Chris teaches philosophy at the University of Divinity and is ISCAST Executive Director. He is a jack of all trades and master of none: he has taught engineering, theology, apologetics, climate change and history of science and is an expert in none of the above. He enjoys preaching and public speaking as well as helping people to be faithful followers of Jesus. His doctoral work, which he will outline in words of one or two syllables in this talk, was in epistemology (how we know what we know etc.).
Description: In this talk I will share some of my doctoral research, which goes by the acronym HUFPAT: a hermeneutic, universal, fiduciary and provisional approach to truth. I will explain why scientific and theological knowledge are very similar in many ways and why confusion about the nature of science has led fundamentalists (secular and religious) into blind alleys. More technically: I believe that HUFPAT is the unavoidable condition and also the common practice of knowledge claims in areas as diverse as theology, history, the appreciation of art, and the natural sciences; in short, all knowledge is ‘hermeneutic’. HUFPaT affirms a robust understanding of truth while at the same time recognising the validity of criticisms of overly ambitious epistemologies. Both the natural and the human sciences offer legitimate and similarly founded truth claims which avoid falling into the extremes of either a naive optimism, based on method and the disengaged human subject, or into a relativism that cannot make universal truth claims. HUFPAT is based principally on the work of the German philosophers Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer (who gave his last public lecture at 101 years of age!), and Hungarian/English scientist and philosopher of science Michael Polanyi.