My Thomas Reid article is up at Heidelblog

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RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
The Heidelberg Reformation Association kindly brought me on as a part-time writer for the Heidelblog. Here is a semi-autobiographical post on Thomas Reid's philosophy.

"It is my contention that the epistemology (the theory of knowledge) of the 18th century Scottish philosopher, Thomas Reid, which is commonly called “Common Sense Realism,” (hereafter CSR) offers a foundation upon which the Reformed Christian may successfully defend truth claims and present the gospel in a clear manner."

 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
This is really helpful. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been wanting a short introduction to Reid and CSR for a while, and I think this is a good start for me.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
My original draft was somewhat academic and we decided to take it in a more pastoral route. That was sa good call on my editor's part. The dialogue was fun. It was more or less taken from a number of conversations I had.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Brilliant article, Jacob. I am sharing it far and wide.

Thank you, and I just want the HB to get more readers.

A question came up in the twitter comments: are presuppositionalism and CSR compatible?

Even though I have problems with Van Tillianism, there is no prima facie contradiction. One can incorporate insights from both.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
There is a branch of epistemology, especially among those associated with Plantinga (namely William Alston), that is called "reliabilism." It asserts that our rational faculties are reliable. Not ultimate. Not infallible, but reliable unless shown otherwise. That's what I am getting at. Alvin Plantinga states the issue this way: Is it true that our perceptions (or rational faculties) are often misleading? But we should first ask, “How do we know that sense perception/reason sometimes deceives us?” Plantinga: “The conclusion that we were misled by our senses at t1 clearly involves several faculties: memory, induction...and sense perception itself” (Warrant and Proper Function 101).
 

Zach

Puritan Board Senior
This is really helpful. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been wanting a short introduction to Reid and CSR for a while, and I think this is a good start for me.
Ditto. The most I got was the standard line that Reid and CSR led to the need for the Princetonians to be corrected by Van Til. Looking forward to being a little bit better equipped to engage the question.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Ditto. The most I got was the standard line that Reid and CSR led to the need for the Princetonians to be corrected by Van Til. Looking forward to being a little bit better equipped to engage the question.

Van Til did interact with Reid on p. 132 of Survey of Christian Epistemology. Very few of his disciples have. Reid and Van Til are dealing with two very different issues. Van Til used Kantian transcendental arguments. Reid simply said, "We know that knowledge is possible and skepticism is self-defeating."

I think the two ships can pass in the night without crashing. And what van Tillians don't realize is that Reid started with God in his anthropology.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
I think the two ships can pass in the night without crashing.
See, this is what I’ve been wondering. In my limited exposure to Reid and CSR, I’ve sometimes struggled to figure out what exactly the conflict is. Am I crazy in thinking that the two (CSR and presuppositionalism) are at least to some degree compatible, and may even in some regards be saying the same thing?
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
See, this is what I’ve been wondering. In my limited exposure to Reid and CSR, I’ve sometimes struggled to figure out what exactly the conflict is. Am I crazy in thinking that the two (CSR and presuppositionalism) are at least to some degree compatible, and may even in some regards be saying the same thing?

Here is what I wrote on my twitter (or on R Scott Clark's twitter). Presup's strength is in covenantal obedience, Vosian themes in the garden, etc. Van Til said Vos was his most influential teacher. We should expect to see it in Van til.

Van tillians know there isn't much exegesis, and so they've tried to remedy it by appeals to Romans 1, etc. A better take is to follow Dennison's lead and work it out from Garden themes, etc. It's an open field.

I don't buy the presup take on TAG. I think the classical arguments are good and I have used them in evangelism with some fruit. I do think presup is open int he field of exegesis and they should spend their time there.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
I appreciate the simplicity and clarity of your view, and that depth of understanding is not sacrificed. Epistemology is foundational to me. I have not thought it out as you have – yet know that I know anything about God and His work because He has spoken to me in His word, giving me understanding, this capacity to understand also a gift in how He created and constituted me.

I will continue pondering your piece with profit!
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
I appreciate the simplicity and clarity of your view, and that depth of understanding is not sacrificed. Epistemology is foundational to me. I have not thought it out as you have – yet know that I know anything about God and His work because He has spoken to me in His word, giving me understanding, this capacity to understand also a gift in how He created and constituted me.

I will continue pondering your piece with profit!

Thank you. All the clarity goes to my editor's suggestions.
 

Jacob E. Carne

Puritan Board Freshman
How would you classify Bavinck’s epistemological view in relation to Reid’s CSR? I know the Bavinck Institute has some essays on his epistemology, and his first volume sounds like it contains some similar ideas in how we come to know things.
 

Tychicus

Puritan Board Freshman
How is CSR different/similar to "Christian Platonism" (CP) as it is being put out recently (Craig Carter, Paul Tyson, Matthew Barrett, et al). CredoMagazine's recent issue is on CP and Dr. Jordan Cooper has an article on realism, do you agree with them or find yourself in sharp disagreement?
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
How is CSR different/similar to "Christian Platonism" (CP) as it is being put out recently (Craig Carter, Paul Tyson, Matthew Barrett, et al). CredoMagazine's recent issue is on CP and Dr. Jordan Cooper has an article on realism, do you agree with them or find yourself in sharp disagreement?

Christian Platonism sometimes bifurcates the world into the true world of Forms (existing in the mind of God) and the external world. Man has access to the mind of God by symbols or Platonic forms. It's an attractive paradigm and one that was dominant for much of church history. Matt Barrett has done some outstanding work. His book on the Trinity is the best modern book on the topic.

CSR simply says we have access to the external world and that our rational faculties are reliable, other things being equal.

They aren't contradictory but they aren't exactly the same thing. I agree with Christian Platonists that universals exist and have an extra-mental existence. Cooper is arguing that universals exist and that nominalism is wrong. I agree with him, but Reid's project is something different.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
How would you classify Bavinck’s epistemological view in relation to Reid’s CSR? I know the Bavinck Institute has some essays on his epistemology, and his first volume sounds like it contains some similar ideas in how we come to know things.

I'm in agreement with him. I don't know that he interacted with Reid so much. Reid wrote before Kant. Bavinck had to respond to Hegel and Kant and so is project looks a bit different.
 
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