How do we develop the tools for not being taken in by poor philosphy?

HTacianas

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How do we develop the tools for not being taken in by poor philosphy? Also, dangerious Theology?

Learn good philosophy. And good theology. I recommend The Ladder of Divine Ascent by St. John Climacus. If I had my way about it that book would become part of the new testament.
 
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chevyontheriver

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How do we develop the tools for not being taken in by poor philosphy? Also, dangerious Theology?
Just to be up front, I am philosophical Thomist following Jacques Maritain. Sort of an Aristotelian but more tuned up in the 1200's and the 1900's. Is Thomism perfect? Nope. Pretty good though.

I came to this position after a few years of study of philosophers and the history of philosophy with multiple professors, looking at the Pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics (whom I liked), the Epicurians, Descartes, Kant, Wittgenstein, Buber, and a whole lot of others. One thing that helped me keep my sanity going through it all was Copleston's honking big 'History of Philosophy' . Later Will Durant's honking big 'The Story of Philosophy'. I think Copleston helped me most because he also came from a deliberate point of Thomism and evaluated the different philosophies based on that. It was a pretty commonly available history of philosophy in the 1970's and I could get it volume by volume in paperback. The Durant was from the estate of my father in law.

I suppose I could have just concluded that all philosophy is futile following Luther. I could have concluded with one professor that all philosophy is is social expression (Levi) or that it's all just a footnote to Plato, or I could have gone full Nietzschean (except that I didn't have his particular diseases). I kind of liked Nietzsche's madness though.

The one thing I would avoid is the error of Luther who disdained philosophy, particularly the Scholastics. Luther couldn't quite see that he was himself enveloped in Nominalism, which was a late corruption of Scholasticism. When you say loudly enough that you have no philosophy you really have something but you can't even be critical of what you deny having. It's kind of the same with tradition. Those who say they have no tradition can't be critical of their actual tradition.

Platonism did OK for Christianity for a thousand years and is still fair. Aristotelianism has done OK for 750 years and it is still good following Maritain and the other modern Thomists including even Norman Geisler, the protestant Thomist. Use either of these to evaluate all of the others. And pray real hard that you don't get hoodwinked in the process. Actually that last bit might be the most important advice of all.

Now if you think Thomism is too Catholic for you, check out an article I don't fully agree with of course, but it is interesting: Does Thomism Lead to Catholicism? – NORMAN GEISLER
 
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Unqualified

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Just to be up front, I am philosophical Thomist following Jacques Maritain. Sort of an Aristotelian but more tuned up in the 1200's and the 1900's. Is Thomism perfect? Nope. Pretty good though.

I came to this position after a few years of study of philosophers and the history of philosophy with multiple professors, looking at the Pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics (whom I liked), the Epicurians, Descartes, Kant, Wittgenstein, Buber, and a whole lot of others. One thing that helped me keep my sanity going through it all was Copleston's honking big 'History of Philosophy' . Later Will Durant's honking big 'The Story of Philosophy'. I think Copleston helped me most because he also came from a deliberate point of Thomism and evaluated the different philosophies based on that. It was a pretty commonly available history of philosophy in the 1970's and I could get it volume by volume in paperback. The Durant was from the estate of my father in law.

I suppose I could have just concluded that all philosophy is futile following Luther. I could have concluded with one professor that all philosophy is is social expression (Levi) or that it's all just a footnote to Plato, or I could have gone full Nietzschean (except that I didn't have his particular diseases). I kind of liked Nietzsche's madness though.

The one thing I would avoid is the error of Luther who disdained philosophy, particularly the Scholastics. Luther couldn't quite see that he was himself enveloped in Nominalism, which was a late corruption of Scholasticism. When you say loudly enough that you have no philosophy you really have something but you can't even be critical of what you deny having. It's kind of the same with tradition. Those who say they have no tradition can't be critical of their actual tradition.

