Van Til's Presuppositional Apologetic - A Critique

Status
Not open for further replies.

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
I think the problem is your assumption that an argument of a certain form cannot be objectively certain. You are going to have to make an argument for that.
What form? What assumption?

The argument is claimed to be objectively certain not because one does or does not hold to the conclusion as infallibly certain but because one should or has not right to deny the premises or the conclusion.
Sorry, I'm not following you here. And Brain's claim was for "philosophical certainty", not "objective certainty".
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
What form? What assumption?

You definitely have heard Van Tillians say that the TAG is not an inductive argument. You say that it is. The only way that you can hope to make it stick is that you believe that the argument form implies induction. However math and logic are not taught inductively but has the same "format". In both, you are given examples so that you can "see" the truth. The same thing happens with TAG.

If you want to make everything induction, then I will have to come back at you in a different way.

Sorry, I'm not following you here. And Brain's claim was for "philosophical certainty", not "objective certainty".

The critique was of the Van Tillian claim of objectively certain proof. So if he means something different, then I guess the critique dies.

CT
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
You definitely have heard Van Tillians say that the TAG is not an inductive argument. You say that it is.
No, I don't. The form of the TAG argument is deductive (ergo Brain's logical critique). Induction comes into play when the VT apologists (Bahnsen) defends his premises using inductive arguments. The argument is in the form of modus ponens (or tollens - I forget which is which :um:)


The critique was of the Van Tillian claim of objectively certain proof. So if he means something different, then I guess the critique dies.

CT
I think there is a difference between objective and philosophical certainty for Brian - but your are correct, either way the VT method dies.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
No, I don't. The form of the TAG argument is deductive (ergo Brain's logical critique). Induction comes into play when the VT apologists (Bahnsen) defends his premises using inductive arguments. The argument is in the form of modus ponens (or tollens - I forget which is which :um:)

You mean like math and logic are defended? Or are they defended differently.

I think there is a difference between objective and philosophical certainty for Brian - but your are correct, either way the VT method dies.

To say that objective certainty is not reached, then you have to have the right to doubt some part of the argument. Otherwise, you are just making a bare assertion that no one should listen to.

CT
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
You mean like math and logic are defended? Or are they defended differently.
Nope.



To say that objective certainty is not reached, then you have to have the right to doubt some part of the argument. Otherwise, you are just making a bare assertion that no one should listen to.
Right. Objective certainty is not reached. It is claimed, but never achieved. It is asserted, but never demonstrated.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate

So no, they are in fact defended the same way? Then why are you still arguing with me?

Right. Objective certainty is not reached. It is claimed, but never achieved. It is asserted, but never demonstrated.

Alright. Let me repeat myself. Do you the right to deny a premise of TAG? If not then the discussion is done. If you believe that you can then, tell me which part?

On a side note:

There are two points in contention.

1)Can objective certainty about anything be reached. According to Brain, the answer is no. I can see no way of defending that besides saying that "I have never had it, or heard of anyone who had it, so it cannot happen.

2)If it can be reached, then how.

I would like to see your answers to these issues.

CT
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
So no, they are in fact defended the same way? Then why are you still arguing with me?
You asked if the Van Til argument was defended the same way addition and subtraction is defended? I said no. The TAG is presented as being an objective proof of Christianity. But this is never demonstrated - merely claimed. Instead of demonstrating (giving the objective proof for Christianity), Bahnsen switches to doing a case by case assault on alternative worldviews. While this is a good method of arguing for Christianity, it does nothing to demonstrate that TAG as an objective proof. It does not even follow the same form or line of reasoning as TAG.
If TAG is an objective proof of Christianity, then Bahnsen would merely need to give that one argument and he would be finished - case closed. And I don't think Bahnsen would claim that taking down any number of worldviews amounts to a objective proof of Christianity. That would be a classic inductive fallacy.

Alright. Let me repeat myself. Do you the right to deny a premise of TAG? If not then the discussion is done. If you believe that you can then, tell me which part?

The part were the apologist claims that objective certainty is reached - it has not. It is claimed, but never achieved. It is asserted, but never demonstrated.

