Bahnsen and TAG

Discussion in 'Defending the Faith' started by Josiah.W, Apr 27, 2012.

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  1. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    But let's be clear here: PSR is not germaine to the question of whether or not the unbeliever is warranted in using reason or whether the reasoning process is de facto borrowed from the Christian worldview. The use of reason is self-evidently warranted.

    As for PSR, there has to be a point where the chain ends---our disagreement is over where. The unbeliever is simply arguing for a multiplicity of places---it's a messy position, but not (from my understanding) self-contradictory.

    Ok, here's where you and I are talking past each other: when I talk about a reason for a belief I am simply speaking of the reason why I believe X. You, however, are speaking of the reason why X is the case.

    The term doesn't make sense---that's my argument. The reason for X is Y and Y is a contingent fact. But that doesn't mean that it's relation to X is contingent---its relation to X may be necessary. It may be the de facto reason for the truth of X, but its relation to X is an open question apart from that.

    No, I don't believe that reasons exist---I'm not a Platonist or a Scotist.

    Part of the issue is this:

    a) Presuppositions are the foundation in the sense that they are informing principles that shape the way we think. The very term Presupposition implies that it is a basic component of one's epistemic structure.
    b) They aren't propositional at all, or rather their propositional forms are merely manifestations of underlying attitudes and precommitments, methodologies, and predispositions. How would one give an account of a predisposition?
  2. Hilasmos

    Hilasmos Puritan Board Freshman

    Agreed, but that is not the question being asked, at least in my opinion. All intelligibility would be impossible if one argued that a person is not warranted to use reason without justification. Yet, I think it is perfectly within the realms of espousing a rational worldview to confirm your presuppositions after they are presupposed. In fact, it is biblically commanded. So, to ask for an account of logic is not to question one's warrant in using logic presuppositionally, but to question whether they are actually using what they presuppose in accordance with its own rules. We went around on this thing in things past, but if one just wants to rest in their warrant to believe and act as they do, since it is self-evidently true, that is fine. Monkeys do it too.

    I agree it must end somewhere, and that is the very reason I like to use PSR. I don’t think the non-Christian can rationally end the chain, therefore it shows that all the train cars are moving up the tracks with no engine.

    Not sure this is worth perusing, but the way I am using reason is that it implies the thing itself (in my case, the fact of positive and negative charged subatomic particles). Reasons are the sets of conditions that precede some state of affairs, so the question of existence to me is simple: is condition X true or false. It may not be philosophically nuanced enough, but that is my meaning. Perhaps I need a better word.

    So, if X is contingent on Y, and Y is contingent on Z, then X is contingent on Y (a thing that itself is contingent on something else). Wasn’t trying to say anything more than articulate the causal/reason chain that PSR creates.
  3. Apologist4Him

    Apologist4Him Puritan Board Freshman

    Brother Rich, what an excellent response, especially the part about creature non-Christians would have us to believe immaterial conceptual realities such as logic, morality, predication, etc. ere independent of the Creator. This is really the whole heart of the matter! And I think it sufficiently answers Philip's curiosity "why things that are necessarily the case would be in need of accounting". To suppose they are not accounted for or do not need to be accounted for is to suppose they are independent of God! Further it is to suppose no need for warrant or justification, and double-minded. If they are not accounted for, and do not need to be accounted for, then why would God's existence need to be debated or accounted for? This turns the table upside down, showing the arbitrary nature of such a debate!
  4. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Ok, so what does logic presuppose? Logic therefore necessarily X. Solve for X.

    What's the problem with trusting your faculties to deliver accurate information? Monkeys do all kinds of things that humans do---what objection are you actually presenting here?

    Yes, but can you demonstrate this logically? Why can't the non-Christian end the chain with logic?

    Ok, but in order to make Y a presupposition of X, you have to prove that X is necessarily contingent on Y, which is to say that in no possible world could X be true without Y being true. PSR is not enough for a TAG to be logically valid: you must prove that God's existence is not merely a sufficient presupposition, but a necessary one.

