Miniblog #244: Why I’m a Postfoundationalist
At the risk of fully exposing my blatant nerdery, I’ll openly acknowledge that I love Critical Realism and self-describe without reservation as a Postfoundationalist. Postfoundationalism is, in my estimate, the only epistemological school of thought that adequately holds in tension our human nature as made in God’s image yet fully marred. Though certainly not all Postfoundationalists would affirm these underlying theological precepts, from a christian point of view it recognizes and upholds the simultaneous convictions that we’ve been endowed by our Creator will sense, reason, and intellect yet our cognitive abilities are limited by humanity’s finitude and fallenness. It doesn’t allow one to esteem our rationality too highly as does the objectivist nor does it permit one to esteem our rationality too lowly as does the relativist, but instead insists upon a perspectivist alternative in which truth much be sought in a dialectical fashion. We can rightly say, “I have a pretty good grasp of that thing.” But we’re then compelled to acknowledge, “Lacking omniscience, however, I’ll never understand it fully. There will always be more facts to consider, insights to explore, perspectives to integrate, complexities to grasp, fields to synthesize, errors to fix, over-simplifications to admit and unpack…” Some critics have insisted that Postfoundationalism and Critical Realism, the former’s epistemological engine, have made the search for truth unduly difficult. They say that, according to this view, we can’t be confident of anything anymore. They are wrong. Postfoundationalism doesn’t create difficulty, but rather honestly acknowledges the difficulty that has always been there. It demands we use our minds to their fullest capability and also humbly admit our cognitive limitations. What could be more biblical? And that’s why I love it.