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Encountering Reality argues for a new appreciation of T. F. Torrance on epistemology and reality. According to Torrance's realism, all authentic knowledge involves the nature of the object impressing its inherent rationality on the mind. Consequently, knowledge involves thinking in accordance with the nature of the object. We shall explore the place and function of “ultimate beliefs” in epistemology, as well as the question as to whether such beliefs imply a retreat to either foundationalism or fideism. The inescapability of ultimate beliefs in all human knowledge requires a shift in the traditional notion of objectivity. We find that shift in the account provided by T. F. Torrance, whose epistemological position implies an alternative notion of truth. Drawing on distinctly Christian sources, Torrance emphasizes the distinction between truth and truthfulness thereby reorienting the discussion from a focus on statements to a focus on being. This shift challenges the dichotomy between correspondence and coherence theories of truth and provides one way of transcending the scientific realism/anti-realism debate and gives rise to a practical epistemological tool, disclosure models, which function as self-correcting, self-marginalizing lenses through which we encounter reality, yielding knowledge in accordance to the nature of the thing known.
About the Author
Travis M. Stevick earned a PhD in theology from the University of St. Andrews. This volume is based on a dissertation completed at the University of St. Andrews under the direction of Alan Torrance. He is an ordained elder in the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.