    ---------- Post added at 01:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:40 PM ----------

    Andrew, I'm not arguing that we shouldn't try to explain them---I'm pointing out that in terms of warrant for their use, all you need is necessity. I don't know of anyone who believes in logic as a consequence of belief in God.
  5. Apologist4Him

    Apologist4Him Puritan Board Freshman

    It's only speculation if humans have always existed...which I suspect neither of us believe, so the next related question then is this: at some point in time did logic begin to "exist", when God created humans with a mind capable of rationality? It's really a trick question because it required a rational mind, to create human minds capable of reasoning to begin with!

    ---------- Post added at 01:04 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:52 PM ----------

    Logic is a consequence of being created in the image of God, which all humans have in common, but because of original sin and total depravity the natural inclination is to supress the knowledge of God's existence. As it turns out, the very source of logic, is supressed at the same time, hence the non-Christian answers and lives on "borrowed capital".
  6. Hilasmos

    Hilasmos Puritan Board Freshman

    Arbitrariness is an anti-logic; PSR, even for logic itself; the circle of truth.

    Nothing, it just stops short of being a rational worldview – especially when you are given defeaters.


    Because the laws of logic preclude it, at least in my analysis of the options available within these laws. Secondly, because all justified knowledge ends in Christ; if this were possible God would be a liar; I would have to presuppose the non-existence of God to concur with you; am I supposed to do that?

    Whether it is X and Y, or X and Z, or X and ZZ; it doesn’t matter. All the possible worlds in the world cannot escape the contingent/necessary/brute fact dilemma. I was merely using the X and Y as a model; generally, as far as I understand, the atom cannot be further described beyond the subatomic particles. But if it could, it wouldn’t make a difference, you would just shift your PSR to that “new discovery.” Conceptually though, subatomic particles represent an ending point where someone has to say a proton is positively charged for no reason, or it exists as a positively charged entity necessarily. The latter is precluded logically and the former is, naturally, the reductio you are looking for to begin showing the absurdities that flow from it.
  7. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Will, I'm asking that you present the argument so that we can analyze the logical form.

    Rational just means non-arbitrary---it has nothing to do with justification. It's only when presented with a defeater that is logically compelling that justification is even needed. What evidence do I need apart from that of my senses for my belief that there is a desk in front of me to be rational and warranted? Why do I need to construct a metaphysical system?

    Ana analysis that I would dispute, given that the laws of logic are self-justifying.

    See, I don't buy this argument. I'm not interested in making Christianity into yet another metaphysical system---I'm interested in truth, not man-made metaphysical systems.

    So? All of this is beside the epistemic point---none of it affects whether I have knowledge of the electric charge of a proton. Having an explanation for why X is the way it is has nothing to do with my knowledge that X is the way it is. Else we would argue that Isaac Newton didn't know about gravity, given that he didn't know about quantum.

    ---------- Post added at 03:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:20 PM ----------

    Andrew, this isn't what I'm asking at all. I'm asking how you came to believe in logic---things like training in reasoning. Your warrant for the use of logic is not in the metaphysical system that you've come up with to explain it---it's in the way that you actually came to use it. If you want to understand epistemology, try teaching someone to read.
  8. Loopie

    Loopie Puritan Board Freshman

    I already made it clear that the term 'justification' can be used in different ways. If I ask you to explain how the earth revolves around the sun, you would present me with an explanation based on scientific principles. If I asked you to give me the reason why you believe that the earth revolves around the sun, you might present me with those same scientific principles that you consider to be very conclusive. Now I don't disagree that a person can often explain something without believing. I can explain the 'swoon theory' with regard to the crucifixion of Jesus, but I don't believe it to be true.

