Too Cute to Pass By

Found this here.

From Peter Van Inwagen’s God, Knowledge & Mystery: Essays in Philosophical Theology (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1995):

One advantage philosophers bring to theology is that they know too much about philosophy to be overly impressed by the fact that a particular philosopher has said this or that. Philosophers of the present day know what Thomas Aquinas and Professor Bultmann did not know: that no philosopher is an authority. Philosophers know that if you want to pronounce on, say, the project of natural theology, you cannot simply appeal to what Kant has established about natural theology. You cannot do this for the very good reason that Kant has established nothing about natural theology. Kant has only offered arguments, and the cogency of these arguments can be (and is daily) disputed.


2 Responses to Too Cute to Pass By

  1. robporwoll says:

    Haha! Great quote.
    A similar point has be said: Philosophy is the conscience of theology. That of course, doesn’t speak to the Scholastic notions of faith and reason, but of the contemporary exercise of theology.

  2. scholasticus says:

    I think one could also fairly say, however, that many philosophers who are not themselves believers are even more out of their element in a theological discussion than theologians are in a philosophical discussion.

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