Frame and Logic

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Ron

Puritan Board Freshman
Are you saying a conclusion based on an axiom is not a proof? Hmmm. Sounds familiar.

Civbert,

This is just another indication that you have not wrapped your mind around what is being argued. If the axiom is not provable, then it reduces to a finite opinion that might or might not be rational, which reduces the conclusion to the same level of uncertainty.

For everything you think is knowledge is based on some sort of axiom.

The difference is that you believe your ultimate starting point is not provable, which makes your conclusions at least as suspect as your starting point. Garbage in, garbage out, we might say.

You just tried to hide your axioms in a circular argument.

Nope, not at all. I´m defending the cogency, consistency and necessity of my ultimate authority as well as giving an example in the very argument itself that it is an inescapable authority that I have an ethical and logical obligation to uphold and presuppose in my reasoning.

You know you can not prove this, so it must be an axiom.

You keep saying this Civbert hoping it will come true I suppose; I have already demonstrated a valid argument with true premises, which makes my argument sound. You don´t deny the form of the argument, nor do you deny the truth values of the premises, though you should deny the latter since given your worldview you can´t know anything is true!

Scripturalism"¦ It is not circular, it does not beg the question.

Show me a deductive argument that´s not circular in any sense, or doesn´t beg the question by presupposing its ultimate authority. While you´re at it, prove to me that you know anything, like you exist.

Civbert, I´m only engaging you because there are several lurkers who believe they are profiting from my answers. As soon as they think they've been filled, I´ll be done with you - for you are simply a skeptic who believes he doesn´t know that he exists.

Ron
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
Ron,

You missed my big mistake! I said you were wrong about Sean's statement being a conclusion. But since I immediately followed that with a deductive proof, then you were correct. It was a conclusion - and I proved it. :D

For the benefit of the lurkers, here is a good article on dogmatism, faith, and logic from the Wikipedia. Notice how dogmatism and axioms of logical systems are conceptually related. If you have any faith Ron, you are dogmatic. Welcome to the club can I hear an AMEN!

I didn't miss your point Ron, it pretty clear that you do not know anything (or your position is irrational). Since all rational systems of thought start with dogmatic axioms presumed true (think presuppositionalism, Gordon Clark, and dogmatism), and if you are right - that any thing that follows from axioms is unknowable - then you don't know anything. For you assert axioms yourself. You assert God exists in your TAG argument. You assume the Scripture is inerrant, but you can not prove that. You have all the requirements of being a good Scripturalist but one, you think circular arguments can prove anything.

Circular arguments prove nothing. Can you admit that?

And can you answer the more general question - how do you know?

[Edited on 3-16-2006 by Civbert]
 
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Magma2

Puritan Board Sophomore
Oh no, Sean, I understand what you´re trying to say all to well. My point is that your so called theorems are not conclusive for they are based upon axioms that are either arbitrary or inferred.


I don´t think you understand well at all (albeit I can tell you like to think you do). If you think you can prove the proposition Scripture alone is the Word of God, which Clark argues is the axiom of the Christian faith, then please do so or I will conclude that your objections are all bluster and no substance.

Please decide which faulty foundation your deductive arguments are built upon, arbitrariness or inductive usefulness.

I realize things are bad in the OPC with the false gospel of the Federal Vision standing side by side with what´s left of the true Gospel and those who still believe it, but I didn´t think I´d hear an OPC man assert that the Westminster principle of Scripture alone is a "œfaulty foundation." We´ve come a long way from A Mighty Fortress is Our God ;)


Ron Stated: "œ"¦ are you going to say that your dogmatic conclusion is an arbitrary starting point? Or is it a rational inference based upon an inductive principle that cannot be justified?

NOTE how Sean doesn´t answer:

Sean Replies: Arbitrary in what sense? As for the "œinductive principle," you´ve already affirmed that it cannot justify anything, so this is not a point of difference between us. As you said per the question begging of TAG above; "œthe inductive demonstration of what step 2 states is not itself a "sound" proof." Amen brother Ron!

Ron States: Your axiom is arbitrary because within your worldview, you neither know it to be true nor can you prove it to be true.

Aside from the tautological argument already mentioned, if you would like to provide an account for how you know (since you claim you do) that the Bible alone is the Word of God, then for the 5th or 6th time now, please provide your argument or withdraw. Strike that, I see below you provide a "œproof."