On a side note:

There are two points in contention.

1)Can objective certainty about anything be reached. According to Brain, the answer is no. I can see no way of defending that besides saying that "I have never had it, or heard of anyone who had it, so it cannot happen.

2)If it can be reached, then how.

I would like to see your answers to these issues.

CT

I think the point of contention is the claim that the TAG argument is objectively certain proof for Christianity. And Brian has demonstrated that it has not.

As far as "can it be reached" - that is a different issue. It remains the case that it has not been achieved by the VT TAG argument.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
You asked if the Van Til argument was defended the same way addition and subtraction is defended? I said no. The TAG is presented as being an objective proof of Christianity. But this is never demonstrated - merely claimed. Instead of demonstrating (giving the objective proof for Christianity), Bahnsen switches to doing a case by case assault on alternative worldviews. While this is a good method of arguing for Christianity, it does nothing to demonstrate that TAG as an objective proof. It does not even follow the same form or line of reasoning as TAG.
If TAG is an objective proof of Christianity, then Bahnsen would merely need to give that one argument and he would be finished - case closed. And I don't think Bahnsen would claim that taking down any number of worldviews amounts to a objective proof of Christianity. That would be a classic inductive fallacy.

Okay so you have two options.

1)Give up the objectivity of math and logic.
2)Demonstrate how they are defended differently from TAG.

What you have done is asserted that they are defended differently and then proceed to state how you believe that TAG is defended. It is now time to show the differences.

The part were the apologist claims that objective certainty is reached - it has not. It is claimed, but never achieved. It is asserted, but never demonstrated.

Lets us remember something. An objectively certain proof has been given when someone is presented with something which they should have no doubt afterward. If they continue to have doubt it would be a failure on their part to use what they have properly. Some bias in them is the problem.

So it comes back to how does one reach objective certainty? Hopefully you have answered my question below, so that I can either agree or disagree with how you say it can be reached.

I think the point of contention is the claim that the TAG argument is objectively certain proof for Christianity. And Brian has demonstrated that it has not.

Well he demonstrated one thing. If one asserts that objective certainty can only be obtained, by exhaustive demonstration, then TAG does not do it, and it is impossible to be obtained for anything (due to finiteness etc.)

Here I guess you can jump in and show me why I have to accept that view point of objective certainty and how it is reached.

As far as "can it be reached" - that is a different issue. It remains the case that it has not been achieved by the VT TAG argument.

Well in order to make this claim, you have to show me that I must accept your position of how objective certainty is reached.

CT
 

Brian Bosse

"The Brain"
Hello Gentlemen,

Allow me to step in a clarify some things. Civbert has done a good job explaining the issues. I will expand a little. Here is the claim by many Van Tillian apologists:

The transcendental argument for the existence of God (the presuppositional apologetic method of Van Til) provides objective certain proof for God's existence.

My paper argues that this has never been demonstrated, and in practical terms (how the apologetic is actually practiced) the method involves an inductive element that causes the whole argument to lose its logical necessity. As a result, this causes the proof to loose its objective certainty.

Sincerely,

Brian
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
See posts 41 and 43. Inductive arguments does not a objective proof make.

Let me try to restate this: Do you give inductive arguments for the truth of addition? If not then show me what you do, and how it is not an example of induction.

CT
 

Cheshire Cat

Puritan Board Sophomore
The point that Hermonta is making (which I think I agree with) is that there is some equivocation here on the word *objective*. If we mean 'objective' in the epistemological certain sense, then perhaps the finiteness of man and our ability for error makes this impossible. Perhaps it doesnt; I don't know.

At the same time, we usually mean objective in the logical sense. For example basic mathematics etc. I think I can be logically certain that 1+1=2 (Same thing with the deduction of a sound modus ponens), but epistemologically certain? Hmm, I'm not sure. So if 'objective' means logically certain (or objective), i'm not sure if there is a problem.
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
Let me try to restate this: Do you give inductive arguments for the truth of addition? If not then show me what you do, and how it is not an example of induction.

CT

Are you saying the the TAG is a self evident as "1 + 1 = 2" or the law of non-contradiction? Apples and orangers...or more like apples and mountains.

