Checking In With Epistemology, 2006

It is a good thing that ideology progresses slowly. I am finally reading an issue of Christian Scholar's Review from the summer of 2006. I kept it in stack for years and years, and I am glad that I did; the opening paragraph is a nice snapshot of the present state of western epistemology. It reads:

"This special issue . . . explores the implications of a world of relative values for the scholarly enterprise. The postmodern fixation on relative values has a certain appeal for a young man or woman interested in sex without entanglements, but it raises a different set of issues for scientists who desire 'honest' reporting of research data. With quantum mechanics we discovered that certainty has its limits, but have we also begun to discover that relativism has its limits as well? How do we preserve the cognitive knowledge and aesthetic achievements we have acquired and build on these if the culture no longer has a basis for judging between ideas? One of the insights of our age that people have increasingly recognized is that knowledge is multi-dimensional. Without a basis for judging and comparing ideas, however, the pursuit of knowledge and the gains of culture are threatened. The modern period made the mistake of reducing knowledge to facts, but the postmodern age has the tendency to confuse knowledge with information, and in its use of the World Wide Web, information is traded for data." (447)

The conclusion of the introduction picks up the thread:

"The postmodern critique of modernity has had its impact on the academic disciplines, but it presented little constructive help except in pointing out that the modern emperor had no clothes. These essays [which make up the summer 2006 issue] suggests how a few of the disciplines have begun to cut new cloth. These essays illustrate that the discussion belongs to more disciplines than philosophy and literature. The discussion of beauty belongs to the sciences as much as to the arts. Discussions of 'the good' belong to economics as much as to ethics." (449)