As far as the axiom of the Christian faith, i.e., the Scriptures, being "œarbitrary," and given your rather liquid use of words, I think mine was an excellent question. I would think the choice of Scripture as someone´s starting point would be no more arbitrary than, say, God´s sovereign choice in election. OTOH the axiom of Scripture is not arbitrary at all in the sense that it alone covers and accounts for everything which follows in the Christian system. Again, it´s clear to me you have really no idea what axioms are or how they function in geometry much less in philosophy. Websters defines an axiom as:

1 : a maxim widely accepted on its intrinsic merit
2 : a statement accepted as true as the basis for argument or inference : POSTULATE
3 : an established rule or principle or a self-evident truth

With the exception of changing "œself-evident" to "œself-attesting," all seem pretty good to me and any of which show that the role of Scripture is hardly "œarbitrary" especially to the system of thought some of us call the Christian faith. I think it rather essential for without the Scriptures there is no Christian faith.


Given your worldview, you simply would like it to be true.


If you think it false, let´s see your argument against it? Many an atheist I´ve encountered have tried as well as more than a few "œreligious" folk, papists or otherwise. As I´ve said while you cannot prove an axiom you can disprove it, so have at it Ron.


Just admit that your axiom is arbitrary, wishful thinking. In fact, admit that you don´t know that Jesus died for you. Admit that your slavish adherence to what you believe to be Clarkianism undermines your knowledge of God´s existence. In fact, you don´t even know that you exist given your worldview! Your autonomous reasoning sadly undermines the confidence you could otherwise have in Christ.

As Clark pointed out long ago arguments for existence are those things which are paraded around as profound and meaningful, but really mean nothing. The reason being since the word "œexists" can be predicated on everything it logically means nothing. The better question, which the WSC asks, is not does God exist but what is God and to answer that question we go to the Scriptures.

Quote:
So I´ll ask again, if you think you can demonstrate, as in prove, the proposition that the Bible alone is the Word of God, please provide your proof now.


The Bible is the only word of God, or we cannot justify with absolute certainty ethical absolutes. We can justify with absolute certainty ethical absolutes; therefore the Bible is the word of God. Sean, each premise is true and the form is valid, therefore, the argument is sound. You say the argument begs the question, but the conclusion is always implied in the premise in first order predicate logic, is it not? Accordingly, your issue seems to be with what logic and proof entail.


The argument certainly begs the question, is circular and is nonsensical. Replace bible with the Koran and you´ll see what I mean ;)


Ron Asked: What can you prove, Sean, and how do you justify universal abstract entities that are invariant in nature?

Sean Replies: Would you care to name such an entity? If you mean God, then I would refer you to WCF Chapter II. But I thought God was a concrete entity, not an abstraction? How about sin then? Is that good or is it too not an "abstract entity"?

Ron States: We´re not talking about "œabstractions" Sean; we´re talking about "œabstract entities," i.e., things that are not material in nature, that are invariant and universal, like the laws of logic. I'll wait for you to catch up. :bigsmile:


I´ve provided what I think is an excellent proof from Scripture of LC, Identity and LEM on another thread recently which I think you were apart of. Shall I reprint it here again for your benefit?


Quote:
I am skeptical about anything not found in Scripture or deduced there from, but that hardly makes me a skeptic.

What do you know with certainty Sean? You don´t think that you know you´re saved. What do you know for sure, Sean?


Again, certainty has nothing to do with epistemology, certainly not mine ;-P Certainty is a psychological state of mind. Many people are certain about a lot of things which turn out to be false. As for knowing I´m saved, I had a former assistant pastor at my church tell me I wasn´t because I argued that mere belief alone in the gospel is what saves a man. See, we in the PCA have our own problems too ;)


Quote:
I'm not skeptical at all about any number of propositions from all men are sinners to salvation is by belief alone in Jesus Christ.

Are you a man, Sean?

I think so.

Do you have saving faith, Sean?

I think so again.

Moreover, you say you´re not skeptical about propositions found in Scripture, well do you know them to be true, or are you just not "œskeptical" about them?


Yes, I know the propositions of Scripture are true for I can account them per my axiom.


Prove how you know your axiom Sean.


