviews. I think it is very useful to know how to make use of it though you better be able to answer questions presented to you about your system of thought before you go on the offensive with it.
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Re: J P Moreland

Postby starseven » Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:51 pm

The assault on ones character is a common fallacy. The point isn't to discredit a philosopher. The point is to present valid counterpoints. The idea that there's no objective truth is rather foolish. I'd argued on these people on these grounds. You really get no where when when someone doesn't believe in objective truth. There's objective truth and unless a person is willing to accept this arguments go no where. You have to have a valid point of reference. It needs to be a valid logical point which can have a valid case made. If nothing is objective then philosophy becomes meaningless conjecture. Then reality could be anything as long as you can conform your perception to it. It's supremely arrogant assume that we are the center of our universe as the author of our own truths. Then nothing outside of us is valid or has any meaning. Then why do consider people insane when they say people are present and yet no one else perceives them. The case can then be made whether their homicidal killer who claims people are telling him to kill yet no such person exists accept in their own mind. Then why do we consider them insane. Why do we imprison or take the lives of such people who murder people? If we say there's no objective truth and in which case why do we have laws for that matter. If reality is only within the perception individual then who's to say as a child would say that something no longer exists because we no longer see it. A child covers his eyes and says he's invisible but, everyone else can still see him. We have to move past such childish assumptions.
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Re: J P Moreland

Postby starseven » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:46 pm

I've thought further on this. The real answer for those who don't believe in objective truth. The one truth that would remain stripped of everything else would be the truth of void, emptiness, and nothingness. The truth of enlightenment in such a view would be to abandon all knowledge and all constraints of reality to embrace the void. If nothing can be known then nothing should be known. Nothing then can ever be known. Why learn because nothing is known? Why live within the bounds of what you perceive as reality? Accept the void if this is your truth.

If you've watched Neon Genesis Evangelion you should understand this. It was at the end of the series.

I could also bring up Serial Experiments Lain. The point they made is why does one need a physical body. The idea of setting the conscious mind free by discarding the body.

The context of which I'm discussing should make this abundantly clear.

I personally believe in objective truth. There really wouldn't be any purpose or meaning without it. The lines that divide truth from non truth are the lines that define the borders of what we are. I would argue also that without such lines there is nothing. There's no shapes, no measures, and no definitions. It's only through the knowledge of truth anything of any worth can be considered or discussed. It's only once they begin to see objective truth can there be any meaningful discussion. It's that otherwise it becomes a discussion of endless conjecture.
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Re: J P Moreland

Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:29 am

starseven wrote:The assault on ones character is a common fallacy. The point isn't to discredit a philosopher. The point is to present valid counterpoints.

That's very much what Nietzsche does. He calls them dumb because he presents strong counter-arguments against them.
The idea that there's no objective truth is rather foolish. I'd argued on these people on these grounds. You really get no where when when someone doesn't believe in objective truth. There's objective truth and unless a person is willing to accept this arguments go no where.

It's all a matter of epistemology. Two questions: (1) How do you know there is objective truth? (2) How do you know you are aware of the objective truth?

I'll just touch briefly on this. Structuralism and post-structuralism make a base argument that signs are arbitrary. A sign is anything which we signify meaning towards. Be it a tree, grass, a car, someone giving you a handshake, or abstract concepts like love or justice. There's the signifier, which is kind of the thing in itself. What we perceive or sound out. Then there's the signified, which is the meaning we ascribe. The process is completely arbitrary because people make up those definitions.

Language is a social construct. And language is what we use to define and signify our realities. When we use language to define what objective capital-t Truths might exist we're basically constructing a building without any base support. It all hangs in thin air.
You have to have a valid point of reference.

You are your own point of reference.
It needs to be a valid logical point which can have a valid case made.

Why?
If nothing is objective then philosophy becomes meaningless conjecture.

Welcome to the absurd.
Then reality could be anything as long as you can conform your perception to it. It's supremely arrogant assume that we are the center of our universe as the author of our own truths. Then nothing outside of us is valid or has any meaning. Then why do consider people insane when they say people are present and yet no one else perceives them.

