Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Does Protestant Christianity Employ a Nominalist Lens?

I'm still enjoying Louis Bouyer's "Spirit and Forms of Protestantism". (Having children will do a number on your leisure time.) After about 160 pages of discussing what he calls "the positive principles of the Reformation" Bouyer presents his view that Protestant Christianity derived its negative principles from the philosophy of Nominalism. (A Nominalism, mind you, that infected the Catholicism of the 16th century and lives on in Protestantism.)

This is not the first time I've heard this theory voiced and it makes want to read Occam and Biel to see if I can get a grip on it. The theory is intuitively believable from the bits and pieces I've heard, and the experience of becoming self-aware, from time to time, of this or that set of philosophical categories predetermining the way I think.

They say that failure to study history dooms one to repeat it. If there isn't such a proverb for philosophy, there should be one. Failure to study philosophy dooms a person to think entirely within the philosophy one unconsciously believes. Hmmm... rolls right off the toungue, doesn't it?