Sunday, July 11, 2010

Moreland on Postmodernism

Here is a superb essay on postmodern views of truth by J.P. Moreland.

7 comments:

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Given this Christian view of postmodernism, isn't it bit odd that people like Phillip Johnson resort to postmodernist rhetoric in their critique of evolution, HIV as a cause of AIDS, and global warming?

For example, here.

Strange bedfellows, indeed.

Doug Groothuis said...

1. This is Moreland, not Johnson. Moreland is not trying to speak for Johnson. What is the problem? Moreover, the article is on truth, not justification.

2. Johnson is only employing the sociology of knowledge to explain why some ideas take hold when they are evidentially challenged. Johnson does not have a postmodern view of truth. Rather, he is appealing to social epistemology.

RkBall said...

"... postmodernism is an immoral and cowardly view-point that people who love truth and knowledge... should do everything they can to heal."

Sometimes I wish J. P. would tell us what he really thinks.

Ken Abbott said...

Good article, Dr. G. Thanks.

You might be interested in the following posted just today at the "First Things" Evangel blog:

http://firstthings.com/blogs/evangel/2010/07/postmodernism-101/

Brandon said...

I find it difficult to trust this type of scholarship because it (by it, I mean evangelical rationalism) rarely quotes the postmodern philosophers that it often critiques. I rarely ever see intricate and detailed analyzes of Derrida's ideas of deconstruction or responses to the ethic-centered views of "otherness" in Derrida's later texts. Someone like Derrida spends numerous books paying a rabbinical attention to the impacts and holes in texts that he reads. Should not responders to "postmodernism" make at least, half the effort? Should correspondence theorists be more attentive to the current writings of deconstruction, phenomenology, or coherence truth theorists? Why are you not going back to ockham and debating the foundations of nominal-ism? Why not read more of the recent religious interpretation of postmodern thought that is radically interested in ethical choices?

Doug Groothuis said...

Moreland is well-read on Husserl. You can endlessly wade into the details of the murky writings or postmodernists (the exception is Rorty, who, while wrong on most things, was a clear writer) or you can deal with their basic confusions, which is what J.P. did. Millard Erickson gives a more fine-grained critique in his Truth or Consequences.

Brandon said...

If the options are to either deal with the murky writings in detail or to wade on the surface and make sweeping claims on basic confusions, then I would have to say that honest scholarship would, by definition, have to choose the former. I know that it takes alot of time and energy to read Derrida, Foucault, and the new French phenomenologists. But I think a number of issues that Moreland and yourself have with truth is an issue that contemporary scholarship on deconstruction and phenomenology are trying to work out. It is not enough, it seems to me, to force philosophers like Rorty into the same mold as a postfoundational phenomenologist like Marion, for instance, or even Derrida for that matter. Rorty wants to privatize Derrida while Derrida himself became intensely ethical and political (dare I say religious) before his death. Generalizing these difficult thinkers is dangerous because you end up putting words in their mouth without having read their writings with discipline. You also end up making assumptions about whats in their books. Simply throwing off all of someone's thoughts because of stylistic reasons (aka "they are hard to read") is not a valid reason to avoid the difficulty. Rigorous scholarship implies murky writings and not basic confusions.