Among the principal assumptions of major portions of philosophy in recent decades have been: (1) That philosophy somehow consists of (some sort of) logic, and (2) that logic is a study of and theory about (some sort of) language. There, of course, follows from these a third assumption: (3) That philosophy is a study of and theory about (some sort of) language--though this implication should not be taken as representing any phase of the historical development of recent philosophizing. Instead of listing these three points as assumptions, it would probably be more correct to regard them as categories or complexes of assumptions; or perhaps, more vaguely still, as 'tendencies' or proclivities of recent philosophical thinking. But precision of these points need not be put in issue here, as this paper does not seek any large-scale resolution of the problem area in question.
But Nominalism by no means has as easy a time of it as the foregoing might suggest.
First, that we sometimes intuit identities where they do not exist no more implies that such identities do not exist at all than the fact that we sometimes see trees where they do not exist (as in double vision) implies that trees do not exist.
Second, Hartshorne's view that no two things have the same color (or hue) implies that there are as many colors (or hues) as there are colored things. You only have to think for a moment about how many black, white, blue, etc. things there are to see how implausible that is. Are there really as many colors (or even hues) associated with, say, blackness as there are black things?
IMPORTANT NOTE FROM DR. WILLARD ABOUT THIS ARTICLE:
I've been told that in this article I seem to say that a Buddhist who is a good person can "be saved" without accepting Jesus. This appears to be a fairly strong inclusivist statement. For those concerned, my response is as follows:
What is spiritual formation? And how does a church do it? A professor and pastor discuss the new language of making disciples.
Above the entrance to the philosophy department at the University of Southern California, where Dallas Willard has taught for forty years, is a figure of Diogenes. The fourth century B.C. philosopher was known to carry a lamp through the streets of Athens in the daylight in search of one honest man. To some Diogenes was a madman; to others he was a provocative revealer of truth.
Twentieth Century philosophical thought has expressed itself for the most part through two great Movements: the phenomenological and the analytical. Each movement originated in reaction against idealistic—or at least anti-realistic—views of "the world". And each has collapsed back into an idealism not different in effect from that which it initially rejected. Both movements began with an appeal to meanings or concepts, regarded as objective realities capable of entering the flow of experience without loss of their objective status or of their power to reveal to us an objective world as it would be if there were no subjective apprehensions of it. Both movements ended with a surrender of the objectivity of meanings and concepts in this strong sense, coming to treat them as at most more-or-less shareable components of a somehow communalized experience, but in any case incapable of revealing how things are irrespective of actual human experience. For the...
We said, "Take the gloves off, Dallas. Tell us what we really need to hear." We had read all of Dallas’ books and been deeply impacted by them—not least by his latest, The Divine Conspiracy. But Brian had just finished presenting some thoughts on new models of leadership—leaders marked not so much by conquest and technique, but by spiritual goodness and wisdom. And so we sat there, slumped pensively in our chairs, until someone finally said, "Dallas...please talk to us about how we become those kind of people." So, during a break, Dallas began listing some of his thoughts on a whiteboard. And then in his gracious, careful way, he challenged us to become the kind of leaders this world so desperately needs. The following is some of what he told us.
Only a few decades ago, well past the Second World War and into the early Sixties, American culture was almost universally regarded as based upon Christianity. Most leaders, as well as people generally, not only accepted this basis as a fact, but also more-or-less firmly agreed that that is how things ought to be.
This was especially true of educational institutions. Speeches by the Presidents of even the state schools, such as the University of California at Berkeley, often could have passed for Christian sermons. And even as late as 1965, when I came on the faculty of the University of Southern California, the prayers which the Chaplain delivered on public occasions were noticeably Christian prayers by a clearly Christian person. While that was viewed by some individuals with scepticism, boredom, or even resentment, the cultural prerogative that Christianity enjoyed was generally conceded a certain right.
I decided to discuss the use of pornography [(porne = prostitute) + (graphy = drawing)] because: (1) it presents us with a peculiarly vivid case of spiritual formation and possible spiritual transformation, and (2) it is such a wide spread problem for people today, and also among Christians and those in ministry—and a problem which generates a lot of hopelessness in those involved.
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