Popper on Ontology, Epistemology, and Ethical Truth

Another great one from one of my favorite philosophers, Karl Popper, a self-proclaimed "critical rationalist": "It is important to realize that science does not make assertions about ultimate questions - about the riddles of existence, or about man's task in the world. This has often been well understood. But some great scientists, and many lesser ones, have misunderstood the situation. The fact that science cannot make any pronouncement about ethical principles has been misinterpreted as … [Read more...]

On Aristotle, classical theism, and the God of the Philosophers

To Aristotle and classical theists (a club which I am a proud member), God is the ultimate cause and necessity of which all contingent things depend. In the Aristotelian view, Wisdom relies on understanding causation which include material, efficient, formal, and final causes. God is pure Act, the final cause toward which all things move. The final cause, which Aristotle also labels the first cause, is often confused for the efficient cause, positing god as "a being" who simply set the world in m … [Read more...]

David Bentley Hart on the Concept of God

A gem from author and philosopher David Bentley Hart on the concept of God and the shallowness of today's typical discussions: "While there has been a great deal of public debate about belief in God in recent years (much of it a little petulant, much of it positively ferocious), the concept of God around which the arguments have run their seemingly interminable courses has remained strangely obscure the whole time. The more scrutiny one accords these debates, moreover, the more evident it … [Read more...]

Descartes on Doubt

Descartes, one of the most celebrated mathematicians and philosophers of all time. A believer (Catholic), on the necessity of doubt (also the opening quote of my book Proof of Divine): "That in order to seek truth, it is necessary once in the course of our life, to doubt, as far as possible, of all things. As we were at one time children, and as we formed various judgments regarding the objects presented to our senses, when as yet we had not the entire use of our reason, numerous prejudices … [Read more...]

Karl Popper on Faith, Transcendence, and a Third World

One of my favorite philosophers, Karl Popper, on his belief in a "Third World". “I do think that all men, including myself, are religious. We do all believe in something more–and it is difficult to find the right words–than ourselves. While I do not want to set up a new kind of faith, what we really believe in is what we call a Third World, something which is beyond us and with which we do interact, in the literal sense of interaction, and through which we can transcend ourselves.” (Edward Zerin … [Read more...]

Kierkegaard on Knowledge, Objective Truth, and Passion

One of my favorite quotes from the "Father of Existentialism"; not an argument against objective moral truth, but on the emptiness of such knowledge without a passionate embrace. "What I really need to get clear about what I am to do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find purpose, to see what it really is that God wills that I should do; the crucial thing is to find a truth that is a truth for me. to find the idea for which I am … [Read more...]