Chapter 1: Clarity, Philosophy and Reason

1. Clarity

i need for clarity: meaning vs. nihilism

ii skepticism and fideism lead to nihilism

iii basic belief and clarity

2. What is Philosophy?—Five Features

i area: foundation and goal

ii attitude: love of wisdom

iii method: critical use of reason

iv application: self-examination

v system: world and life view

3. What is Reason?

i reason in itself: the laws of thought

ii reason in its use: formative, critical, interpretive, constructive

iii reason in us: natural, ontological, transcendental, fundamental

Chapter 2: Skepticism and Fideism

1. Sources of Skepticism: Popular, Philosophical and Personal

i worldview pluralism

ii pragmatism and skepticism

iii truth and power

iv construction and deconstruction

v relativism and tolerance

vi tradition and transcendence

vii persuasion and proof

viii appearance and reality: common sense and realism

ix intuition and certainty: sign and reality

x empiricism: knowledge by sense experience

xi reason: its uses, its limits and its limited use

xii attitude: the fundamental source of skepticism

2. Sources of Fideism: Popular, Theological and Personal

i sensus divinitatis: is knowledge of God immediate or inferred?

ii knowledge and accountability

iii the magisterial vs. the ministerial use of reason

iv ontology and epistemology: can reason grasp ultimate reality?

v faith and reason

vi reason and the testimonium Spiritu Sancti

vii reason and the particular

viii reason and rationalism

ix reason and hermeneutics

x piety and intellect

xi reason and the mysteries of the faith

xii reason and personality

3. Twelve Informal Fallacies: Persuasion by Pseudo-Arguments

Chapter 3: Knowledge, Argument and Presupposition

1. Definition of Knowledge—Challenges and Responses

2. Knowledge by Reason and Argument

i first act of reason: concept—essence, word and ambiguity

ii second act of reason: judgment—contradictions and contraries

iii third act of reason: argument—validity and soundness

3. Presupposition: Our Most Basic Belief

i most basic concept and most basic belief: about what is eternal

ii two basic beliefs: all is eternal and only some is eternal

iii classification of worldviews by basic beliefs

iv presuppositions are held more or less consciously and more or less consistently

Chapter 4: On Eternality and Causality

1. There Must Be Something Eternal

i proof by reductio argument: no being from non-being

ii analysis of being from non-being

2. There Are No Uncaused Events

i analysis of appeal to uncaused events

ii uncaused events and being from non-being


Chapter 5: Material Monism

1. Introduction: Definition, Forms of Encounter, Historical Background and Worldview Implications

2. The First Argument against Material Monism: The Material Universe is not Self-Maintaining

i in general: the problem of entropy

ii in its parts: the sun and the stars

iii as a whole: the big bang oscillating universe and inflationary universe

3. The Second Argument against Material Monism: Based on the Analysis of Thought

i the mind is not the brain: thinking is not motion of atoms in the brain

ii many forms of reductionism and problems with reductionism in general

4. The Third Argument against Material Monism: Based on the Analysis of Perception

i the mind is not the brain: a neural impulse is not a mental image

ii three objections to the analysis of perception and response to each

5. The Fourth Argument against Material Monism: The Naturalistic View of Origins is not based on Science.

Three issues in the controversy concerning origins:

i is the question of origins a matter of science or religion or philosophy?

assumptions not argued for in science and religion vs. philosophy

ii which assumption best interprets the data: uniformity or non-uniformity?

a. geological data: seven phenomena

b. biological data: the four stages from non-life to human life

c. astronomical data: cosmological order and age of the cosmos

iii is a compromise position—theistic evolution—possible? four problems

Chapter 6: Spiritual Monism and Anti-Realism

1. Introduction

i definition, forms of encounter and spiritual monist worldview

ii reincarnation: reasons for and against

2. Idealism and Anti-Realism: Is Reality Mind Dependent?

i the brain in the vat/matrix problem

ii Berkeley: esse est percipi

iii Kant on causality and the noumenal world

iv Shankara: absolute non-dual (advaita) Vedanta

v Ramanuja: qualified non-dual Vedanta

vi Nagarjuna: the middle way

vii pragmatism and the enterprise of knowing

viii deconstructing postmodernism

ix Kierkegaard’s view of faith in Abraham—an alternative existential analysis

Chapter 7: Dualism and Logically Possible Worlds

1. Dualism—Introduction

i the appeal of dualism and objections to its appeal

ii persistence of dualistic attitudes in popular theism

iii Plato: ordinary dualism and objections

iv Aristotle: dependent dualism and objections

2. Logically Possible Worlds

i new forms of skepticism: being beyond properties; becoming without being; beyond excluded middle

ii logically possible worlds and the actual world; reason and imagination: science fiction and fantasy literature

