The Augustinian Paradigm
EXPLAINING AUGUSTINIAN CONCEPTS
The epistemology of spiritual knowledge has not been defined and this has had the consequence that certain terms have not been fully explained, which may obscure and prevent the full understanding of Augustinian methodology. Three such problems are discussed here. They are the Accounts of Truth, Morality and God.
Since morality is a condition of truth it follows that any understanding which is not moral is not true. Both Truth and Morality must be understood in order to understand either.
Because these understandings are based on experience and problem solving, they can differ from some longer established religious definitions and interpretations. As scientific understandings they are incommensurate with religious dogma by definition, and should not be confused with religious doctrines in any way.
Nor do they conform to a formal process of logical reasoning which requires true premises and arguments. The scientific method may postulate a relevant hypothesis which may have no prior credentials and then put that hypothesis to the test of experience. Satisfactory test experience corroborates the claims of the hypothesis.
The difference between the logical and scientific approaches may be seen in the examination of the claim of the existence of God which is not as yet logically provable but is, however, valid in experience. Similarly, the existence of the Cosmos cannot be proved by logical means but can be determined to be scientifically true by the tests of experience. The idea of God, as a scientific hypothesis, works in human experience.
All accounts conform to the scientific method and are therefore checkable by repeating the problem solving process. They should be understood as theoretical and subject to corroboration by later appropriate research. Scientific knowledge is always subject to later clarification and correction.
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