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HTS Theological Studies

Print version ISSN 0259-9422

Abstract

BUITENDAG, Johan. 'Epistemology models ontology'- In gesprek met John Polkinghorne. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2011, vol.67, n.1, pp. 00-00. ISSN 0259-9422.

The famous premise of John Polkinghorne, 'epistemology models ontology', has been assessed in this article. It is interpreted that its logic is based on a linear trajectory of knowledge → being. Polkinghorne places much emphasis on the fact that he pursues a 'bottom-up' approach, that is, an inductive way of going about with reality. He opts for a 'critical realist' view of reality that leads him to interpret indeterminacy (Heisenberg) as a sign of actual ontological openness to the future and not primarily as an epistemological deficit. He applies subsequently the doctrine of the Trinity as a hermeneutical tool to understand reality. The author argues that Polkinghorne is inconsistent in this venture and that he should consider a multidimensional approach, where epistemology and ontology model each other mutually, that is, knowledge ↔ being. In order to acknowledge the stratification of reality and the pluriformity of epistemologies, it is suggested that a rather 'constructive-realist' approach would serve better the theology of Polkinghorne; this is a shift from epistemology to hermeneutics.

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