Social Domains of Knowledge: Technology, Art, and Religion

In: Philosophia Reformata
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  • 1 Institute for Christian Studies, Canada

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This essay asks whether and how a Reformational epistemology should distinguish different types of knowledge within a unified conception of knowledge as a whole. I begin with the thesis that knowledge, in its deepest meaning, is not a thing to possess but a complex relationship to inhabit. It encompasses human knowers, practices of knowing, the knowable, known results, guiding principles, and procedures of confirmation. Within this complex relationship, humans achieve insight of various sorts. After briefly distinguishing artistic from scientific knowledge, I examine two other social domains of knowledge, namely, technology and religion. Taking issue with Hendrik Hart, I then argue for the religious legitimacy of propositional beliefs, provided they support genuinely religious knowledge, which is post-propositional. Knowledge, I conclude, takes on distinct contours within different social domains; some of them, like art and technology, provide pre-propositional insight, and others, like religion, offer insight that is post-propositional.

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