• AI,  Mind

    Thinking Machine: No Such Thing

    By thinking, I mean something more than the capacity to calculate or process information. What I mean by thinking is something like having a thought about something. I guess the best place to start thinking about thinking is me. I think I am a thinking thing. As such, I think about stuff. I believe, hope, entertain, consider, fear, and wish all the time. That’s what I mean by thinking. And a machine cannot do it, not now and not ever. By a machine I mean a material object composed of physical parts arranged in such a way as they perform a certain set of functions. Old fashioned clocks are made…

  • Ministry,  Uncategorized

    God has a Plan for your Tongue

    We live in the Age of the Tongue.  We have more means to talk than ever before. I can blog, update my status, tweet, text, voice record, video, and even phone, write on paper or have a face-to-face conversation! Our speech lasts longer than ever before. The internet’s ‘way back machine’ ensures that anything I foolishly said ten years ago can be used against me now. We are also more worried about what we say than ever before. Our sentences sometimes become our identity to the world. We had better make them either perfect enough to be unimpeachable or vacuous enough to be harmless. We also live in a ‘speak up’…

  • Politics,  Uncategorized

    Government: What’s the Point?

    In an era when people are both fascinated and cynical about politicians and governments, it is worth pausing to ask: what exactly is the purpose of government? What is it supposed to do? In order to answer this question, we ought to first consider the kind of thing that is going to be governed – human beings. If we don’t know anything about human beings, it’s no good suggesting we know how to look after them. The problem is that we can’t merely consider them as they are now, under the authority of governments. Instead, we have to consider human beings as they might be without governments or institutions. Philosophers…

  • Aesthetics,  Art,  Uncategorized

    Art: Crisis, Creativity, and Christianity

    In the early part of the twentieth century, a crisis took place in the art world. Objects that were not beautiful were hung in galleries as art. Most famously, in 1917, Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) submitted a urinal to an exhibition in New York. His piece was called “Fountain” (1917). If that could be considered art, then surely anything can be. The art crisis provoked questions. What counts as art? What is the nature of art? What makes it valuable? Definition of Art What kinds of objects count as art? Think of as many pieces of art as you can. You will probably come up with a list that includes things like paintings,…

  • Uncategorized

    Have You Thought About That?

    Someone might say, “I know what I think, but I can’t find the words.” How do you react? Do you imagine the person having a perfectly well-formed thought in their mind, but being unable to find the words to match? If there is a thought that is separate from words, then that thought is either well-formed or not. In order to tell if that thought is well-formed, we need some way to conduct a test. It is difficult to image what this test might be like. Do we gaze at it for a while, observing its well-formedness? And what does a well-formed thought look like? The most obvious test for…

  • Uncategorized

    Philosophy for Ministry

    Plato thought that philosophers should rule. In contrast, Christian philosophers ought to serve. Throughout the history of the church, God has called Christian philosophers to help missionaries, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and counselors in all sorts of ways including the following: Defending the Christian Faith against objections Refuting false teaching Thinking through issues methodically and rationally Aiding the theological task Building intellectual confidence Integrating beliefs into coherent whole Understanding nonbelievers Christian Philosophers, J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig suggest that there are six ways in which philosophers can help the ministry of the church (Moreland and Craig, 16-19). Apologetics – when an objection is made against Christianity it is almost always…

  • Uncategorized

    What is Christian Philosophy?

    What is Philosophy?  The word, philosophy, simply means ‘love of wisdom.’ In some sense, anyone who seeks out wisdom for its own sake is a ‘philosopher’. However, philosophy often asks questions for which other disciplines have no immediate answer. As Graham Oppy writes, “philosophy is the discipline that addresses questions for which we do not yet know how to produce…agreed answers using the methods of other established disciplines.”  (Graham Oppy in Four Views on Christianity and Philosophy, 23). Consider an example. Perhaps you hear a sentence and wonder what it means but then go on to wonder how sentences get their meaning. The question, ‘how do sentences get their meanings?’, does not find any…

  • Meaning of Life

    Human Progress is not Enough.

    We all have an interest in human progress. Whether it be the accumulation of knowledge, removal of disease, increase in prosperity, decline in murder, or a wealth of other worthy aims, we want to see human life get better over time. However, for some people, being ‘part of history’ or devoting oneself to human advancement is the source of their meaning in life. It is the ‘something’ that transcends their own value and grants them purpose for their lives. Without it, they think their life would be pointless.  The view that human progress can provide an ultimate meaning for one’s life goes back at least as far as Hegel. Hegel’s…