The term “value theory” is used in at least three different ways in philosophy. In its broadest sense, “value theory” is a catch-all label used to encompass all branches of moral philosophy, social and political philosophy, aesthetics, and sometimes feminist philosophy and the philosophy of religion — whatever areas of philosophy are deemed to encompass some “evaluative” aspect. In its narrowest sense, “value theory” is used for a relatively narrow area of normative ethical theory of particular concern to consequentialists. In this narrow sense, “value theory” is roughly synonymous with “axiology”. Axiology can be thought of as primarily concerned with classifying what things are good, and how good they are. For instance, a traditional question of axiology concerns whether the objects of value are subjective psychological states, or objective states of the world.
But in a more useful sense, “value theory” designates the area of moral philosophy that is concerned with theoretical questions about value and goodness of all varieties — the theory of value. The theory of value, so construed, encompasses axiology, but also includes many other questions about the nature of value and its relation to other moral categories. The division of moral theory into the theory of value, as contrasting with other areas of investigation, cross-cuts the traditional classification of moral theory into normative and metaethical inquiry, but is a worthy distinction in its own right; theoretical questions about value constitute a core domain of interest in moral theory, often cross the boundaries between the normative and the metaethical, and have a distinguished history of investigation. (Continue)
Thanks to Nick Norelli at Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth for passing on information about this forthcoming book.
Ed Komoszewski emailed me earlier today to point out a soon-to-be-released book entitled A Case for the Divinity of Jesus: Examining the Earliest Evidence by Dean L. Overman. Here’s the description and some endorsements:
Whether Jesus was really the Son of God or not is a central question for Christians—and one that has provoked heated debate since the time of Jesus’ birth. Dean L. Overman examines the earliest Christian records to build a compelling case for the divinity of Jesus. Overman analyzes often-overlooked evidence from liturgies and letters written in the years immediately following Jesus’ death—decades earlier than the Gnostic gospels or the New Testament gospels. Addressing questions raised by books such as Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus and Elaine Pagels’ The Gnostic Gospels, Overman presents powerful evidence from the earliest Christian communities that will be new for many modern Christians and builds a carefully reasoned case for Jesus truly being the Son of God.
“Dean Overman covers a lot of very important ground in this well organized and easy to read book. He makes a solid case for the divinity of Jesus, as seen especially in the historically credible accounts of the resurrection. But Overman deals with many other important topics, such as the reliability of the New Testament Gospels and the unreliability of the second-century gnostic Gospels and the complicated question of how other religions of the world fit into the picture. Students, clergy, experts and non-experts alike will benefit greatly from this book. “—Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College; author of Fabricating Jesus
“Dean Overman has produced a carefully written, helpful book that investigates this exceptionally important issue in a persuasive and convincing manner.”—Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne, Cambridge University, author of Belief in God in an Age of Science, Templeton Prize recipient
“Dean Overman brings the investigative skill of a brilliant lawyer together with the insights of an outstanding Christian intellectual leader to make a compelling case for the divinity of Jesus and his resurrection. The careful argument he makes needs to be taken seriously by all who want to examine the foundations for the astonishing claim that Jesus uniquely is the Son of God. No assertion of truth is more revolutionary in the world’s history than this. Overman presents an accessible, persuasive case for why this assertion is historically grounded and intellectually trustworthy.”—Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary, Reformed Church in America; Co-founder, Sojourners
“Skillful lawyer Dean L. Overman has carefully marshalled the earliest evidence available from the early church’s earliest confessions and set out a compelling case for the divinity of Jesus. What results is not just an enjoyable ‘good read’–it is an excellent and perceptive ‘must read’ for laypeople and scholars alike, which calls for an intelligent response in the court of public opinion.”—Richard N. Longenecker, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, University of Toronto, author of The Christology of Early Jewish Christianity
“A clearly written presentation against the proposition that early Christians freely constructed the words and traditions of Jesus. The reader is in good hands.”—Birger Gerhardsson, Lund University, author of The Reliability of the Gospel Tradition
Dr. Michael Bird provides some nice commentary on these opening verses of Romans.
