- Axioms (Foundational, Inevitable): Grounds Our Beliefs
- Experience (Existential, Pragmatic): Accesses Phenomena
- Science (Forensic, Operant): Gathers and Examines
- Logic (Abstracted, Organizing): Validates and Presumes
- Metaphysics (Ontology, Existence): Explanatory Theory of Reality
- Epistemology (Methodology, Knowledge): Reflects on Our Limits
Metaphysics flows from logic which flows from science which flows from experience which flows from axioms. Our metaphysical conclusions are the best explanation of the logic that is abstracted from science which is constrained from experience which utilizes and manifests axioms. This seems to be the most responsible epistemology, or “theory of knowledge,” that is repeatedly verified (seems to work in the most or all circumstances). Within each frontier are different “avenues” (or “sub-categories) of the frontiers. To “reason” is to reflect and develop ones knowledge by using these frontiers and avenues.
That said, people do not observe reality (or reflect on it) with these frontiers in mind. These frontiers are designated categories that our brain can only utilize after reaching certain stages of development. The boundaries between these categories are blurry as items in one category will naturally be a part of another category. In fact, the entire epistemology is on a continuum so the boundaries are necessarily vague.
One may reject this epistemological framework. However, even if one does not choose to agree with this epistemology, it is still a good heuristic (or “teaching”) device. With it we have a conceptual framework of categories to place new concepts into and we have a baseline view to compare against others. And at the very least, this baseline view is not hidden; it’s out there for others to critique unlike others which get smuggled into people’s minds.
The key thing to realize at this point is that if one were to reject any of these categories (rather than merely reject how they interact), they have a reason to reject Christianity. For example, if one were to reject the frontier of experience, then one implicitly rejects the idea that Christianity can be experienced. Who needs an answer to existential problems if they are not real (or reliably represented) to begin with?
*Honorable mentions: qualia (subjective, feeling; falls under experience), existentialism (axiological, survival; falls under experience), and presuppositional (axiomatic, underpinning; falls under experience and properly basic beliefs; also more of a method than a type of knowledge).
*Also, these frontiers of knowledge should not be confused with the “Avenues of Thought,” which are the categories broken down within each frontier. These would include things such as the avenue of properly basic beliefs and the avenue of undeniable axioms within the frontier of first principles.
*With this epistemological structure, we may also see how Scripture fits as the final authority. It provides the epistemic underpinnings (meta-ontological grounding) needed to support these axioms as actually real and meaningful rather than arbitrary illusions. It also acts as the final constraint on knowledge.