David Bentley Hart on Epistemology

‘If none of this is an illusion, and if in fact world and mind really are open to one another, and reason is real and not a fantasy generated by fortuitous regularities of physical events in our brains, then it is perfectly rational to accord a certain causal priority to mind over matter in our picture of reality…it certainly seems that, in abstracting experience into various kinds of ideal content – formal, mathematical, moral, aesthetic, and so on – the mind really does extract knowledge from what would otherwise be nothing but meaningless brute events. In fact, reality becomes more intelligible to us the more we are able to abstract it into concepts and to arrange it under categories, and then arrange our concepts under ever simple, more comprehensive, more unconditioned concepts, always ascending toward the simplest and most capacious and most unconditional concept our mind can reach. To say that something has become intelligible to us is to say that we have an idea of it that can be understood according to the simplest abstract laws and that leaves no empirical or conceptual remainder behind. This is the highest form of intelligibility. We may or may not be Platonists in our metaphysics, but we certainly must be practical idealists in our epistemology. (David Bentley Hart, ‘The  Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss’, p. 232-233)


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