I DO believe that God has left His fingerprints all over
creation--including the various attempts at 'proof'...but that strictly
speaking, they only amount to 'evidence' to be perceived in a
pattern...they are semantic clues, reinforced and mutually interpreted by
other clues--testimony from others, conscience, moral notions, etc....
Do you have any opinions about Barth,
I have not studied Barth closely, and too much of what I know about him
is anecdotal...I have seen him largely through the eyes of Thomas
Torrance, because of my research in theological method...
I think one of the major influences I got from Barth--mediated through
Torrance, probably--was the need to derive rationale, method, and
criteria FROM THE SUBJECT MATTER ITSELF, as opposed to from an outside
discipline like phil.sci, or psychology or whatever...this position makes
a certain amount of sense, but leaves one a bit methodologically
hungry...the problem of 'starting point' becomes acute to the
'comparative' student, and confessional for the pre-existing 'believer'...
we DO methodologically 'wake up' within a confessional community (however
loosely defined), and hence we have very limited freedom about the
initial conditions, boundary values, presuppositions...it literally takes
a 'conversion' to switch communities...
on the other hand, I disagree with radical subject-confined
knowledge...and hence with the purely paradigmatically-captive approaches
(one of which is fideism)...to even (1) recognize dissonance within a
system (the cracks in its ability to solve a common set of problems) and
(2) to UNDERSTAND the alternative views (to both initial reject them, and
later to convert to them) REQUIRE THE ABILITY TO 'step over into'
another's paradigm temporarily...this implies that there MUST be a base
set of operant procedures, methods, 'common sense' positions, and some
base for 'naive' or 'folk' approaches...to even HAVE discussions about
paradigms requires some subject-invariant 'skills', basic to the
this will give you the rather obvious clue as to how I will approach the
issue of Wittgy-fideism...the only way we can discuss language games and
criteria, is TO HAVE SOME meta-game that is game-invariant (or that is
self-modifying in its application--perhaps via metaphorical 'fuzziness')...
To me, the concept of a 'self aware fideism'--that is, a position that
CALLS ITSELF 'fideist' (a meta-position term!)--has already conceded
defeat! It is self-stultifying to use a meta-term to deny the possibility
BTW, my favorite piece of Barth is the preface to Anselm...his "I can see
through no eyes but my own" is a CLASSIC EXAMPLE of the contradiction I
refer to above! While it is certainly true TO A LARGE DEGREE, due to the
confessional/paradigmatic nature of our studies, it is NOT the ONLY
position we hold at any given time...I maintain that we CONSTANTLY
operate in multiple levels of factual, operant, and meta
SIMULTANEOUSLY--we are in constant internal dialogue with any number of
'audiences'...Barth could not even know that other positions (thru other
eyes) could be different than his, WITHOUT a formal (or generic) ability
to 'construct' an alternative view with which to contrast his...
Anyway, the preface was my favorite...I remember vividly my experience of
reading it early in my seminary experience...I got about three or four
paragraphs in and I realized that I was in the presence of greatness...I
was face to face with a staggering mind and insight...it was a very
powerful experience...I also had a similar experience on my first
encounter with Luther...
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