If

“If there were no eternal consciousness in a man, if at the bottom of everything there were only a wild ferment, a power that twisting in dark passions produced everything great or inconsequential; if an unfathomable, insatiable emptiness lay hid beneath everything, what would life be but despair?”

Favorite Philosophers (2): Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) was born in Austria and spent much of his life in Cambridge. He lived a fascinating and very sad life – for example, three of his four brothers committed suicide. His main areas of focus are logic, math, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language. His two major works are Tractacus Logico-Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations. He has had a huge impact across many disciplines, and is considered by some to be greatest philosopher of 20th century. Wittgenstein does not fit into any philosophical school, but he is similar to Kant in his emphasis on the limits of…

Favorite Philosophers (1): Camus

I am starting a new series of posts reflecting on some of my favorite philosophers. (When I say “favorite” I mean philosophers whom I have enjoyed studying and whose ideas I find poignant and interesting – not that I necessarily agree with their views.) My first selection is Albert Camus (1913-1960), a Nigerian-born French writer and existentialist philosopher (the “s” at the end of his last name is silent). I studied Camus in a class on existentialism in college and read two of his books: The Stranger and The Myth of Sisyphus (TMOS). His philosophy is often called “Absurdim” (although…

Thoughts on Reading Kierkegaard

In a previous post, I argued that Kierkegaard was not an irrationalist, as he is commonly viewed. In this post I want to address a few more issues in reading and interpreting Kierkegaard. Why study Kierkegaard at all? If nothing else, understanding Kierkegaard helps us understand modern cultural phenomena better, especially postmodern epistemology, existentialism, and many issues related to the emerging church. In addition, many of Kierkegaard’s religious works, such as his Edifying Discourses, Works of Love, and Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing have (in my opinion) great devotional value. Those of us who are evangelicals can…

Was Kierkegaard an Irrationalist?

One of the most fascinating thinkers of recent times is Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855), the Danish philosopher and theologian often called “the father of existentialism.” I first discovered Kierkegaard while studying abroad in Britain in the fall of 2005, and was immediately drawn to him and began devouring his books. Once I was back in the states, I took two classes on him as I was finishing up my philosophy degree in college. Of extra-biblical writers, only C.S. Lewis has done more to shape my thinking, and no other personality in history except Christ has gripped me so poignantly. Reading…