Philosophy Departments Avoid Resuscitation

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

A little bible college in Los Angeles may revive the, at best, moribund and musty discipline of philosophy and academic philosophers don’t like it one bit. “Surveys suggest that the philosophy professoriate is among the most atheistic subpopulations in the United States; even those philosophers who specialize in religion believe in God at a somewhat lower rate than the general public does,” Nathan Schneider writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

When you add a Christian institution of higher learning to this mix, consternation, at least, is the inevitable result. Enter Biola, a name derived from Bible Institute of Los Angeles.

“Despite having only a handful of faculty, perhaps no philosophy master’s program in the English-speaking world enrolls so many students and, even if by that measure alone, few can claim to be so influential in shaping the next generation of analytic philosophers,” Schneider writes. “Still, many in the profession aren’t even aware of it.”

“The Philosophical Gourmet Report, which ranks philosophy departments by the reputation of their faculty members, doesn’t mention Biola on its Web page about master’s programs.”

“No one has ever called to my attention that Biola’s M.A. program should be included,” Brian Leiter, of the University of Chicago, who edits the report told Schneider. This wouldn’t be the first boat someone from UChi has missed.

“Philosophy was never supposed to be a narrow discipline, fortified from the argumentative swells of the agora by specialization and merely professional ambitions,” Schneider notes. “That was for the Sophists whom Socrates regaled against.”

“Philosophy was supposed to serve the polis, to educate and embolden its young, to raise up leaders. Whether one likes their preconceived conclusions or not, today it is evangelical Christians, with William Lane Craig in the lead, who are doing so better than just about anyone else.” Nathan Schneider is the author of God in Proof: The Story of a Search From the Ancients to the Internet (University of California Press).



Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail