In this episode, I talked to John Timaeus of Modernity Has Fallen about epistemology, rationality, and the failures of modernity. John writes about these issues on his blog. As a software developer and mathematician, John understands problem solving, and is able to show how we’ve gone wrong. So, we discussed how in our modern world we don’t know how we come to truth. Then, we looked back at how we came to know what is true in the past. Last, we discussed how our extreme problem solving can never run out of problems to solve – and might even create more.
“Modernity, the child of the Enlightenment, failed when it became apparent that the good society cannot be achieved by unaided reason.”–Robert Bork
Modernity’s Confused Epistemology
Too many people today assert what is true without knowing how they came to know it. Although we can know many facts, we are not good at knowing how we learn or the basis for what is true. We offhandedly discount the supernatural and take materialist assumptions. Many modernists will say that science is the only source of truth, but at same time fail to defend why it should be.
That’s our problem: we know a lot of things, but don’t know why. Knowing is not only the who, what, when, where, and how. There’s a why behind what we know to be true and why we believe something to be true. That is what we use epistemology to understand, and that is something that modern man has lost that the ancient world knew.
Failures of Modernity
Modernity has promised us that we will solve all the world’s ills with rationality. We can leave religion behind, trading it in for science. However, that has not come true. In fact, modernity has failed to solve our problems, even creating many more in the process. Because we are finite beings, we cannot know all that goes into our decisions, and so each solution will be ultimately insufficient. Just take the internet for example. It has given us tremendous ability to solve problems through communication. But, it has also brought a host of issues with social media, porn, and more.