Last Epistemology Lecture: 16 Ideas
1. Fear of the Lord is the beginning (and end) of knowledge.
2. Christianity is a knowledge claim and a knowledge tradition.
3. We may learn of epistemological virtue from the teachings and life of Jesus Christ. See my book, On Jesus.
4. Knowledge is justified, true belief, not communal consensus, not what our best theories tell us (they may be wrong), not our sacred narrative because it gives us meaning.
5. Hold yourself intellectually accountable for your beliefs. That is, your beliefs are not like the color of your eyes. They need to be justified.
6. Hold others intellectually accountable for their beliefs. They may have a political right to believe P, but that in no way means that P is true or rational. You have the right to hold to the doctrines of the First Church of the Transgalactic Taco Shell, but that fact fails to justify these doctrines intellectually. In fact, you have the right to be wrong. And I have the right to tell you that you are wrong, and vice versa.
7. One's theory of truth is a metaphysical claim; how we know the truth is an epistemological claim.
8. Hard empiricism (Hume) leads to hard skepticism.
9. Hard skeptics should be more skeptical about their skepticism (Pascal).
10. All epistemology is personal and social. We come to know as unique beings amidst a constellation of social factors. This in no way leads to relativism. We come to know mathematical and logical truths as unique individuals amidst social factors, but this does not relativize math or logic.
11. On may know P is true without complete certainty that P is true.
12. Certainty in matters of religious beliefs is not necessary arrogance. Jesus claimed that his followers had certainty about this identity (John 17).
13. Some beliefs are foundational and not derived from other beliefs, such as:
B. A does not equal non-A
C. Either A or non-A
D. Modus ponens
E. Modus tolens
F. Reductio ad absurdum.
14. Logical fallacies are common and should be unmasked by learning what they are and identifying them in fallacious arguments. See A. Weston, A Rulebook for Arguments.
15. Logical coherence is a necessary, but not sufficient, test for truth.
16. Prayer is a vital part of virtuous knowing.