Hey, that´s what I´ve asked you to do and you could only beg the question. Again you persist with the irrational and repeated request that I prove my axiom. I can´t prove it, that´s the point. If I could then that proof, whatever it would entail, would be the axiom of the Christian faith, not the Scriptures.


Oh that´s right, you don´t know it to be true. O.K., tell me why you believe it to be true other than on inductive grounds such as it seems to make sense of things.

Since you´ve very ably demonstrated that "œinductive grounds" are fallacious, I´ll stick with the answer provided by the WCF already cited.
 

Don

Puritan Board Freshman
Anthony,

In all honesty, I think you would benefit much by studying epistemic circularity vs vicious circularity. Douglas Walton has a good article that was posted here a while back. William Alston and most other epistemologists discuss epistemic circularity. This is one of the oldest critiques of TAs which has been dealt with over and over.

It would also be beneficial to read contemporary literature on transcendental arguments - from davidson, strawson, brueckner, stroud, et al. Professional philosophers have been using them in their attempts to defeat skepticism for a while now. Having said that, I don't have a problem with the transcendental argument per se, rather I have a problem with the claims made by some Van Tillians, which I never fully explicated in the other post.

Don

[Edited on 3-16-2006 by Don]
 

Don

Puritan Board Freshman
Sean,

Again, certainty has nothing to do with epistemology, certainly not mine ;-

I am not sure what you mean here, so maybe you could explain. What was Descartes trying to do, if certainty has nothing to do with epistemology?

Don
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I don't have a problem with the transcendental argument per se, rather I have a problem with the claims made by some Van Tillians, which I never fully explicated in the other post.

If you don't mind, Don, explicate away. I'm interested.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by JohnV
I don't have a problem with the transcendental argument per se, rather I have a problem with the claims made by some Van Tillians, which I never fully explicated in the other post.

If you don't mind, Don, explicate away. I'm interested.

I'll take a crack at it, although I have a different view than Don on it (we talked it over lunch a few times): arguing transcendentally is a valid way, and Van Tillians are correct to argue that way, but does their particular conclusion follow? That's the debate.
 

Ron

Puritan Board Freshman
Sean States: So I´ll ask again, if you think you can demonstrate, as in prove, the proposition that the Bible alone is the Word of God, please provide your proof now.

Ron Replied: The Bible is the only word of God, or we cannot justify with absolute certainty ethical absolutes. We can justify with absolute certainty ethical absolutes; therefore the Bible is the word of God. Sean, each premise is true and the form is valid, therefore, the argument is sound. You say the argument begs the question, but the conclusion is always implied in the premise in first order predicate logic, is it not? Accordingly, your issue seems to be with what logic and proof entail.

Sean States: The argument certainly begs the question, is circular and is nonsensical. Replace bible with the Koran and you´ll see what I mean ;)

Sean,

If we replaced "œBible" with "œKoran" the major premise becomes false, the conclusion unreliable and the argument unsound. Consequently, Sean, you´ve shot just another misguided arrow, for by the laws of logic, my proof had a valid form and incorporated true premises. Moreover, you affirm my premises!

Ron States: Are you a man, Sean?

Sean Replies: I think so.

So you don´t "œknow" whether you´re a man. So it´s possible that you´re a woman?

Yes, I know the propositions of Scripture are true for I can account them per my axiom.

Interesting. You say you can know the propositions of Scripture, yet your worldview doesn´t allow you to know that you exist. Yet your existence is a necessary condition for your knowledge of anything. Consequently, if it´s possible that you don´t exist, then it´s possible that you don´t know the propositions of Scripture that you say you know.

Ron
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Ron
...
Show me a deductive argument that´s not circular in any sense, or doesn´t beg the question by presupposing its ultimate authority. While you´re at it, prove to me that you know anything, like you exist. ..
Ron

This is so close to the truth of the matter....so close!.

It's easy. I can prove all A is C without first assuming A is C.

P1: All A is B
P2: All B is C

C3: All A is C

Notice that "A is C" is not found in the premises. And you can not prove my premises from my conclusion, and I did not presume A is C, I proved it from my premises.

I assume the ultimate authority of Scripture. But let me repeat this - it is not begging the question because I'm not trying to prove the authority of Scripture. Now I can not CONCLUDE the authority of Scripture is proven - that would be begging the question.

