Books that J.P. has authored, edited, or contributed articles.
Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult: A Beginner’s Guide to Life’s Big Questions
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Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult
by J.P. Moreland and Garrett DeWeese

  • Title: Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult: A Beginner’s Guide to Life’s Big Questions
  • Publish Date: 03/16/2021 (2nd edition)
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  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
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I and my co-author, friend, and Biola colleague, Garry DeWeese, penned this useful introduction to philosophy. Garry was perfect for this co-authorship: a smart and insightful thinker on several fronts in philosophy, theology, and the sciences, a fabulous and much admired teacher, and full of pastoral qualities that make his life and work most winsome. We have been friends for over thirty years now, and it was a joy to write a book together with such enriching background knowledge.

Some have said that this book is the adjusted and more accessible version of my co-authored book, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (2003). The statement is not unfair but maybe slightly overstated.  True, my book with Garry is a fabulous way to be initiated into a study of my book with Bill Craig. But my book with Garry stands on its own too. We attempted to write a readable book that provides a useful discussion of basic philosophical distinctions relevant for doing theology and for constructing and defending a Christian worldview. Similar to the perspective and approach with Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, we try to introduce important areas of philosophy but also show how the Christian worldview is distinct in a particular area.

Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult has seven basic chapters, all of which are organized around a specific question. For example, chapter one (“Where do I start?”) begins with topics about logic, method, and the integration of philosophy and theology. Chapter two gets at the question of “What is Real?” and tries to make sense of important issues of metaphysics (problem of universals, identity, substances, essences, and natures, and modality). Chapter three tacks the question, “How do I know?” and therefore focuses on explaining different kinds of knowledge, the problem of skepticism, and what is knowledge. Notice that in my book with Garry, the metaphysics discussion precedes the discussion on epistemology. But in my book with Bill, the epistemology discussion precedes a discussion on metaphysics. I tend to prefer the former approach, especially when teaching philosophy, since it can help the student become directly acquainted with what is real without having to wrestle through and resolve relevant problems of epistemology.

Chapter four considers the question, “How should I live?” and introduces important topics like metaethics, normative ethics and the important question, “Why be moral?” That chapter helpfully transitions to chapter five, “What am I?” which unpacks relevant matters in philosophical and theological anthropology, including differences between substance dualism and physicalism, the problems of freedom and determinism and how to think theologically about these matters. Connecting chapters four and five in this way are useful and effectual. For example, so many of the problems in ethics are deeply tied to one’s view of the human person, and perspectives in philosophical and theological anthropology do well to consider their implications for ethics. That’s one reason why I co-wrote Body & Soul: Human Nature & the Crisis in Ethics (IVP, 2000) with my Biola colleague, Scott Rae. Moreover, its important for theologians working in anthropology to be conversant with the work of philosophers and ethicists. That’s also a reason why I co-edited with my Biola colleague, Dave Ciocchi, Christian Perspectives on Being Human: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Integration (Baker, 1993). Lastly, studying ethics and philosophical-theological anthropology is best understood when integrated with study in metaphysics and epistemology. Yes, there’s a deliberate orientation to how Garry and I organize our book!

Chapter 6 deals with the important question, “How should Christians think about science?” Much of the intellectual angst that Christians feel in contemporary society is related to questions and concerns in this area of philosophy of science, including how to deal with the problem of scientism, methodological naturalism, antirealism, and how to think about how science and theology can be integrated. Moreover, the so-called creation/evolution controversy is, on several fronts, not merely a scientific controversy or even a theological controversy. It is a philosophy of science issue that has real implications for science and theology.

Finally, chapter seven closes the book with trying to cast an encouraging vision for how to utilize the benefits of philosophy in the development and formation of one’s Christian worldview, especially through the indispensable knowledge and leadership training in the local church. Philosophical reflection is, indeed, a powerful means of kindling the life of the mind in Christian discipleship through the church. Christian faith is not an apathetic faith, a brain-dead faith, but a living, inquiring faith. As St. Anselm put it, ours is a faith that seeks understanding. Truly, these are exciting times in which to be alive and working in the field of philosophy, where God is doing a fresh work before our eyes.

The revised and updated 2nd edition is a much-improved, new and fresh version of the first one.

  • Important new material has been added to the chapter on metaphysics and epistemology.
  • Substantial rewriting of and added ideas to the chapter on philosophy of mind bring that subject up to date and deepen its impact on the reader.
  • Two new chapters on aesthetics and beauty, and on philosophy of religion are exciting and informative.

We focused our energies on equipping, training, empowering and emboldening believers by strengthening their faith and informing their outreach (see Garry's Doing Philosophy as a Christian for a more intermediate treatment of philosophical issues).

We have long recognized that developing a biblically based and philosophically informed Christian worldview is absolutely critical for the church, especially in our chaotic and secularized culture. We are excited to see how Jesus will use this new edition.