The Apostolic vocation which Paul carries out has as its centrepiece the gospel. Paul was called to be an apostle and set apart for the sake of the “gospel of God”. When Paul mentions the gospel it is most often in association with Jesus Christ as its foci (see 1 Cor 9:12; 15:1-5; 2 Cor 2:12; 4:4; 9:13; 10:14; Phil 1:17; 1 Thess 3:2; 2 Thess 1:8; 2 Tim 2:8). In fact, Paul will very quickly go on to relate the “gospel of God” to the gospel “concerning his son” in 1:3 and the “gospel of his Son” in 1:9 (see Rom 2:16; 16:25). Yet here it is the “gospel of God” (see Rom 15:16; 2 Cor 11:7; 1 Thess 2:8-9; 1 Tim 1:11). The sense is deliberately open as it might mean a gospel from God or a gospel about God. Most likely, both senses are intended. The gospel is both a revelation from God (Gal 1:12) and is about what God himself has done in the faithfulness, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. To tell the gospel of God is to tell the story of Jesus. And yet the story of Jesus is entirely inexplicable apart from the story of God.
Paul is the quintessential Jesus-freak, but he is not a mono-Jesus adherent. That is because God, Son, and Spirit all figure prominently in his opening narration of the gospel story in Rom 1:1-4. In fact, Romans is the most theocentric letter of the Pauline corpus with the word theos occurring 153 times! John Webster rightly states: “The matter to which Christian theology is commanded to attend, and by which it is directed in all its operations, is the presence of the perfect God as it is announced in the gospel”. As the Apostle sent and set apart by God, Paul sets out before the Roman Christians the story of how God’s plan to repossess the world for himself have now been executed in his own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some fine observations here by philosopher Roger Scruton on the reductionism that often accompanies new developments in neuroscience. He makes the excellent point that descriptions of the activity of neurons have little to do with matters of art, morality, philosophy, and even psychology.
I read this stuff with mounting scepticism, especially now, when the overblown celebrations of Darwin’s anniversary have begun to stick in the throat. I am reminded of the street evangelist who cries “Jesus is the answer”, but who never defines the question. In the same way, we have an accumulation of answers, with no questions asked. Take any aspect of the human condition in which people have invested their hopes and fears — the love of God, of neighbour, of beauty, of virtue — boil it down to a few neurons, and tell the whole story in Darwinese, and you create the impression that some part of the human mystery has been solved. The amazing and puzzling qualities that distinguish us from the rest of nature are merely adaptations, and all are “hard-wired” in the brain.
No doubt there is a part of the brain associated with mathematical calculations. And mathematical competence is an adaptation: if you can’t add, you won’t multiply. Does this tell us what numbers are? Does it solve the great philosophical conundrum of the foundations of arithmetic, or help us to interpret Gödel’s theorem? Of course not. It tells us nothing about mathematics, but only something, and something fairly routine, about the brain. Likewise, the neurononsense that I have summarised tells us nothing about the self, about free will, about God or about beauty. It associates ideas with parts of the brain; but it does not tell us what the ideas mean, or what they refer to. It tells a story about neurons, which cause my arm to rise; but it says nothing about what I do when I raise my arm. And the talk of “adaptations” turns out, on inspection, to be trivial. It tells us that the love of God, of neighbour, of beauty and virtue are not dysfunctional from the point of view of reproduction. Otherwise they would have all died out. Big deal.
The entire article is short and incisive.
Communication is easy until you have a disagreement. So, how do we process conflicts without arguing? As I was writing my book The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted, one of the great discoveries I made was the awesome power of listening. Most of us are far better at “making our point” than in “getting the point” of the other person. Listening has to do with trying to look at the world through the other person’s eyes. It’s not that difficult if you try.
Once you can truthfully say, “I think I understand what you are saying, and it makes sense.” Then you can say, “Let me tell you how I’m thinking, and see if it makes sense to you.” Two people who listen long enough to affirm each other can then find a win-win solution.
Arguments reveal the heart. Almost always arguments grow out of unmet emotional needs. One wife said, “Little things like getting the old newspapers out to the garage for recycling is not a big deal to him, but it is to me because I hate clutter. It’s kind of a visual thing.” What is she saying? One of her emotional needs is to have order in the house. Clutter is emotionally upsetting to her.
The wise husband and wife will look for the emotional need behind the argument. Why is my spouse so upset over what seems trivial to me? The answer to that question will help you understand your spouse. Meeting emotional needs for each other is one way to create a positive climate for communication.
(Via A Love Language Minute)