Classical Reformed Apologetics

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by A.Joseph, May 8, 2019.

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  1. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    Unless your autonomous knowledge that doesn't fit within Christian theism. God is Lord of all, every fact points to him, unless you believe there are autonomous facts out there that need no ultimate explanation. That makes God irrelevant to our situation because we do without him and be just fine.
     
  2. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Depends on how you gloss "make sense out of." If you mean, given an account of their presuppositions concerning causality et al, there might be something to that. I'm not as persuaded on the stronger form of the argument, that you have to have Trinitarian theism to make it work. I think that is true, but the arguments for it aren't sufficient.
     
  3. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    But wouldn't "make sense out of the world" involve knowledge?
     
  4. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    Yes. If i implied there's no knowledge involved I apologize. There most definitely is. The question on the level of pressupossiton it may not be conscious recognition of it but still there acting on our thinking. I don't know what you think of postmodernism but they have worked this out too, to sometimes bad ends (maybe often?).

    Making sense out of the world is a totality of things. I would include Plantinga's work there. But there's more going on than that, it's deeper. I think two good supplements to Van Til are Plantinga and James KA smiths work because i think they can probe the more intricate nature of what's going on in general (or specific) they are not completely combatible but are nice avenues.
    "Make sense out of" I believe came from Idealist thought.
     
  5. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Everyone acknowledges this, given the importance of Michael Polanyi's works. Even classical apologists like JP Moreland write books advocating the above.
    With the exception of Foucault, I have read all of the major Postmodern authors. Derrida simply argues that there is no pure text, but outside of John Locke and I can't think of anyone who actually says there is.
    Smith is good on cultural liturgies and the early critiques of Radical Orthodoxy. He has long since jumped the ship, being NPR's token apologist. He doesn't really understand, or at least he doesn't communicate that he understands, what analytic theology is really getting at.
     
  6. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    What stronger form of the argument? That we must presuppose the Trinitarian Christian theistic worldview in totality to make sense out of the world? As an argument yeah this is rubbish. I tend to think that Van Til meant this statement as a methodolical one. That in our method we presuppose the entirety of Christian worldview when engaging the unbeliever, but in our actual arguments of course we don't say every time, whatever the issue is, "you must presuppose Christian theism as a whole propositionaly" to make sense out science or ethics. That's not what Van Til meant. For instance he used the trinity as a doctrine to try to solve the one and the many problem in philosophy. So he used one major doctrine to "solve" one major problem as a method.
    I think also you are glossing over the theological point. Do you think there are truths out there that would be true or false regardless of whether or not Christianity was true? That's a trick question, of course not we know that only Christianity can and is true. So there cannot in principle be any truths that do not have their truthvalue apart from Christian theism being actually true. There is no other world that we exist in.
     
  7. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    If I may, I'll jump in briefly, simply because I think Jacob's point is being missed.

    Jacob is saying that it is possible to know something without accounting for it within a system of belief. Anyone whose mind and senses are functioning normally has sufficient warrant to know, for instance, that he's sitting in a chair, or that his shirt is green. He doesn't have to reason to ultimate reality in order to truly know these things.

    Jacob is free to correct me if I'm misrepresenting him.
     
  8. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    Well as far as Foucalt goes the only interesting thing is his analysis of power structures in society. He sort of stops asking things like, not completly, what is the best way to cure madness (the other) to why are even trying to do it to begin with? Of course he's not advocating letting them roam free only pointing out various historical ways that we viewed and based on that view treated the mentally ill.
    I think there is more to Derrida but yeah your right. My point is that yes everyone has come to see the importance of pressupossitons.

    Smith simply pointed out the guttural nature of our presuppositions, even though he wouldn't call it that. But it is an interesting caveat to the idea of pressupossiton.
    It is Van Tim's use of the transcendental argument with regard to analyzing presuppositions that was somewhat unique.
     
  9. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    I completely agree, if it's simply warrant we're talking about for certain types of beliefs. I completely agree. When I was I married and someone could have asked me to prove that my wife at the time wasn't cheating on me because after all im not with her a 100% of time? I would have simply asked "can you give some reason to doubt that"? If no than i have complete warrant to not believe the statement. That fine and true but the warrant system can't work for all questions, like in what world (Christian, Muslim, Buddhist) does warrant epistemology even make sense?
    This is the one gotcha trick of Van Til. We know Christian theism to be true therefore everything is as it is because it's true. I don't know how a critic of Van Til, not saying that he or you are, could possibly object to that? The rest of his method builds upon that truth.
     
  10. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I agree that only the Christian system can account for all facts. However, accounting for facts and knowing facts are not the same thing. Van Tillian epistemology says that they are the same thing ("How do you know that?" "You can't know that.").
     