TAG is claimed to be a argument that proves the Christian worldview is the only worldview that can account for intelligibility. This is not self-evidently true, or there would be little disagreement. And inductive arguments never lead necessarily to their conclusions by definition of logical necessity.

Lets say you have 8 apples and I have 12. If I said that if we combined our apples and divided them into 4 equal amounts, we would have 5 apples in each pile - it would be sufficient to show that (8 + 12)/4 equals 5. We would not need to combine and divide apples to prove this. But we can actually go through the process with different objects. But in the end, it is not the examples that prove the conclusion, it is the mathematics.

But the inductive arguments given for TAG do not go that far. With the apples, we could give examples using different objects (marbles, cats, oranges). Each example would follow the same pattern of combining 8 and 12 objects and dividing them into 4 piles, and counting the piles. But in no way does "knocking down individual worldviews" follow the pattern of "If p, then q; not-q; therefore, not-p." Bahnsen does not demonstrate TAG by giving examples that support the validity of modes ponens form. Nor does he attempt to defend the "If p, then q" premise. Even by the standards of "good inductive argumentation" the arguments do not support TAG.
 

Cheshire Cat

Puritan Board Sophomore
"Are you saying that the TAG is a self evident as "1 + 1 = 2" or the law of non-contradiction? Apples and oranges...or more like apples and mountains."

No, if I interpret him right, he is saying that the objectivity of 1+1=2 (deductive certainty) is the same sense we are using the term of ‘objectivity’.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Brain shows that this premise is never shown to philosophically certain. It is simply assumed true.

"Brain shows" -- is that with philosophical certainty? Here is the whole problem. Men make statements of fact, but men know nothing by themselves. Men must show why any statement of fact is true. The truth for any statement of fact does not depend upon its own rationality, but upon the correspondence of what he states to reality. When man says something is true he is saying that there is objective reality and that he can know it. That is an induction based not upon rationality but upon relationship, i.e., man to reality. Given this initial induction, every inference drawn from it is likewise inductive. Hence every statement of fact includes the element of induction.

The inductive part of the critique is that (although the argument is claimed to have philosophic certainty, in fact, only inductive arguments are used in it's favor.

"In fact" -- whence does one derive this idea that there are facts? It requires an inductive argument somewhere along the line. Therefore your facts are all to be regarded as philosophically uncertain, that is, playing by Mr. Bosse's set of rules.

It is not "false", it is philosophically uncertain. Induction /= false. Induction = uncertain.

From a purely logical point of view I can't see the difference. If an argument produces uncertainty it has failed to establish what it set out to do, and therefore must be considered false. But for the sake of understanding what each person is saying I will exchange "false" for "uncertain." Mr. Bosse's argument is that induction = uncertain. My question is still, Why?

Please explain how every premise includes an induction and then how this necessarily leads to all human thought is circular. And then, what bearing does this have on the critique?

I take induction to mean the inference of something general from something particular. Consider the famous premise, All men are mortal. Whence does this premise derive its certainty in order that it can be regarded as true? From the fact that all men in particular have been found to be mortal; ergo... And it will be found in every instance that the general statement contained in a premise is derived from particulars which cannot be proven to be universal.

Then, if it is true that all of our facts are nothing more than generalisations of particulars, it naturally follows that man knows nothing in general but must ever be caught in the circle of his own particular knowledge.

It does no follow necessarily that "if human thought is circular" and "if there is an absolute truth claim" then "truth exists in an infinite Mind outside of human rationality." Obviously this is an enthymeme - but I don't see what additional premises will make your conclusion necessary.

Given what has been said above -- that men only know particulars, yet they confidently derive generalisations from those particulars -- it must be the case that men's generalisations intuitively take for granted a relationship to a reality which guarantees the particulars are true in each and every case. What is that reality? It must be such as possesses Mind, else it could not provide a rational account of generality. It must be absolute Mind, else it could not account for all reality.
 

Brian Bosse

"The Brain"
Hello Caleb,

You make a good distinction, and one that I make in my argument. However, in my paper I demonstrate that the Van Tillian argument is both logically and epistemologically not certain.

