The Importance of Worldview Thinking

Posted: August 21, 2014 in General Presup Issues
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“As usual in metaphysics, you can’t just sort of approach it as a buffet.  You can’t just pick this and choose that.  There’s interconnections.  So, if you pick this theory about time, well that has implications for other topics in metaphysics.  So for this reason, among many others, metaphysics is properly pursued systematically.  The unit of evaluation in metaphysics is a systematic theory.  Not any one particular metaphysical thesis.  So, to the extent that a metaphysical thesis is embedded in a systematic theory, then that’s the best.  That’s the reason we have to believe in a particular thesis.  So that means that anytime you want to explore some small topic, it’s going to have lots of connections to a lot of other topics.”

~ 01:44 minutes into Jonathan Jacobs’ lecture “Is Causation a Relation?” for Oxford’s lecture series on Power Structuralism in Ancient Ontologies.

Since finding this quote, I have learned that Jacobs may be an Orthodox Christian, but I don’t know for sure.  Regardless, his statement shows the importance of systematic thinking in our philosophical outlook and that taking such a view is uncontroversial and normal in the philosophical community.  This isn’t something Christians just made up.

Presuppositionalists have known this all along, but our insistence on dealing with entire conceptual schemes (worldviews) is often challenged by those who see no benefit in global speculation and who maliciously prefer to focus on this or that concept without considering its place in the whole.

It’s popular among colloquial atheists to answer a presuppositionalist’s inductive challenge by replying something like:  “I don’t know how to account for the uniformity of nature, I just assume it.”

They say things like this because they don’t realize how inter-related metaphysics is as a discipline.  How someone accounts for uniformity will affect their view of time, their view of change, their view of causation, etc. etc. (and on down the rabbit trail we could go). 

If an atheist’s profession of metaphysical belief comes into conflict with other of his strongly held beliefs, then he needs to either systematize them in some way (make them consistent with each other), or get out of the reason-giving business and be a fideist (where he’s an atheist arbitrarily).


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