Why Philosophy Matters

People talk about philosophy in terms of “or.” Philosophy or faith. Philosophy or literature. Philosophy or science, as if the mind were incapable of doing both and reaching its own conclusions.

But that position is ahistorical—great thinkers have long worked across disciplines—and counterproductive: you can glean profound insights from philosophy without emptying it of artistic value, without betraying scientific principles, without sacrificing your faith.

Whatever your worldview, philosophy matters.

Here’s why:

1. Philosophy helps you engage your culture

ancient-philosophy-bundleTo understand your culture, you need to understand its prevailing ideas. When you know philosophy, you can see where modern perspectives come from.

If you’re a pastor, understanding the culture helps you identify and address your congregation’s weaknesses, doubts, and blind spots. If you’re a student, it helps you think clearly about who we are, how we got here, and where we’re going. If you’re a parent, it helps you answer your child’s questions about the world.

2. Philosophy sharpens your critical thinking

“The test of a first-rate intelligence,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald, “is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” In that case, the study of opposing ideas is the training of intelligence. And philosophy is nothing if not the study of opposing ideas—universal classes of things vs. heterogeneous individual things, nonexistent selves vs. essential selves, rationalism vs. empiricism. As you follow the Great Conversation through the ages, you’ll consider more and more opposing accounts of the world. You’ll learn to recognize sophistry and language games, as opposed to attempts at truth.

(If you disagree with my arguments here, why? Have you found an unquestioned assumption, a circular argument, an inadequate proof? If so, you’re doing philosophy’s rhetorical work—and isn’t that a critical skill worth strengthening?)

3. You can cherry-pick the good

Some of the West’s most creative thinkers combined insights from disparate disciplines. Their genius wasn’t raw innovation; it was the creativity to pick out elements of disparate worldviews and combine them into something new. You can do the same—you can pick out philosophy’s useful elements without accepting the whole thing.

  • Not a postmodernist? You can still find insights into language in the twentieth-century “linguistic turn,” which studied how words’ forms (signifiers) and senses (signifieds) interact to create meaning.
  • Disagree with Kant’s conclusion that things in themselves are unknowable? You can still incorporate his categorization of knowledge as either sensible (five red balloons) or conceptual (fiveness, redness).
  • Not an existentialist? You can still appreciate Kierkegaard’s nuanced readings of Abraham, Job, and infinite faith.

4. When you know the old claims, you know the counterarguments

modern-philosophy-bundleSince most of today’s ideas aren’t new, neither are most of the interesting counterarguments. When you know intellectual history, you know time-tested answers—in advance.

  • Are you arguing with someone who doesn’t trust our sensory perceptions of the world—who thinks we might all be dreaming, or brains in a vat? Berkeley and Hume advanced similar arguments; Thomas Reid has already responded that common-sense belief in the world is the basis for any meaningful philosophy.
  • Defending moral absolutes against a relativist? Turn to the arguments of Socrates and Plato, who’ve already developed arguments for morality built on the notion of absolute truth.
  • Debating a vehement atheist who claims that the universe nowhere testifies to a creator? Aristotle, St. Anselm, Descartes, and Leibniz are ready with rational counterarguments.

5. Philosophy helps you understand your faith

Christian theology didn’t develop in a vacuum—Paul found philosophy worth engaging, after all. From then on, philosophy and theology developed side by side, but deeply intertwined. Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Kierkegaard—many of philosophy’s greatest thinkers were Christian, and many of philosophy’s greatest works address issues relevant to Christians (God, morality, origins). And philosophy is just as useful when it’s not Christian: it’s the context against which theological thought defined itself, so when you know the one, you better understand the other.

Even within deist thought, orthodox positions developed against a backdrop of unorthodox alternatives. As you study Western intellectual history, you’ll come across some nonbiblical but fascinating notions of the divine:

  • There’s Eriugena’s God, who “does not know . . . what He is because He is not a ‘what,’ being . . . incomprehensible both to Himself and to every intellect.”
  • There’s Alain de Lille’s God, “an intelligible [intellectually knowable] sphere, whose centre is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere.”
  • There’s Spinoza’s infinite God, roughly synonymous with the whole universe, of which thought, matter, and even human souls are all attributes.

Such alternative accounts are the negative space: the context against which, over time, modern theology established itself. To understand them is, in turn, to more fully understand the orthodox.

6. Philosophy matters because its questions matter

The value of philosophy isn’t just in its answers—it’s in the questions it asks. Though religion and philosophy disagree on much, they’re concerned with similar questions.

  • How should we live?
  • What are good deeds?
  • What can we know, and how?

