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Epistemology: Becoming Intellectually Virtuous (Contours of Christian Philosophy) [Paperback]

By W. Jay Wood (Author)
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Item description for Epistemology: Becoming Intellectually Virtuous (Contours of Christian Philosophy) by W. Jay Wood...

How do we know what we know? What have wisdom, prudence and studiousness to do with justifying our beliefs? Jay Wood begins this introduction to epistemology by taking an extended look at the idea of knowing within the context of intelluctual virtues. He then surveys current views of foundationalism, epistemic justification and reliabilism. Finally, he examines the relationship of epistemology to religious belief, and the role of emotions and virtues in proper cognitive functioning.

Publishers Description
How do we know what we know? What have wisdom, prudence and studiousness to do with justifying our beliefs? Jay Wood begins this introduction to epistemology by taking an extended look at the idea of knowing within the context of the intellectual virtues. He then surveys current views of foundationalism, epistemic justification and reliabilism. Finally he examines the relationship of epistemology to religious belief, and the role of emotions and virtues in proper cognitive functioning Professors will find this text, with its many examples drawn from everyday student experience, especially useful in introducing students to the formal study of epistemology.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: InterVarsity Press
Pages   216
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5.25" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 9, 1998
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
Series  Contours of Christian Philosophy  
ISBN  0877845220  
ISBN13  9780877845225  

Availability  2 units.
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More About W. Jay Wood

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! W. Jay Wood (Ph.D., Notre Dame) is professor in the philosophy department at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

W. Jay Wood was born in 1954 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Wheaton College, Illinois.

W. Jay Wood has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Advances in Cognitive Models & Arch
  2. Contours of Christian Philosophy

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Epistemology
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Ethics & Morality
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Religious
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > Philosophical Theology

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Reviews - What do customers think about Epistemology: Becoming Intellectually Virtuous (Contours of Christian Philosophy)?

Get Ready For Some Deep Thinking & Reading  May 6, 2007
Epistemology, of course, is the term used to denote how we think. Epistemology seeks to answer the question, "How do we know what we know?" Some had said that it is a question for those who have a lot of time on their hands to ponder such thoughts. Nonetheless, ideas do become reality and often what we think becomes who we are. This is a biblical idea as seen in Philippians 4:8 or Jesus' words in Matthew 12:33-37.

In this work, W. Jay Wood seeks to provide a Christian view of epistemology. He seeks to take a subject often given to humanistic thinking and he seeks to add Christian thinking into the subject. He does a fine job of presenting arguments first for how we know what we know and then moving toward a biblical world view.

Overall I found the book to be difficult reading (I try to read at night when I have less distractions but this book put me to sleep quickly). It's not Woods style, its the subject. Most people, including myself, don't care how we know what we know. We want to know how to take what we know and use it in our daily lives (Luke 11:21; James 1:21-25). I also would like to have seen Wood use more Scripture. Obviously, as a disciple of Jesus I am to renew my mind after God's Word (Romans 12:1-2) whereas I felt that Woods spent too much time on contrasting humanistic philosophy with Christian philosophy. The Bible alone speaks the truth of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21) and what we need in this day is not more knowledge but more obedience to the Word of God.
New approach to epistemology  Nov 23, 2006
This book is aimed at undergraduates, but it offers an important and innovativce perspective that would interest many others. Epistemologists are usually concerned with the conditions that justify believing something is true. Wood asks a different, perhaps even more interesting question: what qualities would a person have to have in order to function successfully as a knower throughout life? Following Aristotle, these could be called "intellectual virtues"--qualities of mind that enhance our performance as knowers. This approach not only identifies a fresh set of important issues in the philosophical reflection on knowing but pave the way to consider other important topics, such as the relation of emotions to knowing and the relation of knowing to religious faith. Wood does not neglect traditional questions and includes a useful survey of the basic epistemological theories. But the interest of his book is that he sets those issues in a wider context that reconnects epistemology to ethics in a very interesting and thought-provoking way.
Epistemology - not so difficult to follow   Aug 10, 2005
Epistemology was an assigned read for a master's level course. After scanning the text, I became concerned that this was going to be a boring and difficult read. This was not the case. The topic is actually very relatable to daily life and very interesting. I highly recommend Epistemology for anyone interested in learning more about what we believe and how we come to form those opinions.(Christian based)
Obtain truth by being truthful  Dec 24, 2004
A seminary professor recommended this book to me as a good introduction to the field of epistemology. I have a background in apologetics, but limited exposure to philosophy. This book by Wood delivers the philosophical subject of epistemology in a way I think serious lay students can grasp and enjoy, especially those interested in Christian philosophy.

