Has Jonathan Bernier Rescued Critical Realism?

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
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  • 1 McMaster Divinity College, Canada
  • | 2 Arizona Christian University, USA

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Jonathan Bernier recently responded to Stanley Porter and Andrew Pitts’ article on epistemology in jshj. In this rejoinder, Porter and Pitts expose Bernier’s perpetual failure to understand the central terminology in this debate. Their response to Bernier reveals his clear confusion surrounding technical (even if basic) philosophical nomenclature in contemporary epistemology. Consequently, Bernier turns out to be just as committed to internalism as those he attempts to rescue from it. Their biggest disappointment, however, turns upon Bernier’s inability to engage the central argument of their original article. Their case rested entirely upon the crippling Gettier-style counterexamples to internalism and, by extension, critical realism. Yet, Gettier never makes an appearance in Bernier’s article. One can only speculate why Bernier would write an article-length response that neglects to address this argument. Whatever the cause, this oversight deeply undermines Bernier’s entire project by leaving Porter and Pitts’ original argument unscathed and firmly intact.

  • 4

     See Porter and Pitts, ‘Critical Realism,’ p. 288, where we refer to Lonergan’s ‘cognitional theory.’

  • 5

    Porter and Pitts, ‘Critical Realism,’ p. 301.

  • 6

    Edmund Gettier, ‘Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?’ Analysis 23 (1963), pp. 121–23.

  • 8

    N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, 1; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1992), esp. pp. 31–80.

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  • 9

     See Porter and Pitts, ‘Critical Realism,’ p. 290, where the argument is presented at some length; cf. p. 281 for bibliographical references to these early critical realists.

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  • 12

    Bernier, ‘Response,’ p. 189, citing Porter and Pitts, ‘Critical Realism,’ p. 292.

  • 14

    G.K. Beale, ed., The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994).

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