Fierce Convictions: Hannah More

Do you like history? What about education? The abolition of slavery? Poetry?

If all these tickle your fancy, Hannah More is the gal for you.

I am currently doing a special course for my honours degree in which I was able to choose the subject matter. One of the people I am studying in the course is Hannah More. I am reading her works through the eyes of a philosopher and investigating whether or not she exercised philosophical tactics in her work. Although I am no historian, Hannah More lived an inspiring life. Coming from middle class social status, she effortlessly traversed between the upper and lower classes bringing about social and spiritual reform. Some of her most notable achievements were her ideas on education (although slightly sexist in the eyes of modern society), her contribution to ending slavery, her work in animal rights, and her beautiful poetry.

After reading more about her, I am really inspired to conduct myself as intellectually and classy as she did. She maintained a high moral standard yet always had even wit and wonderful words to create real change in the world.

If Hannah More sounds like an interesting woman to learn more about, I would suggest reading Karen Swallow Prior’s Fierce Convictions. It is a relatively short read that is informative and interesting. It is not your typical biography, but one that reads quickly like a novel. Definitely an A+ read for me!

Happy Reading!

Katie

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Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior

New to Philosophy: Beginning Books

Hi Everyone!

So I’ve posted a few things here and there about philosophy on here, but I thought that a post like this one might be useful for those philosophically inclined readers. In the future, I plan on posting about some of the topics I have an interest in, but thought that not all of you have a formal education in philosophy. I really don’t believe that you need a formal education in anything to understand or be good at something. However, there are some basic things you need to know if you want to be able to understand the arguments people give for their beliefs. Continue reading “New to Philosophy: Beginning Books”

Bathtub Reflections: Philosophy in Education

So I was relaxing in the tub and began to think about the state of our education systems. Perhaps not the most relaxing topic… However, I came to some conclusions. I do think there are many good aspects to the education system, but I find that it is lacking in some areas. I think that a classical education is really beneficial, but yet still lacking a modern edge. If I had it my way, I would love a hybrid. I bet there are many schools and educators that try to have a good balance of the two, but in the very least I think that all people should have some background in philosophy. Not everyone will agree with me, but hear me out! These are my reasons:

1. Philosophy teaches a history of thought. By studying the past, we can find out how the views people hold now came to be. This can be an insightful way of understanding where people are coming from or useful in solving issues the world deals with today. Maybe some philosophers of the past have paved the way for the YOLO philosophy of the day or why doctor assisted suicide is becoming more accepted globally. In the very least, it offers food for thought for today.

2. Philosophy is a method of dealing with inevitable “big life” questions. So many great minds have seriously and deeply contemplated the big questions we all face throughout our lives. Some of these big questions might be death, creation, God, people, existence, purpose, etc. Having a method of dealing or trying to answer these questions provides ease of mind and the ability to share your answers with others. 

3. Philosophy can build you up as a person. This one may be more obvious or less obvious depending on who you speak with. However, practising philosophy can greatly develop your argumentation skills and problem solving skills. You will learn to have the tools to stick up for yourself and having these tools might just give you a boost of confidence. For some philosophers, their boost of confidence sky rockets and they might need to tone it down a few notches, but a healthy serving of humble pie is sometimes in order. Either way you spin it, learning to express your opinions in a healthy and productive manner can be of great benefit for yourself personally and for a employer. 

I’m sure there are many more reasons, but you can only think of so many before the bathwater goes cold! I hope you all have a wonderful day.

– Katie

5 Tips for Reading Philosophy 

I am no expert in Philosophy, I do not have a PhD, and I have not read everything there is on the subject. However, I have read a lot and for various reasons. I have written what seems a thousand papers on different subjects during undergrad, but I have also read for fun. As I think having some exposure to other ideas is healthy and a useful tool for apologetics, I thought it would be good to give you all some tips if you don’t know where to start. 

   1. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t understand something. 

Sometimes it took 3, 4, 5, or even 10 times to understand something a philosopher wrote. To be honest, most of them don’t write in a reader friendly way (that’s totally my opinion though) and a lot of philosophers that you will come across speak a different version of your language if it is not translated from another. A lot of old philosophers wrote in Old English rather than Modern English. If you don’t understand the passage you read, try reading it again or even out loud. If you still don’t understand, consider asking a friend to read it and see what they think of it.

   2. Take Notes.

I HATE writing in books. It feels so wrong. However, I found that with philosophy I must suppress the urge not to write in the margins and go wild. If you can’t bring yourself to write in the margins, consider keeping a notebook near by to comment on things you thought were good points, dumb points, etc. Not only will this help you remember what you’ve read, but also will offer you comedy as you read through them later. The interesting remarks you write will be sure to surprise you!
  3. Start with a topic you like.

This might not be possible if you are reading for school, but it helps if you are reading about a topic that interests you. Is it creation, the soul, the mind, reality? Whatever it is, check those topics out first.

  4. Don’t plan to memorize everything you’ve read.

You don’t want to be that guy or girl who has read every philosopher and throws it in your face. Philosophers have a real issue with being humble. Besides this, trying to memorize everything you read takes away from the enjoyment and from processing the information. Maybe later you can try to memorize the things you loved, but its more important to understand the information. If you don’t understand what the argument being offered is, you won’t be able to make a proper assessment or comment on the material. 

  5. Don’t make philosophy your only genre of reading.
As great as philosophy is, it can be really dense. Sometimes it is important to give your brain a break and read something a little lighter. If you really don’t want to read anything other than philosophy, consider reading fiction that is laced with it. Many authors write philosophically, but do not outright state their arguments. Mary Shelly and Jane Austen are two female authors that have philosophy laced throughout their works because they lived in a time when women could not publish philosophy papers. C.S. Lewis is another author who writes philosophy into his fiction. Perhaps try one of these authors?

I hope these 5 tips were helpful. There are so many more out there and maybe I’ll post some more sometime. Enjoy!

-Katie 

Why I HATE Philosophy

Well, to be honest I don’t hate it now. I did hate it before I really understood what it was. I remember my first year of undergrad which required me to take two philosophy credits. I felt like it was the end of the world. I had been told that Christians should not be learning philosophy since it clashed so much against their beliefs. I was told that Philosophy was used to attack all religion and that it served no good purpose in honouring God. My very first day of class I learned that this was totally wrong. I thought I would hate the class because I felt like it was an evil practise, but that was so far from the truth. Yes, philosophy is used to explore and debate many ideas especially those revolving around religion. However, it is more than a weapon for attacking, but also a shield for defence. 

Over the years, I have learned about many arguments supporting or against topics such as the creation of the universe, life after death, or the existence of God. These and many other debates have not only caused me to grow as an individual, but in my faith. Paired with the teachings of the Bible and other aspects of Christian living (going to church, praying, etc.), I feel more capable of discussing my faith with others and defending it. Aren’t we called to share our faith with others in respectable and loving ways? Having a background in philosophy is a great way to be an apologist to your friends and family. We are responsible for knowing our faith and for sharing it with others. Knowledge, whether that be philosophy or how to paint a sunset, is important for our spiritual growth and for sharing the love of Christ with others. So I encourage you to pick something you are interested in and grow in that knowledge to aid in your faith. Philosophy is great because it can directly link up to big Christian topics such as the soul, but there are less obvious ways too. Use your art to depict your emotions toward your favourite Psalm or cook a meal for a family friend in need! These uses of knowledge can be just as worth while and informative of your faith as an academic subject. 

– Katie

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”
– 2 Peter 1:3-7 (NIV)