History of Philosophy and Christian Thought - Lesson 43


Similarities between Kant's ideas and postmodernism.

Ronald Nash
History of Philosophy and Christian Thought
Lesson 43
Watching Now

Nineteenth-Century Philosophy

Part 4

I. Immanuel Kant (part 4)

A. Understanding Kant

B. Kant's Two Worlds

C. Response to Kant's Philosophy


D. Kant and Postmodernism

  • Thales and Anaximander were two philosophers in the sixth century BC that lived in Miletus.

  • Heraclitus and Pythagoras lived into the 5th century BC.

  • Any worldview addresses the subjects of God, ultimate reality, human knowledge, ethics and human persons.

  • Fundamental beliefs of a naturalistic worldview is that nothing exists outside the physical universe and that all things evolved.

  • Plato was a student of Socrates and lived into the fourth century BC. He opposed hedonism, empiricism, relativism, materialism, atheism and naturalism.

  • Plato described the universe as having three levels: the world of particulars, the world of forms, and the form of the good.

  • Plato's view of the universe was dualistic.

  • One of Plato's fundamental arguments is that the human soul is immortal.

  • Evaluation of Plato's arguments and comparison of Plato's philosophy with biblical theology.

  • Empiricism teaches that all human knowledge arises from sense experience. Rationalism teaches that some human knowledge does not arise from sense. experience

  • Aristotle was a student of Plato and lived in the fourth century BC.

  • Aristotle rejected Plato's doctrine of two worlds.

  • Discussion of Aristotelian philosophy as it relates to the incarnation.

  • Aristotle's philosophy as it relates to attributes of God and fundamental assumptions about psychology.

  • Aristotle made a distinction between passive intellect and active intellect.

  • Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the law of non-contradiction.

  • Discussion of the nature and substance of matter.

  • Hellenistic philosophy was an approach that was popular from the fourth century BC to the fifth century AD.

  • Stoics were determinists who believed in living according to nature.

  • Hedonism emphasized pleasure as the greatest good. "Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we might be dead."

  • Philo's philosophy was based on a synthesis of Stoicism and Platonism.

  • Implicit "Logos" Christianity is an underlying theme in the book of Hebrews.

  • Plotinus lived in the third century AD and is considered the founder of Neoplatonism.

  • Augustine is a Latin church father, is considered by many to be one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity.

  • Augustine wrote Confessions as an autobiographical work to record his experience as a sinful youth and his experience becoming a follower of Christ.

  • Augustine wrote to refute some heresies of the day by focusing on the concepts of faith and reason.

  • Augustine writes about the problem of evil and describes evil as the absence of good.

  • Augustine writes to refute Pelagianism by focusing on the biblical teaching about sin.

  • Augustine writes to refute Donatism.

  • The fundamental idea of skepticism is that no one can know anything. Augustine this statement contradicts itself because the skeptic is claiming that you can know that you can't know anything.

  • When Augustine wrote "The City of God," he had a linear view of history.

  • In Augustine's theory of knowledge, he says that eternal reason and human reason are two different levels of reason.

  • Augustine was personally convinced of the importance of divine illumination.

  • The intellectual background of Thomas Aquinas was influenced by the discovery of ancient manuscripts, the rise of universities, the rise of religious brotherhoods and the rise of Muslim philosophy.

  • Aquinas describes faith as whatever a human can know through special revelation, and reason as whatever a human can know outside of special revelation.

  • Aquinas attempts to prove God's existence.

  • Aquinas describes four kinds of law as eternal, divine, natural and positive.

  • The rationalists and empiricists set the stage for Kant and other philosophers of the modern era.

  • Kant argued that moral requirements are based on a standard of rationality he dubbed the “Categorical Imperative."

  • Kants two worlds are the phenomenal world and the noumenal world.

  • Discussion of criticisms and questions about Kant's ideas.

  • Similarities between Kant's ideas and postmodernism.

  • The dialectic is a central idea in Hegel's philosophy.

  • Ideally, Marxism begins with class struggle, then revolution, dictatorship of the proletariat, withering away of the state, and a utopian classless society.

  • Discussion of four faces of Marxism.

  • Nietzsche proclaimed that, "God is dead." His cure was to live life knowing there is no ultimate meaning. Kierkegaard emphasized a worldview based on true faith.

In this class, you will explore the rich history of philosophy and its relationship with Christian thought. The course begins with an introduction to the definition and importance of philosophy in Christian theology. You will then delve into the evolution of philosophical thought from the Pre-Socratic era, through the Classical Greek philosophers, and into the Hellenistic period. As you progress, you will discover how early Christian thought emerged and developed during the Patristic period, with a special focus on Augustine. The class continues with an examination of medieval Christian thinkers, such as Anselm and Thomas Aquinas, and concludes with an analysis of modern philosophers like Descartes, Kant, and Kierkegaard, and their influence on contemporary Christian thought.

