Distantial Ways of Knowing: Doug Blomberg’s Proposal for a Reformational Epistemology

In: Philosophia Reformata
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This essay explores the Reformational epistemology proposed by Australian philosopher and educator Doug Blomberg in 1978. After locating his work in a tradition of holistic pluralism with regard to knowledge, I introduce the notion of distantial knowing, Blomberg’s key innovation. Blomberg uses this notion to identify and describe multiple ways of acquiring normative insight, ways that are not theoretical but do open up concrete experience. Although in agreement with Blomberg’s emphasis on the integrality and multidimensionality of knowledge, I raise questions about the role of analytic or logical knowing, the sociocultural mediation of experience, and the contributions of cultural practices and social institutions to knowledge acquisition. I return to these questions in a companion article on the social domains of knowledge.

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