Here is a circular argument.

P4: All X is Z
P5: All Y is Z

therefore

C6: All X is Z.

That IS formally valid. Is it sound? Sure, if all X is Z. Does it prove all X is Z? What do you think?


Here's begging the question - to show "all O is Q".

P7: All O is P ( because: all O is Q & all Q is P implies all O is P)
P8: All P is Q

therefore

C9: All O is Q.

This is formally correct too. See how I prove "all O is Q" because I've hidden it in my premise P7. That's how proofs of God work. That's how TAG begs the question. If you like, I'll explain it explicitly by showing how the TAG premises assume the conclusion "God exists".

It's simply poor logic to say all systems are circular. And it's more honest and straight forward to admit that Christianity is a faith based system of thought. Wow! Christianity is founded on faith. It's dogmatic.

But guess what! So is empiricism, and rationalism, and Islam, and Buddhism, and existentialism, and every other -ism or worldview philosophical system of thought. So either they are all irrational by the fact that they are all rooted in faith (as Ron insists), or the fact they are rooted in faith does not make them ipso facto irrational. We can't have it both ways. We can't logically argue that Christianity is the only true system because it's the only true system (TAG). But we can show that all coherent systems are dogmatic.
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Don
Anthony,

In all honesty, I think you would benefit much by studying epistemic circularity vs vicious circularity. Douglas Walton has a good article that was posted here a while back. William Alston and most other epistemologists discuss epistemic circularity. This is one of the oldest critiques of TAs which has been dealt with over and over.

It would also be beneficial to read contemporary literature on transcendental arguments - from davidson, strawson, brueckner, stroud, et al. Professional philosophers have been using them in their attempts to defeat skepticism for a while now. Having said that, I don't have a problem with the transcendental argument per se, rather I have a problem with the claims made by some Van Tillians, which I never fully explicated in the other post.

Don

[Edited on 3-16-2006 by Don]

Thanks for the info Don,

It could be I'm not arguing against the best formulation of the TAG - all I'm familiar with is the Bahnsen/ Van Til version of TAG.

I'll look up the references. If there is a better statement of TAG then has been given in the thread, I'm all ears.

I'm sure TAG has come under this criticism many times - though at this point I'd have to say that's because it's fundamentally unsound. Whether this criticism has been "dealt with", I'll just say I remain skeptical about that. ;)
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by Draught Horse
Originally posted by JohnV
I don't have a problem with the transcendental argument per se, rather I have a problem with the claims made by some Van Tillians, which I never fully explicated in the other post.

If you don't mind, Don, explicate away. I'm interested.

I'll take a crack at it, although I have a different view than Don on it (we talked it over lunch a few times): arguing transcendentally is a valid way, and Van Tillians are correct to argue that way, but does their particular conclusion follow? That's the debate.

Ahh, cohorts, eh? ( in a typical Canadian accent ).

Yes, I understand that this is the debate. I would like to see it stated more clearly, where exactly the differences lie. Not that I'm trying to be lazy by not reading the posts. I have been reading them, and thinking about them.

I asked this because everyone here knows that I am not a Presuppositionalist, and I'm reading this thread with great interest.

I would like to commend Anthony for his courage in following his thesis to the practical conclusions that he has. I think he differs with the run-of-the-mill Presupper in some ways, but I personally think he is being honest with the method, even if it costs him. He's just going where few dare to tread, and is facing some of the results that others have evaded. I don't think he's there yet, but he's further than many. He does not argue like a Presuppositionalist, and that's intriguing to me. I hope you don't mind these comments, Anthony. I'm trying to spur things along, even if its for personal, or perhaps selfish reasons.

But, that is the second reason that I asked this, to try to evince some things that I would like to know about.
 

Ron

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by Civbert
Originally posted by Ron

If we replaced "œBible" with "œKoran" the major premise becomes false....

Why? How do you know?

God's word, the Bible is how I know. I know by revelation and I can formulated this knowledge into a valid syllogism with true premises that you agree with.

Now little civbert, tell me once again how this is begging the question and that sound arguments need more than true premises and valid forms...

Ron
 

Don

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by JohnV
I don't have a problem with the transcendental argument per se, rather I have a problem with the claims made by some Van Tillians, which I never fully explicated in the other post.