Dr. Ronald Nash

History of Philosophy and Christian Thought



Lesson Transcript


[00:00:02] I always quote one sentence from the critique of pure reason because it is so funny. Now, none of you are going to laugh, but it is the funniest sentence ever written in the history of philosophy. Can't, says the following. This is what I have destroyed. Reason In order to make a room. I'm sorry for faith. Now, in order for you to see how funny this is. I command you to read one paragraph from the critique of pure reason. I don't care what paragraph it is. Okay. I guarantee that paragraph will be absolutely unintelligible. Okay. But what Cat is saying in this sentence is the critique of Pure reason is an apologetics book. He wrote this book to defend the Christian faith. Let me tell you, with friends like cop. The Christian faith needs no enemies. Okay. This is deserving of several comments. First of all, Conte was a was the leader of the German Enlightenment and Enlightenment. That means that Conte typified the modern world. That is the that is opposed by postmodernists. Postmodernists are enemies of the Enlightenment. They are enemies of modernity. And modernity translates roughly into the Enlightenment. And one of the objections that postmodernists have to the Enlightenment is it's too much reason, it's too much rationalism. Here is one leader of the Enlightenment who tells us that he wrote the critique of Pure Reason in order to destroy reason so as to make room for an irrational, utterly subjective, theologically content loss of faith. This is postmodernism right here. Postmodernists. Don't know who the enemy is. The answer is they are the enemy. All right. Postmodernists have no idea what the Enlightenment was all about. There is a sense in which the postmodernists are really ultra modernists. Now, this is also related to conch wall.


[00:03:10] I didn't really talk about this last week, and I guess I you're going to have to go back to the word of God in the mind of man book. Okay. If people would only pay attention to the ways in which the worst features of the Enlightenment have become incarnated in the absurdities of postmodernism. That's. That's crazy. Which once again, which once again gives added impetus to my claim that I am the world's first post post modernist. You will hear people say that I am and other people like me are dinosaurs. We're trying to move the world back 200 years to the Enlightenment. No, we're not. We are ahead of the curve. We represent the future. You've never heard that before. We are not trying to go back in earlier than postmodernism. We're trying to get out of this maze that foolish people have put us in. Okay, post postmodernism. Now, the next point I want to make here is point to contest. Quote quote, provides support for my claim that when postmodernists describe themselves as enemies of reason, they don't know what they're talking about. They do not know what they're talking about. And so I want to give you a little discourse on the word reason in the context of the Enlightenment and the context of postmodernism and in the enlightened concept of post postmodernism. That's a beautiful sentence I just said there. Okay. There are two meanings of the word reason. Two meanings of the word reason. In sense, one reason really means the laws of logic, the laws of logical thinking, which are objective, universal, and so on. Okay, The laws of logic apply to everybody, just like the laws of mathematics apply to everybody. The laws of logic, the law of non contradiction.


[00:05:42] It is objective. It is universally true. It is necessarily true. Now listen to me. No one during the Enlightenment used the word reason. In this sense, no one during the Enlightenment be It can't be a David HUME who was of the Scottish Enlightenment, be advised, tear the French Enlightenment, be a John Locke, the English Enlightenment. So we've covered the German, the Scottish, the French, and the British English Enlightenment. None of those people attacked or or or had anything really to say about logic. That's what I want to talk about. That's what I want to say here. When those people attacked Christianity and they did, David HUME did, Kant did, Voltaire did. John Locke came to the place where he too attacked Christianity. They didn't attack Christianity because it was illogical. They attacked Christianity because of a different sense of the word reason, which is best described with the substitute word reasoning. The reason why the members of the Enlightenment rejected Christianity was because their minds couldn't accept miracles. But that's not the laws of logic. This is simply subjective reasoning. What they were basically saying is, I think Christianity stinks. That's what they were saying in the Enlightenment. Okay. Now, here is one of the great ironies in the history of non thinking. Postmodernists mistakenly think that it was this kind of logic that constituted the basis for the rejection of Christianity by Enlightenment figures like convert HUME and so on. They are wrong. It was this sense of reason that constituted the basis for their rejection of the Christian faith. They basically said, I reject Christianity because I don't accept this kind of reasoning. It was purely subjective. But now we come to the year 2000, 2001, and our postmodernist friends, and they're not our friends.


[00:08:32] All right. Still have it wrong because what they're doing, the postmodernists, they're rejecting logic. They are rejecting objective laws of reason, which never was a part of the Enlightenment case against Christianity. And you know what the postmodernists are are defending in place of the laws of logic. They're defending the same kind of subjective reason that was the heart and essence of the Enlightenment. If you don't see that irony. This is the kind of reason that Enlightenment figures used to reject the Christian faith. And this is the kind of reason that is part and parcel of present day postmodernism. How can you regard postmodernists as the enemies of modernity when they are simply carrying the essential tradition of modernity into our own age? Ooh, ooh, ooh. And I proved that you can. I mean, if there's anything in cart that is clear, it is his proposition that I have destroyed reason in order to make room for faith. And you find that in HUME as well. Thank you for listening to this lecture brought to you by biblical training, dawg. Feel free to make copies of this lecture to give to others, but please do not charge for these copies or alter the content in any way without permission. We invite you to visit our website at W WW dot Biblical training dawg. There you will find the finest in evangelical teaching for use in the home and the church. And it is absolutely free. Our curriculum includes classes for new believers, lay education classes, and seminary level classes taught by some of the finest seminary teachers drawn from a wide range of evangelical traditions. Our mailing address is Post Office Box 28428. Spokane, Washington 99228 USA.