Gordon H. Clark on Logic in Man

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rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
Attempting to Mediate between Clark and Van Til ...

While not pretending to be able to bring all of the followers of these two great thinkers to the table allow me to propose something to PBers of both camps something which may be mutually acceptable.

Without encroaching upon God's transcendence may we not say that God has communicated to Man making use of propositional revelation? And how is it that man, lower than the angels, comprehends the propositions of the Almighty?

Several contributing factors:

1 Man is the imago dei and as the image of God he has been designed to think God's thoughts after him.

2 God, to whom nothing is impossible, is able to cause man to understand Him and His gracious revelation.

3 Christ, the Theanthropos mediates between God and man thus correctly exegeting εξηγεομαι Him to us (John 1:18)

Carl Henry wrote:

“All man needs in order to know God as he truly is, is God’s intelligible disclosure and rational concepts that qualify man__on the basis of the imago Dei__to comprehend the content of God’s logically ordered revelation. Unless mankind has epistemological means adequate for factual truth about God as he truly is, the inevitable outcome of the quest for religious knowledge is equivocation and skepticism.” GRA IV.119

and

“The Word of God is personal and rational, and the truth of God, whether given in general or in special disclosure, including the climactic revelation of the Logos in Jesus of Nazareth, can be propositionally formulated. All divine revelation mediated to man is incarnational, inasmuch as it is given in human history, concepts and language. Even the supreme personal revelation historically manifested by the incarnate Christ shares in this verbal and propositional expressibility.
John the evangelist did not begin his gospel by declaring that Agape (love) became flesh, or that Dunamis (power) became flesh, or that Dikaios (righteousness) became flesh__as indeed they did in the incarnate Christ__but rather that the Logos (word) became flesh.” GRA III.173
 

Brian Bosse

"The Brain"
Hello Matthew, dr_parsley, et. al.,

dr_parsley said:
On the other side, Brian simply seems determined to prove Matthew wrong. If I was a moderator I'd consider deleting all the posts involved for the edification of all.

Please forgive me for my interactions in this thread. I do think Matthew is wrong, but the attitude of my heart regarding this has not been right. As such, I have sinned. Matthew, please forgive me for accusing you of being afraid. That was wrong. Also, I ask the board members to forgive me for my unedifying interaction in this thread.

Sincerely,

Brian
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I do not use the teaching of God's immanence to modify the teaching on transcendence. As I noted, seeing a parent crawl on the ground to interact with his children does not indicate that he can only crawl.

In the immanent realm of life where God by logos communicates to man can truth be solid and factual both between God and man? Is truth the same at that level as in let your yes be yes and your no be no?

Yes; I have affirmed this against Van Tillian paradox over and again. The object of knowledge is the same for God and man. The qualities of truth, including non contradiction, should be a given of ectypal theology.

Excerpts from Muller on the Archetypal/Ectypal distinction in theology:

5.2 Archetypal and Ectypal Theology

A. The Paradigm: Forms of the Knowledge of God from the Divine Self-Knowledge to the Accommodated Knowing of Fallen Creatures
The Reformed orthodox generally agree concerning the importance of distinguishing between archetypal and ectypal theology. Their agreement is particularly strong in the identification of true human theology as an ectype or reflection resting on but not commensurate with the divine self-knowledge.
The archetype, as Turretin noted, is not in any sense equivalent to our theology: the human mind cannot know the archetype, as such, and the term “theology” cannot be predicated univocally of our theology and of the divine archetype.33 Nonetheless, as the early orthodox dogmaticians point out, the fact of the divine archetype is crucial to the existence of true yet finite human theology: “Archetypal theology is the divine Wisdom concerning divine things: this we truly adore, but we do not inquire into it.”34 This, adds Junius, is not a definition but rather a description by analogy with things known to us, by the application of our terms to divine things. Wisdom (sapientia) is predicated univocally only of God inasmuch as God alone is truly wise—and therefore is predicated equivocally of human beings. Therefore, when predicated of God, wisdom does not indicate a genus of wise things of which God is one. The divine sapientia is a proper attribute of God: it is divine wisdom in the sense of being identical with the divine essence in its utter simplicity and its freedom from all composition. The theologia archetypa, then, is God himself, the identity of self and self-knowledge in the absolutely and essentially wise God.35
Polanus thus remarks that the division of theology into the categories of archetypal and ectypal is by analogy. Primarily and principally, theologia is theologia archetypa and only secondarily and by similitude is it theologia ectypa. This must be the case since all wisdom, goodness, righteousness, power, and other creaturely qualities in rational creatures are from God in whom they find their archetype—their imago.36 That there is theology in God appears from the fact that God has wisdom concerning rerum divinarum and from the fact that all perfections “that are in us, are also in God,” but on an exalted level. Thus, “archetypal theology is the wisdom of divine things that is resident in God, essential to him and uncreated.”37 This might also be called theologia prototypa or, as the scholastics termed it, theologia Dei or “exemplary theology, to which as to an immutable, primary and primordial idea and exemplar, all created theology is conformed as a likeness, such divine theology we adore but do not search into.”38 This language draws directly upon that of Junius, with some amplification of definition.
Since, moreover, this “divine knowledge concerning divine things” is uncreated (increata), identical with the form or essence of God (formalis), absolute, infinite, utterly simple or incomplex (simplicissima), and utterly simultaneous (tota simul), that is, without either temporal or logical sequence, it must also be incommunicable (incommunicabilis), as indeed are all the divine attributes when defined strictly or univocally. All that can be naturally communicated to created things of such an ultimate wisdom are but faint images or vestiges (imagines aut etiam vestigia). There is no analogical path from the divine imprint upon the created order to a full knowledge of God.39 It is therefore God himself who is the source, origin and efficient cause of what we know in this life as true theology.40 The nature of this archetype and its function as the source of all that finite creatures know about God poses a final paradox in the Protestant scholastic discussion of the “attributes” of archetypal theology: it is both incommunicable (incommunicabilis) and communicative (communicativa). The identity of theologia archetypa with the infinite essence of God renders it incapable of communication to creatures. Nonetheless, God’s infinite self-knowledge is transmitted to things in the created order. In creation, all things receive the imprint of the divine and the ability of finite creatures to apprehend revelation, to have theology, rests upon the image of God according to which they have been created.
These considerations bring us, finally, to the Reformed orthodox definition of ectypal theology:
Ectypal theology considered either simply, as they say, or in relation to its various kinds, is the wisdom of divine things given conceptual form by God, on the basis of the archetypal image of himself through the communication of Grace for his own glory. And so, indeed, theology simply so called, is the entire Wisdom concerning divine things capable of being communicated to created things by [any] manner of communication.
 

Brian Bosse

"The Brain"
Hello PB Board (and Matthew),

I am going to approach this discussion in a little different fashion in an effort to move the discussion forward in a more God honoring manner. To get started, let me say upfront that I have not taken a position regarding the nature of God’s knowledge other than to admit a sort of agnosticism. I have, however, taken a strong position regarding the argument put forth by Matthew in his post #43. I have claimed that the argument as stated is not valid, but I also have stated that Matthew as a finite creature cannot know the conclusion. Here is the conclusion he reaches taken directly from post #43…

Matthew said:
…it is obvious that He (God) does not conceive of the truth in propositional form except insofar as He accommodates the truth to human capacity and for the purpose of covenant relationship.

Matthew says two things: (1) the conclusion is ‘obvious’, and (2) the conclusions is that apart from God accommodating us, He does not conceive of the truth in propositional form. So, what is the basis for Matthew's conclusion? What information does he have that allows him to make such a universal conclusion about the very nature of God’s knowledge? He did begin the quote above with…

Matthew said:
Given God's perspective and relation to the truth…

So, the basis for Matthew's conclusion is God’s perspective and relation to the truth. Matthew has called this God’s personal knowledge. When one considers what exactly this “personal knowledge” of God is, can one validly conclude that apart from accommodating us, God does not conceive of the truth in propositional form? Let’s look at his explication of what God’s personal knowledge entails - again, taken from post #43.

Matthew said:
But then we have to raise the issue of "perspective" and "relation," which opens the door to the "personal" side of knowledge, and this personal side cannot in any sense be the same for God and man for the simple reason that God and man are absolutely different. God's perspective is infinite and eternal and He stands related to the truth as the Creator and Revealer. Man's persepctive is finite and temporal, and he stands related to the truth as created and receiver.