Throughout the book, Wood makes it clear he is trying to re-establish some historic ground with an epistemology emphasizing intellectual virtue (as opposed to intellectual vice). Patterns of intellectual virtue like being truthful, teachable, inquisitive and observant are contrasted with intellectual vices like willful ignorance, obtuseness and vicious curiosity (e.g. an insatiable quest for information irrespective of personal or environmental harm). Personal motives and similar deeper spiritual/psychological factors are explored as being drivers of whether a particular intellectual attribute is a virtue or a vice. Wood does not claim individual credit for this insight and traces its origins to ancient authors like Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas (p17). "A motif of this book [is] that study of some of the traditional concerns of epistemology illuminate powerfully on our understanding of certain intellectual virtues, and vice versa. The old and the new thus compliment one another" (p76).

Much of the book involves a comparison of foundationalism and coherentism as two main schools of epistemology. Internalism, externalism and justification also get plenty of discussion and I needed all of this. Since I'm not well schooled in epistemology at this time, I won't try to critique the subtle ins and outs of his thought, but I found all of it useful. Page 144 seems to hold a key quote to help get a fix on Wood, for those who are already savvy in epistemology: "My claim is that an account of justification derived from the broader tradition of virtue epistemology captures the keys insights of both internalists and externalists." Wood also discusses the potential of his theory being susceptible to failure in case of self-deception (p150-1) and defends against this objection.

Although Wood frequently compares his Intellectual Virtues epistemology with other contemporary theories, there is useful general background on the field of epistemology. "Because this book highlights matters of intellectual virtue and vice, many topics routinely treated in introductory texts to epistemology do not receive sustained or systematic treatment" (p8). Wood gives references in the back of the book to more general epistemology textbooks and I found this list useful for my next study.

Although this is not a straight philosophy textbook per se', make no mistake that is loaded with introductory philosophy - you may find it handy to have a book (or the Internet) to look up info on people like Descartes (who gets extended discussion), Hume, Aristotle, Reid, Kant, Plantinga, etc. I also put my dictionary to work to learn words like: apodictic, desiderata, simplicter, infelicitous. Don't get the idea the book is dry or overly hard to penetrate, it's not; but the author doesn't hide the fact he is a philosopher. The only improvement I can think of for this book would be to add end of chapter review questions to help philosophy beginners like me.

Last point, there is some humor; here's one of my favorites: "If someone whacks me upside the head with a polo mallet, simultaneously scrambling my brains and producing in me a true belief about the temperature in Bangkok, no on is tempted to call my newfound belief knowledge." (p171). As far as philosophy goes, I find that pretty funny. I love this book and recommend it highly.
Thinking AND feeling the truth  Apr 16, 1999
Jay Wood has done us a great service: he's written a book to help us think, and feel, more clearly. His book is a fine introduction to a complex field of philosophy. His clear writing, abundant use of illustrations from daily life and the great works of fiction, make the book more accessible than any other book on epistomology I've read (but make no mistake, no book on the topic is going to be a breeze). I was most enthusiastic about his (successful) attempt to help me understand the crucial role of emotions in how I come to know whether something is true or not.

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