    In the case of logic though, a person still needs to justify their beliefs. If a person believes in Santa Clause, and provides us with many different reasons why Santa Clause exists, we would likely say that they have concluded wrongly. In order to show them the error of their conclusions, we first need to know what they consider to be 'evidence' or 'good reason'. We need to look at WHY they believe that Santa Clause exists. We ask them to justify their belief (just like they would ask us to justify our non-belief). Keep in mind that both sides are viewed as 'skeptical'. The person who believes that Santa, not their parents, brings them their presents is a skeptic from our point of view. They are not satisfied with the evidence that their parents were the ones who brought the gifts. The person who does not believe in Santa is a skeptic from the Santa-believer's point of view. In their mind the evidence points to Santa as bringing presents, while we as skeptics continually deny his existence.

    Yes, but do people actually 'know' something, or do they just 'believe' it? The answer is, it depends. Furthermore, do people ever believe something without having a single reason for doing so? Is there truly arbitrary belief? Do people actually believe things without a single, solitary, reason for doing so? No.

    Only because I am generally lazy. Often times people do what is practical without thinking about it because it is the easiest thing to do. They would rather take the path of least resistance. By saying that practical necessity dictates that I believe in cause and effect, you are offering a justification for why I believe something. I believe it because it is practical. It is the only way to make sense of the world without going mad. Well, we should simply go a step further and declare that belief in God is the only way to make sense of the world, which is a statement I think that you would agree with.

    That is an assumption. You assume that to be an effect is to be caused. You believe in this so-called law of nature, and uniformity of nature, but you only believe in it because it is convenient. Well, there are plenty of other people who believe in wrong things simply because it is convenient for them. How comes they are wrong in those cases, but you are right in this case?

    But you try to separate them in a way that is impossible. They are interconnected. I play the skeptic to show you that unless you presuppose God, you will only ever be led logically to chaos, relativism, and arbitrariness.

    I have never experienced what it feels like to have Down Syndrome. Have you? Do you know exactly what thoughts go through the minds of those with Down Syndrome? They might indeed have the capability of doing so. Simply because they can't express it to you does not mean that they can't. By the way, people look at the foundation for things all the time subconsciously. In fact, we often get to the point where we take things for granted because it is expedient to do so. I don't have to keep sticking my hand in the fire to realize that fire burns. Every time I see a fire I assume that it is hot. If someone told me that a particular fire does not burn, I would have to compare their justification for their belief with my justification for my belief, and see which one holds water.

    But what about in spiritual matters? Do you consider us humans as having a 'sixth sense'? When the Holy Spirit convicts you, you know that you are wrong without having any of your physical senses stimulated.

    God's standard. I told you. I myself am not going to convince the unbeliever of anything that he does not wish to be convinced about. That is in God's hands, because the unbeliever requires spiritual surgery. That is the whole point I am trying to show you. The standard of evaluation for the unbelieve is different than that for the believer. His standard (or rock) is not like our standard (our rock). The question then becomes: which standard is consistent with itself and with the universe around us? Which one borrows from a different standard, and which one is self-defeating?

    And any attempt by the unbeliever to justify his unbelief is a failure. He does indeed judge man for unbelief, yet this does not ignore the fact that man's unbelief is still unjustified. You would agree with me that an unbeliever is NOT justified in his unbelief, correct?

    Why do we start with the assumption that our senses are to be believed until further notice? Simply because it is convenient? Is convenience always a good reason to do something? I could just as easily say that we should NOT believe our sense until we have good reason to do so. Even then, we need to define what we mean by 'good reason'. Such an ambiguous term, don't you think? What is 'good reason' to you might not be 'good reason' to someone else. Why are you correct and they are not? By the way, Adam's mistake was empirical in the sense that he actually did eat an actual fruit that was forbidden. He was told not to do so, and he did. I have not at all confused methodologies, but simply shown why empiricism, as you seem to be defending, is built upon a weak foundation.

    Oh I completely agree. The natural man does not reason rightly. That is why no mere logical argument will lead him to repentance. That is only by the work of the Holy Spirit. But as Christians we believe that there is a right way to reason. There is a worldview that is correct. There is an interpretation of the universe that is the only one that works. Unbelievers refuse to see it, and the only way they can avoid it is to be inconsistent and self-defeating.

