Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 73(3) August 2023

Book Review

Philosophy, Reasoned Belief, and Faith
An Introduction by Paul Herrick

Publisher:‎ University of Notre Dame Press (1 Jun. 2022)
ISBN-13: 978-0268202699

Reviewed Dr Pravin Thevathasan

Book CoverPaul Herrick is a professor of philosophy. What he has produced here is a highly readable introduction to philosophy. He covers all the big areas in a way that is accessible to the non-specialist: philosophy of religion, epistemology, philosophy of the human person and ethics.

The author argues in favour of theism, but he does so while taking atheistic and agnostic arguments seriously. But ultimately, he gives the reader sufficient pointers to where rationalism will lead us: to moral relativism and, ultimately, to nihilism.

Thomas Aquinas was said to have put forward the opinions of his opponents in a way that was even better than theirs. The author has achieved something similar. He puts forward the best arguments of his opponents and leaves the reader to make the decision as to who is right.

It is often said that advances in science have led to the idea that God is no longer needed. And yet science assumes that there is order in the universe from which laws can be constructed. If there are no laws of science, there will be no science. The author convincingly argues that there is no conflict between faith and science. Until recently, most of the great scientists believed in God. I suspect one reason why many scientists no longer have time for God is that they became specialists in their area at too young an age. A lot of scientists have remarkably little understanding of theology. Witness Dawkins and his embarrassing attempts at understanding Aquinas. Indeed, as science advances there is greater evidence for the existence of God. There appears to be an intelligent mind at work who governs the universe. There is no sense in which the laws of the universe occurred by chance. It is thus reasonable to conclude that the universe was created by a creator.

The section on ethics is an excellent introduction to the opinions of Kant and Bentham. One chapter asks if we are called to be moral relativists.

In summary, I found this book to be a very good introduction to certain aspects of philosophy.