Sincerely,

Brian
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
I'm happy you saw my post. I was afraid it would be overlooked since so many additional post followed it.

"Brain shows" -- is that with philosophical certainty? Here is the whole problem. Men make statements of fact, but men know nothing by themselves. Men must show why any statement of fact is true.
Not at all. One is free to assume some things are true without objective proof. In fact, all "rational" systems of thought assume some first principles or axioms.

The truth for any statement of fact does not depend upon its own rationality, but upon the correspondence of what he states to reality.
That's a whole new can of worms - what is "reality". And without some sort of assumption about "what reality in fact is", we can not determine what corresponds to it.

When man says something is true he is saying that there is objective reality and that he can know it. That is an induction based not upon rationality but upon relationship, i.e., man to reality.
How is that an induction? Since the subject of the TAG argument is a "worldview", then what is considered reality is a function of the worldview. You can not step out of a worldview and ask, does it conform with reality. You have to assume a worldview and then ask, how does reality look from within it.

Given this initial induction, every inference drawn from it is likewise inductive. Hence every statement of fact includes the element of induction.
I can't give you this as an induction since it can not be made. You can induce a worldview from reality. A worldview is how we understand what we thing is reality.

"In fact" -- whence does one derive this idea that there are facts? It requires an inductive argument somewhere along the line. Therefore your facts are all to be regarded as philosophically uncertain, that is, playing by Mr. Bosse's set of rules.
This may indeed be the case since we are talking about worldviews. Ultimately, there is nothing that we know as an independent fact. Facts are always deductions based on our worldview framework. Give me a fact, and it can be shown that it is either a tautology, or a deduction from other facts, or an induction (in which case it is not a fact at all).

"From a purely logical point of view I can't see the difference. If an argument produces uncertainty it has failed to establish what it set out to do, and therefore must be considered false. But for the sake of understanding what each person is saying I will exchange "false" for "uncertain." Mr. Bosse's argument is that induction = uncertain. My question is still, Why?

The difference is important. A false statement is shown to be a contradiction or contrary to a true statement. An uncertain statement is one in which we can not determine if it is true or false. A statement with an undetermined true/false state is simply that. We can not deduce it from a priori true statements, and it is not contrary or contradictory to any a priori true statements. Uncertainty does not equate to false. An uncertain statement may be true.


"I take induction to mean the inference of something general from something particular. Consider the famous premise, All men are mortal. Whence does this premise derive its certainty in order that it can be regarded as true? From the fact that all men in particular have been found to be mortal; ergo... And it will be found in every instance that the general statement contained in a premise is derived from particulars which cannot be proven to be universal.

All men are mortal is assumed true. But we do not know this is the case independent of a worldview from which we can deduce it. We certainly do not know that the statement is true based on particulars. One may observe ten-thousand black crows, but still not know all crows are black. This is the nature and logic of induction.

Then, if it is true that all of our facts are nothing more than generalizations of particulars, it naturally follows that man knows nothing in general but must ever be caught in the circle of his own particular knowledge.
If indeed. But no fact can be determined with objective certainty from of particulars. That is the inductive fallacy. Such an argument would not necessarily be false, merely invalid. As are all truly inductive conclusions.


"Given what has been said above -- that men only know particulars, yet they confidently derive generalizations from those particulars -- it must be the case that men's generalizations intuitively take for granted a relationship to a reality which guarantees the particulars are true in each and every case. What is that reality? It must be such as possesses Mind, else it could not provide a rational account of generality. It must be absolute Mind, else it could not account for all reality.
That would be nice, but it isn't necessary. Even if it is the case that there is an absolute Mind, it would not make logically invalid conclusion valid. The inductive fallacy is still a fallacy, not matter how many black crows one observes and whether or not there is an absolute Mind.

While the existence of an absolute Mind that reveals universal truths provides conditions that allow for intelligibility - it is not the case that those are logically necessary conditions. And if an absolute Mind could be shown as a necessary precondition for man to have univocal knowledge, it is not necessary that the Mind be the one revealed in Scripture.