If you don't mind, Don, explicate away. I'm interested.


Hi John,

I may one day just not yet. Being that I suffer from mental constipation most of the time :), I first want to cover as much material as I can before I do (I also don't want to get bogged down in debate at this time).

In the meantime, most of this has already been discussed on the Van Lists in posts by James Anderson, David Byron, Sean Choi, Michael Sudduth, and Greg Welty, so I definitely claim no originality. Don't forget that most of the guys are Van Tillian or sympathetic to Van Til. Ron has attempted to establish the stronger transcendental claim, but I think this suffers from various setbacks as well. Also, Dr. Sudduth mentioned to me in private correspondence that two chapters of his book will discuss with Van Til.

So I have to get all my 'ducks in a row' first! ;)

Don

[Edited on 3-16-2006 by Don]
 

Don

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for the info Don,

It could be I'm not arguing against the best formulation of the TAG - all I'm familiar with is the Bahnsen/ Van Til version of TAG.

I'll look up the references. If there is a better statement of TAG then has been given in the thread, I'm all ears.

I'm sure TAG has come under this criticism many times - though at this point I'd have to say that's because it's fundamentally unsound. Whether this criticism has been "dealt with", I'll just say I remain skeptical about that. ;)


What up Anthony,

Heard back from Aquaboy?

It's not that you are unfamiliar with the formulation (though some would say that you have not understood it because you have left out different modal terms etc), but with the different types of circularity that are involved in argumentation and epistemology. Not all circularity is of the fallacious sort. This is what Dr. Walton points out in his article. In a way, it's analogous to claiming that different cosmological arguments commit the fallacy of composition, which is not necessarily the case.

Strawson and friends do not argue for TAG. TAG attempts to prove the existence of God, while their goal is to defeat the knowledge skeptic. However, since the form is usually the same, much of what applies to their arguments could apply to TAG as well. Also, there are local TAs and global TAs, with Bahnsen's group attempting to prove global TAs through demonstrating the impossibility of the contrary. There are also truth-directed and belief directed TAs, with the former being the more difficult.

Plantinga's argument EAAN can also be considered a TA of sorts, in that God must be presupposed in order for us to have a reason that our noetic structure is truth oriented.

Don
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Don:

I understand about the ducks. They're not very cooperative, are they?

I read some of the Van Til list discussions. Because I found it as late as I did, I found it hard to follow sometimes. I've only been formally introduced to Presuppositionalism not too long ago, and the Van Til list after that. Its hard to go all the way back and read all the threads. Its too cumbersome, too daunting, and too intimidating.

Isn't it important to discuss these things all over again, though? Isn't the idea to develop our thinking off each other?

Anyways, it would help me if some of these things got slugged out, so that I can read the presuppositions ( taken-for-granted propositions ) that make up the Presuppositionalism that each one holds to, or in general that makes up the whole.

Is the Van Til list still available online? I seem to remember that they ceased operating. Its no longer open, as I recall. But can it still be read?
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Don
It's not that you are unfamiliar with the formulation (though some would say that you have not understood it because you have left out different modal terms etc), but with the different types of circularity that are involved in argumentation and epistemology. Not all circularity is of the fallacious sort. This is what Dr. Walton points out in his article. In a way, it's analogous to claiming that different cosmological arguments commit the fallacy of composition, which is not necessarily the case. ...Don

Here's a quote from the start of Walton's article (link to PDF follows) ARE CIRCULAR ARGUMENTS NECESSARILY VICIOUS?.
WHEN asked why the economy in a certain
state is in a slump, an economist replies: "A
lot of people are leaving the state. Things are very
poor in the building industry, for example, because
there is no need for new housing." Next question:
"Why are people leaving the state?" The
economist's answer: "Well, the state of the economy
is poor. People just don't seem to be able to
get jobs, with the economy being so slow at the
moment."' This sequence of questions and answers
has taken us in a circle: the economy is depressed
because people are leaving, and people are leaving
because the economy is depressed. Isn't this just
the sort of argument that might be cited in a logic
text as an instance of petitio principii, the fallacy
of arguing in a circle? If so, it seems that the
economist's argument must be fallacious.
The answer to the retorical question is - no, that is not an example of a circular argument. He seems to see that in the next statement where he accounts for this by saying that maybe this is a case of a feed back loop. As an engineer, and any computer programmer, is familiar with feedback loops. However, feedback loops are not analogous to circular arguments. I haven't read the rest of the article, but so far it's off to a bad start.

