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Tayloring Reformed Epistemology (Veritas) Hardcover – September 27, 2007
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(Johnny Walker, freedominorthodoxy.blogspot.co.uk)
"The Reformed epistemologists and Charles Taylor have been like ships passing in the night; neither has paid explicit attention to the other. In this very interesting book, Tayloring Reformed Epistemology, Deane-Peter Baker not only points out obvious affinities between these two bodies of work, but shows in detail how each holds out the promise of filling a lacuna in the work of the other. A creative and important contribution; it genuinely advances the discussion." (Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Professor Emeritus at Philosophical Theology, Yale University)
" In Tayloring Reformed Epistemology, Baker offers a carefully argued, nuanced epistemology of religious belief, linking the best of reformed epistemology with Charles Taylor's historical and phenomenological case for theism."
(Charles Taliaferro, Professor of Philosophy, St. Olaf College)
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In the second half of the book Baker expounds upon the work of Charles Taylor in moral phenomenology. Taylor's work is meant to capture the essence of human moral experience. Taylor goes on to argue that this moral experience makes the best sense if God exists.
The last section of the book is where Baker brings everything together to answer the de jure objection to theism. It is a brilliant move. I am interested to see what kind of reception Baker's work receives in the scholarly world.
"In Tayloring Reformed Epistemology, Baker offers a carefully argued, nuanced epistemology of religious belief, linking the best of reformed epistemology with Charles Taylor's historical and phenomenological case for theism. This is a refreshing, original contribution to the literature on theism and naturalism, the relationship of theism and morality, and the philosophical assessment of religious belief. While Baker develops detailed, critical analyses of the current epistemological debates, he never loses sight of the big picture, thus providing an excellent resource for those looking for a reliable introduction to the major recent arguments in the field." - Charles Taliaferro, Professor of Philosophy, St. Olaf College
This brings us to Peter-Baker's other two achievements. First, this book does much to bridge the gap between "analytic" ( Plantinga) and "continental" (Taylor) philosophy. Even more important, he shows how combining Taylor's and Plantinga's ideas can help us to fashion a powerful new argument for Christian Theism .
As an installment of the Radical Orthodoxy affiliated Centre of Theology and Philosophy's Veritas Series, it would not be unexpected to find this volume's writing opaque and near-inaccessible to non-specialists. Yet, fortunately, here we possess an exception. While still maintaining scholarly rigor and depth, Baker relays his case with clear, illuminating prose, devoid of unneccessary philosophical parlance. Thus, his book is suited to a wide audience, commending itself to students and scholars alike.
Baker's stated purpose is to provide a credible response to the de jure challenge to Christian belief. Namely, the critique that Christian belief is somehow irrational, or epistemically unjustified and perverse. Indeed, that it is morally deplorable. It is crucial to note that what is at stake here is quite different than the truth of Christian claims. That would be the de facto question of Christian belief. Rather, the de jure objection contends that Christian belief, whether true or not, is somehow epistemically unwarranted.
This distinction between the de jure and de facto challenges to Christian belief is introduced in the context of reformed epistemology - a recent Christian philosophical tradition claiming roots in the thought of John Calvin.Read more ›