(And throw in the Van Tilian concept of the incomprehensibility of this absolute Mind, and you erase the precondition for univocal knowledge.)

I'll post this now and check for typos later.
 
Last edited:

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Not at all. One is free to assume some things are true without objective proof. In fact, all "rational" systems of thought assume some first principles or axioms.

This is why I made the statement about the beauty of presuppositional apologetics -- you can't require a rational objective proof for something that depends upon a relation. But you seem to imply that because it is based on a relation it ceases to be objective proof; in which case we are doomed to the realm of negation and are unable to say anything positively meaningful about our existence. But Scripture teaches otherwise: "Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

That's a whole new can of worms - what is "reality". And without some sort of assumption about "what reality in fact is", we can not determine what corresponds to it.

Exactly. Yet men who deny the existence of God assume this reality to which they are inextricably tied.

How is that an induction? Since the subject of the TAG argument is a "worldview", then what is considered reality is a function of the worldview. You can step out of a worldview and ask, does it conform with reality. You have to assume a worldview and ask, how does reality look from within it.

How does one step out of the worldview? If you can step out of it to rationalise then you can claim independence. The new basis upon which you rationalise must then be accounted for. How daft!

I can't give you this as an induction since it can not be made. You can induce a worldview from reality. A worldview is how we understand what we thing is reality.

Hence all that man knows is an induction.

This may indeed be the case since we are talking about worldviews. Ultimately, there is nothing that we know as an independent fact. Facts are always deductions based on our worldview framework. Give me a fact, and it can be shown that it is either a tautology, or a deduction from other facts, or an induction (in which case it is not a fact at all).

Hence proving my case about circularity.

If indeed. But no fact can be determined with objective certainty from of particulars. That is the inductive fallacy. Such an argument would not necessarily be false, merely invalid. As are all truly inductive conclusions.

You are calling it a fallacy, but that only applies to the logic, to the relation of the premises to the conclusion. My statement pertains to the premises themselves -- all facts (generalisations) are determined from particulars. Particulars are then understood in relation to generalisations. It is a constantly recurring spiral within a closed rationality.

(And throw in the Van Tilian concept of the incomprehensibility of this absolute Mind, and you erase the precondition for univocal knowledge.)

Yes, as explained elsewhere, the archetype/ectype formulation resolves the tensions raised by Van Til's insistence on incomprehensibility, and allows for true knowledge.
 

Brian Bosse

"The Brain"
Hello Matthew,

I think you are missing the point of my critique. You say…

This is why I made the statement about the beauty of presuppositional apologetics -- you can't require a rational objective proof for something that depends upon a relation.

I am not making any requirements the Van Tillian has not already committed to. He claims to have an objectively certain proof, and yet fails to establish this claim.

How does one step out of the worldview?

An ability human beings have is introspection, or even simple inspection. I can analyze a worldview from that worldview’s perspective. If I cannot, then the Van Tillian presuppositional method is undermined. One vital component is an internal critique of the competing worldview. This means the Christian “steps out” of his worldview and “tries on” (Greg Bahnsen’s words not mine) the competing worldview in order to demonstrate how it leads to absurdity. If you take this away, not only do you undermine presuppositonal apologetics, but you undermine rational inquiry itself.

Frankly, I am having a difficult time understanding your position much less how it possibly refutes my critique of Van Til. If I am in error, it should be easy for you to quote the portions of my series where I made mistakes, and then explain what those mistakes are. This would be a great service to me, and it probably would help bring some focus to this discussion.

Sincerely,

Brian
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
How does one step out of the worldview? If you can step out of it to rationalise then you can claim independence. The new basis upon which you rationalise must then be accounted for. How daft!

Daft indeed. I meant to say:
You can not step out of a worldview and ask, does it conform with reality. You have to assume a worldview and then ask, how does reality look from within it.

Sorry for the confusion.

Our understanding of reality is interpreted through our worldview. And one major tool in the apologetic arsenal is to "assume" the opponents worldview and demonstrate by an internal critique that it is incoherent or self-contradictory. We can not say it does not conform to reality because how we conceive of reality is a function of a presumed worldview.

