Prelude to Philosophy: An Introduction for Christians  -     By: Mark W. Foreman
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Prelude to Philosophy: An Introduction for Christians

IVP Academic / 2014 / Paperback

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Product Description

"The unexamined life is not worth living," according to Socrates, but pursuing the examined life strikes many as daunting, unappealing and even unnecessary. Is philosophy important? Why do I need philosophy if I have the Bible? Aren't philosophers simply engaged in meaningless disputes that are irrelevant to everyday life?

Mark Foreman addresses these and other questions in this "prelude" to the subject. Unlike a full introduction to philosophy, this book is a preliminary discussion that dispels misunderstandings and explains the rationale for engaging in philosophical reasoning.

In the first half of the book, Foreman defines the task of philosophy, compares it to other disciplines and demonstrates its practical value to Christians interested in developing a more thoughtful faith. The second half introduces the reader to logic and argumentation, the essential tools of a philosopher. Concise and straightforward, Prelude to Philosophy is a guide for those looking to embark on the "examined life."

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 220
Vendor: IVP Academic
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0830839607
ISBN-13: 9780830839605
Availability: In Stock

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Author Bio

Mark W. Foreman (Ph.D., religious studies, University of Virginia) is professor of philosophy and religion at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He is also the author of . J. P. Moreland (PhD, University of Southern California; ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary) is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, in La Mirada, California. He also serves as director of Eidos Christian Center. He has written, edited or contributed to over twenty books including (with Kai Nielsen) and He has also published more than fifty articles in journals such as and He is a fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.

Endorsements

This book is a helpful study of what philosophy is, how it is done and why it is valuable, especially for Christians. It is clearly written, with lots of real-life examples and stories, and will be of real value to students beginning work in philosophy.
-C. Stephen Evans,
Baylor University

Mark Foreman's introduction to philosophy gets it just right! For those wanting to explore the life of the mind, Foreman helps take the fear out of philosophizing. This book is a clear, readable and accessible overview on the fundamentals of philosophy--and on doing philosophy to the glory of God.
-Paul Copan,
Palm Beach Atlantic University

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  1. Becancour, QC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    WHAT IS A PRELUDE TO PHILOSOPHY? – A BOOK REVIEW
    March 3, 2014
    David
    Becancour, QC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Prelude to Philosophy: An Introduction for Christians. By Mark W. Foreman. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014. 208 pp. $20.00. ISBN 978-0-8308-3960-5.

    There are a lot of introductions to philosophy on the market. It could probably be claimed, with a certain amount of precision, that there is at least one introduction to philosophy for every particular approach to philosophy_and then some. As such, it can always be asked, why another introduction to philosophy? However, this book is not, in the traditional sense, an introduction to philosophy. Mark W. Foreman has written what he calls a prelude to philosophy, with the idea that this book should be read prior to reading an introduction to philosophy. In this review I will note the purpose of this book, the intended audience, the general outline of the book, and its relative worth.

    The purpose of this book is written with the purpose of explaining what philosophy is. As such, rather than to introduce the domains of philosophical research (although he does mention them) or to give an overview of the history of philosophy (although Foreman does mention the main divisions of the history of philosophy), Foreman seeks to explain to the reader what it means to do philosophy - to philosophize. This is not all, of course, for Foreman, in this book, is seeking to help the reader to understand what it means to have a philosophical mindset, to demystify philosophy, and to help the reader become a philosopher. The intended audience of this book are those Christians who "are new to philosophy and who may have misgivings and reservations about what they are getting into. It is written at a basic level and assumes the reader has no knowledge of philosophy. (p. 13)" It should be noted right away the author has, according to this reader, fully succeeded in writing a book that introduces the non-philosopher, to what it means to be a philosopher. His book is easy to understand, and ably avoids, or explains when avoiding is impossible, technical terminology, allowing the non-philosopher to fully understand what is being explained.

    The book is divided into 7 chapters and an epilogue in which Foreman outlines the 7 virtues of the Christian philosopher. This last chapter makes this book worthwhile for even seasoned philosophers, who will be encouraged and challenged by the epilogue. Chapter 1 is an interesting explanation of just what philosophy is. Foreman approaches this question in four different ways. He begins by providing a nominal (or working) definition of what philosophy is. He then describes philosophy. He compares it with other domains of scientific or religious research, and finally he explains that the final way of finding out what philosophy is, is to experience it - that is, to do philosophy.

    In Chapter 2 Foreman explains why philosophy is important, in general, for everybody, and in chapter 3 Foreman explains why philosophy is important for, specifically, for Christians. What he wants to show, in these chapters, is not so much that it is important to know what particular philosophers have said, but, rather, that it is important to develop a philosophical mindset. He tells us that "A philosophical mindset is an attitude or approach to life that involves regularly examining beliefs to ascertain what they mean, whether they are true and what value they have. (p. 52)" In chapter 4 he seeks to explain what most philosophers typically consider as the main divisions of philosophy. He begins by noting the different ways in which philosophy can be divided: Historically, according to overarching worldviews, or according to the different domains of philosophical research. In this chapter he divides philosophy up according to the primary domains of philosophical research, and considers the three most important branches: Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Axiology. He finishes the chapter with a consideration of other smaller branches of philosophy, such as politics, philosophy of history, science, etc.

    The rest of the book considers logic and argumentation. In chapter 5 Foreman introduces the reader to basic logic. He considers the various types of logical proofs, as well as deductive and inductive arguments. In chapter 6 Foreman lists and explains pretty much every informal fallacy. In chapter 7 Foreman explains, first of all, how to construct a good argument, and secondly, how to analyse arguments. These three chapters are vital for anybody who wishes to be a responsible citizen in whatever country he lives; for anybody who wishes to understand the Bible; for anybody who wishes to engage in theological, apologetical, or philosophical discussion (as well as the formulation of scientific theories and arguments.)

    The book is introduced by J. P. Moreland, who provides an interesting forward. It contains a table of contents and a very useful index. One other useful aspect of this book is that the author has also provided exercises for the chapters concerning logic, and the answers to the exercises. As such, this book is a great book for anybody who, not having studied philosophy, is being confronted by philosophy. Parents and pastors would find book to be extremely helpful. This book would also be useful for students of theology, who don't have time to study philosophy to any great extent. Finally, this would be a great book for an introductory course to philosophy at a bachelor's level. All in all, I would highly recommend that everybody have this book in their library, regardless of whether or not they intend to pursue philosophical studies.
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