Legitimate use of Classical and Evidential apologetics within Van Tillian presuppositionalism?

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by Me Died Blue, Jan 17, 2006.

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  1. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    As you can see, I think I've answered at least some of the questions. In addition to these things I would add that it is not evidentialism or classicalism that is divorced from theology, for Christ has chosen to select men for a major assembly of His Church in a time of classical and evidential views of apologetics to respond to the crucial issues of the Church in history; and their work is handed down to us as the rule of faith for the Church to this day as a standard of faith, namely the Westminster and Dordt Church Assemblies. They were not necessarily classicalists or evidentialists to the degree that they were adamant to defend them. They did not make any certainty in doctrine rest on the speculations of man. But they used these liberally to defend the truths of the Bible, to show that these doctrines were evident. Nor do they use the offices or the pulpit to insist upon these methodologies. They are of use, and they used them. But the truths were already true before these methods were used to convince men of the doctrines; they used them in subjection to truth. And so, if they were of use to them, it cannot be that they be folly for us to use.

    In respect to the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity, as well as the LBCF for the Baptists, these are not the rulings of men, but the rulings of duly authorized credentialed men of the Church deciding these matters in holy convocation, from the Scripture by the Spirit, not on their own authority. So they are not the doctrines of men. Neither ought we to add anything to them without the authority of the Church in the same manner and of like authority. These are Church standards, through the Spirit.

    Let us not make men like Calvin great because they were such great minds. Let us remember that the great wrongs of the time did as much and more to reveal these truths to us, and that God gifted men like Calvin so He could teach us the lessons of history in the Church. It was not Calvin, but Christ using the agency of a man. In the same way He is leading His church through the agency of ordained men, so that we may be taught truly. It is not ours to add to these rulings according to our whim, or our own authority. This is how the Bible says the Church will be ruled, and so we need to acknowledge that. Not bowing down any longer to men who add their own doctrines by their own understandings, but bowing to those doctrines already established by the Spirit through these men, according to the Word.
  2. default3

    default3 Inactive User


    *God and Other Minds* prepared the way for Plantinga's defense of properly basic theistic belief. You might want to read *Warranted Christian Belief* (pp. 69-71) and the preface to the 1990 edition of *God and Other Minds* to get Plantinga's gloss on his project in *God and Other Minds* from the vantage point of his more mature epistemology of belief in God.

    One particularly important point is that Plantinga later admitted that he took an overly narrow view of natural theology in *God and Other Minds.* He assumed that such arguments are supposed to satisfy rigorous criteria of proof.

    "In evaluating the theistic arguments, furthermore, I employed a traditional but improperly stringent standard; there may be plenty of good arguments for theism even if there anre't any that start from propositions that compel assent from every honest and intelligent person and proceed majestically to their conclusion by way of forms of argument that can be rejected only on pain of irrationality." (Plantinga, "Preface to the 1990 Edition," *God and Other Minds*).

    Plantinga's position here illuminates the short coming of a fairly standard 20th century Reformed criticism of natural theology: the failure of theistic arguments to constitute logical demonstrations of the existence of God. As I argue in my book, this criticism simply assumes an indefensibly narrow conception of proof and argument.

    Plantinga's subsequent lecture *Two Dozen (or So) Theistic Arguments*) places his position in clearer relief.

    "I've been arguing that theistic belief does not (in general) need argument either for deontological justification, or for positive epistemic status, (or for Foley rationality or Alstonian justification)); belief in God is properly basic. But doesn't follow, of course that there aren't any good arguments. Are there some? At least a couple of dozen or so. . . .What are these arguments like, and what role do they play? They are probabilistic, either with respect to the premises, or with respect to the connection between the premises and conclusion, or both. They can serve to bolster and confirm ('helps' a la John Calvin); perhaps to convince."

    So Plantinga's positive assessment of theistic arguments has been refined considerably since the original publication of *God and Other Minds.* There are good theistic arguments, but these arguments are probabilistic and not logically demonstrative. (For a clarification and defense of the goodness of probabilistic theistic arguments, see chapters 12 and 13 of my book).

  3. default3

    default3 Inactive User

    [/quote] Also, the nature of proof itself is problematic. If there is "some" evidence for God's existence, then there must be "some" evidence *against* God's existence. [/quote]


    This doesn't strike me as obviously true, at least not if we unpack evidential claims in terms of conditional epistemic probability.