We can step from one worldview into another worldview, but it is impossible to step outside of all worldviews all together and make any kind of rational statement.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Hello Matthew,

I think you are missing the point of my critique. You say…

This is why I made the statement about the beauty of presuppositional apologetics -- you can't require a rational objective proof for something that depends upon a relation.

I am not making any requirements the Van Tillian has not already committed to. He claims to have an objectively certain proof, and yet fails to establish this claim.

I think Rev. Matthew is saying that there are objectively certain proofs that would not be "rational objective proofs".

If he is not, then I am saying such.

Two related points that it seems that your critique seems to miss.

1)We do not believe that Christianity it properly basic, but instead "super" basic. That would imply that what one would need to do to reach objectively certain proof, for things that are not super basic, would not necessarily need to be done for a "super" basic belief.

2)From your critique: "According to Van Til, the unbeliever must be presented with an indirect argument (a.k.a. a Reductio Ad Absurdum proof) because, on the Reformed basis, there is no area of neutrality between the believer and the unbeliever."

It seems that your critique presupposes some area of neutrality in the laws and applications of logic.

How does one step out of the worldview?
An ability human beings have is introspection, or even simple inspection. I can analyze a worldview from that worldview’s perspective. If I cannot, then the Van Tillian presuppositional method is undermined. One vital component is an internal critique of the competing worldview. This means the Christian “steps out” of his worldview and “tries on” (Greg Bahnsen’s words not mine) the competing worldview in order to demonstrate how it leads to absurdity. If you take this away, not only do you undermine presuppositonal apologetics, but you undermine rational inquiry itself.

I think Rev. Matthew here is talking about "neutrally" observing a worldview from a worldviewless state. Such a location is not to be found anywhere. This is not an unintended attack on Van Til or Bahnsen.

Frankly, I am having a difficult time understanding your position much less how it possibly refutes my critique of Van Til. If I am in error, it should be easy for you to quote the portions of my series where I made mistakes, and then explain what those mistakes are. This would be a great service to me, and it probably would help bring some focus to this discussion.

Sincerely,

Brian

Of Course I am not Rev. Matthew so I could have interpreted him wrongly.

CT
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
...
You are calling it a fallacy, but that only applies to the logic, to the relation of the premises to the conclusion. My statement pertains to the premises themselves -- all facts (generalisations) are determined from particulars. Particulars are then understood in relation to generalisations. It is a constantly recurring spiral within a closed rationality.

Sorry, but I disagree. Fact's are not generalizations. Facts are conclusions to arguments (something known to be true). And to be factual (that is true) it can not be a generalization. A generalization (an inductive conclusion) is not, by definition, a known truth. It is possibility, a probability, an opinion maybe, or even a theory. The Theory of Evolution is a generalization, it is not a fact.
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
I think Rev. Matthew here is talking about "neutrally" observing a worldview from a worldviewless state. Such a location is not to be found anywhere. This is not an unintended attack on Van Til or Bahnsen.

I agree and I'm embarrassed by the confusion my typo implied - that I thought one can step out of a worldview and "neutrally" evaluate a worldview's conformance to reality.

Mea culpa. :(
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I am not making any requirements the Van Tillian has not already committed to. He claims to have an objectively certain proof, and yet fails to establish this claim.

Where does Van Til commit himself in this way? He maintains objectivity on the presupposition of the reformed faith. You can't require him to prove the rationality of a belief without which there could be no rationality. No man has to prove his own existence by proving he has a mother.

An ability human beings have is introspection, or even simple inspection. I can analyze a worldview from that worldview’s perspective. If I cannot, then the Van Tillian presuppositional method is undermined. One vital component is an internal critique of the competing worldview. This means the Christian “steps out” of his worldview and “tries on” (Greg Bahnsen’s words not mine) the competing worldview in order to demonstrate how it leads to absurdity. If you take this away, not only do you undermine presuppositonal apologetics, but you undermine rational inquiry itself.