He argues that because God and man are absolutely different the personal side of knowledge cannot in any sense be the same as man’s personal side of knowledge. He further clarifies what this difference entails with the last two sentences of this quote. Here they are laid out in eight propositions…

(1) God’s perspective is infinite.
(2) God’s perspective is eternal.
(3) God’s perspective is as the creator.
(4) God’s perspective is as the revealer.
(5) Man’s perspective is finite.
(6) Man’s perspective is temporal.
(7) Man’s perspective is as the created.
(8) Man’s perspective is as the receiver.

Matthew explicitly tells us (see the second quote above) that his conclusion is based on “God’s perspective and relation to truth” (as it differs from men). These eight propositions represent God’s perspective ((1)-(4)) and man’s perspective to truth ((5)-(8)). So, how do propositions (1)-(8) logically entail the conclusion that “God does not conceive of the truth in propositional form except insofar as He accommodates the truth to human capacity and for the purpose of covenant relationship”? Notice, there is no term ‘propositional form’ in propositions (1)-(8). So, where did this term come from for it to be in the conclusion? As I have consistently stated throughout this thread, Matthew’s argument is not valid. Not only that, as a finite creature he cannot fully know the nature of God’s knowledge relative to propositions. This is what I meant in the first paragraph when I said that admitted to a sort of agnosticism regarding the nature of God’s knowledge. Matthew has claimed more than he can possibly know.

In an effort to represent Matthew evenly, he has said in this thread that “we cannot say it (God’s knowledge) is only propositional.” I agree with him for the very same reason I gave above. Because of our finitude, we cannot make these kinds of absolute claims with any kind of certainty, and as such these assertions (in the end, that is all they are) cannot properly be said to be knowledge. Just like we cannot say, “God’s knowledge is only propositional,” we cannot say, “God does not conceive of truth in propositional form except insofar as He accommodates the truth to human capacity and for the purpose of covenant relationship.”

Sincerely,

Brian
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
we cannot say, “God does not conceive of truth in propositional form except insofar as He accommodates the truth to human capacity and for the purpose of covenant relationship.”
Given the transcendance of God, I am hard pressed to understand why we cannot make this statement.

You cannot reduce God to a series of propositional statements.

AMR
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
In an effort to represent Matthew evenly, he has said in this thread that “we cannot say it (God’s knowledge) is only propositional.”

Hello Brian,

Thankyou for your apology, which I humbly accept. Thankyou also for trying to represent me evenly. But here again you show that you haven't understood what I have stated. I stated we cannot say that God's revelation is only propositional. The fact that you equate God's revelation with God's knowledge indicates to me that you are not aware of some fundamental distinctions which are necessary for discussing this subject. May I ask you to please take into consideration Rich's quotation of Muller, and see if you can tell the difference between archetypal and ectypal theology? Please compare it with Matthew 11:27, which emphasises that man's knowledge of God is mediated through the God-man. I also highly recommend Patrick's pointed statement which warns against the danger of reducing God. This merits deep reflection. Many blessings!
 

Brian Bosse

"The Brain"
Hello AMR and Armourbearer,

AMR said:
Given the transcendance of God, I am hard pressed to understand why we cannot make this statement. You cannot reduce God to a series of propositional statements.

I have two points regarding this: (1) You certainly can make the statement, but it is mere supposition. (2) My claim that as created finite beings we do not know that God's knowledge is not propositional does not reduce God to a series of propositional statements. Our agnosticism regarding the nature of God's knowledge does not reduce God to anything. It is simply a comment on the limits of our knowledge. I believe Matthew has made assertions about the nature of God's knowledge that he does not know - they are mere assertions.

Matthew said:
I stated we cannot say that God's revelation is only propositional.

My mistake. As such, I retract it. But just to be clear, you did make a claim about the nature of God's knowledge - not His revelation - in your post #43. That is the issue I am trying to address in this thread.

Matthew said:
May I ask you to please take into consideration Rich's quotation of Muller, and see if you can tell the difference between archetypal and ectypal theology?

I have carefully read Rich's post. It seems to be similar to what you where saying regarding the distinction between the personal side of God's and man's knowledge in your post #43. In my last post I came up with eight propositions from your post #43 that came from your explanation of what you meant when you spoke of God's personal knowledge. As such, I have three (two) questions for you that I would like you to answer for me...