    [A] The conditional epistemic probability of theism T on evidence E is less than 1.

    There is some evidence E* such that the conditional epistemic probability of ~T on E* is greater than 0.

    It may be that is true, but it wouldn't follow simply from [A], at least not in any obvious way.

    Perhaps you were thinking that the probability of T can only be lowered (and hence prevented from being 1) by there being some evidence against T, but this is false. The proposition "my nextdoor neighbor just bought a new Cadillac" will have a conditional epistemic probability based on the evidence that my neighbor told me so and I see a new Cadillac parked in his driveway, but this probability will be lowered, if only slightly, if we add to our evidence the fact that my neighbor is a practical joker about the acquisition of expensive items. This added piece of evidence isn't evidence against my neighbor's having bought a cadillac, but it still lowers the probability of the proposition that he did. In the language of *defeaters,* it constitutes an undercutting defeater, as opposed to a rebutting defeater.

    Now since the epistemic probability of some proposition can be assessed relative to correct and incorrect inductive criteria, there is a sense in which will be true with reference to certain assessments of the epistemic probability of theism. Whether is true given correct inductive standards is another matter though. But still, would not follow from [A] alone.

    However, one might also ask what precisely is wrong with there being *some* evidence against the existence of God. This wouldn't necessarily justify unbelief. Surely there is some evidence against my being alive next week, but this wouldn't justify my believing that I won't live another week. Anyhow, in the case of theism it seems plausible to suppose that if all people know that God exists, they know this even if there is some evidence against God's existence.
    So I don't see what exactly is wrong with there being evidence against the existence of God; but again, I surely don't see that this follows from simply holding that there is evidence for the existence of God.

  4. default3

    default3 Inactive User

    [/quote] I'm talking about both. Teleological, Transcendental, Evidential, they all fail to prove God exists due to errors in reasoning.

    [/quote] So the errors are in men, not in the evidences? Or is it that even if God were to part the sea right in front of us, that would tell us nothing because all evidences fail due to men's errors in reasoning? [/quote]


    Anthony seems to think that a person commits an "error in reasoning" simply because the person presents an argument that fails to be deductively valid. This is overly simplistic and misleading, and *this* error in reasoning appears to vitiate a majority of his posts in this thread as far as I can see.

    A deductive argument is an argument that has an implicit or explicit inferential claim to the effect that the conclusion follows by necessity from the premises. If a person presents a deductive argument but the argument is formally invalid, then this person has made a mistake in reasoning, for he supposes that he offers a necessary inference but he is mistaken *about the actual force of the inference.*

    An inductive argument is an argument that has an implicit or explicit inferential claim to the effect that the conclusion is probable given the evidence cited in the premises. If a person presents an inductive argument but the argument is inductively weaker than the inferential claim, then this person has made a mistake in reasoning, for he supposes that he offers a probable inference, but he is mistaken *about the actual force of the inference.*

    By contrast, if a person presents an argument for the conclusion Q, and the person claims only that Q is probable to degree N given the evidence cited in the premises, what *error in reasoning* has the person committed if *in fact* Q is probable to degree N given the evidence cited in the premises. An error in reasoning implies an error in the inference, but if the person is correct about the inference, what inferential error has been made?

    Moral of the story. . . .In each case, a *mistake* in reasoning is an *evaluative* judgment that must take into consideration the purported force of the alleged inference. Otherwise there is no basis for asserting an *error* or *mistake* in the reasoning. One can always say of an inductive argument, it is formally invalid. But this is a description of inductive arguments, not an evaluative judgment. It is only an evaluative judgment in the case of deductive arguments. In other terms, inductive arguments must be evaluated *qua* inductive arguments in terms of evidential criteria. Deductive arguments must be evaluated *qua* deductive arguments in terms of criteria of necessary inference.

    The claim that inductive arguments are formally invalid is trivially true, but this observation does nothing to inform us about whether any particular inductive argument is a good inductive argument. And whether a good inductive argument is a good argument simpliciter really depends on whether such arguments can ground reasonable or warranted beliefs. I've yet to see a good argument, deductive or inductive, for supposing this isn't the case. At all events, the logic of arguments can't be separated from a range of epistemological considerations.

    I develop these points at length in chapter 12 of my book.

  5. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    Thank you very much. I am very appreciative of any help. You can be sure that I will try to sort this out for myself.

