Date: Tue Sep 03 2002 - 21:29:03 EDT
D. F. Siemens, Jr. writes:
As I said before, explaining your objections, and explaining a Christian
Philosophy took me a long time to learn. I cannot give a philosophy course
here, I am sorry, but there are books of which I gave the titles which can
do the job, though not quite as good as a good teacher. I do not have the
time to go in detail answering objections, especially since my wife came
home after having had a shoulder operation.
Just a few remarks again. Mathematics is often said the base of physics
etc. However there were in my time already three very distinct philosphies
of mathematics, discussed by Vollenhoven in 1918: Empirism, Formalism, and
Intuitionism (later after WWII, maybe earlier by some called
constructivism). All of them have to discuss "time", which is maybe
supposed to be without beginning and without end? That is in itself already
a difficult thing to grasp, but which has a lot to do with Creation, and the
Coming back of our Lord. This would make at least a fourth philosophy of
math. These questions are not trivial, but are still discussed more or less
by students and their teachers. I have helped three students who were very
much interested in the subject, and produced theses on it.
As doing physics without mathematics is very difficult, these different
views on math have results in the philosophy of physics. Unfortunately,
many people in physics do not realize the background of modern thinking, and
thus the background of their assumptions, which most of us (myself included)
accept without any questioning. I am more familiar with math, and I know
that "new" math has results in other areas.
In studying nature, there are things from which, I believe, investigators
should stay away. For example, some research in biology involving embryos.
Some students are paying the price already by refusing to be part of that.
These are things which can be easily reasoned. It is much more difficult to
show that much of modern research is motivated by men wanting to play God.
That is not necessarily a naturalist attitude, but it does result in natural
I would love to give yet a course in Christian philosophy, but I am afaid
that I could not keep it up, partly because of my age, and partly because of
other commitments. At the Free University it used to be a prerequisite for
any study field, that you take a two semester course in philosophy, one
about the backgrounds of a Christian philospohy: there is nothing in
creation of which Christ does not say "It is mine". Another about the
history of philosphy showing the backgrounds of modern philosphies, going
back to Greek philosophy and its influence in modern Western society. That
does not only influence what you study but as well how you study it.
I regret, that I simply do not have the time to go into detail upon your
questions. I can point you to a book of essays in Honour of D.H.Th.
Vollehoven, titled "the Idea of a Christian Philosophy." published by Wedge
Publishing Foundation, at that time (1973) in Toronto. I don't think the
company exists any longer, but maybe you can borrow it from some library. I
have in the past pointed to the four-volume work of Dooyeweerd, with whom I
don't agree in all respects, but who on many basic points says the same as
Jan de Koning
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