Philosophical Insight

You've heard of Ockham's Razor.  Now there's VDB's Beard – and more.  Here is a portion of an email I recently received from former Providence student and former Philosophy Foosball Blogmaster Mark Jensen who is presently doing a Master's degree at CMU (published here with Mark's permission):

"We are not obligated to choose between Biola or Calvin. Rather we have a more compelling third option: Providence. Our name is not a coincidence, we really are that good! While Calvin has Plantinga's reformed epistemology and Smith's sympathetic treatment of Derrida; Biola has their rockstar Christian philosophers of religion such as Craig and Moreland who deliver knock-out arguments that demonstrate the reasonableness of theism. Both groups are fine in what they do, but they are no match for our unique school of philosophy. Providence has the subtle and attentive logical principle of van der Breggen's beard, which demands careful reading and careful thinking which always has the question of truth at the forefront. Not only that, we have [Phil] Wiebe's aesthetics of pipe smoking–a favorable alternative to Nietzsche's aesthetization of life–which teaches us to value simple pleasures while maintaining modesty and temperance towards our enjoyment of them. Moreover, we have [Kyle] Derkson's post-Quineian philosophy of language which illustrates how bizarre language can be but that fact is not a sufficient reason to doubt the veracity of language's ability to communicate. And I like watching professional wrestling and reading dead German intellectuals."

More of Mark Jensen's thinking can be found at his blog Dining with the Queen: On Theology. I think Mark Jensen also likes wrestling with and reading the work of live Slovenian philosophers – maybe too much.  Too much or too little, if beards could talk, my beard would say thanks (to Mark, not Slavoj).


Art and Academics

As a BTS student, I have to read a lot of commentaries. Commentaries are great for getting some really good information to write papers, but honestly, they get pretty dry. I've been taking an Aesthetics class with VDB this semester which has opened my mind to the truth telling properties of various art forms. Recently, I had the very great pleasure of stumbling upon a commentary that took all that is good and informative in traditional commentaries, and presented the information in a free-verse poetic style. That little touch of art really made the academic chore transform into a pleasure. You can check it out here. What do PFCers think of mixing art and academia? This type of creative writing fits well in the philosophical tradition as started by the dialogues of Socrates.

Most Valuable Player

To whom will the 2011-12 Philosophy Foosball Club MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD go? Find out at the PFC lunch on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.

Update (April 12, 2012): The recipient of this year's MVP Award is Ryan Turnbull.  Congratulations Ryan!

Update (April 21, 2012): The recipient of this year's Philosophy Award is Phil Wiebe. Congratulations Phil!

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses

Here is biblical scholar and theologian Richard Bauckham on the Gospels as eyewitness testimony. Food for thought as we celebrate Easter.

On Pagan Parallels

Do Pagan parallels to the resurrection of Jesus count against the evidence for Jesus' resurrection?  Here's a helpful 2-minute video from New Testament scholar Mike Licona.

P.S. Happy Easter!

Spring philosophy course

213.34 Special Studies in Philosophy of Religion (William Lane Craig's campus apologetics) - April 23-27, 2012