If you’re thinking about these questions, you’re doing the work of philosophy. You may reach conclusions vastly different from those of Plato or Kant, but you’re still interested in the same things. That alone makes philosophy worth studying.

* * *

noet-classical-foundations-bundleFor centuries, thinkers have turned to the West’s philosophical canon for time-tested wisdom, fascinating questions, and sheer intellectual pleasure. Now, with Noet, you’ll be able to study these works in the most useful format they’ve ever appeared in.

Noet’s Classical Foundations Bundle (124 volumes, plus the Perseus Classics) sets you up with the core texts of the Western tradition: Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant, as well as Homer, Dante, Milton, Dostoyevsky, and far, far more. With Logos’ original-language tagging and smart searches, you’ll be ready to grasp Greek and Latin nuance and find just what you’re looking for.

Philosophy matters. Study it with the very best tools.

Pre-order your Classical Foundations Bundle before the price goes up, or customize your library with Noet’s Ancient and Modern Philosophy bundles.

Or keep reading—how well do you know the sophists?

What Informs Your Interpretation of Genesis?

lexham-bible-guides-genesis-collectionWhat influences your interpretation of Scripture? What is the origin of the particular interpretation you hold? Are you familiar with alternative interpretations? How would you defend your interpretation against others?

Although apologists are usually the ones asking these questions, anyone seeking to interpret Scripture should do the same. We think of ourselves as unbiased, logical people, but reading others’ opinions reveals whether we truly are. Such reading also informs our discussions about Scripture, making us better interpreters and better conversationalists, evangelists, and preachers.

Each part of Scripture deserves close examination, but Genesis holds a special place in the canon. It’s a rich, complex book that’s referenced throughout the Bible and that serves as a theological backdrop for much of Scripture. As such, it will shape how you interpret the Bible.

We all wrestle with questions about the origins of the world, the first sin, and where we came from. Genesis tells the story of humanity and God—our story.

The Lexham Bible Guides: Genesis Collection unravels the book’s complicated differences of interpretation. It breaks down each passage, helping you understand what each section contributes and how they fit together. This collection will guide you into a deeper study of Genesis while simultaneously improving your understanding of the entire biblical narrative, which depends on this book’s foundational theology. Understanding Genesis will equip you to answer your own apologetic questions and others’.

Why spend hours in research when Logos can help? Leverage our research team’s work. Get into Genesis in a way that will enhance your understanding of it and the entire Bible. Pick up the Lexham Bible Guides: Genesis Collection today.

Through October 18, use coupon code LBGGEN2 to save on Lexham Bible Guides: Genesis Collection.

Free Book: Archibald T. Robertson’s Paul, the Interpreter of Christ

paul-the-interpreter-of-christAll month long, you can get Archibald T. Robertson’s Paul, the Interpreter of Christ for free!

Archibald T. Robertson dedicated his life to preaching, teaching, writing, and lecturing. He was a founding member of the Baptist World Alliance, and participated in numerous Bible conferences with Dwight Moody and F. B. Meyer. Committed to providing students the best preaching tools possible, he published 45 books, which remain profoundly relevant today.

“The preacher whose heart is deeply stirred even to tears, is the man whose message will grip the hearts of others”
—Archibald T. Robertson, Paul, the Interpreter of Christ

Paul, the Interpreter of Christ explores Paul’s life, including the sacraments, his missionary efforts, and his relationship to Greek culture.

Visit the Free Book of the Month page to download Paul, the Interpreter of Christ now, and then enter to win the 15-volume A. T. Robertson Collection!

Get $50 off Jonathan Edwards’ Inspiring Works

Jonathan_EdwardsJonathan Edwards was born October 5, 1703—nearly 310 years ago. Now, as you prepare to celebrate his influence by revisiting his sermons and treatises, you can use coupon code JEDWARDS2013 to save $50 on his collected works!

Regarded by many as “America’s theologian,” Edwards wrote in vivid detail on two subjects: the absolute sovereignty of God and the beauty of God’s holiness.

A precocious, disciplined life of faith

Edwards was born in Connecticut to unusual parents. His father tutored college hopefuls across New England, and his mother, uniquely independent and well educated among American women of her era, raised 11 children, mostly on her own.

A bright student, Edwards entered Yale College at 13 and graduated, at 17, as class valedictorian. Before choosing, after graduation, to study theology and philosophy, he was deeply interested in science—specifically, the work of Isaac Newton. He was a man fascinated with the universe, and he sought to understand every corner of it.

Edwards was ordained and married in the same year, 1727. He demonstrated remarkable personal discipline, studying thirteen hours a day and preaching a pair of two-hour sermons each week.

