Theology After Neo-Pragmatism

Overview

This book develops the thesis that Evangelical theology not only cannot afford to avoid engaging with the philosophy of neo-pragmatism, but it can also benefit from the proposals of some of its leading exponents, especially Donald Davidson. Three different themes run throughout the book: meaning epistemic justification, and ontology. How can theologians be confident of the meanings ascribed to religious beliefs in the wake of the dissolution of the very concept of meaning and of the analytic-synthetic ...

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Overview

This book develops the thesis that Evangelical theology not only cannot afford to avoid engaging with the philosophy of neo-pragmatism, but it can also benefit from the proposals of some of its leading exponents, especially Donald Davidson. Three different themes run throughout the book: meaning epistemic justification, and ontology. How can theologians be confident of the meanings ascribed to religious beliefs in the wake of the dissolution of the very concept of meaning and of the analytic-synthetic distinction? Is there any rational fraction between our beliefs, religious or mundane, and some extra-linguistic reality? Is God something more than simply a symbolic construct associated with a certain manner of speaking? The surprising thought of Donald Davidson offers resources for Evangelical theology seeking hopeful answers to these troubling questions. Davidson's rejection of the so-called 'third dogma' of empiricism, namely the dualism of scheme of content, should be welcomed by those defending theological 'rationality' and refuting relativism and incommensurability. Furthermore, his truth-conditional semantics can serve as a check against revisionist accounts of religious beliefs that flaunt the first-person point of view of the religious believer herself. These Davidsonian contributions to an Evangelical theology are, however, balanced by inherent inadequacies which require a theological supplement, which is also a creative proposal calling for: the continued significance of experience in theology beyond the myth of the Given; an understanding of the role of Scripture as both epistemic as well as dispositional; and finally an understanding of the nature of truth as located in the mind of God. Theology After Neo-Pragmatism is both an introduction to an influential philosophical trend, and a critical and constructive theological proposal which is at once scriptural and historicist, pragmatic and realist.

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Meet the Author

Adonis Vidu is Associate Professor of Theology, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts

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