  11. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    Sort of. Remember Van Til us proposing a method of doing apologetics. That is of providing a rational defense of the faith. My point about the truth of Christian theism is a first step in building a method of apologetics.
    About warrant. Sure warrant by itself is adequite for certain types of knowledge. But it is not without its pressupossiton. For instance can a rock have proper function? No obviously not. So a presupposition of proper function warrant is that we are talking about rational beings capable of proper function. You might say so what? True but as an apologetical method you can press the unbeliever to account for their ability to have proper function in the first place. It is legitimate.
     
  12. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Van Til is not merely positing an apologetic. He's also positing an epistemology, correct? The two are related but distinct. Van Til categorically rejected Scottish common sense realism, which is essentially proper function epistemology.
     
  13. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    It goes back to Aristotle's teleology. What is the proper telos for a rock (or whatever)? So yes, a rock does have a proper function (if a somewhat underwhelming one).
     
  14. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    Yes but all within the context of an apologetical method. Yes there is an epistemology and I don't see an essential problem with mixing Plantinga and Van Til, an awkward. I don't see them as mutually exclusive just different.
     
  15. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    I meant proper function in an epistemological sense. The point being is that any epistemology presupposes certain things to be true just to work.
     
  16. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    'Proper function' in the epistemological sense relates to the proper function of our epistemological equipment. Clearly, rocks have no epistemological equipment (intellect, senses, etc.). That's what I understood you to be saying. The reliability of properly functioning epistemological equipment is self-evident; we can't know anything any other way.
     
  17. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Of course. Just because a system uses "presuppositions" doesn't mean it is presuppositional or that it ought to be. Moreland and Craig list at least ten things that science must presuppose, for example.

    To say that we use presuppositions (e.g., reality of the external world) doesn't commit one to the Van tillian system.
     
  18. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    Sure. My point was in a logical sense proper functioning cognitive faculties presupposes a being that possess these. It couldn't be otherwise. My point is that no one can get away from pressupossiton, so why not use a method that roots out and critiques these pressupossiton? We can use Plantinga all day long, and I do. I just supplement him Van Til.
     
  19. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    True by why not use method designed to root and critique these pressupossiton? Everyone agrees in pressupossiton, why can't there be a method to deal with that?
     
  20. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Sure--what you're describing is basically foundationalism. Beliefs are founded upon (i.e, presuppose) other beliefs, until you get down to the foundation of properly basic beliefs--apart from which, beliefs are groundless. That's the traditional Scottish realist position (which Van Til eschewed).
     
  21. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Why does there need to be an architectonic method? Classical apologists, for example, have long noted that materialism can't account for numerous extra-mental realities.
     
  22. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    Well foundationalsm, as I understand it has nothing to do, logically, with pressupossiton, different logical forms. But nether less different.
    As I understand it, I could be wrong, foundationalsm relies on basic beliefs to build an edifice on knowledge. Presuppositions function not so much as "basic beliefs" but as a center for the web of knowledge. Not a bottom up mentality but a inward to outward mentality. The inner being more sure than outer. I'll admit it sounds similar but I don't think it is. And logical forms prove that. Good comment.
     
  23. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    Ultimate defeating. It's the logical form that matters.
     
  24. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I'm not sure I understand. Can you please explain the 'logical forms' part?
     
  25. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes and no. Beliefs do tend to form a web but that's not how they are justified. Presups like Gordon Clark held to a web like view such as coherentism. Bahnsen, on the other hand, (correctly) rejected coherentism in favor of correspondence.

    The problem is that I can have a number of false beliefs yet they can perfectly cohere within my worldview, if all that needs to obtain is coherentism and not correspondence.
     
  26. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    Basic belief = some irrefutable belief that cannot be doubted, I exist for instance.

    Pressupossiton= what must be true in order for something else to be true, like my daughter is 15 means by pressupossiton that I am the father of her.

    The logical form is if if X is true than a is true.
    X. Jamey Wright's daughter is 15
    A. Jamey Wright is a father, pressupossiton


    A. transcendental logical form:
    A. If x is true than A is either true or false.
    B. If x is false than a is neither true nor false, it is meaningless. If I don't have a daughter, than it's meaningless to talk about her.
     
  27. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    I'm using the metaphor because I don't like foundationalsm. I also regect coherentism. I've given the logical forms above. Plus I'm very skeptical of theories of truth outside of God's revelation, general and special ( not a Clarkian).
     
  28. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    BTW. I love my daughter.
     
  29. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Are we to presuppose that? How can we have certainty if that? :banana:
     
  30. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Can you spell this out for me again?
     
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