    Sure they do, but it is wholly subconscious. My baby daughter loves to pick up things. She is curious about all kinds of objects, whether dangerous or not. She learns that wooden tables are hard when she bumps her head on them. Her knowledge is primarily based upon her senses (aside from the spiritual knowledge of God, the sense of the divine, that she has). As she gets older she will grasp a deeper understanding of things. She will come to learn that when she puts her hands over her eyes in the game of peek-a-boo, the world is still there. She will learn that objects don't cease to exist once they disappear from her sight. Our understanding of why we believe the things we do develops over time. It ought to always point back to God, the creator of all things, but the natural person refuses to recognize this. Instead of pointing back to God, it always points to something else (in their eyes).

    It doesn't matter. Either the desk actually existed prior to you having knowledge of it, or the concept of the desk existed in your mind prior to you having knowledge of it. Either way, your knowledge of the desk is tied to its existence, whether real or imaginative. Metaphysics is undeniably tied to epistemology.

    Because when you say that something 'just is', you have no reason to criticize the unbeliever when he says that something 'just is'. Why can't their be infinite universes? Why can't the universe be eternal? It 'just is'. Those are necessary truths in the mind of the unbelieving scientist. The belief in the uniformity of nature is a necessary truth, and the unbeliever can simply say 'it just is'. You say that God 'just is', but then again, the Muslims say that Allah 'just is'. What makes your belief correct, and theirs incorrect? This brings you to comparing religions, scriptures, while looking for consistency. I agree with you that there are necessary truths, but what is necessary behind ALL of them is God. This is what Van Til's presuppositional apologetics leads to. You seem to go all the way back to 'necessary truths', but you never take the required next step, that they are only necessary truths because God is necessary.

    If an experiment proves me wrong, then I no longer (based on my current gain in knowledge) am justified in holding to my previous beliefs. I agree that we can't be held responsible for stuff that we do not know. Yet being ignorant does not mean that I am correct. If you believe that justification is simply warrant sufficient for a knowledge claim, then there are a few questions that need to be asked. Sufficient for who? Who decides what is sufficient? That is the foundation that we need to look at. If you believe that knowledge is justified true belief, then the only way to discern between actual knowledge and false knowledge is to look at what justification exists for each one. If you sit here and say that there is no need for the unbeliever to justify his beliefs, then the unbeliever can in now way discern between opinion and knowledge (if knowledge indeed is justified true belief).

    It absolutely would. If I believe that the moon is made of swiss cheese, and you don't, then an experiment would shake the very foundations of one of our beliefs. I believe the moon is made of swiss cheese because my father taught me this. You believe the moon is made of rock because you claim that someone actually went there and collected a piece of it. Our beliefs are built upon different foundations. By showing me a piece of moon rock you are attempting to lead me to abandon my previous position that my father was correct regarding the moon. That was the foundation of my belief (my trust in him).

    You assume reality is external to it. Why do you assume this? What if we all lived in the matrix? In truth, our sinful nature colours the way we view reality (at least in the case of the unbeliever). I was blind but now I see. Of course, our sinful nature has effected every part of us, including our reasoning and emotions.

    Because my belief system is founded upon the rock of Christ. He is the God of all creation, the creator of both logic and reason. You assume that to have any true knowledge of something requires that you have exhaustive knowledge of something. You seem to suggest that to believe my system to be consistent means that I must look at and personally address any and all logical arguments that are put forth against Christianity. Let me ask you this: do you believe that scripture is the word of God? How do you know that EVERY SINGLE WORD is God-breathed? Because the Bible told you so (and because the Holy Spirit led you to believe this), right? Did you analyze every single manuscript, every single word, every single verse, to determine if it was 'probably' God-breathed? Have you studied EVERY single 'alleged' contradiction in scripture? If not, then how can you say that you 'know' that scripture is the word of God?
  9. Hilasmos

    Hilasmos Puritan Board Freshman

    Seems like a false distinction to me. Secondly, your assertion that my scriptural definition of knowledge is man-made seems quite arbitrary.