A father of the Great Awakening

On July 7, 1731, Edwards delivered a powerful sermon to which 300 people responded with professions of faith. Sermons in the weeks to follow were met with even more conversions, and the revival spread from Northampton throughout the 13 colonies, gaining even more momentum when George Whitfield arrived from England to partner with Edwards.

The two could not have been more opposite. Whitfield was an imposing physical presence with a booming baritone voice who never used notes when he preached. Edwards’ voice, by contrast, was not strong, but solemn and eloquent. He read his sermons from a small booklet that he’d made himself by sewing together small pieces of paper, most of which had been already used for other purposes. It was all but impossible to see his face when he preached—poor eyesight caused him to hold his recycled notes inches from his nose. But Edwards, despite his lack of flash, led thousands to repentance through his profound preaching.

Learn from Edwards’ historic sermons

The Works of Jonathan Edwards (2 vols.) contains more than 29 of his sermons, including the iconic “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” as well as his theological discourses and the Life and Diary of the Rev. David Brainerd (by whom Edwards was greatly inspired). If you’ve ever wanted to get acquainted with the works of Jonathan Edwards, now is the time—this discount lasts only until October 7.

Celebrate Edwards’ birthday by delving into his life-changing works: get $50 off with coupon code JEDWARDS2013 today!

Pastor Appreciation: New Deals All October!

Pastor Appreciation Month

“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.” —1 Thessalonians 5:12–13

It’s time to celebrate your pastor! Pastor Appreciation Month is here, which means we’re featuring deep discounts on pastoral resources all October long. We’ll be introducing new sales almost every day, plus giving away a free book (later in the month) and offering resources for up to 50% off.

Get 15% off a new Logos 5 base package

We’re kick-starting Pastor Appreciation Month with a great deal on a powerful pastoral tool: for a limited time, you can use coupon code PAM2013 to get 15% off a new Logos 5 base package.

Logos 5 equips pastors with the best Bible study tools and theological resources. With advanced features like Timeline, Bible Facts, and Clause Search, pastors can spend less time poring over indexes and tables of contents, and more time creating powerful sermons. And with the best biblical commentaries, dictionaries, and resources, they can build their sermons on rich context and scriptural truth.

Use coupon code PAM2013 to get 15% off Logos 5, and then stay tuned for more Pastor Appreciation Month deals!

Honor your pastor

This month exists to remind you to honor your pastor. Being a pastor is one of the toughest jobs, and this is the perfect opportunity to pray and encourage the church leaders in your life. Take them out to lunch, send them a card, bake them some cookies—whatever you do, just remember to tell your clergy how much you appreciate the hard work they do for you, the church, and the community, all in the name of Jesus Christ.

Don’t miss a single deal: check Logos.com/PAM throughout October for new sales all month long!

What do you appreciate most about your pastor? Let us know in the comments!

The Upgrade Sale Ends Today!

Logos 5This is it: today is your last chance.

If you don’t upgrade to Logos 5 by midnight (Pacific Time), you’ll miss out on the upgrade sale’s deep discounts—forever.

Upgrade discounts are never going to be this big again, and to get in on your special pricing, you need to upgrade right now.

What are you waiting for?

You know you’re eligible for multiple discounts. You’ve heard all about Logos 5′s powerful tools, innovative datasets, and sought-after resources. You know that upgrade discounts will never be this big again—and that you have just a few hours left.

You’re probably going to upgrade to Logos 5 eventually (and you should—if you wait for the next version, you’re missing out), so why not do so at the best price?

If you haven’t upgraded to Logos 5 yet, it’s time.

Try it 100% risk-free

If you’re still on the fence, here’s how to lock in your savings, risk-free.

  1. Upgrade now to get in on your special discounts.
  2. Set up low, easy payments with an interest-free payment plan.
  3. Get to know Logos 5! If you decide it isn’t for you, we’ll give you a complete refund within 30 days of your purchase.

You have absolutely nothing to lose by upgrading now—and so much to gain.

But you can’t wait any longer, and if you don’t get in on this special opportunity, you’re going to wish you had.

Claim your upgrade discount now at Logos.com/Comparison, or talk through your options at 800-875-6467. We’ll be on the phones until 9 p.m. (Pacific Time), and you can get your online discounts until midnight.

Get the best deal on the library you really want: upgrade right now before it’s too late!

We’re Open Late—Call Us for Upgrade Savings!

Logos 5With two days left, you’re running out of time to take advantage of the Logos 5 upgrade sale.

If you’re on the fence, you need to upgrade right nowupgrade discounts will never be this big again.

And we’ll be here until 9 p.m. (PDT) tonight and Monday night to help you get the best deal! Call us at 800-875-6467 to talk about your options.