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  • It is clearly and accessibly written in a way that will be informative and helpful to newcomers in philosophy.
  • It is handy, in whole or in part, for both undergraduate introductory courses in philosophy, or even senior high school level Christian worldview courses.
  • It frequently provides “call-out” boxes to highlight key definitions
  • It offers helpful further reading suggestions in light of the topics discussed in each chapter.
  • It is written by seasoned communicators and experts in philosophy
  • It offers useful examples throughout in order to illustrate importance concepts, distinctions and terms.

Table of Contents: Acknowledgments Preface to the Second Edition 1. Where Do I Start? 2. What Is Real? Metaphysics 3. How Do I Know? Epistemology 4. How Should I Live? Ethics 5. What Am I? Philosophical and Theological Anthropology 6. How Should Christians Think About Science? Philosophy of Science 7. What Is Beauty? What About Art? Aesthetics 8. What Should We Worship? Philosophy of Religion 9. Where Do I Go from Here? Worldview Struggle and Intellectual Crisis

Endorsements: "This book, written by two men who are both high-level philosophers and exemplary Christians, will serve to initiate neophytes into the significance, joys, and challenges of philosophy as well as offer journeymen philosophers (such as myself) a rich banquet of philosophical reflection. I applaud the inclusion of new chapters (on aesthetics and the philosophy of religion) to this edition."

—Douglas Groothuis, professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary, author of Philosophy in Seven Sentences
"I think the title of this book is misleading. DeWeese and Moreland, who have trained countless students to think clearly and pursue truth, don't make philosophy slightly less difficult, they make it incredibly more accessible. It is no easy task to simplify without being simplistic, to explain without short-selling the essentials, but by succeeding they've served us all well."
—John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview and host of BreakPoint
"Fuzzy thinking leads to careless living. This is true even for Christians. The world cries out for meaning but many believers remain silent, embarrassed by their shallow faith. Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult is a boot camp for the mind led by two 'drill instructors' who are at the same time highly respected philosophers and committed Jesus followers. DeWeese and Moreland help the reader think more clearly about thinking and also about reality, knowledge, ethics, and the good life. Don't read this book just to have your mind tickled. Read it to sharpen your thinking so you can love God with all of your mind."
—Jeff Myers, president of Summit Ministries
"In my opinion, Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult is unrivaled among introductions to philosophy—Christian or not. DeWeese and Moreland cover all the philosophical terrain with clarity, depth, and insight. More than that, they weave their conclusions into a fully integrated, captivating, biblical world picture. This is a rarity—certainly not something you can do on your own. The result is a Christian and intellectual tour de force. I have assigned this book to students for fifteen years and more. I can tell you this with confidence: it will sharpen your thinking and increase your faith. It is indispensable for prevailing in our spiritually troubled times."
—Richard Brian Davis, professor of philosophy at Tyndale University
"Philosophy is never an easy subject to master, but it can be made easier! Here two well-known, well-respected, and excellent philosophers, Garrett DeWeese and J. P. Moreland, provide an outstanding roadmap that attempts to do just this—provide an overview with easier explanations and punctuated with many examples and illustrations to help along the way. Highly recommended!"
—Gary R. Habermas, distinguished research professor at Liberty University
"Few writers in philosophy are as accessible to the novice as Garrett DeWeese and J. P. Moreland. Once again, they have filled a great need for an introduction to philosophy in Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult, second edition. Two features contribute to making this book an excellent introduction. First is its comprehensiveness. With the addition of two new chapters on aesthetics and philosophy as well as the expansion of a number of other chapters, the book now covers a host of subjects on the traditional topics in philosophy. The metaphysics chapter itself is worth the price of the book. Second, they write in such an accessible style that it makes philosophical discussions not only clear but also enjoyable to read. The book is full of excellent examples and illustrations that clarify many philosophical concepts. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the basics of philosophy and would especially recommend it as a text for an introduction to philosophy. I plan to use it for my future classes."
—Mark W. Foreman, professor of philosophy and religion at Liberty University and coauthor of How Do We Know?
"If you want clear thinking on thinking clearly, this book's for you. Moreland and DeWeese undertake an ambitious project, explaining philosophy to nonphilosophers, with a good sense of subject and audience. Readers receive a working introduction to philosophical vocabulary and concepts in an accessible, applied style. It requires effort (they promised it would be only slightly less difficult!), but the reward is greater clarity on what is real, true and good--a worthy goal for any Christian." —Robert Drovdahl, Professor of Educational Ministry, Seattle Pacific University "Here's your chance to learn the fundamentals of philosophy in an accessible, easy-to-understand format. In the end, you'll wonder how you ever got along without this essential foundation to your faith." —Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ and God's Outrageous Claims The volume will enable a Christian desiring a greater understanding of the nature of logical thought and sound argumentation to better formulate his or her own apologetic and Christian theistic worldview. Not only that, but the volume, if read by a serious unbeliever, could break down some barriers lying in the way of his acceptance of Christ’s Lordship. —Stone Campbell Journal, Spring 2007


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