May 12th, 2014
I would consider my epistemic position to be a moderate evidentialist. (This is just a brief outline). There is a sense of deontology to it in that one ought to base their beliefs corresponding to the evidence; however, there is a sense in which one may hold a belief without sufficient evidence and still be rational. The source of truth is the objective prime reality and our knowledge should correspond to the truth of reality. My epistemology yields my theology in the sense of scientific theology. What I know about reality is what I know about God.
Excursus: One thing I’ve noticed about being an evidentialist is that we all have desires and wants and wills. The problem [or psychological down side] with this is that sometimes I want X to be true but I find out that X is not true or that the probability or likelihood of X is stronger in favor of ~X. I don’t think this is a problem for evidentialism as a system.
Cont.: I’ve had this several times in my pursuit for truth. If I had to be as succinct as possible about why I’m an evidentialist it’s because the truth leaves a trail. That trail could be empirical, intuition [a priori knowledge as well], and other forms. Also, theologically, God desires us to pursue truth… if we cannot draw valid and sound conclusions from the data before us then we live in an intrinsically irrational world, incapable of being known. Likewise, evidentialism is self-affirming. The evidence for evidentialism is likely to be a methodology that leads to the truth. It is akin to coherentism (See this paper).
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July 17th, 2013
One of the obscure claims by those who have been influenced by the postmodern tradition is the claim that history is not objective–at least, it cannot be objectively known. History can and is only reported from a bias perspective, thus it cannot be trusted as truly objective. It’s along the line of thought that winners write history.
So, here’s the question, “Can we actually know the past?”
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May 15th, 2013
I am approaching the world as a realist. (For a background of my epistemology please see: My Evidentialist Epistemology). What I mean by this is that the external reality is how it appears to be to an observer making an epistemic inquiry, the measurements from science accurately depicts reality. This is in contrast to instrumentalism, which suggests that our inquiry of the world, scientifically, do not accurately depict reality but as useful fictions. An instrumentalist is more concerned about data fitting theories and predictions than with an accurate depiction of reality.
For the realist-evidentialist, the ontology of the world determines one’s epistemology. They congruently correspond. It is important to note the order of entailment. Antecedently, reality determines our epistemology. It would be illicit to reverse the term order and as Roy Bhaskar notes, it would be the epistemic fallacy. I am not advocating a naïve realism where reality acts on the human mind without personal inquiry nor am I advocating postmodern anti-realism where one can construct whatever type of reality is desired. I am advocating a form of critical realism.
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May 6th, 2013
There are three primary categories for virtue the Christian/theist will affirm. The first are the transcendental virtues: truth, beauty, and goodness. The second set is the theological virtues: faith, hope, and love/charity. Then there are the four cardinal virtues: prudence, courage, patience, and justice. It’s my belief that every Christian must practice epistemic humility. What is that? Well, epistemic humility, in the sense I’ll be using it, refers to an application of the four cardinal virtues in the area of epistemology (knowledge). Each of these virtues have a respective vice. For instance, the virtue of moderation would appear as a vice in addiction.
The virtue of epistemic prudence is know when and how to appropriate your knowledge to others. Have you ever noticed that person in class or in church that seems to be the ‘know-it-all,’ whether they actually are or not? Of course, it’s worse when they’re simply ignorant of what they’re talking about, but not only is this person annoying but there may be several issues rooted in the flaunting of knowledge. There’s nothing wrong with sharing you’re knowledge but, like I said, it’s how and when you share it.
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February 27th, 2013
The following is a guest post by Kegan Shaw. Kegan is currently in the MA in Philosophical Studies program at Liberty University and his research is in epistemological naturalism and rationalism.
Looking back on the Feb. 2nd debate between William Craig and Alex Rosenberg, while much said was in keeping with good sense, there did appear to be some confusion about the notion of epistemological naturalism. It seems William Lane Craig confused or took together to be synonymous the terms scientism and epistemological naturalism (EN). These terms are importantly distinct and should therefor be kept that way. To make a statement of distinction right off, scientism is an epistemological theory, while EN is not strictly so.
The confusion stems from Craig’s taking epistemological naturalism to be equivalent to scientism, while proceeding to wrongly criticize epistemological naturalism as one would properly criticize scientism. For instance, Craig says in his Feb. 26 podcast that epistemological naturalism is the view that “science alone gives us knowledge and truth.” Craig’s debate powerpoint defined the same term as the view that “science is the only source of knowledge.” However, these are proper definitions of scientism, not EN.
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