Chapter 8: Theism

1. Introduction: Problems of Fideism and Definition of “God” in Theism

2. Preliminary Problems Regarding Creation Ex Nihilo

3. The Problem of Evil in David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, and beyond Hume

4. Hume’s Five Solutions and Response to Each

5. The Free Will Solution and Four Objections

6. An Ironic Solution

i the nature of the problem of evil: a problem for man as a rational being

ii the definition of “good” and “evil” in light of the clarity of general revelation

iii the parable of the prodigal son, explained and applied to world history

iv why is there moral evil?: purpose and resolution in world history

v why is there natural evil?: purpose and resolution in world history

vi irony in the problem of evil restated


Chapter 9: The Good and the Moral Law

1. The definition of ethics and explanation of the definition

2. The necessary conditions for rational justification in ethics

3. There is a moral law which is clear, comprehensive and critical

Chapter 10: Moral Law 1: The Good and God

1. Origin: by nature we make choices of means and ends

2. Analysis: the good is the end in itself; rational justification for the ground of the good

3. Moral Law 1: the good is determined by human nature as created by God

4. Applications: what is opposed by the nature of the good, grounded in God the creator

5. Consequences inherent in affirming or denying the good and its ground

Chapter 11: Moral Law 2: Thinking and Presupposition

1. Origin: by nature we think; by nature we distinguish the finite and the infinite

2. Analysis: thinking is presuppositional; we think of the less basic in light of the more basic

3. Moral Law 2: we are not to think of the infinite (God) in light of the finite (man)

4. Applications: misconceptions of the divine nature which have divided theists

5. Consequences inherent in affirming or denying presuppositional thinking about the nature of God

Chapter 12: Moral Law 3: Integrity and Knowledge

1. Origin: each person is by nature a unity in being, not a divided being

2. Analysis: integrity as a concern for consistency is necessary and sufficient for knowledge

3. Moral Law 3: we should have integrity: we should be consistent, not divided, in our thoughts and actions

4. Applications: integrity is opposed to all inconsistency in what we say and do

5. Consequences inherent in affirming or denying integrity

Chapter 13: Moral Law 4: Work and Hope

1. Origin: to bring into being and to sustain in being requires work

2. Analysis: the end of work is the good; the nature of the good; the certainty of hope

3. Moral Law 4: we are to work with hope for the good

4. Applications: true hope is opposed to false hope and to no hope concerning the good

5. Consequences inherent in affirming or denying work and hope

Chapter 14: Moral Law 5: Authority and Insight

1. Origin: we are born ignorant; we need to be taught the good and the means to it

2. Analysis: authority is rational, based on insight which is historically cumulative

3. Moral Law 5: authority based on insight must be honored; authority without insight must be changed where possible

4. Applications: what is opposed is false authority in principles, in persons and in institutional practices

5. Consequences inherent in affirming or denying authority based on insight

Chapter 15: Moral Law 6: Human Dignity and Rationality

1. Origin: we are born human with a dignity which distinguishes us from animals

2. Analysis: human dignity consists in the capacity to understand; human society is a society of rational beings

3. Moral Law 6: we are to affirm human dignity; we are to treat others as having the ability and responsibility to understand

4. Applications: what is opposed is all forms of denial of human dignity

5. Consequences inherent in affirming or denying human dignity

Chapter 16: Moral Law 7: Love and Fidelity

1. Origin: human beings are born of a sexual union of one man and one woman

2. Analysis: sexual union is a natural sign and seal of love; a full union is monogamous and lasting; love in marriage seeks the good for and with the other (spiritual fidelity)

3. Moral Law 7: there is an order for marriage which protects love and fidelity

4. Applications: what is opposed in ordinary infidelity is rooted in all forms of spiritual infidelity

5. Consequences inherent in affirming or denying love and fidelity

Chapter 17: Moral Law 8: Value and Talent

1. Origin: no one values all things alike; value is a function of supply and demand

2. Analysis: demand is a function of one’s view of the good; supply is a function of talent; the nature, origin and development of talent

3. Moral Law 8: we are to develop our talent in pursuit of the good in service to others

4. Applications: what is opposed is the neglect, abuse and hindrance of the use of talent

5. Consequences inherent in affirming or denying the use of talent in pursuit of the good

Chapter 18: Moral Law 9: Truth and Justice

1. Origin: we are born equal; in justice equals are treated equally

2. Analysis: the nature of justice; truth is necessary and sufficient to correct and to prevent injustice

3. Moral Law 9: we are to know and speak the truth to prevent injustice

4. Applications: what is opposed is what hinders the pursuit of truth to prevent injustice

5. Consequences inherent in affirming or denying the pursuit of truth for justice

Chapter 19: Moral Law 10: Suffering and The Good

1. Origin: we are born changeable; we can change in our belief concerning the good

2. Analysis: suffering arises when we believe we cannot possess what we conceive to be the good; on the nature of the good, moral evil and natural evil

3. Moral Law 10: we are to be content in pursuing what truly is the good

4. Applications: what is opposed is all forms of discontent rooted in misconceptions about the good

5. Consequences inherent in affirming or denying what truly is the good

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