Whether or not Bahnsen was conveying the idea you are suggesting I leave to others to squabble over. The idea itself is nonsense and contrary to Van Til's antithetical approach. You can't prove the absurdity of a system you are thinking in terms of -- you only manage to approve of the autonomy with which the unbeliever reasons. You are better off showing how it is impossible to come to any conclusion at all given the God-denying nature of the system, just as we show the moral bancruptcy of humanism. This is all based upon the reformed worldview.

Frankly, I am having a difficult time understanding your position much less how it possibly refutes my critique of Van Til. If I am in error, it should be easy for you to quote the portions of my series where I made mistakes, and then explain what those mistakes are. This would be a great service to me, and it probably would help bring some focus to this discussion.

I've pointed to the problematic part of your critique and interacted with Civbert on it. Please feel free to take up the remarks about induction as a focus for discussion. You would need to prove that any fact could be proven before you could find fault with Van Tillian apologetics for not proving a fact according to your pre-requirements.

If I were to formulate the transcendental argument in a logical manner I would simply be honest about my dependence on the traditional ontological argument. Facts are perfect. A claim to know a fact is a claim to know perfection. At which point St. Anselm's logic triumphs.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Sorry, but I disagree. Fact's are not generalizations. Facts are conclusions to arguments (something known to be true). And to be factual (that is true) it can not be a generalization. A generalization (an inductive conclusion) is not, by definition, a known truth. It is possibility, a probability, an opinion maybe, or even a theory. The Theory of Evolution is a generalization, it is not a fact.

Listen to this statement: "Facts are generalisations." I stated a fact, which I understand to be true in all conditions -- a generalisation. The theory of evolution is a false generalisation.
 

Cheshire Cat

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hello Caleb,

You make a good distinction, and one that I make in my argument. However, in my paper I demonstrate that the Van Tillian argument is both logically and epistemologically not certain.

Sincerely,

Brian
Once I got to part five, my computer froze. I was being lazy too. I'll read the rest.
 

Brian Bosse

"The Brain"
Hello Matthew,

He maintains objectivity on the presupposition of the reformed faith.

When the apologist claims he has an objectively certain proof, he is claiming to have a proof that for any and all individuals cannot fail to be true. My critique is that this claim is too much. The apologist fails at several levels - the most serious being the inductive element he introduces into his argument.

You can't require him to prove the rationality of a belief without which there could be no rationality.

Sure you can, and so thought Van Til. It is the basis of his apologetic. His very argument is that the existence of God is necessary because apart from God there could not be rationality. Since there is rationality, then God exists. This is a good argument. This argument is established in a manner that is not objectively certain. That was the point of my critique.

The idea itself is nonsense and contrary to Van Til's antithetical approach.

Ok, my idea is nonsense. Since you are using this type of rhetoric, then I would submit to you that you do not understand Van Til’s apologetic. In his The Defense of the Faith (Third Edition) on pages 100-101 we find the following…

The Christian apologist must place himself upon the position of his opponent, assuming the correctness of his (the opponent’s) method merely for argument’s sake, in order to show him that on such a position the “facts” are not facts and the “laws” are not laws. He must also ask the non-Christian to place himself upon the Christian position for argument’s sake in order that he may be shown that only upon such a basis do “facts” and “laws” appear intelligible.

Clearly, you do not understand Van Til if you think this is “nonsense.”

I've pointed to the problematic part of your critique and interacted with Civbert on it.

It is funny how a simple request like this simply goes unanswered. I asked you to quote the appropriate portions of my critique where I was wrong and explain how I was wrong. You would not even show me the courtesy of doing this, but yet you would say that my ideas are nonsense. Not only am I beginning to doubt whether you understand Van Til, but I am beginning to wonder if you have actually taken the time to read my critique. The funny thing is that I acknowledge that there probably are errors in my critique. I would welcome a genuine feedback. I just ask you to be specific. Your response to this post will be telling.

Sincerely,

Brian
P.S. I really do not enjoy the level our rhetoric has taken. I plead guilty in this post, and will try to tone it down.
 

Cheshire Cat

Puritan Board Sophomore
I should say that I agree with the conclusion of the critique, and that as far as I can tell (with my limited understanding of the subject) you represent Van Til well.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top