A quick thought I don’t have time to expand on right now:
So called “presuppositional” apologists make the centerpiece of their paradigm the doctrine of “autonomous thought” – that is, human thought that doesn’t acknowledge its dependence on the Christian God. This argument effectively traps everyone inside their own heads, leading to endless arguments about thought. Not about arguments about the objects of thought, but about thought itself. What makes thought possible? How do we know our thoughts are true? How can we find unstoppable “impossibility of the contrary” arguments againts the thought of unbelievers, no matter what form they take? Thought, thought, thought, thought. Thoughts about thought. That’s what matters to presuppositionalists.
Well, it occurs to me that what really matters is what is actually the case, not what we happen to think is the case. Ontology precedes epistemology. We do not ground what is or is not the case on the structure of our minds – this is the quintessential Modern problem from Descartes to Kant to Van Til to your average Reformed joe on the street who thinks it’s just “obvious” that everyone who disagrees with him is “unbiblical.” The egocentric predicament isn’t just about psychology; it’s about biblical hermeneutics, the cultural mandate, church polity, and everything else, too.
But if ontology is the foundation of epistemology, then, as a friend of mine has expressed it, we need to recognize the fundamental fact that “the mind is made to know Being.” Now, says the presuppositionalist, what we really do say is that we have to start our thinking with “the self-contained ontological Trinity. So we don’t rest ontology on epistemology, but epistemology on ontology.” I’m not sure that’s true. As I said, the whole presuppositionalist enterprise is obsessed with what it calls “autonomous thinking,” and expends immense efforts to avoid it and refute it in others. The point of thinking in this account is not for the mind to come into contact with and grasp an external object (God, truth), but to satisfactorily explain how thinking itself works – hence all the rhetoric about “predication.”
Of course, we do have to think about ontology in order to carry out all of this that I’m talking about. My whole post is a series of thoughts. But that’s precisely my point: thought about what? Thought about what is, not thought about myself thinking about what is. The starting point for our thinking should be ontology, not epistemology. Thought about reality, not thought about ourselves thinking about reality. Why remove the quest for truth two steps from what we are seeking?