Naming the Elephant

Worldview as a Concept

by James W. Sire

Naming the Elephant
  • Length: 201 pages
  • Published: January 2015
  •  In stock
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-4073-1
  • Item Code: 4073
  • Case Quantity: 48

What is a worldview?

What lies behind your thoughts about almost everything?

For more than thirty years, James W. Sire has grappled with this issue. In his widely used textbook The Universe Next Door, first published in 1976, Sire offered a succinct definition of a worldview and catalogued in summary fashion seven basic worldview alternatives. Students, critics, new literature and continued reflection have led him to reexamine and refine his definition of a worldview. This second edition companion volume to The Universe Next Door is the fruit of that effort, offering readers his most mature thought on the concept of a worldview, addressing such questions as

  • What is the history of the concept itself?
  • What is the first question you should ask in formulating a worldview?
  • How are worldviews formed existentially as well as intellectually?
  • Is a worldview primarily an intellectual system, a way of life or a story?
  • What are the public and private dimensions of a worldview?
  • What role can worldview thinking play in assessing your own worldview and those of others, especially in light of the pluralism in today's world?
Naming the Elephant is an excellent resource for exploring more deeply how and why worldview thinking can aid you in navigating your pluralistic universe.

"I highly recommend this book to others who seek to think in worldview terms."

Cheryl Doss, Mission Studies, 2008


1. Camel, Kangaroo and Elephant
2. Worldview Definitions: From Dilthey to Naugle
3. First Things First: Being or Knowing
4. Flesh and Bones: Theoretical and Pretheoretical
5. Rational System, Way of Life and Master Story
6. Worldviews: Public and Private
7. Worldview: A Refined Definition
8. Intelligent People Who Clash by Day: Worldviews as a Tool for Analysis


James W. Sire (PhD, University of Missouri), formerly a senior editor at InterVarsity Press, is an active speaker and writer. He has taught English, philosophy, theology, and short courses at many universities and seminaries. He continues to be a frequent guest lecturer in the United States and Europe.

His InterVarsity Press books and Bible studies include The Universe Next Door (a worldviews textbook), Scripture Twisting, Discipleship of the Mind, Chris Chrisman Goes to College, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything at All?, Habits of the Mind, Naming the Elephant, Learning to Pray Through the Psalms, Why Good Arguments Often Fail, and A Little Primer on Humble Apologetics.

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