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3.8.6: On the Way of Reasoned Inquiry

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    Recommended articles in the Encyclopedia ofReligion, edited by Mircea Eliade (New York: Macmillan, 1987) include Wisdom; Truth; Reason; Knowledge and Ignorance; Doctrine; Philosophy, Theology, Tbeodicy, Law and Religion; Cosmology, Scholasticism; ]fiana; Prajfia; Avidya; Kalam; jewish Thought and Philosophy, and other articles on specific traditions exemplifying the way of reasoned inquiry.

    Though many studies of philosophy and theology in the different religious traditions of the world exist, not many approach them from the specific perspective outlined in this book for the way of reasoned inquiry-i.e., intellectual inquiry as itself a means of approach to ultimate realit)l'. And, specifically, very few explore the process of inquiry itself as religious practice. One of the best attempts in this direction is Frederick ]. Streng, Understanding Religious Life, 3rd ed., Ch. 8, "The Power of Rationality," and Ch. 10, "The Religious Response to Physical Existence" (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1985).

    A useful survey of manifestations of the way of reasoned inquiry in the religious traditions of the world is Denise L. Carmody and John T. Carmody, Shamans, Prophets, and Sages: A Concise Introduction to World Religions, Part 3: "Sages" (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1985). The categories of "sage" and "sagacious tradition" these authors use, encompass not only the way of reasoned inquiry but aspects as well of the way of mystical quest.

    A completely different study of the way of wisdom, well worth the effort, is Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred, Gifford Lectures, 1981 (New York: Crossroad, 1981). Nasr's book is not written from a putatively neutral academic perspective but aims to give voice to, and advocate, the way of reasoned inquiry in all traditions over against the modern secular world view. It minimizes differences between wisdom traditions, and is rooted in a way of wisdom in Shi'ite Islamic Sufism.

    Other studies of value include Jacob Needleman, "Why Philosophy Is Easy," in his Consciousness and Tradition (New York: Crossroad, 1982), pp. 12-22; several of the essays in Sacred Tradition and Present Need, ed. Jacob Needleman and Dennis Lewis (New York: Viking Press, 1975), especially those by Lhalungpa, Reymond, Nasr, and Lavastine.

    For examples of the way of reasoned inquiry in Buddhism and in Christianity, see Chapter 10, below.

    This page titled 3.8.6: On the Way of Reasoned Inquiry is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Dale Cannon (Independent) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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