December 30th, 2014
What if it were the case that justification of our beliefs in propositions describing physical objects is always inferential and that it is always from propositions about the nature of our experiences that such inferences are made.? If this is true, there are two conditions that must be satisfied concerning inferential belief in physical objects:
(1) Statements about experience must count as reasons or evidence for statements about objects.
(2) Statements about experience must in some, no doubt rather obscure, sense be accepted by those who make statements about objects.
Maybe there’s reason to doubt (1) and (2) by simply suggesting that that it is not always the case that most people are always in the “appropriate, sophisticated, phenomenological frame of mind.” This is certainly true to an extent; so let us refer to this handicap as H. It may be the case person S is intoxicated with alcohol and his phenomenological apprehension may be malfunctioning or that S realizes that his phenomenological apprehension of the external world is not as it should be and is capable of recognizing malfunction.
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October 31st, 2014
If you want to get under the skin of a philosopher there are a few ways to irk us. There’s more that just the annoyance of telling someone you’re a philosopher and they respond, “Oh, I took a psychology course in university!” Yes, that type of misunderstanding warrants the philosopher’s incredulous stare… just as these will:
10. “So, how will you make money? What do you do?”
Okay, so I’m not an engineer. I’m not a research chemist for a Fortune 500 corporation and I may not be able to work most blue collar tasks… However, I, and other philosophers, think (but there’s more!). For the philosopher, the act of philosophizing is not a mere intellectual exercise that could exist solely in consciousness. To the contrary, philosophy is a procedure and inquiry to the self, a “discovery and self-liberation.” The intellectual and cognitive acts of philosophy are participatory in their inquiry of the world. This would be very similar to the understanding that Socrates is the philosopher. He not only taught and philosophized, but he understood that the very act of philosophizing was an act of engagement with the world and it was a way of life.
9. The university administration putting philosophy in the periphery
Philosophy departments aren’t typically the big money-makers at university–typically. However, the university system needs to understand that the philosophy faculty, the philosophy students, and the discipline of philosophy in general is an investment rather than a moneymaker. I’ve seen firsthand that a university can divest in the philosophy department. Academia, the provost, the administrators, et al, need to view philosophy as the foundation by which a university is built and sustained.
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August 13th, 2014
I recently presented at the Tyndale Fellowship Conference in Cambridge in July. Whilst in attendance I listened to a paper by Max Baker-Hytch on this issue of cultural contingency of religion (or God being a “cultural chauvinist”) from a Reformed Epistemologist perspective. The paper is titled “Religious diversity and epistemic luck” by Max Baker-Hytch (PhD Philosophy, Oxford) and was published in the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion.
This episode of Eavesdropping is the audio recording from his presentation in Cambridge.
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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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March 4th, 2014
God created both us and our world in such a way that there is a certain fit or match between the world and our cognitive faculties. This is the adequation of the intellect to reality (adequation intellectus ad rem). The main premise to adequation intellectus ad rem is that there is an onto-relationship between our cognitive or intellectual faculties and reality that enables us to know something about the world, God, and ourselves. This immanent rationality inherent to reality is not God, but it does cry aloud for God if only because the immanent rationality in nature does not provide us with any explanation of itself.
In reality all entities are ontologically connected or interrelated in the field in which they are found. If this is true then the relation is the most significant thing to know regarding an object. Thus, to know entities as they actually are is to know what they are in their relation “webs”. Thomas Torrance termed this as onto-relations, which points more to the entity or reality, as it is what it is as a result of its constitutive relations.
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