The word “philosophy” derives from two Greek words (philo and sophia) which together mean “the love of wisdom.” For the founder of Western philosophy, Socrates, this meant a selfless pursuit of understanding which would translate into a good moral life. How ironic, therefore, that the discipline of philosophy today is often viewed as (and often is in practice) anything but a quest to be wise. Much of academic philosophy today is devoted to technical minutiae and ponderous analysis of issues only remotely related to right living.
A wise person is someone who has practical moral insight. Moreover, s/he not only knows what courses of action are best but also conducts her/himself accordingly. In other words, a wise person is not only morally insightful but personally virtuous.
This basic but overlooked fact about wisdom served as a guiding principle for my co-author, Steve Cowan, and I as we wrote our new textbook, The Love of Wisdom: A Christian Introduction to Philosophy. We wanted to show how every major issue in philosophy is relevant to living well. Moreover, we aimed to demonstrate how philosophical inquiry of all kinds is a boon to one’s relationship with God. Good philosophy begets stronger faith.
When Steve and I first hatched the idea of writing this book it became clear that we complemented one another in terms of our philosophical strengths. So as we divided our labor, our tasks fell out evenly. I wrote the introduction and the chapters on ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, and philosophy of science, while he wrote the chapters on logic, metaphysics, epistemology, and most of the content in the chapters on human nature and philosophy of religion.
Given the surge of interest in philosophy among Christians over the past few decades, it is surprising that there aren’t many Christian introductory philosophy texts. And the few that are available are not very accessible. We wanted our text to be readable, even entertaining, for the novice. So we use a lot of illustrations referencing popular culture and current events. The book also contains an extensive glossary as well as study questions concluding every subsection in each chapter. These features are aimed at making the book useful for personal study as well as classroom use.
Proverbs 4:7 says “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Those are strong words. Our hope is that this book will be helpful to readers who are serious about this quest.