    I never contested that you believe X, and that your belief is warranted (as warrant is defined), so this seems irrelevant. In the end, I don't accept your standard of what accounts for knowledge vs. simple warranted belief, and you end up equivicating your definition of knowledge into mine in order to argue against it. To use my analysis, I fully agree that monkey knowledge exists; but, so what? All monkey knowledge does is believe what it believes because it does. Secondly, I never said you had to know all the reasons, or even any reason, but the simple fact that there must be a reason. Imagine how much science would be done if we believed there were no reasons.

    Secondly, your view that "why" has nothing to do with knowing that something is, seems to be quite off base. My daughter knows that there is just empty space under her bed only because she knows why it is the case.

    For starters, logic presupppose an absolute logic and entails PSR, whereby it can be deduced that logic itself is also contingent.
  10. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    No I wouldn't. I would explain that this is the commonly-held scientific view and that better minds than I have demonstrated it through experimentation.

    I haven't claimed this. I have merely claimed that reasons are not arguments nor are they justifications in the classical sense. The whole idea of justification is that it is not enough to have reasons---those reasons must satisfy some court of inquiry.

    No I don't---making sense of things is subjective. What makes sense to me may not make sense to you.

    Eric, this isn't a disputable point: it's a tautology (meaning the statement is circular and therefore necessarily the case). Hume's denial of it is lunacy.

    Appeal to the subconscious is dubious at best.

    This is my point exactly, though. The linguistic centers in the brain of a Down Syndrome person are often such that the logical functions necessary for logical foundations do not appear---or at least are not expressible. Yet they seem to be capable of telling between truth and falsehood, and even of coming to faith in Christ.

    What if the unbeliever points out that this is a false dichotomy?

    Ok---so why is it that those who adhere to all of these things still disagree? Eric, in any debate of any kind, you have to be humble enough to admit that you're going to be wrong about some things.

    Because it's the only way to proceed. You're not going to get anywhere through denying this.

    How does defending empirical sense equate to empiricism? Where have I argued for reductionism of this or any kind?

    I said belief, not knowledge. Knowledge does entail ontological commitment, but my belief does not---I'm talking about warrant sufficient for a rational knowledge-claim.

    Because the term "universe" precludes it. He has transgressed the bounds of sense.

    Not at all. The only things that "just are" are necessary kinds of things---things that must be the case in all possible worlds.

    The facts of the matter.

    Eric, you can't have necessity beyond necessity. If something is necessary, then it demands no further explanation. You're making the wrong move here. If a necessary truth is dependent, then it isn't necessary.

    Complicated, ain't it?

    No it wouldn't. Because we have just agreed on a methodology for confirmation.

    Is there any reason for me to think this? Neo is not justified in believing such until he is shown such. You can have a justified belief that turns out to be false.

    Eric, I have been arguing precisely the opposite. I have been attempting to show that your skeptical method leads to this conclusion. You are arguing for a kind of positivism about revelation. The fact is that just because you're a Christian and God has revealed Himself to you doesn't mean you're always right, neither does it mean that your reasoning process is infallible. If you understand anything at all about the truth of Christ, it is by the Holy Spirit's work alone.

    Because it has been revealed by the Spirit, who has regenerated me and given me a new heart, new eyes to see, and new ears to hear. Because through Scripture, the Spirit reveals Jesus Christ, the image of the Father, who then points back to Scripture and says "believe this: it's true." Any account of the words of God in Scripture must make reference to the Word of God, Jesus Christ.

    Warrant is all that is necessary for a knowledge-claim. I'm not sure where you get this notion that something in addition to warrant is needed for one to claim knowledge. Of course not all knowledge-claims are true---everyone claims to know things that aren't true, but that's in part because we're finite.

    Ok, but we're not talking about this: we're talking about warrant for our claims---why I believe X.

    No, she looked under her bed, said "it's empty, this must be because there's nothing under it." The "why" is only ever established in light of the "what."

    Ok, so:
    L -> L2
    L -> PSR

    First, we need to establish that both of these claims are true, which would mean showing that L2 is a necessary and sufficient condition for L and that L is a necessary and sufficient condition for PSR.