This would be better seen as a chicken or egg situation.

Why is the economy bad? Housing is down.
Why is housing down? People are leaving the state.
Why are people leaving the state? The economy is bad.
Why is the economy bad....

It seems to be a circular argument, but it's not. All we know is that at some point, the housing went down and the economy followed, causing more drops in housing... We don't know what came first - but we know one thing - it STARTED with something and continued over time. This is not the circular logical argument, e.g. statement-1 implies statement-2 implies statement-3 implies statement-1 implies statement 2.... We are going from cause and effect to cause and effect, with a repeating pattern of cause effects . But each is a unique state in time condition, not a return to the same state and time condition. You can't go back in time, so the case is linear, not circular. All we see is a repeated pattern, not a repeated time/state.

"You can't step in to the same river twice."

Notice also that in the chicken and egg question, each egg produces and *new* chicken, and that chicken produces a *new* egg. Although the pattern repeats, it is not logically circular.

The TAG argument (as far as I've heard it) purports to prove the existence of the exact same God it assumes exists in it's premises. Ergo, it proves nothing.

[Edited on 3-16-2006 by Civbert]
 

Don

Puritan Board Freshman
John,

Here is the link to the VT Lists. It is still open to be read and fully searchable. There are many good posts there.


Isn't it important to discuss these things all over again, though? Isn't the idea to develop our thinking off each other?

No doubt it is important. :)

Don

[Edited on 3-16-2006 by Don]
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
Walton give another seemingly circular example that is not logically circular.
Perhaps what Hull is suggesting is something
like the following sort of process. First, a hypothesis
is formulated on the basis of some initial
evidence. As new evidence comes in, the hypothesis
is clarified and refined. However, once stated
more clearly and precisely, the hypothesis points
to new evidence that has thereby become "relevant"
or "significant." This new evidence improves the
hypothesis once again.

Notice that we are going from hypothesis-1, observation-1, hypothesis-2, observation-2... and so on. Each "cycle" moves to a changed hypothesis (not a repeat of the same hypothesis) and *new* observations. Again, this is not the circular fallacy. Logically, this is completely linear.

[Edited on 3-16-2006 by Civbert]
 

Magma2

Puritan Board Sophomore
If we replaced "œBible" with "œKoran" the major premise becomes false, the conclusion unreliable and the argument unsound. Consequently, Sean, you´ve shot just another misguided arrow, for by the laws of logic, my proof had a valid form and incorporated true premises. Moreover, you affirm my premises!

You really just don´t get it do you Ron? The Bible is the Word of God is what you need to prove, yet you use it as your major premise. Amazing.

Quote:
Ron States: Are you a man, Sean?

Sean Replies: I think so.

So you don´t "œknow" whether you´re a man. So it´s possible that you´re a woman?

I might be a dream you´re having or perhaps you´re one I´m having. Must be a nightmare.

uote:
Yes, I know the propositions of Scripture are true for I can account them per my axiom.


Interesting. You say you can know the propositions of Scripture, yet your worldview doesn´t allow you to know that you exist. Yet your existence is a necessary condition for your knowledge of anything. Consequently, if it´s possible that you don´t exist, then it´s possible that you don´t know the propositions of Scripture that you say you know.


You´re really not following Ron. Everything exists. Hallucinations, dreams, you name it. At this point I'd be better off discussing with that dead horse you keep beating.

:banghead:
 

Ron

Puritan Board Freshman
I can prove all A is C without first assuming A is C.

P1: All A is B
P2: All B is C

C3: All A is C

Notice that "A is C" is not found in the premises. And you can not prove my premises from my conclusion, and I did not presume A is C, I proved it from my premises.

The confusion is subtle indeed but it is confusion just the same. When we replace A, B and C with actual propositions, things should become a bit more obvious. I am grateful that you gave me something substantial to interact with.

All dogs are cats
All cats are humans
All dogs are humans

Is the above proof valid? Yes. Is it sound? No "“ because the premises are false. Consequently, more than a valid form is necessary for a proof to be sound. For a valid argument to be sound it must include true premises. Now let´s pump true premises into the same form.

