The phrase itself is borrowed from Roger Scruton, who is perhaps one of the most influential philosopher of recent times. To be “influential” is perhaps problematic, for if the general public denies knowledge of an individual, to what degree can influence be determined? Public figures — known entertainers, authors of general fiction, news anchors and talk show hosts — are considered societal giants whose comments on culture, trends, values and norms demand attention and guru-like following. But philosophers tend to be relegated to academic ivory towers of irrelevance.
From biodynamic farming to a proper appreciation of fine wines; from complex fiction to esoteric writings questioning cognitive dualism; Scruton covers the expanse of categories of thoughtful exchanges relevant to an era which denies significance to subjects, anymore. The only thing that matters today is the individual and the fame of singularity. And so it goes. The concept of an unnavigable epistemological gap implies a barrier to knowledge and a chasm between what something is, and what can be known about it. Or, in another sense, a privacy of concerns which cannot be verified in a strictly “objective” manner.
Medical conditions have a tendency to fall into such a category. While MRIs, X-rays, and to a large extent, consistent clinical examinations over a long period of time may establish an objective medical basis for certain medical conditions, the problem still abounds as to how to convey, delineate and effectively narrate one’s statement of medical disability and the impact upon one’s Federal or Postal position in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.
As an OPM Disability Attorney who exclusively handles Federal Employee Disability Retirement claims for all civilian Federal and Postal workers, the concern is always in taking the medical condition as described by a doctor’s report, treatment notes, etc., then to interpret and fashion a narrative which effectively establishes the nexus, or bridge, between the medical condition and the positional duties of the Federal or Postal employee.
For the disabled Federal or injured Postal employee who tries such an endeavor without any prior experience, it is indeed one of an “unnavigable epistemological gap”, in that — not only must the proper bridge be created between one’s positional duties and the medical conditions described but, moreover — it must be presented to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in such a way that persuasion and force will carry the day in order to attain the goal of efficacy: an approval of an OPM Disability Retirement application for the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.
Such an endeavor, indeed, is one which constitutes an unnavigable epistemological gap.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire