‘Barth and Rationality: Critical Realism in Theology‘, by D. Paul La Montagne, Cascade Books, 248 pp. $29.00
First and foremost, this is a good book. There is a lot that is offered here, and anyone remotely interested in Barth, theological epistemology, theological method and any number of related fields will find this a valuable contribution. There are a number of creative angles on Barth, stemming from D. Paul La Montagne’s familiarity with the philosophy of science and philosophy of mathematics. These are approaches to Barth that are not often taken, and if they are taken, are not often fleshed out to the degree they ought to be. La Montagne fleshes this out at length, and the result is an interpretation of Barth’s theology, methodology and epistemology that is in conversation with contemporary developments in philosophy of science and mathematics. This is not a common combination.
Wolterstorff presents a compelling case in Divine Discourse for the thesis that God has both rights and duties. This, to me anyway, was not the most intuitive of ideas, but prima facie it appears to make sense. Wolterstorff goes through some fairly technical argumentation, but the points he presents cash out roughly like this: Continue reading
‘The Anointed Son: A Trinitarian Spirit Christology‘, by Myk Habets, Pickwick Publications, 340 pp. $39.00
In this constructive volume, Myk Habets seeks to rehabilitate an aspect of christology that has long been overlooked and overshadowed: pneumatology. The role of the Spirit, Habets argues, ought to be fundamental in christology, and thinking pneumatologically in christology will enrich and even correct Christian thinking on this topic. The sparring-partner (and, at times, almost-bogeyman) of Spirit christology is classical orthodox Logos christology, though Habets does not seek to remove or replace Logos christology so much as supplement and augment it with a dynamic theology of the Spirit. Continue reading
The Kantian doctrine of freedom turns on the idea that the acting agent is neither fully part of nature nor fully outside of nature. Nature, on this doctrine, is a totally causal system governed by strict laws of necessity. The acting agent is self-governed (according to Kant) by reason and bound by the moral law, and it would make no sense for the agent to be bound by the moral law if he wasn’t free to obey the moral law. Freedom here is a condition for the possibility of duty – the agent must be free from the causal/necessitarian order of nature, in other words. Whether or not Kant’s doctrine as a whole can withstand scrutiny is a matter of debate, but surely his fundamental insight is worth reflecting on: the possibility of free agency requires that the free agent not be subject to strict causal laws. Jaegwon Kim, in Psychophisical Laws, notes that Donald Davidson’s theory of anomalous monism was developed out of roughly Kantian concerns – Davidson accepts a picture of the physical world that is fully and causally determined, but wants to retain a place for mental autonomy and the possibility of free agency. Continue reading