Epistemology: Three Different Methods Of Knowing
In the book Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity written by David Entwistle, epistemology is defined by the branch of psychology that deals with the grounds and nature of knowledge. This branch considers the nature, possibilities, and limitations of knowledge. (Entwistle, 2015). Epistemology is the boundary between fact and fiction. When one better sees how to decipher fact, they would then be able to start to channel their whole perspective through the lens of the model they have made from the foundations of this information.
There are three categories that people hang on to as truth, and how close they trust them to reflect reality. Those who hold the first viewpoint are known as naïve realists. These people are at one extreme, and they believe that perception and reality are exactly as they seem, with nothing new that has yet to be discovered (Entwistle, 2015). The second viewpoint is the complete opposite of the naïve realists and they are known as the antirealists. The antirealists believe that there is no correspondence between the viewpoint and reality. They believe that the combined bias of the individual and community, along with the assumption of our theories, determine what we see. (Entwistle, 2015). The third and final category and viewpoint is the critical realists. The critical realists are not on one extreme or the other, they tend to remain in the middle ground. They remain in the middle ground because while they believe that assumptions and biases contribute to perception, reality can impede on the limitations of perception. Just because some areas are blurred does not make them any less accurate. The truth about reality can be known but it does require work to uncover the truth.
After reviewing all the categories and learning a greater deal about them I am able to decide which viewpoint I identify with. Being that I am a Christian, I identify myself as a critical realist. Since I am a Christian, I can be strong in my uncertainty and know that there is a God who created the earth. I personally think we will not always have the perfect view of reality and interpretations.
In the textbook, there are three different methods of knowing that are broken down in the textbook. The first method explains that we must possess the necessary intellectual qualities. These qualities include intellectual humility, intellectual courage, intellectual caution, intellectual integrity, and intellectual perseverance. Intellectual humility is concerned with the ability to judge oneself accurately with the ability to be open to correction (Enwistle, 2015). The textbook defines intellectual caution as the ability to avoid striving and unnecessary quests for knowledge (Enwistle, 2015). Intellectual courage allows us to face fears and overcome fears and recognize danger. Intellectual integrity is defined as the pursuit of truth in at least two ways: the potential for self-deception and the intent to deceive others. (Entwistle, 2015). The discipline of the mind is known are intellectual perseverance. The mind discipline takes time to build up strength and takes time to build up endurance. So as to precisely manage our way to learning, we have to have every one of these intellectual characteristics.
The second method explains how we are to exercise crucial virtues. The moral virtues allow us to differentiate between what is wrong and what is right. Being moral and intellectually virtuous helps aim toward goals and lessons that can be learned through moral readings and discussions. These characteristics and practices will enable us to have a healthy process of thinking that leads to the proper use of information. We need to practice these key virtues to guide our understanding correctly.
The third method of the textbook is four major epistemic strategies that the book describes: authority, logic, empiricism, and hermeneutics. From the moment we were born, we have experienced authority in daily life. Parents, school teachers, and other people have paved the way in our lives that have shaped our views about authority. In determining between what is fact and what is fiction, logic is used to help determine what is true. When there is a fact-based conversation and when people are making assumptions logic helps differentiate between what is true and what These traits and habits will allow us to have a good thought process, leading to using knowledge well. In order to accurately guide our knowledge, we need to exercise these crucial virtues. is not. Logic also claims that our own critical thinking and reasoning can separate fact from fiction. In the logic model, there are two subsections: deductive logic and inductive logic. Deductive logic establishes the truth by combing and evaluating premises based on standard rules, and inductive logic attempts to develop generalizations based on isolated observations (Enwistle, 2015). The third epistemic method we see is empiricism. Empiricism relies on personal experience to break down knowledge claims. (Entwistle, 2015). Empiricism follows along the lines of the scientific method. And the empirical methods have been central to the development of psychology as a science. The last epistemic method we see is through hermeneutics. Hermeneutics deals with the interpretation of the Bible of literary devices as well as the interpretation of the data that you have found. With hermeneutics, we are able to interpret God’s Word and gain a greater understanding.
All the methods are useful for Christians. However, it is important for Christians to learn all methods so that when there comes a situation we know how to defend our faith properly with the evidence to back up our argument. When we use the methods that are appropriate for Christians such as: exercising crucial virtues and logic, we are able to defend our faith. For example, when it comes to the logic we are able to differentiate between what is true and what is not based on the knowledge gained from reading the Bible and learning philosophy so that we can argue the standpoint of that which is true.