He returned to this question again and again in his philosophy, a line of inquiry motivated by personal experience. Augustine lived in an era when the pillar of strength and stability, the Roman Empire, was being shattered, and his own life, too, was filled with turmoil and loss. First he lost his mistress, then his mother, and finally his son. To believe in God, he had to find an answer to why, if God is all-powerful and also purely good, he still allows suffering to exist.
It is the more necessary to consider this question, in view of the fact that many men, under the influence of science or of practical affairs, are inclined to Certainty doubt whether philosophy is anything better than innocent but useless trifling, hair-splitting distinctions, and controversies on matters concerning which knowledge is impossible.
This view of philosophy appears to result, partly from a wrong conception of the ends of life, partly from a wrong conception of the kind of goods which philosophy strives to achieve. Physical science, through the medium of inventions, is useful to innumerable people who are wholly ignorant of it; thus the study of physical science is to be recommended, not only, or primarily, because of the effect on the student, but rather because of the effect on mankind in general.
Thus utility does not belong to philosophy.
If the study of philosophy has any value at all for others than students of philosophy, it must be only indirectly, through its effects upon the lives of those who study it. It is in these effects, therefore, if Certainty doubt, that the value of philosophy must be primarily sought.
But further, if we are not to fail in our endeavour to determine the value of philosophy, we must first free our minds from the prejudices of what are wrongly called 'practical' men. The 'practical' man, as this word is often used, is one who recognizes only material needs, who realizes that men must have food for the body, but is oblivious of the necessity of providing food for the mind.
If all men were well off, if poverty and disease had been reduced to their lowest possible point, there would still remain much to be done to produce a valuable society; and even in the existing world the goods of the mind are at least as important as the goods of the body.
It is exclusively among the goods of the mind that the value of philosophy is to be found; and only those who are not indifferent to these goods can be persuaded that the study of philosophy is not a waste of time.
Philosophy, like all other studies, aims primarily at knowledge. The knowledge it aims at is the kind of knowledge which gives unity and system to the body of the sciences, and the kind which results from a critical examination of the grounds of our convictions, prejudices, and beliefs.
But it cannot be maintained that philosophy has had any very great measure of success in its attempts to provide definite answers to its questions. If you ask a mathematician, a mineralogist, a historian, or any other man of learning, what definite body of truths has been ascertained by his science, his answer will last as long as you are willing to listen.
But if you put the same question to a philosopher, he will, if he is candid, have to confess that his study has not achieved positive results such as have been achieved by other sciences. It is true that this is partly accounted for by the fact that, as soon as definite knowledge concerning any subject becomes possible, this subject ceases to be called philosophy, and becomes a separate science.
The whole study of the heavens, which now belongs to astronomy, was once included in philosophy; Newton's great work was called 'the mathematical principles of natural philosophy'.
Similarly, the study of the human mind, which was a part of philosophy, has now been separated from philosophy and has become the science of psychology. Thus, to a great extent, the uncertainty of philosophy is more apparent than real: This is, however, only a part of the truth concerning the uncertainty of philosophy.
There are many questions -- and among them those that are of the profoundest interest to our spiritual life -- which, so far as we can see, must remain insoluble to the human intellect unless its powers become of quite a different order from what they are now.
Has the universe any unity of plan or purpose, or is it a fortuitous concourse of atoms? Is consciousness a permanent part of the universe, giving hope of indefinite growth in wisdom, or is it a transitory accident on a small planet on which life must ultimately become impossible?
Are good and evil of importance to the universe or only to man? Such questions are asked by philosophy, and variously answered by various philosophers.Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt, and Certainty in Christian Discipleship [Lesslie Newbigin] on torosgazete.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
Looking to end the divisive conflict that has raged between Christians who attack each other either as liberals or as fundamentalists. William Lyon Phelps and Bertrant Russel have conflicting views regarding the importance of certainty and doubt.
Phelps position is that having certainty in oneself allows you to accomplish impossible tasks. On the bench for the first two games of Washington's series against Columbus, Holtby then won four straight starts and the Capitals' best player with a save percentage and a goals.
Benefit of the Doubt: Breaking the Idol of Certainty [Gregory A. Boyd] on torosgazete.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
In Benefit of the Doubt, influential theologian, pastor, and bestselling author Gregory Boyd invites readers to embrace a faith that doesn't strive for certainty. The Demons are refusing to put much stock in their lamentable record this season against clubs in the top eight.
Doubt is, in many ways, an amenity; reality in which certainty, would be disregarded.
Certainty is a security blanket that masks the underlying truths of life. William Phelps stated an absolute certainty will make anything possible, but Bertrand Russell believed that our opinions should always have some sort of doubt.