    Actually, not necessarily. If L2 is a necessary and sufficient condition for L and (further) is itself necessary, then L will be necessary.
  11. Hilasmos

    Hilasmos Puritan Board Freshman

    Maybe we're not, but apparently I am.

    Haven't you heard of invisible monsters? Empiricism isn't enough. I took her out to breakfast the other day and held up a wrapper and asked, "How come this wrapper can't just turn into a bird?" She said, "because God made it a wrapper;" and I am pretty sure she hasn't read Van Til yet. (She then continued to expound how all things consist in Christ and that only he could provide the necessary preconditions of intelligibility by which she could truly know this).

    We have already agreed that these laws are self-evident; and, since they are transcendentals they must prove themselves after being presupposed, which is my proof and cannot be refuted unless my proof is true causing the refutation to be necesarily false.

    Why would L2 be a necessary and sufficient condition for L? Secondly, do you grant that logic is conceptual in nature?
  12. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    That's what I'm asking you. You're the one who said that Logic presupposes absolute logic.


    But what you haven't yet shown is the nature of the link between them, which is what we were discussing.

    I would agree---where have I advocated pure empiricism?
  13. Hilasmos

    Hilasmos Puritan Board Freshman

    If Neo is logical, he would also realize that the non-matrix world feels just as real as the matrix. Thus, he has a very good reason to doubt his senses in any apparent world. But then again, he could just ignore this under cutter and continue to follow what appears to be self-evident; which, given the evidence, would a good definition of being irrational.

    ---------- Post added at 08:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:52 PM ----------

    Its denial results in a logical contradiction.

    I really didn't mean it in a pure since, was just playing off the empirical methodology you advocated. But then again, your arguments have not really given me a clear picture of what you really do believe.

    What are the preconditions for a concept to be?

    ---------- Post added at 08:10 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:03 PM ----------

    Also, just curious, do you reject Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism?
  14. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    No it's not and here's why: in these scenarios, Neo is operating under the assumption that certain faculties are de facto defective. What warrants him in thinking that his senses are deceiving him in a particular instance. He hasn't been given reason to doubt his senses in all contexts, just in a certain set of contexts. Similarly, I can distinguish between dreaming and waking. No, I can't give a clear set of necessary and sufficient conditions, but that may be because we're speaking about things that turn out to be family resemblances.

    The trouble with Cartesianism is that it privileges one faculty (deductive reason) above the others and claims that anything that doesn't appeal to it alone is irrational. The trouble is that rationality covers a wider range of categories than the Cartesian will admit.

    That it have a use in language.

    Depending one what you mean by absolute logic, maybe. Remember that you also have to show it to be a sufficient condition.

    I would say that beliefs are warranted in a variety of messy and complicated ways that defy human systematizing. Any general theory of knowledge has to be extendable and willing to constantly revise itself in order to account for things. Further, this theory must also recognize that as a general theory, it is not necessary to believe it in order to have knowledge. That is to say, people don't have to agree with you in order to know stuff.

    No---it's a brilliant example of reductio ad absurdum where Plantinga shows that the theory of evolution proceeds on a necessarily non-naturalist basis.
  15. Hilasmos

    Hilasmos Puritan Board Freshman

    In qualification, he doesn’t believe that any of his senses are actually defective. They are functioning normally and are accurately perceiving the things presented. Thus, what he learns is that properly functioning cognitive faculties are not a sufficient for knowledge. He then becomes a revelational epistemologist and goes to see the Oracle. He then learns, of course, that the Oracle is not the transcendent omniscient being he was hoping for, and the trilogy ends in extreme confusion and irrationality where there is no reality and nothing can be known.

    Thanks, I like it too. I know there are some basic differences (I think I read an article comparing/contrasting a long while ago), but I don't see how this is a fundamentally different approach then TAG like arguments. EAAN provides a reductio defeater for rationality; TAG provides a reductio defeater for rationality; rationality exists, therefore one's underlying worldview is wrong. At least that's how I understand it. if I am correct, it seems you wouldn't think this is a good argument since the crux of it depends on showing that we have good reason to doubt our cognitive faculties.
  16. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Sure they are---he just has to distinguish between two different contexts.

