What's the point of studying philosophy when we have theology? Is philosophy anything more than a preparation for apologetics?
Often called "theology's handmaid," philosophy has sometimes suffered from an inferiority complex in the church. Many Christians see little point in it at all. But as Paul Copan contends, it is possible to affirm theology's preeminence without diminishing the value and contribution of philosophy.
In A Little Book for New Philosophers, Copan offers a concise introduction to the study of philosophy. Aimed at newcomers, this brief overview is both a survey of philosophy's basic aims and categories and an apology for its proper function in the life of the Christian. "By God's grace," Copan writes, "philosophy can enhance our understanding and worship of God . . . and assist us in defending the coherence of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."
"Over the last decade or so, professor Copan has risen in stature among Christians and non-Christians alike. Many look to him for counsel, for intellectual help and for spiritual wisdom. All of this and much more is incorporated into his delightful little book A Little Book for New Philosophers. Written with the warmth and wisdom of a pastor, yet exhibiting knowledge of an incredibly wide range of relevant philosophical literature, Copan has written the most important book to date as to what philosophy actually is (and should be) and why it is so important for all of us to study philosophy. This should be read by seminarians, people in vocational ministry and thoughtful lay folk, and is required reading as a text in worldview or apologetics classes. Today, the kingdom is moving in philosophy, and Copan's book will expand that movement considerably. What a delightful read!"
"Paul Copan's book is small in size but large in importance. The audience is not just aspiring philosophers, but anyone in the church who is interested in, curious about or even suspicious of philosophy. Copan does a wonderful job of explaining what philosophy is, how it should be done and the value it has for Christians."
"Paul Copan's short book addresses the questions of why and how to do philosophy within the framework of a Christian worldview. It is directed primarily toward that growing host of laypersons who find themselves interested in intellectual issues and thus drawn to philosophy. It is directed secondarily toward that diminishing group of Christians who remain suspicious of the value of philosophy and still need to be convinced that this discipline can deepen their faith and equip them to serve God more effectively. The book also contains healthy reminders for philosophical veterans of pitfalls, priorities and challenges of doing philosophical work as Christians. Paul Copan, a personal friend for many years, exemplifies the virtues that he says Christian philosophers should develop; his walk matches his talk. His reflections on this subject are convicting and humbling, making his book a worthwhile read."
"This little book is a rare gem! Paul Copan is the ideal guide to what makes philosophy distinctively important and crucial for the life of any intelligent Christian. If you have any suspicions or concerns about the role of the mind on the path of faith, read this book!"
"Paul Copan has a special gift for making philosophy accessible to a wide audience. Here he focuses on philosophically inclined Christians who are fearful or cynical about philosophy. He contends that philosophy done right can benefit our understanding and worship of God. I highly recommend that all Christians who doubt the value of philosophy attend to Paul Copan's lucid case. They will not be disappointed."
Part I: Why Study Philosophy?
1. Philosophy and Baking Bread
2. Philosophy as Loving Wisdom
3. Faith, Philosophy and Scripture
4. Thinking About God
Part II: How to Study Philosophy
5. Virtuous Philosophy
6. Philosophy and Community
7. Doubting Wisely
8. Considering Philosophy
Name and Subject Index