(1) Do my eight propositions derived from your post #43 accurately represent what you said in post #43 regarding God's personal knowledge?
(2) If the answer to question (1) is 'no', would you tell me how I misconstrued what you said in post #43?
(3) If the answer to question (1) is 'yes', then do my eight propositions derived from your post #43 validly lead to the conclusion you made in your post #43?

Sincerely,

Brian
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
(1) Do my eight propositions derived from your post #43 accurately represent what you said in post #43 regarding God's personal knowledge?

Yes.

(3) If the answer to question (1) is 'yes', then do my eight propositions derived from your post #43 validly lead to the conclusion you made in your post #43?

They are an explanation of the leading premise that the subject of knowledge is different. Implicit in the acceptance of this difference is the fact that God is not bound to a finite form of knowledge. As noted, a minor premise would need to be added to the effect that propositions are by nature finite.
 

Brian Bosse

"The Brain"
Hello Matthew,

I still am going to need more clarification, but I know see the outline of the argument you are making.

Implicit in the acceptance of this difference is the fact that God is not bound to a finite form of knowledge. As noted, a minor premise would need to be added to the effect that propositions are by nature finite.

Would you explain what you mean by "a finite form of knowledge"? Also, what do you mean when you say "propositions are by nature finite"?

Brian
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Would you explain what you mean by "a finite form of knowledge"? Also, what do you mean when you say "propositions are by nature finite"?

If I look up the word "finite" in a dictionary it tells me the meaning is bounded, limited, not infinite. I could then look up those terms, and it would tell me that a "bound" is a limit, a "limit" is a bounding line, and "infinite" means boundless. What have I learned? Not only that man's knowledge has bounds and limits, but also that man reasons within a circle and eventually winds up explaining terms by terms he has already used. Some men try to disguise the fact that they reason in a circle by widening the circle they use; but they never cease reasoning in a circle because man is bounded, limited, not infinite.

A "proposition" is a form of words consisting of subject and predicate. One can look at the collection of words or one can look at the correlation of subject and predicate, but in either case there is always an accumulation of particulars which are bound by the limitations of relation.
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Hello AMR and Armourbearer,

AMR said:
Given the transcendance of God, I am hard pressed to understand why we cannot make this statement. You cannot reduce God to a series of propositional statements.

I have two points regarding this: (1) You certainly can make the statement, but it is mere supposition. (2) My claim that as created finite beings we do not know that God's knowledge is not propositional does not reduce God to a series of propositional statements.
Yet you have went to great lengths to form propositions about this very matter. In attempting to defend matters of the faith, you are primarily engaging God's revelation from vantage point that appeals to finite human reason. While you are correctly allowing a spot for intelligence and reason within faith, you simultaneously are suppressing the very substance of the faith you are seeking to defend.

The underlying premise of what you are attempting to appears to be based on the notion that God’s revelatory "speech" (Hebrews 1:1) is handily assimilated to a series of propositions. Such an approach lacks an appreciation of the Scriptural view of revelation, and hence its truths as personal encounter, as event, as history, as promises, or as dialogical encounter. Such a generous self-disclosure of God's vision of creation and history is lost with propositional attempts.

You claim I am making mere assertion, while I argue this is a Spirit-borne fact. Indeed, our own experience, enabled by the Spirit's illumination, screams that God's knowledge, all truth, cannot merely propositional, lest we dare to reduce Jesus Christ (John 14:6) to a propositional series.

AMR
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
It is indeed too much to say that all of God’s revelation is propositional. How much of it is propositional and how much not would likely be an unanswerable question. However we can say something of God’s use of the propositional form of revealing Himself.

Inasmuch as “propositional truth” designates truth that is expressed in propositional form, and further, all that God thinks is truth, the question may be asked “does God think in propositional form?

Propositional truth concerns itself with the “is-ness” of things. That is to say that truth, when expressed propositionally, will predicate something of some other thing or person.

For example to say that situational ethicists are harmful to Christian morals predicates the committing of harm to Christian morals by those who are situational ethicists.

God too declares the “is-ness” of things.

Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone …”

Matthew 3:17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Our Lord Jesus alludes to inter-trinitarian propositional conversation:

John 17:8 "For I have given to them the words [ρηματα] which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me
 

Brian Bosse

"The Brain"
Hello Gentlemen,

armourbearer said:
Not only that man's knowledge has bounds and limits, but also that man reasons within a circle and eventually winds up explaining terms by terms he has already used.