Platonism did OK for Christianity for a thousand years and is still fair. Aristotelianism has done OK for 750 years and it is still good following Maritain and the other modern Thomists including even Norman Geisler, the protestant Thomist. Use either of these to evaluate all of the others. And pray real hard that you don't get hoodwinked in the process. Actually that last bit might be the most important advice of all.

Now if you think Thomism is too Catholic for you, check out an article I don't fully agree with of course, but it is interesting: Does Thomism Lead to Catholicism? – NORMAN GEISLER

Thomas? the didymas, doubter?
 
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Fervent

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Familiarity with Scripture and the history of its interpretation. Constant prayer, not only as speaking to God but giving space for God to speak to you. Philosophy and theology that strays too far from Scripture and tradition is bound to be wrong-headed in some way. General critical thinking skills and careful reading, learning about common fallacies especially common language fallacies. Ultimately, it's about trusting God to do the leading rather than trying to build a tower to reach Him.
 
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2PhiloVoid

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How do we develop the tools for not being taken in by poor philosphy? Also, dangerious Theology?

... to avoid the wiles of poor philosophy, you simply remember that what is Sauce for the Goose is Sauce for the Gander.

No one escapes it.
 
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chevyontheriver

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Familiarity with Scripture and the history of its interpretation. Constant prayer, not only as speaking to God but giving space for God to speak to you. Philosophy and theology that strays too far from Scripture and tradition is bound to be wrong-headed in some way. General critical thinking skills and careful reading, learning about common fallacies especially common language fallacies. Ultimately, it's about trusting God to do the leading rather than trying to build a tower to reach Him.
Theology must be done on one's knees to be any good. So too most things in life, including philosophy.
 
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St_Worm2

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Hello @Daniel Marsh, in order to guard yourself against bad philosophy and/or bad theology you have to, first and foremost, be grounded in the "truth". The more that you are (the more that you know and understand what the truth really is, IOW), the more that you will also be able to recognize falsehoods for what they truly are too :oldthumbsup:

Here are a couple of important verses to consider about this from the Lord (granted, v32 below is principally about salvation, but I believe that it has a greater scope of meaning than that alone).

John 8
32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
John 17
17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

So, our continual growth in the knowledge and understanding of God, the Bible and the Christian faith is always essential.

I have personally found that the process that we go through when we memorize the Scriptures (if we are doing so correctly), as well what we do, then, to keep our memory verses in the forefront of our minds and hearts going forward, is the most effective and practical way (or "tool") to grow in and deepen our knowledge and understanding of the truth (the Holy Spirit always plays a major role in this, of course).

The Bible has even more to say about this. For instance,

Joshua 1
8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
Psalm 1
1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the cpath of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Psalm 119
9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word.
11 Thy word I have treasured/hidden in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.
Psalm 119
105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Romans 12
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
2 Timothy 3
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

God bless you!!

--David
 
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How do we develop the tools for not being taken in by poor philosphy? Also, dangerious Theology?

Another way to gain a few tools by which to avoid succumbing to "poor philosophy" is to grab a copy of:

The Philosopher's Tookit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods - Julian Baggini and Peter S. Fosl.
 
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St_Worm2

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Hello again @Daniel Marsh, I don't think that this will be exactly what you are after, but it is a very interesting book on the history of philosophy, a number of our principal philosophers and what they taught, and how what they taught continues to shape our thinking today, even as believers, both for the good and bad.

It's by theologian and pastor, R. C. Sproul, MDiv, PhD.

His book is called The Consequences of Ideas. ($9 on Kindle/$17 paperback)

God bless you!!

--David
p.s. - he has a 35-message video/audio teaching series by the same name, just FYI. The first message can be listened to for free online, but if you want to watch/hear more, I believe the entire 35-part series can be downloaded and/or listened to online for $31 right now.

You'll find it here:

.
 
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Being familiar with rhetoric can help. To better understand the persuasive aspects of philosophical arguments.

article_aligned%402x.jpg


For instance, a philosophy might be presented as purely logical when in fact it relies heavily on emotion and the endorsement of an authority figure. Likewise, a logically sound argument may not be the most persuasive. Perhaps it's just not presented in an optimal manner (which would include appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos). Either way, being able to dismantle and reframe a philosophy's persuasive aspects way will give you a better idea of what you're dealing with. While it may not necessarily reveal whether a philosophical claim is true, it's a useful tool that can help you avoid being taken in by poor philosophies.

