Frame and Logic

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by natewood3, Mar 1, 2006.

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  1. natewood3

    natewood3 Puritan Board Freshman

    I am somewhat new to studying apologetics. However, I am trying to understand presuppositional apologetics. I have read some John Frame books, such Apologetics to the Glory of God, DKG, parts of DG. I have also read some of his online articles. I have seen him make the claim that God's nature is the ultimate basis of logic.

    My question is simply, is this right, and if so, how can you prove philosophically and Biblically? I agree that the laws of logic, science, and morality are unintelligible in other worldviews, and that when other worldviews use the laws, they are in fact borrowing from the Christian worldview. However, when I try to prove that the laws of logic and science presuppose God, I have a hard time doing that. How do I KNOW that the laws of logic and science presuppose God? I am aware that you can give philosophical arguments for this all day, but can it be proven with Scripture?

    Any help in understanding these issues would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    The laws of logic, science, and morality are abstract entities. For example, they couldn't exist in say a worldview that say all there is is Matter. I will try to get back to this tonight. My notes are elsewhere and I want to give a good response to it.
     
  3. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    This was originally written by Ron in the post on transcendentals. Hopefully, you will find it helpful.

     
  4. natewood3

    natewood3 Puritan Board Freshman

    I am not sure if that post helped me or simply made matters worse! I understand the formal argument for TAG, as was given by Ron. However, even though he "explained" step 2, I still am not sure as to how we can prove that God's existence is the precondition for all intelligibility. Can it be shown to be Biblically certain, as well as philosophically?

    When you go from not hardly knowing anything about apologetics 6 or 7 months ago to trying to understand everything Ron said in his post, it is somewhat difficult to comprehend.

    I think I need to understand how Christianity can philosophically and Biblically justify intelligibility before I can demonstrate that other worldviews cannot. Correct?
     
  5. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    This is really simplistic so please forgive me if I'm stating the obvious. The Bible proves the preconditions of everything by the fact that God is the Creator. there was a time when nothing was but Him. Also, in Christ are hidden all of the riches of wisdom and knowledge and a fear of the Lord is the beginning of such. These are not arguments per se but rather Biblical assertions...

    Hope this scratched where you were itching...
     
  6. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    Although it's very tempting to say that only Christianity establishes the "preconditions" of intelligibility, I don't think this is provable simply because one (if not the only) fundamental requirement for intelligibility is rationality, which in turn requires logic, and if anything is transcendental to any worldview, it's the laws of logic. Regardless of what worldview one adopts, the laws of logic are. That is, there is nothing that can be said or communicated if not for logic. Logic is right thinking.

    So if atheist of empiricists or rationalists or Scripturalist make any claim whatsoever, they have already affirmed logic (ergo the laws of logic transcend worldviews). So I don't think Christians should claim that only the Christian worldview provides "the preconditions" of intelligibility. I do think we can properly argue that while Christianity has been shown to describe a fully rational, coherent, and comprehensive worldview, no other known worldview has been shown to do the same. Which leaves the opponent no choice but to produce a worldview that "does the job" better than Christianity.

    Worldviews that deny the existence of a "supreme being" are not difficult to defeat since most are incoherent. This leaves alternative "religions". This gets more complicated since you have to examine the "doctrines" of each, but it's not impossible to deal with since most of them are based on forms of mysticism, or mystical experience.
     
  7. natewood3

    natewood3 Puritan Board Freshman

    Civbert,

    You said that "I don't think Christians should claim that only the Christian worldview provides "the preconditions" of intelligibility." From my understanding, you claimed that all worldviews affirm the laws of logic.

    My question is this: Can all worldviews account for the laws of logic? Can they account for laws of morality, which are implied in the laws of logic? Do they have an ultimate standard of truth by which they can be justified in the use of universal and abstract laws?

    These are just questions that came to mind...
     
  8. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman

    Nate,

    Good observation. All men are constrained by the laws of logic and are justified, in one sense, in using them because they know them to be true by the warrant God grants to all created in his image. However, to your question, how can a naturalist, for instance, account for universal, abstract entities that are invariant in nature? He cannot. The mind is a contradictory to "all that exists is matter in motion."

    I hope Civbert means that all men "affirm" the laws of logic in that they bear witness to the fact that logic is unavoidable, etc. By this affirmation, they do not offer a justification for the intelligibility of logic since logic will not comport with their worldview at the presuppositional level. Unbelievers argue with borrowed capital.