    If I may, I would like to outline my general approach to these topics.

    My approach has been of a very practical nature, trying hard to be as plain in terminology as possible. I want to reach the ordinary person in the pew. I see many arguments raised to substantiate a point of view which are quite simple errors in reasoning. Yet they are unashamedly raised and defended as if the result of scholarly study. I am not interested so much in trying to correct the scholar, though I have sat and discussed with them as well. My concern has been the ordinary church member, and how he is flim-flammed into believing ideas based upon plausible-sounding arguments.

    I cannot forget the overwhelming experience back in the 1980's when the redefinition of the word "man" was introduced into the church's doctrinal statements, and then these redefiners charged the church doctrines with that redefinition. And there was not one voice to speak up to say that the these new definitions were not the definitions used by the doctrinal statements. Not one. The result was a change in doctrine on the place of man, via the introduction and acceptance of egalitarian notions.

    Everyone was tricked into believing, for example, that a "mailman" can only refer to a man, or that a "policeman" can only mean a male constable. So they changed the term "man" to "person", so that it could be inclusive; e.g., a "mailperson". So also, everytime the Bible spoke of "man" or "men" some were impugned by the use of that term because they felt exluded, being female. It was not inclusive enough for them. Thus the error they made in feeling excluded, when that was clearly not the meaning, was fousted upon the church instead of confessed for themselves. But it carried such momentum in the church that the offices had to be opened to women as well as men. There was no stopping it. A very simple equivocation took an entire denomination by storm.

    I see that done again today. For example, the redefinition of the term "neutrality", just as one example, is entirely strange to the evidentialist; when he calls upon a neutrality in an unbeliever it never enters his mind that he could mean by that term the redefinion given it. An intellectual autonomy apart from God's existence is an impossible notion to him. All men must live and relate to the necessity of God's existence as evidenced in the creation; it is impossible not to. The kind of neutrality suggested simply does not exist in his mind. So how can he be calling unbelievers to the kind of "neutral" position, as he is accused of, if the thought never even occurs to him? The evidentialist is calling the unbeliever to drop his dissembling, his self-deception, not so some nebulous no-man's-land of intellectual autonomy.

    Certain aspects of Presuppositionalism fall into this apologetic without a problem. It is as naturally evidentialist as evidentialism is naturally Presuppositional ( formally speaking ). Rather than being mutually exclusive, they in their formal and proper sense are mutually dependent. I have been trying to strip the errors and excesses from both of them. But not as a formal theoretic, or as an approach all on its own with its own name. It is just plain common sense, and that is name enough.

    As you can see, this falls quite well into the topic heading of this thread.

    I only want to call ordinary people back to common sense. I may have stated my arguments rather clumsily, but I am still only learning how to "handle" people and their suasions.

    [Edited on 2-3-2006 by JohnV]
  6. default3

    default3 Inactive User


    I also have problems with the way the appeal to neutrality is used by many presuppositionalists in their critique of evidentialist apologetics. To give another shameless plug for the book, I take this up in my chapter on apologetics.

    I agree that the dichotomy between evidentialism and presuppositionalism is overdone. Awhile back David Byron drew some good distinctions between the
    (1) Evidentially-informed presuppositionalist
    (2) Presuppositionally-informed evidentialist
    (3) Presuppositional anti-evidentialist
    (4) Evidential anti-presuppositionalist
    (5) Naive evidentialist.

    See Van Til Archives:

    I believe Byron was on the right track here. There are more positions here than some Van Tilians would like to allow.

    I'll just call you the "Thomas Reid" of the Reformed faith. :lol:

  7. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    That's me! :D
  8. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Thank you Michael. I will dig deeper into Plantinga.

    Would you consider the following probabilistic or logical ?

    Every book has an author, yet we are told to assume that the incomprehensible complexity, and the vast immensity of the universe, which is God's natural revelation of Himself, exists without an architect, and without a playwright.
  9. default3

    default3 Inactive User


    This doesn't appear to be an argument. What's the conclusion supposed to be?

    Maybe you were thinking of something like:

    (1) Every book has an author.
    (2) The universe is like a book.
    (3) The universe has an author.

    This would be an inductive argument by analogy. The strength of the inference would depend on the degree of similarity between books and the universe. Of coruse, we would still have to reason from (3) to the conclusion that God exists.