It also helps to ask God for discernment and wisdom. There are many worldly philosophies, often changing and contradictory, competing for our attention and our time. Appealing directly to the source of truth can help keep our metaphorical feet on solid ground.
 
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For instance, a philosophy might be presented as purely logical when in fact it relies heavily on emotion and the endorsement of an authority figure.
Isn't that the truth!

I like to start from scratch from time to time. Come back to here and now and what is right in front of me.
But then that is only the raw fact of existence. The meaning of it is left to be determined. And so we begin...
 
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Daniel Marsh

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Hello again @Daniel Marsh, I don't think that this will be exactly what you are after, but it is a very interesting book on the history of philosophy, a number of our principal philosophers and what they taught, and how what they taught continues to shape our thinking today, even as believers, both for the good and bad.

It's by theologian and pastor, R. C. Sproul, MDiv, PhD.

His book is called The Consequences of Ideas. ($9 on Kindle/$17 paperback)

God bless you!!

--David
p.s. - he has a 35-message video/audio teaching series by the same name, just FYI. The first message can be listened to for free online, but if you want to watch/hear more, I believe the entire 35-part series can be downloaded and/or listened to online for $31 right now.

You'll find it here:

.
Library here I come :cool:
 
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Being familiar with rhetoric can help. To better understand the persuasive aspects of philosophical arguments.

article_aligned%402x.jpg


For instance, a philosophy might be presented as purely logical when in fact it relies heavily on emotion and the endorsement of an authority figure. Likewise, a logically sound argument may not be the most persuasive. Perhaps it's just not presented in an optimal manner (which would include appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos). Either way, being able to dismantle and reframe a philosophy's persuasive aspects way will give you a better idea of what you're dealing with. While it may not necessarily reveal whether a philosophical claim is true, it's a useful tool that can help you avoid being taken in by poor philosophies.

It also helps to ask God for discernment and wisdom. There are many worldly philosophies, often changing and contradictory, competing for our attention and our time. Appealing directly to the source of truth can help keep our metaphorical feet on solid ground.
Brother, do you have some good ideas on how to apply that to mormonism? Jehovah's witnesses? Christian Science is eassy to deal with. Just keep asking questions, they will contradict themselves so much, you will think the earth just started spinning backwords.
 
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How do we develop the tools for not being taken in by poor philosphy? Also, dangerious Theology?
The best way is to develop your communication with the Holy Spirit, which God gives to his children through baptism.
 
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In a previous life, I taught at a university. My area was rhetoric and philosophy. Published a few things as well, and helped edit an online philosophy journal.

Aside for the obvious sources, such as the Gospels, there are people we can look to for insight, and they can sharpen our minds against bad argument, bad philosophy / theology, etc.

I would start with Marcus Tullius Cicero. It is he who synthesized and applied Greek and Roman philosophy towards civic and political life. What makes him different (among other things), is his contention that it is not enough that a man be armed with facts, or artifice--it is not enough that a man have some degree of ethos or popularity, but that he must be honorable in order to be an excellent leader or statesman.

Cicero, in his works, presents us with situations and arguments where we are "won over" only to show us that it was a bad argument. Like Plato (The Phaedrus), he shows us how we can be manipulated, even if we are wise.

It is important to learn some formal logic, rhetoric, metaphysics, etc. One does not need to be an expert in any of these things, but it helps guard against being taken in by a bad philosophy or ideology.

Another poster above mentioned Jacques Martain who is also good to read, along with Etienne Gilson (but note, they are dogmatic Catholics)

I would also read Richard M. Weaver's "Ideas Have Consquences" which is imho, the best non-fiction book written in the 20th century. A masterpiece.

For more advanced reading, I would check out philosophers like Richard McKeon, or rhetoricians like Kenneth Burke
 
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