On Being a Christian in the Academy: Nicholas Wolterstorff and the Practice of Christian Scholarship

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Having identified crucial flaws in both classical foundationalism and cognitive relativism, Andrew Sloane expounds Wolterstorff's theory of rationality and his understanding of the devising and weighing of theories. The role of control beliefs in scholarship and the place of Christian beliefs in the practice of Christian scholarship are explored. The author then critically appraises Wolterstorff's view in dialogue with its rivals. He presents a defensible person-specific but nonrelativist criterion of theory ...
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Overview

Having identified crucial flaws in both classical foundationalism and cognitive relativism, Andrew Sloane expounds Wolterstorff's theory of rationality and his understanding of the devising and weighing of theories. The role of control beliefs in scholarship and the place of Christian beliefs in the practice of Christian scholarship are explored. The author then critically appraises Wolterstorff's view in dialogue with its rivals. He presents a defensible person-specific but nonrelativist criterion of theory choice and outlines an organic epistemological metaphor. The book concludes by exploring the implications of these findings for theological scholarship, in particular Old Testament exegesis. The author suggests that Wolterstorff's notion of scholarly practice explains the practice of scholarship and is to be commended to Christian scholars as a cogent and challenging method of devising and appraising theories.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Andrew Sloane studied medicine and practiced briefly as a doctor before entering the Baptist ministry. He studied theology at Morling College (Sydney) and in 1994 he was awarded his ThD by the Australian College of Theology for the thesis on which this book is based. From 1996 to 2002 he was in the faculty of Ridley College, Melbourne. In 2002 he took up the position of Lecturer in Old Testament and Christian Thought at Morling College, Sydney.

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Table of Contents


Foreword     xiii
Acknowledgements     xv
Introduction     1
A Justification of the Adoption of Wolterstorff's Defeasible, Situated Rationality
Introduction to Part 1     9
Wolterstorff and Foundationalism     11
Wolterstorff's Construal of Foundationalism     11
Wolterstorff's Critique of Foundationalism     20
Wolterstorff's rejection of classical foundationalist notions of justification     20
Wolterstorff's rejection of classical foundationalist notions of a foundation of certitudes     28
Further arguments against classical foundationalism     34
Wolterstorff and Relativism     43
Kuhnian Relativism     44
An outline of cognitive relativism     46
Kuhnian radicalism     48
Kuhn and relativism     51
A Critique of Kuhnian Relativism     60
The history and sociology of science and relativism     60
Paradigms and relativism     65
The incoherence of cognitive relativism     70
Conclusion to Part 1     73
Wolterstorff's Theories of Rationality and Wissenschaft
Introduction to Part 2     77
Wolterstorff's Situated Rationality     79
Wolterstorff's Notion of Rationality     79
Innocent until proven guilty     79
Rational justification of belief     83
Obligation and justification     84
Non-innocent beliefs and the noetic effects of sin     89
Ceasing to believe and entitled belief     95
The Main Features of Wolterstorff's Rationality     97
It is empirically rooted     98
It is situated and non-absolutist     102
It is rational and non-relativist     109
Wolterstorff's Meta-theory     111
Wolterstorff and Neo-Calvinist Meta-Theories     111
Kuyper's two sciences     113
Dooyeweerd and the reductionism of idolatry     118
Wolterstorff's rejection of Neo-Calvinist meta-theories     123
Wolterstorff's Meta-Theory     127
Beliefs and theories     128
Authentic Christian commitment and the function of control beliefs     132
Wolterstorff's Heuristics of Shalom     148
Heuristics and shalom     148
Shalom and pure versus praxis-oriented theory     151
A Critical Analysis of Wolterstorff's Meta-Theory
Introduction to Part 3     163
An Articulation and Defence of Wolterstorff's Meta-Theory     165
Wolterstorff's Meta-Theory and his Situated Rationality     165
Empirical and situated     165
Entitled theory-choice and his criterion of rationality     180
Wolterstorff's Meta-Theory is Rational and Non-Relativist     191
Realism and relativism     192
Heuristics of shalom, historicism and relativism     200
The Structure of Wolterstorff's Meta-Theory     203
Wolterstorff's Meta-Theory is Non-Foundationalist     203
Wolterstorff and other Non-Foundationalist Meta-Theories     215
A Dynamic Model of Wolterstorff's Meta-Theory     223
Conclusion to Part 3     233
Conclusion     235
Retrospect and Prospect     235
Summary and Conclusions     250
Bibliography     255
Abbreviations     255
Primary Sources     255
Secondary Sources     257
Index     271
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