Tuesday, February 24, 2015

ePistemologian's Progress

All of this should be read in the context of Colossians 2:8ff.  Therefore, Christian philosophy.   While these aren’t all of the books on the subject I’ve read, nor would I agree with all of the authors now, but this can be seen roughly chronologically.  Obviously, this isn’t every piece of philosophy I have read.  I am leaving out most of the Christian philosophical works (Van Til, Rushdoony, etc).  I know I have read more, but I can’t remember.

Zacharias, Ravi.  Lots of his stuff.  I suppose it’s valuable, though I would rather listen to Ravi than read him. (2002).

Augustine.  Confessions.  Most important Christian piece of philosophy ever written.  Especially the sections on Time.  (2003)

Kierkegaard, Soren.  Works of Love.  I had to read it for a liberal philosophy of religion class.  I wasn’t mature enough at the time to really understand what he was saying.  (2003).

Moreland, J P.  Love your God with all your mind.   Easily the best book on discipleship (though not necessarily Moreland’s intention).  Some of it could be naive culture warriorship, and it is by no means an apologetical answerbook, but still it is a lot of fun. (2003)

Russell, Betrand.  A History of Western Philosophy.  Admittedly, he is  a depraved pagan, but he can write. (2005).

Tarnas, Richard.  The Passion of the Western Mind.  Mostly good survey.  Torpedoes at the end when he gets all hippy-psychosis-womb theory.  (2005).

Wolterstorff, Nicholas.  Reason within the Limits of Religion.  One of the first forays against evidentialism.  Very accessible.  (2006).

Clark, Kelly James.  Return to Reason.  Best introduction to “Reformed Epistemology” (2007).

Wood, Jay.  Epistemology.  Great intro to modern discussions.  Shows how problematic evidentialism is and points to some Reidian-Plantingian alternatives.  (2007).

Plato.  Dialogues.  Most important book written in Western philosophy.  Very crucial for epistemology.  Very bad suggestions for ethics and politics.  (2008)

Boethius.  Consolation of Philosophy.  I think more people hold to his view of God-Time than they realize. I do not.  (2008).
Marx, Karl.  Communist Manifesto.  I read this the same time Obama was running for office.  Coincidence?  (2008).

Moreland, JP and Craig, William Lane.  Philosophical Foundations of a Christian Worldview.  Super hard read.  Took me about ten years to work through it.  I hope your Boolean logic is up to speed.  On the positive, I can’t imagine any book that treats such a wide range of very difficult issues in so succinct a manner.

Heidegger, Martin.  Basic Writings.  Sometimes insightful, often incoherent.  If you begin with being in general instead of the Triune God, you cannot escape Heidegger’s critique (2011).

Zizek, Slavoj. Living in the End Times.  A critical update from a neo-Marxist atheist.  Some brilliant insights on liberal democracy.  However, I did feel a dark presence in the room when I was reading it.  God used Thomas Reid to rescue me from this Hegelianism.  (2011).

Guenon, Rene. Metaphysical Principles, Traditional Doctrines.  Actually very valuable, if for dark and negative reasons.  I commend the desire for traditional society, but Guenon interprets it in chain-of-being/Platonic models.  Unwittingly shows how evil and dangerous the Philosophia Perennis is.  (2012).

Hegel.  Philosophy of Right and Philosophy of History.  I read this during  a tough time in my life.  I eventually had to say no to Hegel because he is basically hermetic darkness. (2012).

Plato. Timeaus.  I liked The Republic better.  Of course, it’s important to know about the Demiurge, who is the same figure in Arian Christology and Masonic Luciferianism.  (2012)
Plantinga, Alvin.  Does God Have a Nature?  I agree with his criticisms of Thomist simplicity.  I fear Plantinga overshoots his target.  (2012).

Reid, Thomas.  Essays and Inquiry.  A refreshing walk through the Scottish moors.  Dispelled the darkness of Hegel and powerfully showed, contra Anchoretic solipsism today, that God did create me in a way that I can read and understand texts.  (2012).

Rand, Ayn. Anthem.  Probably the most articulate fictional account of Satanism ever penned.  (2012).

Pannenberg, Wolfhart.  Metaphysik und Gottesgedank.  Showed how metaphysics is inescapable, but that doesn’t commit us to substance ontologies.  (2013).

Wolterstorff, Nicholas.  Thomas Reid and the Story of Epistemology.  Not much on epistemology’s story and the selections on Reid were odd.   Still, a valuable work.  (2013).

Nietzsche, Fr.  Basic Writings.  Sometimes brilliant; often insane.  (2014).

———–.  Thus Spoke Zarathustra.  Proving gnostics cannot write good stories. (2014).
Descartes, Rene. Meditations.  I understand why it is important, but I didn’t like it.  (2014).

Plantinga, Alvin.  Warranted Christian Belief.  A fun and informative read.  Occasionally loses one in the symbolic logic, but excellent on what he covers. (2014).

Wolterstorff, Nicholas.  Divine Discourse.  Speech-act theory.  Some good sections.  (2014).

Plantinga, Alvin.  Warrant and Proper Function and Warrant the Current Debate.  (2015).  Great intro to modern epistemology debates.


  1. Thanks for the great recommendations! Which one of the recommendations would you recommend as a starting point? After I finish book three of the Institutes here in the next couple days, I plan on reading some Thomas Reid I have lined up.

    Also it's interesting to here of your own existential struggles. I remember seeing you write on the PB about how you almost fell into Eastern Orthodoxy, and on this post you write about how you almost became a Hegelian. I'm glad that the Lord has delivered you from error!

    Grace and Peace,

    Evan Kramer

  2. email me at jacob dot aitken at gmail dot com if you want to hear more of my existential struggles.

    As to where to start: Reid's pretty easy and a lot of fun to read. He was actually a brilliant prose stylist. The only problem is that he is responding to Locke and Hume, so he assumes familiarity with them.

    The best textbook on Christian philosophy is probably Moreland and Craig. It is highly technical, though. Took me ten years to read it. Kelly James Clark's Return to Reason is really good. Jay Wood's book on epistemology is another one.