Scientists, philosophers and theologians have wrestled repeatedly with the question of whether knowledge is similar or different in their various understandings of the world and God. Although agreement is still elusive, the epistemology of critical realism, associated with Ian Barbour, John Polkinghorne and Arthur Peacocke, remains widely credible. Relying on the lifetime work of philosopher Ernan McMullin, this book expands our understanding of critical realism beyond a permanent stand-off between the subjective and objective, whether in science or theology. Critical realism illuminates the subject and the objectively known simultaneously. Responding to criticisms made against it, this book defends critical realism in science and theology with a specific role to play in our understanding of God.
'To the best of my knowledge, Paul Allen has provided the first book-length study of McMullin's 'critical realism', which offers a philosophically rigorous account of the interaction of the 'knower' and the 'known' within the process of knowing… Allen's account of McMullin's version of critical realism will be welcomed by all working at the interface of science and religion. It has the potential to bring additional rigour to an important discussion. It should find its way into college libraries with interests in the field.' Theological Book Review ’There is much that is interesting and stimulating in this book and it is very good to see Ernan McMullin clearly portrayed as the major figure he has been.’ Journal of Theological Studies ’… this fresh perspective on human knowledge opens new possibilities for science-theology dialogue, worthy of exploration, and Paul Allen's book is a valuable example of such investigation.’ ESSSAT News
Contents: Foreword; Introduction; Contemporary natural theology and critical realism in science and theology; McMullin's scientific realism and the theory of retroduction; Cosmology and the limits of scientific knowledge; McMullin, faith and rationality; Extending McMullin's theology of self-transcendence; Conclusion; Chronological bibliography of Ernan McMullin's works; Index.
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