    Well not exactly: what Plantinga is showing is that naturalism, rationality, and evolution are mutually exclusive---you cannot have a view that includes all three consistently. Specifically, the nature of naturalism as a control belief with evolution as a mechanistic belief would end in the conclusion that it is unlikely that both would be rational. It's basically the argument that evolutionary theory is not rationally compatible with naturalism.
  17. Hilasmos

    Hilasmos Puritan Board Freshman

    Begging the question.

    Again though, I can't see why TAG isn't doing the exact same thing from a slightly different angle, if not with just different words. Asking for an accout for the laws of logic is asking the same question EAAN does: how can X and Y exist consistently together? If they can't, you have a defeater for X or for Y, not Y, therefore X (at least if you are talking to a traditional naturalistic atheist).
  18. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Both positions beg the question. You're either going to beg the question in favour of skepticism or in favour of common sense.

    Well no---not quite. The argument is that if X and Y are the case, then our belief in X and Y is most likely not Z.

    It's not asking for an account---it points out that there are two conflicting accounts within the narrative itself. It's not asking for anything that hasn't already been given.
  19. Hilasmos

    Hilasmos Puritan Board Freshman

    Common sense is holding to that which has the best reasons, so unless you provide a reason why non-skepticism is common sense in this scenario, I am unconvinced; Neo is justified in questioning whether he is actually in Matrix-b. Nonetheless, if I grant that you are right, it still demonstrates the point: without revelation knowledge claims become arbitary, either way; they are just descriptions of what you believe. Knowledge comes from the mouth of God (Prov. 2:6), i will stick with that. Thanks for the diologue.
  20. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Can you provide a reason why skepticism is common sense in this scenario? There seem to be clear criteria for distinguishing here.

    What kind of knowledge, though?
  21. Hilasmos

    Hilasmos Puritan Board Freshman

    I have, but we disagree, so it doesn't seem worth pursuing further.

    The kind that rightly interprets the world, life, experiences, and thought in light of reality. Monkey knowledge known. True truth. Knowing, not just believing, that the world will exist tomorrow (Gen. 8:22); that the atoms in my coffee cup will continue to hold together preventing the contents from spilling on my lap (Col. 1:17); that my thought is rational since it reflects the image of god; and that all this remains true because God cannot lie or deny himself (Titus 2:3). Of course, much more could be said about the trueness of love, compassion, and morality etc., none of which could be truly known apart from the mouth of God.

    This seems to dodge the issue. The inability to "give an account" is implicit in the argument itself, as the only rebuttal to EAAN is if one could actually give an account. Therefore, to be a meaningful argument, it just goes without saying that "you cannot give an account, go ahead and try." Further, who's to say that TAG arguments follow one strict structural form, that you apparently take umbrage with? The potentially different modes of delivery seem inconsequential to me. I may not see your point (likely), but as a far as a "big picture" approach, I am still finding this to be quite an inconsistent concession on your part.
  22. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Will, unbelievers know this too. The warrant for your belief is in the facts that make it true, not in whether your understand how they work. The unbeliever does know that the world will exist tomorrow, that the coffee cup will hold together, and that his thought is rational. He is warranted in this belief by the proper function of his faculties working together---regardless of whether he can give a coherent metaphysic of why this is the case.

    Yes--but this is only because the theory in question is, in fact, an attempt to give an account. Most worldviews are not this systematic and don't pretend to be.

    No: the point of the argument is that the account already given fails.

    The problem with TAG as you're using it is first that you're claiming to be a foundationalist, in which case a TAG can't work because it's an inherently coherentist argument. Second, you're claiming rationalist standards of proof which do not apply to ordinary rationally-held beliefs.

