Fortress Press

Encountering Reality: T. F. Torrance on Truth and Human Understanding

Encountering Reality

T. F. Torrance on Truth and Human Understanding

Travis M. Stevick (Author)

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Encountering Reality argues for a new appreciation of T. F. Torrance on epistemology and reality. According to Torrance’s realism, all authentic knowledge involves the nature of the object impressing its inherent rationality on the mind. Consequently, knowledge involves thinking in accordance with the nature of the object. Stevick explores the place and function of “ultimate beliefs” in epistemology, as well as the question as to whether such beliefs imply a retreat to either foundationalism or fideism. The inescapability of ultimate beliefs in all human knowledge requires a shift in the traditional notion of objectivity. We find that shift in the account provided by T. F. Torrance, whose epistemological position implies an alternative notion of truth.

Drawing on distinctly Christian sources, Torrance emphasizes the distinction between truth and truthfulness, thereby reorienting the discussion from a focus on statements to a focus on being. This shift challenges the dichotomy between correspondence and coherence theories of truth and provides one way of transcending the scientific realism/antirealism debate and gives rise to a practical epistemological tool, disclosure models, which function as self-correcting, self-marginalizing lenses through which we encounter reality, yielding knowledge in accordance to the nature of the thing known.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • ISBN 9781506412917
  • Format Hardcover
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 236
  • Publication Date December 1, 2016


1. What Is (Authentic) Knowledge?
2. Ultimate Beliefs
3. Objectivity
4. What Does It Mean to Speak Kata Physin? The Question of Truth
5. What Is the Role of Theory in Kataphysic Knowledge?



. . . The best study of Torrance’s work in the area of theology and science that has yet to appear.

“Travis Stevick is a promising scholar in a field that needs an influx of new ideas. He displays an unmatched appreciation for recent work in science—and, quite importantly, the philosophy of science—from a distinctively Reformed theological point of view. This is the best study of Torrance’s work in the area of theology and science that has yet to appear. It is a magisterial work in ecclesial theology that will command attention wherever interest exists in this field.”

George Hunsinger | Princeton Theological Seminary