All Christians are in Christ
All in Christ will enter glory
All Christians will enter glory

Is this argument, which takes the same valid form, sound? Yes. Why do you suppose that the symbolic formulation does not appear to "œbeg the question" whereas the same argument form using Christian premises does beg the question in your estimation? The reason is simply that the symbolic formulation, which is void of distinctly Christian premises, appeals merely to the laws of logic, which most people do not find offensive. The premises of the second argument beg all sorts of questions for the unbeliever, which is why people reject such an argument and why you are uncomfortable employing such an argument. Consequently, the issue of complaint has nothing to do with circularity since a non-circular argument that concludes with "œAll Christians will enter glory" is just as evasive as far as you are concerned. As I've said from the outset, you require premises that the unbeliever will accept as true!

Given what you just said about the permissibility of that particular form of argument, you should be willing to accept such a proof that concludes all Christians go to heaven. Do you accept such a proof? If you accept it only based upon the consistency it might have within the worldview that would employ the argument, then you should also accept the proof that all dogs are humans on the same basis. In which case, mad men can prove anything and truth becomes subjective, which would result in skepticism. Such drastic measures would reduce all argumentation to form only at the expense of truth, leaving no room for sound argumentation. Moreover, you should reject any validly formulated proof that concludes that the Koran is the necessary precondition for intelligible experience "“ because the proof would not be sound. The only question at this juncture is will you accept the proof that all Christians will enter into glory? If so, then you must accept it on its form and true-premises, even though it begs the question of the authority by which those premises are actually true. Consequently, all this talk about "œbegging the question" is based upon a faulty understanding regarding proof.

In sum, the form of the argument you gave is not "œcircular" per se but that´s only because it begs crucial questions regarding the truth or falsity of the premises. Consequently, the issue of begging the question was never the relevant issue at hand. Moreover, the argument for Christians entering into glory can no more be deemed as begging the question than concluding "œall A is C." Furthermore, if you are unwilling to judge premises according to absolute truth, which I refuse to to do, then the argument that concluded all dogs are humans is as sound as the one that concluded "œall A is C." As long as you are determined to employ idiosyncratic axioms that are not subject to proof, then all is subjective and anything can be proved and nothing can be disproved.

How about this argument:

All persons who have their faculties know something
All persons who know something know God exists
All persons who have their faculties know God exists
Civbert does not know God exists
Civbert is not a person with his faculties :)

Ron
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
More from Walton:

"All' men are mortal, Socrates is a man; therefore
Socrates is mortal" it looks like the conclusion is
part of, or an instance of, the major premiss. Consequently,
since the major premiss must depend
evidentially on the conclusion, Mill reasoned, the
deductive argument must be circular .

This misses the whole purpose of deduction. The premise may or may not be determined by observations - but the for the this argument it's assumed true, either as a fact or hypothetically, to prove the truth of the conclusion. This is done by going from general sets of things (mortal beings), to less general (all men), to specific (Socrates). Going in the opposite direction you are saying: if all Socrates is a subset of the set of men, and all men are a subset of the larger set of mortal beings, then it is a fact that Socrates is a subset of the set of mortal beings. This going from general to specific is why Clark used the < symbol in his logical notation. If the general condition of all men are mortal, then the specific case of the man Socrates is also mortal.

(Men < Mortal) (Soc < Men) implies (Soc < Mortal)

Interestingly, Mill is evidential a evidentialist - i.e. his epistemic worldview supports his view of dependence. He thinks that general propositions are only known based on evidences and induction. Christians should be dogmatist, they know things because God said they are true.

[Edited on 3-16-2006 by Civbert]

[Edited on 3-16-2006 by Civbert]
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Ron
I can prove all A is C without first assuming A is C.

P1: All A is B
P2: All B is C

C3: All A is C

Notice that "A is C" is not found in the premises. And you can not prove my premises from my conclusion, and I did not presume A is C, I proved it from my premises.

The confusion is subtle indeed but it is confusion just the same. When we replace A, B and C with actual propositions, things should become a bit more obvious. I am grateful that you gave me something substantial to interact with.