    Ron
     
  9. natewood3

    natewood3 Puritan Board Freshman

    Ron,

    Is it able to be proven that logic is ultimately based on God's nature? Maybe I am suffering a mental lapse, but I cannot think of any Scripture to show that logic is ultimately based on God's nature or that the ultimate basis for logic is the nature of God. I do not think Frame ever gives Scripture for this statement either...
     
  10. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman

    Well, is Clark right on John 1? :bigsmile:

    I would say that God cannot deny himself, niether can he lie. Neither can he affirm contradiction or think falsely.

    Ron

    [Edited on 3-6-2006 by Ron]
     
  11. natewood3

    natewood3 Puritan Board Freshman

    Ron,

    Thanks. That makes sense. Since God cannot lie, then He cannot affirm contradictions or think falsely about any matter. Since we are created in the image of God, He has given us the ability to think rationally and logically. However, the fact that we think logically and expect others to think logically presupposes the existence of the absolute personal God of the Bible. Therefore, the necessary preconditions for the intelligibility of the laws of logic is the God of the Bible. Is my thinking correct?

    This would also mean that God did not "create" logic nor is logic "above" God. I have heard people accuse Christians of believing such things, but in a Christian worldview that is not even intelligible, for how can God's nature be "above" God, and how can God "create" an essential part of His nature?

    Would you call logic or logical thinking an attribute of God, or is it implied in the fact that God is righteous and just, which means that He cannot lie or think falsely about anything?
     
  12. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman

    I wouldn't say that since we are created in his image he has given us logical ability. After all, we can't say that since we are created in his image that, therefore, we are immutable since we're not. But yes, God has chosen to communicate this attribute to us.

    Yes, as well as our being made in him image.

    Yes, but the precondition for the justification for logic is the Scripture's revelation of God.

    Yes, I do not believe in "human logic," as if it was an arbitrary convention God created for man.

    Both

    Blessings,

    Ron
     
  13. natewood3

    natewood3 Puritan Board Freshman

    Ron,

    Could you elaborate?
     
  14. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman

    Gladly. All men know that they should be logical; in fact, all men know this is an ethical requirement, for not to think logically is to bear false witness of what is true. These laws are written on man's heart, being made in God's image. Men believe them to be true and they are justified in those beliefs. However, how can one justify that there are such universals apart from special revelation, Scripture? What can man appeal to in nature to justify his beliefs besides a conceptual scheme that is simply a matter of finite opinion? In a word, men know things, they just cannot account for what they know apart from Scripture. Having knowledge and giving a justification for knowledge are two different matters.

    Helpful?

    Ron
     
  15. natewood3

    natewood3 Puritan Board Freshman

    Ron,

    It helps when I learn how it all fits together, so let's see.

    All people are logical and have a moral obligation to be logical. When a person uses the laws of logic, they are presupposing the existence of the Christian God because there are not any other worldviews that can account for universal, unchanging, invarient laws. In other words, God is the precondition for having intelligible human experience of any sort. A unbeliever may be justified in his belief of the laws of logic, but no man can justify his beliefs and use of the laws of logic apart from the revelation of God. The reason for this is because only Scripture can justify universal, unchanging, and abstract entities.

    Correct me if I am wrong, or if something needs to be added to my explanation.

    BTW, I understand what you mean I think when you say they cannot "justify" or "give an account" for the laws of logic apart from Scripture, but could you give me a definition of justify?
     
  16. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman

    Nate,

    We probably agree but let me amplify your response by inserting some clarifying words into your statements (all in caps).

    "God is the precondition for having intelligible human experience of any sort. A unbeliever may be justified in his belief (USE) of the laws of logic, but no man can (OFFER A JUSTIFICATION FOR) his beliefs and use of the laws of logic apart from the (SPECIAL) revelation of God, (i.e., SCRIPTURE). The reason for this is because only Scripture can justify universal, unchanging, and abstract entities."

    By justify I mean give a sound reason that comports with one´s pre-commitments to his worldview.

    Ron
     
  17. natewood3

    natewood3 Puritan Board Freshman

    Ron,

    So your point is that even though man uses the laws of logic, they cannot give a sound reason as to why they are justified in using the laws of logic. In other words, the use of universals, such as the laws of logic, science, and morality, is inconsistent with their overall worldview. Therefore, when they use these laws, they are simply borrowing from the Christian worldview. The Christian worldview is the only worldview able to account for such universal and abstract laws because universal laws that are binding on man can only come from an absolute, personal God. If there were no absolute, personal God, then man would have no obligation to follow laws of logic, science, or morality because we do not owe allegiance to an impersonal or nonabsolute force.

