When I was younger, I remember going once a year to downtown Denver’s ‘Taste of Colorado” - an event that brought together many of Denver’s local restaurants under dozens, if not hundreds of booths. There you could buy small samples of select dishes to get a taste of what they had to offer. The hope is, as far as I can tell, that you would one day patronize the actual restaurant for more.
Similarly, Dr. Douglas Groothuis (one of my favorite professors from my days at Denver Seminary) has written Philosophy In Seven Sentences: A Small Introduction to a Vast Topic as a sort of small taster sampling of the world of philosophy. He has taken seven often cited and provocative sentences from seven philosophical sages and has served them up as appetizers to taste, consider, critique, and explore their historical impact and philosophical credibility. His goal with the book is to stir within the reader a hunger to feast their minds on the art, history, and science of philosophy.
Here are the seven sentences and their authors that the book explores:
- “Man is the measure of all things.” - Protagoras
- “The unexamined life is not worth living.” - Socrates
- “All men by nature desire to know.” - Aristotle
- “You have made us for yourself, and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in you.” - Augustine
- “I think, therefore I am.” - Descartes
- “The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.” - Pascal
- “The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all.” - Kierkegaard
This book was meant to be accessible to the masses, and I hope you will read it. What is alarmingly and increasingly evident is that our world needs more people who are willing to think deeply. I was particularly impacted by the sentence and chapter on Kierkegaard (#7). This was the most difficult chapter for me to understand, yet the ideas and somber reflection put forth struck a chord with me. I look forward to feasting, or at least attempting to feast on more of Kierkegaard’s thoughts through his writings.
Finally, let me make a plug for Dr. Groothuis’ magnum opus, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith, which may be the best single volume apologetics book in print today.