Again welcome to the absurd. Everything is just interpretation.
The case can then be made whether their homicidal killer who claims people are telling him to kill yet no such person exists accept in their own mind. Then why do we consider them insane. Why do we imprison or take the lives of such people who murder people? If we say there's no objective truth and in which case why do we have laws for that matter. If reality is only within the perception individual then who's to say as a child would say that something no longer exists because we no longer see it. A child covers his eyes and says he's invisible but, everyone else can still see him. We have to move past such childish assumptions.

Remember when I mentioned the building without any foundation? That's basically all of life. We buy into these man-made orders, structures, and beliefs.

To quote mewithoutYou: "I don't know anything about truth, but I know falsehood when I see it, and it looks like this whole world you've made."
I've thought further on this. The real answer for those who don't believe in objective truth. The one truth that would remain stripped of everything else would be the truth of void, emptiness, and nothingness. The truth of enlightenment in such a view would be to abandon all knowledge and all constraints of reality to embrace the void. If nothing can be known then nothing should be known. Nothing then can ever be known. Why learn because nothing is known? Why live within the bounds of what you perceive as reality? Accept the void if this is your truth.

I agree. The absurd is a scary place to be.
I personally believe in objective truth. There really wouldn't be any purpose or meaning without it.

There wouldn't be. You decide on your purpose or meaning. Or you, as Camus says, commit "philosophical suicide" and believe in God regardless. Or you can accept the meaningless as some sort of meaning. Whatever the case may be you make your own meaning.
It's only once they begin to see objective truth can there be any meaningful discussion. It's that otherwise it becomes a discussion of endless conjecture.

I'll give you that. It certainly is a downward spiral into the rabbit hole.


Peanut wrote:I don't think JP Moreland really goes the presuppositional route with any of his apologetics or at least he doesn't do it in Scaling the Secular City. He's more into the arguments for the existence of God. So this really isn't relevant to this thread at all. Still I like talking Apologetics so I'll give some quick thoughts about this and other things.

You're right that he doesn't, but I remember that textbook explaining presuppositional apologetics. My point in bringing that up is that it's the only argument apologists really have when it comes to epistemology.

Doesn't work? Ryan,that test was right, you are a pragmatist. :lol:

NOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: J P Moreland

Postby starseven » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:00 am

I know this goes a little of topic. Has anyone else come to the conclusion that there are mutually dependent concepts? What I mean by this that one gives definition to the other. If you didn't have one the other would have no definition. A good example would be infinite and finite.
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Re: J P Moreland

Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:43 am

That's an element of Derrida's concept of Differance. His goes further in that there are all these binary opposites, e.g.
Good vs Evil, Man vs Woman, Light vs Dark. His goal is that he attempts to deconstruct these binary opposites.
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Re: J P Moreland

Postby starseven » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:46 am

I never was really taught this particular concept. I came to understand it through my own reasoning. The nature of it shows through numerous philosophical systems. The way I came to understand is in this way. If you understand light it gives you the contrast to understand dark. If you don't understand one or the other you never really fully understand the opposite. If all was light and there wasn't any shadow or dark. How would you understand light?
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Re: J P Moreland

Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:29 pm

Well Derrida actually goes a very interesting route with all of this. I'll just quote Wikipedia:

In the essay "Différance" Derrida indicates that différance gestures at a number of heterogeneous features that govern the production of textual meaning. The first (relating to deferral) is the notion that words and signs can never fully summon forth what they mean, but can only be defined through appeal to additional words, from which they differ. Thus, meaning is forever "deferred" or postponed through an endless chain of signifiers. The second (relating to difference, sometimes referred to as espacement or "spacing") concerns the force that differentiates elements from one another and, in so doing, engenders binary oppositions and hierarchies that underpin meaning itself.


This goes towards the idea that meaning is really impossible to grasp or differentiate. Going back to objective reality...
how can we know it? All words are metaphors.
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Re: J P Moreland

Postby starseven » Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:20 am

I think one of the more interesting things you come across when reading philosophy is the fact that it seems in many cases you find that certain ideas are most of the time present. This isn't always the case. It's similar to if you study law or ethics. You find the many systems share the same basic structures. It's funny because many times the people who came up with them didn't live in the same time and weren't in the same part of the world. Some living in the same time still came to similar conclusions even considering the fact that they weren't influenced by another philosopher with a similar concept. This is where I think there is plenty of ground to be gained. I'm very much into studying the structure of peoples knowledge and how it's similar and differs.
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