    I understand I am probably somewhat of a pain, but I am really trying to get a grasp on this...
     
  18. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    This all sounds great except there is not real argument that makes the connection between logic and God necessary. An atheist can simply claim that logic exists and need go no further. Why? Because the only way to dispute the existence of logic is to use logic. The fact that we can reason and think in abstract terms means that logic is the case. But this does not mean God is the case. As much as I'd like to say that logic is impossible without God, it just ain't so. That is why it is said that the laws of logic are transcendental - because they can not be disputed without using them (which is irrational and absurd), and they can not be proven without assuming them (which begs the question). Speaking of "preconditions of intelligibility" simply begs the question. The necessary "preconditions" of intelligibility is logic - but not necessarily God or Christianity.
     
  19. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    The assertion that God or Christianity is not necessary, needs some argumentation to have any teeth. All you have done is make a claim. Speaking of preconditions of intelligibility is not begging any question, for if one has logic but nothing else, then one has no knowledge, so the game ends there.

    CT
     
  20. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    Sorry - I missed the question.

    No worldview can "account" for the laws of logic without begging the question (presuming the laws of logic to prove the laws of logic). The laws of logic "transcend" worldviews. A world view that does not assume the laws of logic is irrational and absurd. A worldview that tries to account for logic beg the question.

    The law of logic in themselves do not imply anything else, not morality or ethics, or God, or perceptions. Logic laws are empty forms, without any content or substance. Only by providing them with content can we apply logic to explain things, prove truths, account for other universals laws.

    The presuppositions of worldviews add content to logic, to prove (or not) universal moral laws, or meaning, or experience. Some worldviews deny any universal moral laws. Some can not give us any purpose for living. If these presuppositions are correct, then there is not purpose to living, no meaning for life, what is, is. Christian presuppositions give us purpose and meaning, moral codes, explanations for our experience, universal truths. The Christian worldview is fully rational, coherent, comprehensive, etc. But it can not "account" for logic without begging the question. No worldview can do that.
     
  21. natewood3

    natewood3 Puritan Board Freshman

    Maybe I am confused or simply wrong, but the question is not simply, "Can we account for logic?" The question is how does any other worldview except for Christianity account for universal, invariant, abstract entities? How can any other worldview except for Christianity account for laws of any sort? I may be mistaken, but I don't think any presuppositionalist says they can account for logic itself, but they can account for abstract, universal, and unchanging laws.

    As far as I understood Bahnsen in his debate with Stein, his main point was that the atheistic worldview cannot account for laws of any sort, not that the atheistic worldview cannot account for logic itself.
     
  22. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    The argument that God or Christianity is necessary is for intelligibility is what is being asserted.

    But since it is not necessary for logic (which I have shown and not simply claimed), and it is not necessary for content (as all rational worldview provide content), then it is not necessary for intelligibility (which needs both logic and content).

    The claim is only Christianity provides the necessary preconditions of intelligibility is begging the question for two reasons
    1. it asserts that only Christianity can account for logic (which begs the question by presuming logic to account for logic)
    2. it says that only Christianity provides the content for logic to work with (a premise that itself needs justification)
      [/list=1]

      We can say is Christianity is a rational worldview, not the only possible true worldview. The phrase "only X provides the preconditions of intelligibility" itself begs the question regardless of what worldview it is asserted for.

      [Edited on 3-8-2006 by Civbert]

      [Edited on 3-8-2006 by Civbert]
     
  23. natewood3

    natewood3 Puritan Board Freshman

    Civbert,


    Should the laws of logic be observed and obeyed? Are they universal in nature?

    If they do not presuppose the existence of an absolute, personal God, then where do the laws of logic come from? What is their ultimate basis? Are just there or just that way?

    [Edited on 3-8-2006 by natewood3]
     
  24. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Actually you made an assertion, I called you on it. You said that Christianity is not necessary. If you are going to make a claim then you have the burden to defend it. Ill accept burden of my stance when you accept yours.

