- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Crossway (June 8, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 143350314X
- ISBN-13: 978-1433503146
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Consequences of Ideas: Understanding the Concepts that Shaped Our World Paperback – June 8, 2009
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About the Author
R. C. Sproul (Drs, Free University of Amsterdam) serves as senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Florida, and is the founder and president of Ligonier Ministries. He has taught at numerous colleges and seminaries, has written over seventy books, and is featured daily on Renewing Your Mind, an international radio broadcast.
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Top Customer Reviews
Sproul is an unabashed Christian theologian. If you bought the book without knowing of him, that might have been unfortunate. It should come as no surprise that his philosophical survey would be targeted to his Christian thinking audience. I give Sproul high marks for stepping out of theology to describe and correlate 14 secular philosophical schools in some manner of theological context. Very few trying to walk in Christ's path will have even heard of most of these philosophers. I have yet to meet a layman or pastor with an adequate depth of knowledge to discuss the philosophy of even the Christian Kierkegaard. Christians have faith and belief but quite frankly, as a body in Christ, we are largely ignorant of these critical thinkers and their postulations and if we are familiar, we need a reminder years after our first visit with these philosophical concepts.
For me, the chronologic tour of philosophers was an excellent revisit of forgotten memories. I'm writing this review at least 3 years after I read Consequences. I find myself referring to Consequences as a reference within basic philosophical thought and from there to explore my specific interest directly. I got my money's worth.
Sproul has written this book for the average reader. This is not a book for the professional philosopher. It is for those of us who want to learn about philosophy but don't have the time to go get a phd. It is written for this who are curious about how we got where we are in a culture that feels pretty insane much of the time.
The themes that seem to stick out are problem with epistemology (how we know what we know), the existence of God, and the meaning behind it all. There are other themes but to me these seem to be the ones that keep popping up. For example we begin discussing Plato and Aristotle's teachings regarding the realm of ideals and the realm of shadows and the development in Aristotle, then there is the development throughout history. Such as Descartes basing knowledge on his discernment of his own existence as a foundation for knowing.
This argument matters. Ideas do have consequences. Think for example of the consequences of the idea of Aryan ethnic superiority. The consequences of that idea were the holocaust, a second world war, and many deaths of soldiers and civilians.
The execution of the book seems to be a bit mixed. Sometimes it really felt like too much was being summarized, like something was being lost. That's not a knock on Sproul it's simply the nature of the effort. He wanted to give us a summary of the history of ideas, and that encompasses a lot of ideas, a lot of time, and a lot of people. Sproul gave us a good effort but it should be considered a starting point. Leading to more reading in philosophy. One of the things that was really helpful and well executed was the way he used terminology. He didn't avoid using the jargon of philosophy but whenever he used the jargon he was careful to define it consistently, I found this extremely helpful.
My Recommendation - If you are well read in philosophy then all this book can offer you is a quality refresher. But if you are curious about philosophy then Sproul has given us the gift of an interesting and usable introduction to philosophy. If you are interested about how we got where we are in our culture this book helps trace the ideas that shape us, since there are no new ideas. If you have no interest in philosophy or worldview thinking then you will have absolutely no use for this book. But I liked it immensely.