Call us if . . .

  • You’re not sure which base package is right for you.
  • You’d like to customize your library with other resources.
  • You’d like to walk through your options.
  • You’re still on the fence.

We look forward to helping you build the library that’s right for you.

Don’t forget—discounts end this Monday, September 30, and you won’t see upgrade discounts this big again.

Don’t miss this opportunity: give us a call at 800-875-6467, and upgrade to Logos 5 today!

Last Chance: Get up to $370 off the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library

anchor-yale-bible-reference-libraryYou have only a few days left to save on the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library! Use coupon code AYBRL13 to get up to $370 off the entire collection, depending on what you already own.

Expand your biblical knowledge

The Anchor Yale Bible series presents modern scholarship in a way that’s accessible not only to academics, but to anyone looking to know the Bible better. The series is committed to sound philological and historical scholarship, supplemented by insights from such modern methods as sociological and literary criticism.

Learn from respected scholars

You’ll learn from well-known contributors like:

  • Joseph Blenkinsopp
  • Raymond E. Brown
  • James H. Charlesworth
  • John P. Meier
  • Susan Ackerman
  • And others

And with such a diverse range of authors, you’ll find insights into a wide range of topics with volumes like Education in Ancient IsraelArchaeology of the Land of the BibleJesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, and more.

Don’t miss out—use coupon code AYBRL13 and get the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library for up to $370 off!

Get 30% off the George Müller Collection

George MullerGeorge Müller, evangelist and director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England, was born 208 years today. Through September 29, you can get 30% off the George Müller Collection! Just use coupon code MUELLERBDAY to get it for $90.95.

Who was George Müller?

Müller cared for 10,024 orphans in his lifetime, educating many of them. He established 117 schools, which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children who, otherwise, would likely have received no education at all.

Müller wrote frequently about the stewardship of money, nonreliance on earthly riches, and how God would bless those who kept to those principles. He felt that his own experiences proved the truth of his claims: he refused any sort of salary, and gave away most of the donations he received. Müller left a legacy of selflessness and compassion.

Don’t miss out—get his works for 30% off

The George Müller Collection contains the four-volume Narrative of Some of the Lord’s Dealings with George Müller (a detailed autobiographical account of Müller’s entire life and ministry), Jehovah Magnified (a bestselling compilation of more than 30 lectures and addresses), and secondary literature about his life and work. The collection also includes five volumes about Müller’s life written by his contemporaries, including his wife.

“George Müller’s life was one long witness to the prayer-hearing God; and, throughout, God bore him witness that his prayers were heard and his work accepted. The pages of his journal are full of striking examples of this witness. . . .”
—Arthur T. Pierson

Use coupon code MUELLERBDAY through September 29 to get the George Müller Collection for 30% off!

Time’s Running Out: Get Your Custom Upgrade Savings on Logos 5!

Last Chance to Upgrade to Logos 5

You have only three days left to take advantage of your best deal on a Logos 5 upgrade! There are plenty of reasons you should upgrade right now—here are just a few:

1. You’ll get the best theological resources and tools

Logos 5 equips you with the best commentaries, dictionaries, and more, in the most useful digital editions. And, though your books are much more valuable in Logos, you’ll actually save money when you upgrade vs. buying resources individually. That’s because when you purchase just a handful of the collections included in each base package, they more than cover the cost of the whole library. You’re getting thousands of additional resources without paying extra.

In addition to amazing resources, Logos 5 gives you the best in Bible study tools. Because your whole library is interconnected with tags and hyperlinks, you can trace themes and ideas through biblical and theological texts: from the Bible to commentaries, from original-language texts to translations, from primary sources to the modern scholars who cite them. And with smart features like the Topic Guide, Timeline, and Bible Sense Lexicon, you’ll find what you’re looking for in a fraction of the time.

2. You’ll get the best service

With Logos 5, you’re getting more than just the world’s best Bible software—you’re also getting friendly service and a rich online community. Get the most from your software by taking advantage of free updates to Logos 5, chatting with our awesome customer-service team, and joining the forums. We also offer tons of video tutorials that help you master the software’s smart features and resources.

3. You’ll get the best deal

There are only a few days left to combine your custom upgrade discount, your ownership discount (which means you don’t pay twice for books you already own), and the bundling discounts that make your base-package resources such good values. See your special discounts now with the Custom Upgrade Discount Calculator!

Want to divide the cost into more manageable chunks? No problem! Space out your payments with an interest-free payment plan—you can take up to 18 months to pay.

But your upgrade discount expires in just three days—you need to act right now to get your special savings on Logos 5.

Don’t miss your chance to save: upgrade today!