All dogs are cats
All cats are humans
All dogs are humans

Is the above proof valid? Yes. Is it sound? No "“ because the premises are false. Consequently, more than a valid form is necessary for a proof to be sound. For a valid argument to be sound it must include true premises. Now let´s pump true premises into the same form.

Confusion was imparted by substituting false premises. The original argument is a valid proof. P1 and P2 are true premises. So to make the analogy correct, you have to substitute in true premises. :)


P.S. Since you conclusion depended on my excepting the false example, and rejecting the valid example - then your conclusion does not follow. You'll have to use the "question begging" form I gave, and substitute true premises. Then we can talk about it.

[Edited on 3-16-2006 by Civbert]

[Edited on 3-16-2006 by Civbert]
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Ron

All Christians are in Christ
All in Christ will enter glory
All Christians will enter glory

Is this argument, which takes the same valid form, sound? Yes. Why do you suppose that the symbolic formulation does not appear to "œbeg the question" whereas the same argument form using Christian premises does beg the question in your estimation?

It doesn't. Nothing about the above is question begging - it's in the exact form of a proof I gave. So you have only demonstrated my point of what a valid proof entails. Now go back and use the actual form I gave for question begging.
 

Ron

Puritan Board Freshman
You really just don´t get it do you Ron? The Bible is the Word of God is what you need to prove, yet you use it as your major premise. Amazing.

You keep saying this Sean, as if saying it a lot makes it become a valid retort. Are modus ponens and modus tollens fallacious forms of argumentation? No. Are such arguments invalidated when one pumps into them true premises?! Of course not! Accordingly, to object to the argument below is to object to the modes of affirmation and denial. Your issue is with logic, Sean.

If truth, then God
Truth
Therefore, God

I´ll use a more linear argument, just to please you, in order to show you on your terms that the "œaxiom" for truth being Scripture can be concluded in a linear fashion.

P1. The axiom for truth can only be found in a preservation of God´s special revelation
P2. The preservation of God´s special revelation is Scripture today
C. The axiom for truth can only be found in Scripture today

NOTE: The conclusion is not stated in the major premise, for the major premise does not even imply that a preservation of revelation even exists. The minor premise does not address the axiom of revelation, so the conclusion is not stated in the minor premise either. Consequently, the argument is linear and should meet your requirements.

So you see, Sean, the issue is not that the conclusion is implied in the premise. The issue is ultimate truth claims.

Ron
 

Ron

Puritan Board Freshman
Civbert,

Rather than firing off snippet-responses out of fear, why not first try to internalize the magnitude of what you've just been presented.

Ron
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Ron
You really just don´t get it do you Ron? The Bible is the Word of God is what you need to prove, yet you use it as your major premise. Amazing.

You keep saying this Sean, as if saying it a lot makes it become a valid retort. Are modus ponens and modus tollens fallacious forms of argumentation?

Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens are hypothetically valid forms. Only if the inference is valid, is the argument a proof.

The form is: If A implies B, and A, then B.

And also, If A implies B, and not B, then not A.

Notice that they are both formal tautologies which is why simply inserting propositions does not make them proofs, even if the premise are true, you still have to show the implication is valid.

If the the implications works on the basis of the individual terms, then the argument works. But if the implication is only assumed, then the argument form is valid, but it does not prove anything. That's why its such a favorite with people. It makes question begging look like real proofs.

Example 1:

True premise A: all men are mortals and Socrates is a man.
True premise B: Socrates is a mortal

(I use this because we have shown the A implies B.)

If [(all men are mortal) & (Socrates is a men)]
implies (Socrates is a mortal),
and [(all men are mortal) & (Socrates is a man)],

then (Socrates is a man).

Well no kidding. We could just show this with a simple syllogism using two premises and a conclusion.

Less clear is the other form, but just as tautological.

Now when we substitute propositions that don't clearly imply, it's not so simple.

Example 2:

True premise A: I live in Tennessee
True premise B: All dogs have tails

If (I live in Tennessee) implies (all dogs have tails),
and (I live in Tennessee),

then (all dogs have tails).

Here we have both a valid form of argument (Modes Ponens) and true premises. So that conclusion is proven - right?

Nope. In fact in this case, the true premise, and valid form of argument (modus tollens or modus pollen) clearly does not make the conclusion a proof.

[Edited on 3-17-2006 by Civbert]
 
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