  10. Vytautas

    Vytautas Puritan Board Freshman

    It is a statement that does not use anything that is probable such as every book has an author 90% of the time but asserts that it is true all the time. Not only is that section not probable, but all of the parts are either true or false. But is it logical? Perhaps if we look at it from a different angle then we will know if it is logical. It basically says that people say that God´s complex universe has no creator. There is a contradiction because on the one hand this is God´s universe and on the other people say that there is no God. The people that say that there is no God would have to say that it is not God´s universe. To conclude, all declarative sentences are either true or false and hence they are logical in that respect.
  11. default3

    default3 Inactive User

    [/quote] It is a statement that does not use anything that is probable such as every book has an author 90% of the time but asserts that it is true all the time. [/quote]

    A universal or general statement can be the conclusion of inductive argument. It's called inductive generalization. In that case it would be probable to some degree, depending on the strength of the inductive inference.

    Probability and logical demonstration (in the original context in which this has been raised) indicate evidential relations between statements, not assessments of individual statements. So you have to ask what kind of *argument* is being made, not what kind of *statement* is being made.

  12. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritanboard Commissioner

    Please click on the signature requirement link at the bottom of my post for board protocol.


    Welcome aboard by the way!
  13. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    I was thinking it might be probabilistic. Because it is somewhat common sense. If you know of a book that does not have any author/s let me know. And the universe is much more complex than a book. The language of it, much more intricate. It is a general analogy of the teleological argument.
  14. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    Hello Dr. Sudduth,

    Glad you are on the forum - and I'm looking forward to reading your book.

    I'm talking about both. Teleological, Transcendental, Evidential, they all fail to prove God exists due to errors in reasoning.

    [/quote] So the errors are in men, not in the evidences? Or is it that even if God were to part the sea right in front of us, that would tell us nothing because all evidences fail due to men's errors in reasoning? [/quote]


    Anthony seems to think that a person commits an "error in reasoning" simply because the person presents an argument that fails to be deductively valid. This is overly simplistic and misleading, and *this* error in reasoning appears to vitiate a majority of his posts in this thread as far as I can see.[/quote]

    In error in reasoning is an error in reasoning. Some things are simple - and some complications are misleading. What seems to be the case, may not be the case in fact. Hopefully, I will correct your impression of what you think I "seem to think" so to correct you of this strawman.

    This is interesting. I mostly agree with the first part (the conclusion follows by necessity) but the following sentence does not seem correct. The error in reasoning is not simply that the person supposes the inference is correct," rather it is that the inference itself is in fact false. And this is not due the "force of the inference" as if this was an issue of magnitude (force has magnitude, degrees of pressure). The error is in the structure of the inference which makes it false. And to be clear, I mean by "inference" not the conclusion but the formal translation from premise to conclusion. The "conclusion" may be true or false. If the inference is false, the true/false state of the conclusion is indetermined.

    Also, a valid deductive argument can always be expressed so that it is explicit (clearly stated and definitive). An implicit deductive argument would have to be an enthymeme if it is still valid. That is, there are unstated but assumable premises that prove the conclusion follows formally.

    In this the term "force" makes more sense. Inductive arguments are never definitive or "necessarily" true, but merely "possibly" true. I do not say "probably" because rarely can one determine the numerical probability to a inductive argument (unless one is using raw statistical data). And weaker and stronger arguments are given which can not prove the conclusion follows, but seems to indicate the conclusion by subjective degrees of force.

    None at all if that is the case.

    Certainly if one has done the math and has shown that conclusion Q is probable to degree N then the inference is correct. The inference is made to the probability N that Q is correct. But the conclusion is not "Q", rather it is "the probability of Q is N". And in fact, this is a deductive argument. If one says that the arguments P infer the conclusion Q, then an error of reasoning has been committed - because P only infers the possibly of Q.

    When inductive arguments are said to be proofs of the conclusions Q - this implies that the conclusion Q is 100% true (i.e. necessarily true). And whenever one says that inductive arguments are proofs, then that is a mistake in reasoning. A proof must be formally valid - and inductive arguments always fail due to an errors in forms of inference.

    Here you have defined "mistake in reason" an evaluative judgment. This seems to make it subjective. But correct reasoning as I think of it is objectively correct. Only by correct reasoning will you evaluate 5+6 and determine it equals 11. This is not just a question of "force" but one of truth. Truth is the goal of reason.

