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Re: Empirical knowledge?



OK, just a few more comments.

At 17:53 26/08/2002 +0100, George Macleod Coghill wrote:

 >I do not see how this conclusion follows. Sense perception is not
 >mentioned, and if the verse and interpretation are contra Clark they must
 >at the very least provide an example that cannot be incorporated under a
 >clarkian interpretation. (Just now I only want to deal with the 'sense
 >perception' part and so shall assume that knowledge in the technical sense
 >is what is meant). So how would a clarkian respond. Well, Clark believed
 >that people were illuminated to understand propositions and that these
 >were directly occasioned by God with respect to events in the world. Now,
 >regardless of the rights and wrongs of this position, I see nothing in it
 >that is not consonant with the verse quoted. Therefore Bahnsens example
 >fails at this point as a ciriticism of Clark.

I think you need to consult my original email. I was asking a very 
different question. Why should we think that knowledge must be restricted 
to *Scriptural propositions*, that is, to propositions contained in 
Scripture? That is, my question is about *what* we can know, not *how* we 
can know it.

Here's how I put it in that email:

>Van Til appears to affirm that knowledge is not restricted to the 
>propositions of Scripture. Rather both believers and unbelievers can have 
>knowledge of propositions not found in Scripture. In fact, they can have 
>empirical knowledge (via their senses), and knowledge via ordinary 
>historical testimony, quite apart from the Scriptures.

[snip]

>Restricting knowledge to Scriptural propositions just seems so obviously 
>false to me, unless one is operating with a highly idiosyncratic 
>definition of 'knowledge'.

Now, in Mt 24:32, we are told that people knew a proposition which was not 
contained in Scripture, nor could it be deduced from the Scriptures they 
possessed. The proposition in question is: "that summer is near."

I'm not concerned right now to debate the merits of divine illumination 
epistemology, and whether the Scriptures commit us to it. I'm concerned 
about the bearing of Mt 24:32 on the thesis that the only propositions we 
can know are Scriptural propositions or propositions deducible from 
Scripture. Mt 24:32 appears to conflict with that thesis. Ditto for Ac 2:22 
and Ac 26:26.

The Clarkian could reply at this point, "Well, duh! Those propositions 
*are* in Scripture! They are found in Mt 24:32, Ac 2:22, and Ac 26:26. So 
you haven't given us counterexamples to the Clarkian thesis. You haven't 
given us an example of knowledge of a proposition not contained in 
Scripture or deducible from Scripture."

I wish to know: would that be your reply?

Or would your reply be that those texts are commonly translated in terms of 
'knowledge,' but it's not *really* knowledge, at least not on a Clarkian 
definition of knowledge. Rather, those texts are talking about something 
less than knowledge.

I'm sorry if I confused the issues for you. I take VT's view to be that 
knowledge is not restricted to Scriptural propositions or to propositions 
deducible from Scripture. That is, we can know propositions beyond this. It 
is also VT's view that we can come to know these extrascriptural 
propositions *by means of* sense-experience and testimony, but that view is 
distinct from the one I'm really interested in: that we can know such 
propositions in the first place.

Cheers,

Greg Welty
<greg.welty@oriel.oxford.ac.uk>


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