This was said in response to my request for you to explain what you meant by “a finite form of knowledge.” So, when you say “God is not bound to a finite form of knowledge,” then are you simply saying that God’s knowledge is not limited and bounded like our knowledge is limited and bounded? If so, how is this different from the (1)-(8) propositions listed in my post #94?

armourbearer said:
A "proposition" is a form of words consisting of subject and predicate.

You and I have discussed this somewhat already. I do not agree with your understanding of the term ‘proposition’ in that your definition is not how philosophers of language or logicians would understand the term. But nevertheless, I can adapt. You seem to define ‘proposition’ the way these philosophers and logicians would define a declarative sentence. Given your understanding of the term ‘proposition,’ are propositions and declarative sentences the same thing? Do you agree that there is a distinction between declarative sentences and the meaning of those sentences?

armourbearer said:
One can look at the collection of words or one can look at the correlation of subject and predicate, but in either case there is always an accumulation of particulars which are bound by the limitations of relation.

I do not know what you mean by “accumulation of particulars...bound by the limitations of relation.” Can you make this more concrete?

AMR said:
Yet you have went to great lengths to form propositions about this very matter.

I have gone to great lengths to form sentences that convey meaning – this is how communication on this board works. You, too, are doing the same thing.

AMR said:
While you are correctly allowing a spot for intelligence and reason within faith, you simultaneously are suppressing the very substance of the faith you are seeking to defend.

All I am saying is that as finite creatures we do not know enough about the nature of God’s knowledge to be able to make the kinds of absolute claims Matthew has made. This does not seem to be a suppression of the substance of faith unless the object of faith is Matthew!

AMR said:
The underlying premise of what you are attempting to appears to be based on the notion that God’s revelatory "speech" (Hebrews 1:1) is handily assimilated to a series of propositions. Such an approach lacks an appreciation of the Scriptural view of revelation, and hence its truths as personal encounter, as event, as history, as promises, or as dialogical encounter. Such a generous self-disclosure of God's vision of creation and history is lost with propositional attempts.

I do not know what you think I am “attempting.” I have simply argued that Matthew’s argument in post #43 is not valid, and that he does not know the conclusion. No more, no less.

AMR said:
You claim I am making mere assertion, while I argue this is a Spirit-borne fact. Indeed, our own experience, enabled by the Spirit's illumination, screams that God's knowledge, all truth, cannot merely propositional, lest we dare to reduce Jesus Christ (John 14:6) to a propositional series.

I have *never* claimed that God’s knowledge is merely propositional. You seem to have read more into what I have written, than what I actually did write. I have simply claimed that Matthew does not know the conclusion he reached in post #43. In that post, he claims something much stronger than the claim that God’s knowledge is not merely propositional. He claims that in and of Himself the nature of God’s knowledge is not propositional at all! He does not know this.

Sincerely,

Brian
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If so, how is this different from the (1)-(8) propositions listed in my post #94?

It's not; and I never claimed that it was.

You and I have discussed this somewhat already. I do not agree with your understanding of the term ‘proposition’ in that your definition is not how philosophers of language or logicians would understand the term.

(1.) Your disagreement with the premise could not affect its formal validity if it was made the minor premise of a formal argument. The term "finite" simply needs to be used univocally. (2.) You have not presented any reference from any philosopher or logician to establish that what you allege is true. I'm not inclined to take your word for it.

Do you agree that there is a distinction between declarative sentences and the meaning of those sentences?

Not in terms of the finitude of them. Words, sentences, paragraphs, sections, chapters, books, libraries, all convey limited meaning.

I do not know what you mean by “accumulation of particulars...bound by the limitations of relation.” Can you make this more concrete?

A subject is a particular person or thing. What is predicated of the subject is a particular state of being or action. The relation between the subject and predicate is a limited relation. If you are acquainted enough with the philosopy of language to call my view of "proposition" into question then this should not need explanation.

He claims that in and of Himself the nature of God’s knowledge is not propositional at all!