    Deductive and inductive arguments are not simply different kinds of "reason". Inductive arguments are deductively invalid. But the reverse is never the case.

    Logically this ("the claim that inductive arguments are formally invalid") is trivial. But it is important non-the-less. In fact, it makes a great deal of difference regarding what is considered a valid proof. The problem is when we start presenting inductive arguments as valid proofs. But inductive arguments are subject to subjective interpretations of the "force of the arguments". But the conclusion of a valid deductive arguments is "necessarily" true - and that is proof.

    Inductive and deductive arguments are completely different beasts. One can not set them side by side as if they were equally valid for making or evaluating conclusions.

    I would also like to point out that the arguments I was calling invalid were both deductive and inductive. The inductive evidential argument is invalid due to the "trivial" induction fallacy. Arguments like the Teleological and Transcendental are invalid due to "begging the question".

    I do look forward to reading your book. It's always a pleasure to study your writings, even though it takes my slow mind more time and effort digest them - and I often feel a bit intimidated by your superior scholarship. I hope you will give me the benefit of the doubt when you read my pedestrian comments. (And yes, I know I am obviously pushing the limits of my vocabulary to appear smarter than I am. :) )
  15. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    What a interesting quote. I suppose he was correct since his argument is not for "knowing" God exists but "believing" God exists. That is, warranted belief is not the same justified true belief (knowledge).

    Not that this is bad. Most propositions we believe, we do so without any real justification or proof. I would say this is 90% the case. :)

    The problem is that the traditional "stringent standard" is quite proper for evaluating the traditional arguments for the existence of God because these arguments are presented as logical proofs who's "forms of argument that can be rejected only on pain of irrationality." That is, we should hold these arguments to the same "stringent" standards of proof that that they claim to satisfy.

    But if you want to lower the standards of justification - then the same standards will apply to many arguments for different worldviews - counter belief systems are just as "warranted" as Christianity. But I suppose that was Plantinga's point: Christianity meets the same standards of rationality as any other rational belief system.

    Ironically, I think Van Til would object Plantinga's "warranted" Christian belief. Clark on the other hand might not - yet he still maintained a rigorous criteria of proof. And Clark's "axiom" of Scripture justified epistemological knowledge (not just belief).

    [Edited on 2-4-2006 by Civbert]
  16. default3

    default3 Inactive User

    Since the format went queer on the last attempt, let's try this again....

    On Plantinga's view warranted belief is not the same as justified belief, but Plantinga's arguments in defense of properly basic belief have been developed with reference to both epistemic desiderata, though I suspect Plantinga would have a very different account of the conceptual terrain here. The connections between warrant, justification, and knowledge is a fairly complex set of topics. I really don't have time to get into a lot of this. Suffice it to say, on Plantinga's view justified true belief is not knowledge, that is, as long as justification remains true to its internalist pedigree.

    If someone *purports* to offer a logical demonstration of God's existence, then in this circumstance it is *dialectically* proper to evaluate their arguments by the standards of logical demonstration. Historically of course these arguments have not *always* been presented as logical demonstrations. In these contexts it would be *dialectically* improper to evaluate the arguments as logical demonstrations. But more importantly, Plantinga's point is really a conceptual or philosophical one. It is an improper standard *philosophically* since (a) very few arguments in philosophy satisfy such stringent standards and (b) an argument can have dialectical and epistemic value without satisfying such standards.

    The same *standards* will apply to be sure (unless one advocates double standards), but it doesn't follow (nor is it Plantinga's point) that all viewpoints equally *satisfy* these standards.

    Well, I think one needs to distinguish between logical rigor and wishful thinking.

    As for your last statement, while I certainly think we can do better than "just belief," I have no idea what you mean by "epistemological knowledge," much less how it is that Scripture *justifies* such a thing.


    {Edited to fix formatting - FTG}

    [Edited on 2/4/2006 by fredtgreco]
  17. default3

    default3 Inactive User

    Hi Anthony,

    I don't have too much to say about your post on inductive reasoning. The crucial issue is really your claim that no inductive argument can have a conclusion that is more than possible. I don't find this plausible, and I don't think you've adopted the right sort of argumentative strategy to show otherwise.

