Rozko 2What I will aim to do in this paper is to highlight some of the more major shifts interms of postmodern philosophical thought, namely, those of epistemology, linguistictheory, and metaphysics. Then, I will draw correlations between these fields and that of Christian theology. Finally, I will offer some thoughts as to what the implications forChristianity and the church in postmodernity might be. What I hope to show is that thesephilosophical shifts, inasmuch as they free us from some of the trappings of modernityand offer alternative ways of thinking and seeing, have the potential to help Christians, of both liberal and conservative persuasions, find a new way to dialogue and co-exist.
From Foundationalism to Communal Discernment
In beginning to discuss the postmodern shift with regard to epistemology, it isfirst necessary to understand its modern history. Epistemology in the modern periodgrew out of a system known as foundationalism. “Foundationalism is a theory aboutknowledge… Some historians trace foundationalism all the way back to Plato, but morecommonly it is identified with modern philosophy, beginning with Rene Descartes.”
Simply understood, Descartes aimed to strip away all that which he claimed to believeuntil he came to a fact which was indisputable and universally applicable. The result washis famous,
cogito ergo sum
, “I think therefore I am.” Then, based on this foundation,Descartes proceeded to add items of belief that could be logically derived from thisfoundation such as his idea of God, and the notion of formal reality.However, certain philosophers have noted serious problems with a foundationalistapproach to epistemology. “Foundationalist philosophers have pursued two broadstrategies in seeking categories of beliefs suited to serve as justification for the rest of
, 9. (hereafter –