    The claim is that Christianity's truth is necessary for knowledge. Again knowledge needs more than just the laws of logic to exist. Remember if you have no knowledge then you can't know what the laws of logic (as well as other issues)

    That is either a bare assertion, or you are playing around with the term "content". Content that makes sense of experience etc. (then no)

    If one accepts that above, (which I dont) then alright.



    1. It might help to know what you are attacking before you attempt to attack it. When speaking in terms of worldviews, you need to account for more than logic, or you can account for nothing. (If no knowledge then can't account for anything)

      Actually the counter claim needs just as much if not more justification. One must not skirt their burden of justification.

      This begs the question that there are other working worldviews.

      CT
     
  25. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

  26. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    It's not a matter of "should". If you are thinking correctly, you are being logical - using the laws of logic. If you are not, you are being irrational. But it's more basic than that. If you presume to communicate meaning with speech or text, then you are already assuming the laws of logic. The law of identity and contradiction are necessary for words to have any meaning.


    Yes.

    You can not base the laws of logic on anything. To base the laws of logic on something, presumes they are true. This is the meaning of "question begging" - to try to prove something is true by assuming it as a premise of your proof. One can not prove logic without asserting what is to be proven.

    From the Christian perspective, logic is how God thinks. God did not create logic, unless you want to assert that God was meaningless before he created the things. I'm not ready to say that before God created he was irrational or absurd.

    But from an atheist worldview - there is logic and perceptions. Logic is undeniable, and can not be accounted for or justified. It transcends any philosophical justification. But since the atheist must provide something to think logically about, he must add "empiricism" or "rationalism". Both have problems, but do not lack the ability to reason.

    But there are other "theistic" worldviews that assert revelation. We can not discount them by saying "only" Christianity is true. We have to deal with them on their own terms. Do they assert a knowable god? Do they deny logic, or affirm "experience" over revelation? There are many things that can show alternatives theistic worldviews fail - but this must be done on a case-by-case basis. We can not assert they all fail because we don't know them all. That would be a logical fallacy.

    In the end, we believe Christianity, not based on any undeniable proof, but because God gives us faith. We can not prove Christianity, we must assume it - and this only because the Spirit gives us faith to believe. There is no "saving argument" - there is only "saving faith". Faith is a gift from God, not the product of a logical proof.

    [Edited on 3-8-2006 by Civbert]
     
  27. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    No, it doesn't. It is merely to acknowledge that since I don't know all other possible worldviews, I can not claim to know all other worldviews fail.

    "Some worldviews fail" does not imply "All worldviews fail". That is a fallacy.

    So I repeat: the claim is "only Christianity provides the necessary preconditions of intelligibility".

    And as I have shown (repeatedly), this begs the question. I'm not claiming or asserting this - I've given a rational argument for my conclusion.

    [Edited on 3-8-2006 by Civbert]
     
  28. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Actually as a scripturalist, that is about all you can claim to know. And you made the assertion that God wasnt necessary. (If God is necessary for knowledge then God is necessary for everything that knowledge entails) At best you could only claim is that you could not know if God/Christianity is necessarily true.

    Alright, and if that is all the TAG reduced down to, then you could perhaps make a case, but that is not what it reduces to.

    I sliced your argument into pieces and you just assert that it still works?

    But to clarify, which questions does the statement, "belief in Jesus (as savior etc.) is the only way to heaven" beg?

    CT
     
  29. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    I didn't "claim" that, I gave an argument that showed that God was not a necessary precondition for intelligibility. My argument showed that one does not need to assume God exists to have logic or knowledge. Have you not claimed that empiricism is a valid means of knowledge? That does not requirer the existence of God, so you should agree.

    As a Scripturalist, I presume that revelation (Scripture) is the basis for knowledge. But I don't say this proves Scripturalism is true and all other worldviews are false - that would be begging the question.

    No. That's one of my arguments. You started by commenting on my argument, and I explained that the one argument for why I do not assert that only the Christian worldview "works" is that I don't know about all other possible worldviews. Do you?

    You did not deal with my argument. You sliced out pieces out of context to refute - such as taking my conclusion and saying it was an assertion.

    That is not TAG, nor is it the claim "only Christianity provides the necessary preconditions of intelligibility".

    Maybe you mean that TAG is Christianity.

    Also, you know that "begging the question" does not imply a particular question. It means a key premise in the argument needs to be justified, or that the conclusion is actually one of the premises being assumed. TAG begs the question on logic, and it's claims the Christian worldview is the only logical means of knowledge.
     
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