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Concluding Thoughts on R. L. Dabney: The Sensualistic Philosophy

from my blog

The philosophy of the nineteenth-century sensualists and positivists–particularly Comte, Hobbes, and Mill–assaulted God and science with the same club. Thus, in deconstructing the premises of this philosophical strain, Robert L. Dabney upheld the causes both of God and science.

Evolution theory is not simply unprovable and wrong. The theory attacked the foundations of Christianity: God creating Man in his own image, placing him at the head of an ordered Creation, with a foreknown Fall and Redemption, all for his glory.

Evolution theory turned man into a soulless beast. Its proponents claimed solid, observable facts which were neither. The theory offered nothing to account for man’s God-directed spirit; and so, it attempted to gainsay the existence of both man’s spirit and God.…

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Further Reading in Dabney and Some Thoughts on Creation, Its Laws, and the Irrationality of Evolution

From my blog

Once more, quotations are taken from Robert L. Dabney: The Sensualistic Philosophy, Naphtali Press, 2003.

Robert L. Dabney’s philosophical observations of science are not stale; on the contrary, his observations are still crisp and refreshingly prescient after more than 125 years.

The permeation of scientific thought with Sensualistic philosophy displaced religion with Materialism; creation with force, motion, and chance; God with unknowable, impersonal forces; the soul with nerve bundles; and consciousness with organically advantageous neural impulses. As Dabney notes, we are compelled to look beyond science and philosophy to Biblical revelation “to learn that a man goeth upward and a beast downward” (p. 125).

“That a fortuitous conjunction of atoms should account for all the marvels of design in the universe, and that material mass should be endowed with consciousness, reason, and conscience, are difficulties common to this and all the other phases of this philosophy” (p.

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Ayn Rand: The Failure of Mind as God

From my blog

Ayn Rand (1905-1982) was the great white hope of atheists determined to commandeer rationality. Her philosophy, “Objectivism,” was unique in its separation from the sensualists and its rejection of relativism. She did, nevertheless, hold man’s “own happiness as the moral purpose of his life,” and thus hearkens to John Stuart Mill.

Rand was influenced by Aristotle, Aquinas, and Nietzsche; from Aristotle she took the rational premise, “A is A.” She vehemently attacked every type of gnosticism and every form of empiricism, refuting the notion of what she called “the primacy of consciousness.” The primacy of consciousness is the cornerstone of postmodern thought: the notion that man’s conscious perception defines reality. Thus in this arena, Rand and Dabney were allies.…

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Upward Descent and Other Amazing Deviations: Dabney Dissects Darwin

From my blog

Mid-nineteenth-century evolution theory was a fission bomb forever sundering two ways of understanding life: Either we are related through Adam and unrelated to cantaloupe; or, we are related through protoplasm to both.

Dabney’s chapter, “Evolution Theory” is the Cat’s favorite thus far. He resents any implication that he is descended from inferior wild cats. If left to the wild habitats of his so-called ancestors, the Cat would most probably make his way to the nearest doorstep and yowl for cat food. Notwithstanding the Cat’s defective (though sensorially impeccable) epistemology, he understands that he is a discrete creation made to be a companion to man. This places the Cat far ahead of evolutionary theorists.

Dabney was a contemporary of Charles Darwin (1809″“1882), and thus the beneficiary of the same classical intellectual heritage from which Darwin drew.…

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Thomas Hobbes, R. L. Dabney, and the Sensualist Cat

I posted this to my blog, Board Housewife & The Cat this morning.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Pr 3:5

As I begin to read about the history of ideas, two things happen: First, the more I am called to repent my condonation of bad philosophy by reason of willful ignorance; and, second, the more I learn about the way the Cat thinks.

I am reading The Sensualistic Philosophy by Robert L. Dabney, a 19th-century conservative Southern Presbyterian theologian and philosopher, in an attempt to fill the philosophy gap I left open in my education. I avoided philosophy as much as I could in college, taking only a survey course.

After a two-decade gap, I began law school and was made to choke down something called “logical positivism” in a jurisprudence course.…

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