    Let's suppose that we are having a discussion about quantum where you propose string theory to explain it. Now, I may not have an alternative to string theory, but does that mean that I must therefore accept string theory? No, given that the theory is untestable even in principle. Part of what you are failing to recognize here is the role of faith in knowledge. All knowledge includes some element of faith such that very little is absolutely proveable. I can't demonstrate the veracity of empirical sense to a skeptic---but I don't have to in order to be rational in believing my senses. I also don't have to have any sort of logical argument for the existence of God---because I have the Holy Spirit who guides me back to Scripture to point me to Christ who points me to the Father. The assurance of faith is not in any argument I could come up with nor from my deductions from Scripture, but in the work of Christ revealing the Father by the Spirit. That's my assurance; that's how I know that God is God, Jesus Christ is His Son, and that His inspired word is true.
  23. Hilasmos

    Hilasmos Puritan Board Freshman

    As I duly noted, they do believe this, but asserting that they believe it doesn't mean they know it in an ultimately rational way. And again, you are importing your definition of knowledge into mine to argue against it, which is what your entire last paragraph is also contingent on. I have already granted that monkey knowledge is warranted, but that it is not sufficient to represent what biblical knowledge is.

    It is not my position that one has to know how, or provide all the reasons, to know something. I use divergence from PSR, in light of a defeater, to govern whether one embraces irrationality. Diverging from PSR does not occur due to inductive ignorance, it happens when you abandon the principle contained within PSR - that there must be a reason, even if you don't know what it is. As rational beings in the image of God, it is also my position they we walk around with a constant defeater while rejecting God. The defeater is suppressed, allowing us to function "rationally," but still ultimately irrationally - which is necessarily the case when you hold a belief that is contrary to a known defeater.
  24. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Ok, so what's the problem? What is irrational about believing the input of the senses?

    I'm pointing out that when we define knowledge, the term has to be able to account for all of the ways in which we use the word in ordinary language. Definitions are descriptive, not prescriptive.

    In fact, let's make a distinction: are we talking knowledge-that, knowledge-how, or knowledge-who (that is, knowledge of persons).

    Ok---where has to unbeliever done this? All I've argued is that he is not bound to provide one in order to have warranted true belief (knowledge).

    And here's my contention: that the decision to suppress this knowledge is rational---that is, that it is made in full knowledge of the consequences. The rebellion of man is rational---man knows what he's doing and does it anyway.
  25. Hilasmos

    Hilasmos Puritan Board Freshman

    Nothing, in itself. My contention is that this notion is incomplete on its own. Beliefs have consequences, the laws of logic have consequences, and knowledge requires more than just developing beliefs via a properly rational mode. Similar to what Plantinga argues:

  26. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Incompleteness is not irrationality, though. Further, we haven't discussed non-reductionist views.
  27. Hilasmos

    Hilasmos Puritan Board Freshman

    I meant that it is not accounting for all the facts that are actually there. As Plantinga also argues, for our cognitive faculties to be functioning properly it has to also include all the relevant defeater systems and "propositional inputs" that go with it. I am suggesting that engaging in rationality necessarily imports these defeaters, so knowledge cannot be established until they are dealt with.
  28. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    So if I haven't thought of all the possible arguments against my position, I don't have knowledge? This seems like a rather odd definition of proper function and I'll have to go back and reread Plantinga's account of such.

    None of us are capable of this because none of us know all of the facts that need accounting. Again, was Newton's theory of gravity wrong because he didn't have the instrumentation to figure out quantum? Do we not know about quantum because the conditions for it are not capable of being investigated, even in principle?
  29. Hilasmos

    Hilasmos Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't think that is what's been stated; if you don't know an argument against your position than it would not be a relevant defeater as far as your rational thought processes go. I don't have the book on hand, but here is the relevant quote from an article, which is taken from Warrant and Proper Function, 194:

    Points 3 and 4 also seem to contravene with how you are using the notion of warrant. The notions of "design plan" and "proper function" doesn't allow a non-Christian to appeal to simple warranted belief since that results in appealing to the very thing that is a defeater.

    Again, this is missing the point being made; I am not talking about all of the possible facts, but the facts that are relevant and known; those that prove to be defeaters.
  30. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    This went completely over my head.....
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