We’ve got mail: Are the senses reliable?

I do not know if this is the right place to ask this question but regardless, I have a question regarding presuppositional apologetics and how the Christian knows what she/he knows. I have been studying apologetics (classic/PA) for a while and I feel as though I have come to somewhat of a roadblock in epistemology. So here’s my question. Does the Vantillian approach to apologetics rely on sensation and if so, how does it account for the reliability of sensation. Usually when I ask this question the answer is “God has made our senses reliable” but I am equally aware of that sensation is not consistently reliable. What is the basic premise/syllogism for epistemology using VT apologetics? How does a Christian acquire knowledge about the universe and if it is by sensation, how do we justify the reliability of our senses? Kind regards Tyler ( born-again slave to Jesus Christ)

Yes, the Van Tilian approach to apologetics relies upon the senses insofar as the Van Tilian approach to epistemology relies upon the senses. Van Tilians are Christian empiricists. But they are not limited to empiricism.

We may account for the reliability of the senses in a number of ways. Here are two. First, Scripture presents a picture of the world wherein those who are created in the image of God come to know God, themselves, and the world through sensory experience. The Christian worldview does not teach Solipsism, nor does it teach Rationalism. Second, we would expect God not to deceive us in such a radical way as to place within us the inevitable tendency to rely upon sensory input for our everyday interactions with the world were the senses unreliable.

When you say that sense experience is not consistently reliable you are not saying anything that is not affirmed in the traditional account of the reliability of the senses. That is, when the senses are functioning properly in a conducive environment their deliverances are at least generally true. We recognize that the senses may be impaired through drunkeness, for example.

That is a very short, simplistic answer to a very thoughtful question. Hope it helps.


2 Comments

jie dichos

the biggest objection i have with pressup came from a former pressup himslef that goes by the name william tyndale who posted a critique on youtube against van tillian method use by Sye. I dont want to bring his whole case but the only main big sentence that struck me and give up half of my pressup position is the truth that “One cannot start epistemologically outside of the self. And the confusion and mix up of ontology and epistomology by the pressup . Also how would you deal with atheist objection that if they cant solve the problem of hard solipsism niether can us and we dont really solve the brain in the vat

C. L. Bolt

Acknowledging solipsism or the brain in the vat difficulty isn’t using Van Tilian apologetics. The presuppositionalist position is that one cannot epistemologically start outside of the self. That is why we say all reasoning is ultimately circular in an epistemological sense. We are finite knowers. So it is odd you say you gave up half of your presuppositional position when you have only just discovered a major portion of the presuppositional position. There is no confusion and mix up of ontology and epistemology by the presuppositionalist. Hope this helps.


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