Review of Epistemic Fragments by Elihu Carranza

You may know the name Elihu Carranza because of his Logic Primer and/or Logic Workbook, the latter of which was published by the Trinity Foundation.

Who is Elihu Carranza? The “About the Author” section in his Epistemic Fragments tells us:

Elihu Carranza, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, San Jose State University in California taught courses in Logic, Philosophy, Humanities, and Communication Studies. For a brief time, on official leave from university teaching, he served as Provost, Evergreen Community College. Besides a B.A. in Philosophy, he earned his M.A. in Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. He was a Mott Fellow, Michigan State University where he earned his doctorate. He served honorably as a Seaman in the U.S. Navy, World War II, and subsequently as a jet fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. He resides in Napa, CA with his wife Sharon, a retired college Reference Librarian.

Well, I’m impressed! And even more impressed with all these accomplishments when finding out in this book that Elihu had a difficult upbringing, being born in the Depression years to poor parents who had escaped the revolution in Mexico.

I’m also impressed by his volume Epistemic Fragments. While it largely follows the contours of the Scripturalist philosophy outlined by Clark and Robbins, Carranza has notable insights.

I particularly like his description of naturalism’s worldview, which “ruled by matter-in-motion as the only framework for knowledge and truth, fashions an escape-proof prison cell for its advocates. This commits its followers to live ever searching for truth but never finding it.” (p. 11)

I also appreciated his syllogism on p. 61:
All people who are misologists are people who hate logic
Logic is God’s thinking
Therefore, all people who are misologists are people who hate God’s thinking

Carranza also points out some interesting points of Clark’s theory of time. He says “In contrasting time and eternity, Clark agrees with Augustine that time could not have being before some variable creature and had come into existence in space-time.” And he quotes from Clark, “Time came into operation with created minds.” This may be so, but given that time was created on Day 1 and man not created until Day 6, I wonder if this implies that other minds (e.g. angels) were created on Day 1.

Definitely add Epistemic Fragments then to your mental catalogue associated with “Elihu Carranza.” And note that he has published also a book of his poetry (Poetica, Reflections) and three novels (One Murder One, One Murder Two, and One Murder Three.)

7 thoughts on “Review of Epistemic Fragments by Elihu Carranza”

  1. Hello,

    I am currently reading Dr. Carranza’s Logic Primer. I was hoping to ask him about a recommended Logic course. Do you happen to know his email?

    You seem knowledgeable about the subject as well. What course would you recommend?

    Thank you

    1. Brian,

      In case you are interested Isaac Watts book Logic: The Right Use of Reason in the Inquiry After Truth is my favorite on the subject, from a Van Tillian perspective is Vern Poythress’s book Logic: A God Centered Approach to the Foundation of Western Thought.

      1. Thank you both for replying. I have downloaded a sample of Watts book and I emailed Dr. Carranza. He has already replied back to me.

      2. Scott,
        I have read neither Watts’ nor Poythress’ book on logic, but I wanted to ask if you could briefly explain the notable differences between each author’s approach. Thanks!

        1. Mark,

          To do a review here of all three works would not be fair to the authors, Doug or me. Poythress’s work alone is over 700 pages long and would require a lot of words to review. If you are asking about approaches, Watts approach is a Classical/Foundational approach where Poythress’s approach is Van Tillian Presuppositional and of course Clark’s approach is Clarkian Presuppositional. Watts is going to employ a lot of common sense empirical evidence whereas Poythress’s employs a lot of Syllogisms and mathematical formulas. In order to understand this better you may need to read some books on apologetics. The Classical approach is laid out well in Classical Apologetics by Sproul, Gerstner and Lindsey and Reforming Apologetics by J.V. Fesko. For the Van Tillian side the works of Van Til or Apologetics by John Frame. Clark’s works speak for themselves but I think Doug is working on a book that will present his view.

          I like to use the illustration (borrowed) of crossing the street. I do not check the Bible to see if I can cross a particular street, use a syllogism, or a mathematical formula, take a poll, or do a statistical analysis, or wait for a sign and I probably will not spend any time in prayer before crossing but I look both ways!!! To the Van Tillian I am autonomous and the Clarkian want me to define street and crossing and asks me how I know I am crossing a street.

          Hope this helps!

          1. Scott,
            Thank you for the comment. I apologize if my initial question wording was not sufficiently clear. I have read Clark’s book on Logic and rather was asking specifically about Watts’ and Poythress’ presuppositions for developing the study of logic with emphasis on their respective views of the function of logic as it pertains to the imago dei. Your reply was helpful and I appreciate your time to consider my question.
            Thanks!

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