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Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a Concept

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  197 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
What is a worldview? What lies behind your thoughts about almost everything? For more than thirty years, James W. Sire has grappled with this issue. In this book he offers readers his most mature thought on the concept of a worldview, addressing such questions as
What is the history of the concept itself?
What is the first question you should ask in formulating a worldview?
Paperback, 163 pages
Published June 6th 2004 by InterVarsity Press (first published May 6th 2004)
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Zach Hedges
Jul 14, 2016 Zach Hedges rated it really liked it
The fundamental mission of James W. Sire’s Naming the Elephant is to define the concept of “worldview” (or at least, to revise the definition of it that he had provided in his previous work on worldview, The Universe Next Door) and to draw out a few of the concept’s many implications in both the personal and public spheres.
Sire derives his title from the metaphor which serves as a frame for his entire discussion: the image of a boy asking his father about the “elephant” which supposedly upholds
Ben Andrews
Oct 28, 2012 Ben Andrews rated it it was amazing
It's been a while since I've read this (about five years), and I hope my memory is not tricking me. I read this book three years into my exposure to worldview issues (through David Noebel) and have read portions of other authors including Pearcey, Noebel, Stonestreet, and Ellis Potter (who just introduced a new rudimentary take on worldview in 3 Theories about Everything). This work by Sire is, in my opinion, the best short work on worldview I've read. Rather than explaining, comparing, contrast ...more
Dissatisfied with his earlier fuzzy and incomplete understanding of worldview in The Universe Next Door, Sire has written Naming the Elephant to remedy the inadequacies. He effectively demonstrates that worldviews are not just sets of deeply-held assumptions, as The Universe Next Door implies. Rather, they are stories by which people live. They are behaviors that both shape and are shaped by those stories. Most importantly, they are ultimately a matter of the heart. For this more nuanced underst ...more
Jul 19, 2012 Harman rated it really liked it
Very thought-provoking - to the point that I had to use every ounce of my energy to focus on every word to keep it from going over my head. Not an easy read, especially not during summer classes. Altogether, it was good. It had the frustrating conundrum, however, that it tried to make the "worldview perspective" transcend worldview while it never ceased to operate within it's own worldview.
Nov 07, 2008 Rod rated it it was ok
Not exactly what I was looking for. Sire's "The Universe Next Door: A Worldview Catalog" was one of the most influential books I have ever read. This volume, however, is more focused on the concept of a worldview and is much less interesting.
Jan 25, 2008 Baff rated it liked it
This book is Sire's sort-of epistemological work on worldviews, in which he explains why he took such a traditional view of philosophy in his original book, The Universe Next Door (based on metaphysics rather than epistemology or ethics).
Dec 24, 2015 Stan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an important read!

While Sire sometimes cross the line between exhaustive and exhausting he present worldview analysis in an accessible manner. This topic is very important to many disciplines. His presentation is more geared toward philosophy, whereas I prefer approaches more geared toward anthropology.

Sire presents us here with the second edition of this book. His first edition was written years ago, so in the book we see much of his original thought on worldview analysis, as well as wa
Jun 16, 2016 Felipe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O melhor livro de Sire!
Don Henrikson
Jan 19, 2016 Don Henrikson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good evaluation of the basic concept of worldview. Sire takes his own definition from The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog and holds it up to historical and contemporary understandings of worldview. He then comes to a revised definition of worldview. Along the way, he provides a very readable, Christian evaluation of the various theories, aided by illustrations and quotes.
Doutor Branco
Aug 14, 2014 Doutor Branco rated it really liked it
Shelves: lidos-em-2014
In this book James W. Sire presents to us the worldview as a concept, addressing questions as What is the history of the concept itself? What is the first question you should ask in formulating a worldview? How are worldviews formed existentially as well as intellectually? Is a worldview primarily an intellectual system, a way of life or a story? What are the public and private dimensions of a worldview? What role can worldview thinking play in assessing your own worldview and those of others, e ...more
Mark Ward
Jul 12, 2013 Mark Ward rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
Sire writes a book to explain his own evolution in understanding of the concept of worldview. To the concept he used in "The Universe Next Door," a book first published in 1976, he has added a few major ideas (this list is not exhaustive):

1) Worldviews are lived out.

2) Worldviews are ultimately based on commitments of the heart to God or to not-God.

3) Worldviews have a storied character.

4) Ontology precedes epistemology.

Sire relies heavily on David Naugle's "Worldview: The History of a Concept,"
Isaac Barton
May 11, 2014 Isaac Barton rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This is the Sire book to read. Don't mess with "Universe Next Door".
Brian Watson
Oct 07, 2012 Brian Watson rated it liked it
Sire explains his worldview definition. This is sort of a companion to The Universe Next Door. It's not terribly exciting, perhaps even dull, but it explores the concept of worldview. Perhaps the greatest takeaway for me was why Sire begins with ontology and why Descartes cogito (I think, therefore I am) is wrong. Thinking/knowing (epistemology) is contingent upon existence (ontology), so one must start there.
Sep 26, 2010 Tiffany rated it liked it
so far, really good. very interesting topic

So this book was really an argument for Christian theism, though I did not realize this until the latter part of the book. Quite good, but long winded and provides a lengthy history of worldview as a concept development. I finally got into it at the end, and that was too long a wait to give it more than three stars.
Mar 05, 2013 Doug rated it liked it
This is a very good outline of Worldviews, but like all philosophical texts, I find myself studying it for the useful information. Wouldn't recommend it unless you have developed a specific taste for worldview and philosophy. If you ave, then it is very useful.
Apr 16, 2012 Mark marked it as to-read
I read The Universe Next Door when I was in college. Interesting and helpful as a general overview. It was accessible to a non-philosopher, and it helped me jump in. I have become a lot more interested in worldviews since, and I credit James Sire.
Bryan Neuschwander
Feb 06, 2012 Bryan Neuschwander rated it really liked it
Thoughtful, nuanced definition of worldview. Certainly improved from his previous definition. Perhaps Sire should reconsider the exclusion of the concept of beauty to his list of worldview questions....
Jan 24, 2013 Sarah rated it it was ok
Read it for school. A bit tedious. I wouldn't recommend it or fun unless you are into philosophy.
Jan 04, 2008 Andrew rated it really liked it
Excellent analysis on what a worldview is. Traces the development of the concept.
Keith Plummer
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Sep 25, 2016
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James W. Sire is a Christian author, speaker, and former editor for InterVarsity Press.

Sire has been an officer in the Army, a college professor of English literature, philosophy and theology, the chief editor of InterVarsity Press, a lecturer at over two hundred universities around the world and the author of twenty books on literature, philosophy and the Christian faith. His book The Universe Ne
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