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The Language of all the Earth Confounded, or, Directional Pluralism

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image of Philosophia Reformata

In the following I offer several comments on a recent discussion by Sander Griffioen and Richard Mouw on modern pluralism. Pluralisms and Horizons (Mouw & Griffioen, 1993) is a deceptively small book of wide compass, which for three reasons makes interesting reading. First, the authors have much to say on one of the current hot-items in Western civilization: pluralism. Second, they take their point of departure in Christian philosophy, and more specifically in the Reformed tradition. And third, they unite a principled stance based on Christian faith with an openminded readiness to seriously take issue with many different points of view. Their book is in my opinion worth reading merely as an exemplary exercise in intellectual tolerance. The following offers, then, for what it is worth, a short and limited critique of some aspects of Pluralisms and Horizons. Since I am especially interested in the history of Christian thought, and since Philosophia Reformata is historically and philosophically rooted in the Reformed tradition, my criticism will particularly centre on Calvinist (or, if you will, Calvinian) thought. I have two specific objections to the views put forward by Mouw and Griffioen. Both are connected with the idea of “directional pluralism” upon which the authors elaborate; both centre on my contention that the authors fail to appreciate the nature of modern (Dutch) culture.


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