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Philosophical Foundations Review

07/11/2011

Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview deserves a huge amount of credit for what it accomplishes. It describes with reasonable depth every major area of philosophy, from metaphysics, to philosophy of science, in a Christian context. For this reason, this book has much value for both the believer trying to develop a more sophisticated worldview, or the non-believer who is looking for a thoughtful version of Christianity as a whole.

Still, the ideological biases become apparent when the actual points in the book are subjected to more critical scrutiny. A salient example will make this more clear. A recent survey on philpapers.org found that only 13.7% of philosophers accept libertarian free will, and many philosophers have gone so far as to call libertarian free will incoherent. The book’s section on free will, while seemingly leaving the debate open to the reader, ultimately ends up solely making points critical of compatibilitism, making no room for the substantive professional critiques of libertarian free will. This is no surprise, since Craig’s favored “middle knowledge” notion presupposes free will, as does the “free will defense” against problem of evil. The defense of Christian Particularism is also defended in large part with an appeal to free will. It is important to note that none of these doctrines or notions are defended (or likely can be defended) from a compatibilist or determinist standpoint, which goes far in explaining why the authors neglect to provide the substantive critiques of libertarian free will.

Although much of the book is relatively uncontroversial, the authors’ uses of selective criticism can be found in many chapters, including The Mind-Body Problem, Philosophy of Time and Space, nearly all of Part V- Ethics, as well as the chapters on the existence of God.

So despite the great value this book provides, it is apparent that the authors are primarily interested in supporting their theistic worldview, even at the cost of intellectual honesty and accuracy. Given the great deal of sophistication, and as noted in almost all positive reviews, the ideologically driven will find over 600 pages with which to fuel a raging confirmation bias. Skeptical believers and non-believers will find an impressive tome, which, despite it flaws, will provide a highly sophisticated and worthwhile example of a Christian worldview.

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