    Criteria of inductive logic *do* have as a consequence that some propositions will enjoy a greater degree of likelihood on certain evidence than other statements and that alterations in evidence will change the degree of likelihood for a proposition. Just as deductive criteria determine when inferences are necessary; inductive criteria determine when inferences are likely, more likely than alternative propositions, more likely than their negations, very likely, and so on. (Incidentally, unlike statistical and physical probability, epistemic probability does not involve nor require exact numerical values, so that point of yours was a red herring).

    What you need to argue is that proposed criteria of inductive reasoning are not correct criteria. In fact, you also have to argue the stronger claim that in fact there are *no* correct criteria of inductive reasoning at all, for in that case *whatever* probabilities one assigns will be based on incorrect criteria. In that case, evidential probabilities will be closed under subjective conditions of inductive criteria. At all events, you'll have to critically engage criteria of inductive logic, in much the same way that a person claiming that there are no necessary inferences must critically engage deductive criteria. Given your own criteria of cogent reasoning, you'll need to logically demonstrate your claim. In the words of your mentor: "I think it cannot be done."

  18. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Dr. Crampton quoting Popper:

    "œKarl Popper wrote: "We know that our scientific theories always remain hypotheses . . .. In science there is no knowledge, in the sense in which Plato and Aristotle understood the word, in the sense which implies finality; in science we never have sufficient reason for the belief that we have attained the truth." Popper went on to say: "It can even be shown that all [scientific] theories, including the best, have the same probability, namely zero."

    Now, if it can be shown the probability of even the best scientific theory is zero and that the inductive arguments on which all scientific theories provide no knowledge, I fail to see how probabilistic arguments for God´s existence can somehow rise to higher level where the conclusion is "œmore than possible." Also, what does "œmore than possible" mean? Really, really possible? Clearly, following Popper you don´t mean knowledge in the sense of Plato and Ari, so what do you mean? Or is this where you take off and wax into obscurant double talk that will dazzle your friends and confuse your critics :scholar:

    Anyway, nice work Anthony. Very insightful and clear.


    [Edited on 2-7-2006 by Magma2]
  19. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The problem of knowledge is not solved through equivocation. That only has the appearance of a solution. You are confusing theory with knowledge; scientists do know some things, from which they theorize. They often treat their theories as attained knowledge, but are really only fooling themselves; much the same way Arminians fool themselves with their meaning of free will as a solution to man's responsibilities to sin.

    However, I don't think we need to get too far into to pros and cons of inductive reasoning to see that there are deeper problems involved. Definition of terms, especially technical ones, is one of them, as has already been said. This would, in turn, effect views on the limits and extent of the contributions of induction to reason.

    I am not arguing for anything in particular here; I merely stating that some arguments are not at all persuasive, no matter how firmly some people believe in them.
  20. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    It was an aside, and not a part of the main argument. I'm sorry if I did not make that clear. I don't like the term probable because it seems to imply that you can put a number to it, although that is not necessarily true. But a probability that does not have a number, is merely saying that what is probable is more likely than not. That's all. It's an estimate that something is more likely than not.

    As for the consequences of the criteria, I never said otherwise.

    I don't think I need to argue about the criteria, I think I'd rather look at the claims. If one wants to claim that inductive arguments have probable conclusions, and one clearly states the conclusion as a probable truth, then I have no problem, and I say this is really a deductive argument. That is if the conclusion is in the form 'x is probably y', then this is really a deduction that is necessarily true by definition of what probable means.

    If one gives arguments where the conclusion does not necessarily follows, but gives the conclusion in the form 'x is y' then this is a fallacy, and an invalid argument, and the inference if false.

    One must be careful. I did not say 'x is y' is false. I said the inference itself (from premise to conclusion) is false.

    Interestingly, both forms are given as examples of inductive reason. Usually the inductive argument fores from particulars to a general conclusion. So the two forms are p1, p2, p3, -> c4, and p1, p2, p3, -> probably c4. The first one says that the particular premises (p) infer general (or universal) conclusion c4. And the next says the premises infer that c4 is probable (more likely than not).

    The first form is fallacious - it does not follow, it is formally invalid, the inference is false. The latter is deductive since the definition of 'probable' is really an unstated premise, it it makes the conclusion necessarily true. In fact, the latter may be a valid deductive argument. Ironic huh?

    P.S. "default3"? What happened to Dr. Sudduth ("sudduthofantioch")?

    [Edited on 2-14-2006 by Civbert]
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