Once again I find it necessary to draw your attention to the qualifications that have been made because you fail to reproduce them in your analysis. God's knowledge is not propositional because it does not involve process or parcels of information. However, in conveying the knowledge of Himself to man, God has made use of propositional revelation.
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
I have simply claimed that Matthew does not know the conclusion he reached in post #43. In that post, he claims something much stronger than the claim that God’s knowledge is not merely propositional. He claims that in and of Himself the nature of God’s knowledge is not propositional at all! He does know this.
I won't claim to speak for Rev. Winzer, but it would seem to me that the extent of God's knowledge is of all true propositions, yet the mode of God's knowledge has been traditionally argued to be non-propositional, as He possesses a single and undivided intuition of reality. Propositions are used by us, as finite knowers, to break up individual bits of information, hence, what we can claim to know is but a finite number of said propositions.

AMR
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
To interject here: Brian, Rev Winzer is correct that propositions must be finite in order to have meaning.

1) Proposition a) is unlimited
2) An unlimited proposition can mean anything
3) That which can mean anything can mean nothing
4) That which can mean nothing is, by definition, meaningless
5) Proposition a) is meaningless
 

Brian Bosse

"The Brain"
Hello Matthew,

armourbearer said:
You have not presented any reference from any philosopher or logician to establish that what you allege is true. I'm not inclined to take your word for it.

I am happy to oblige with a small sampling. In Roger Scruton’s Modern Philosophy he writes…

The proposition is the meaning of the sentence (pg.16)…proposition – the abstract entity which captures what is said by a sentence, what is believed by a believer, what is stated by a statement, and so on (pg. 99).

In Noah Lemos’ An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge he write on page 2…

It is important to distinguish between sentences and propositions. Consider two people, Paul and Pierre. Let’s say that each believes the sky is blue. Paul, however, speaks only English and Pierre speaks only French. In expressing his belief, Paul would say, “The sky is blue,” and Pierre would saym “Le ciel est bleu.” Though each expresses his belief by a different sentence, each believes the same proposition.

I would like to point out that Lemos argues rather convincingly that propositional knowledge is not the only type of knowledge. He speaks of “know-how knowledge” and “acquaintance knowledge” in addition to “propositional knowledge.” Expressing the same thought as Lemos, John Frame in his Cornelius Van Til – An Analysis of His Thought says on pages 98-99 in regards to the Van Til/Clark debate…

A proposition is a thought that can be used to make a factual assertion. It is “proposed” for consideration as to its factuality. The sentence “The window is open” asserts a proposition…the propositions is not the sentence itself, but the thought behind it: “The window is open” and “La fenetre est ouverte” express the same proposition.

Greg Bahsen in his “Van Til’s Apologetic” discusses the three types of knowing mentioned by Lemos. On page 159, Bahnsen says this about propositions…

The word ‘proposition’ is used here (in the sense of “knowing propositions”) in its strict sense as that which is expressed by an indicative sentence in a natural language…thus, if we say that all (verbally competent) people have a knowledge of God, this does not mean that they all believe certain sentences in a certain language. Rather, it means that they all believe certain claims that are expressed by various ways in various languages.

In Moreland and Craig’s Philosophical Foundations For a Christian Worldview on page 136 we read…

So far, our study of truth-bearers has led to this conclusion: In the basic sense, it is the content of declarative sentences/statements and thoughts/beliefs that is true or false. Such a content is called a proposition and it represents the third candidate for the truth-bearer…A proposition…is not identical to the linguistic entities that may be used to express it…

I did not quote any of my mathematical logical texts, but rest assured this distinction is found there as well.

armourbearer said:
Words, sentences, paragraphs, sections, chapters, books, libraries, all convey limited meaning.

This is not what I asked. I simply asked you if you understood the distinction between words, sentences, paragraphs, etc…and the meanings conveyed by words, sentences, paragraphs, etc...

armourbearer said:
If you are acquainted enough with the philosopy of language to call my view of "proposition" into question then this should not need explanation.

What do you mean by this? Why even say something like this? It certainly does not move the discussion forward. This kind of rhetoric is not helpful or necessary.

armourbearer said:
A subject is a particular person or thing. What is predicated of the subject is a particular state of being or action. The relation between the subject and predicate is a limited relation.

So, is the universal affirmative statement “Socrates is mortal” a limited relation in the sense that Socrates is more than just mortal, i.e., he is a man, he is a created being of God, he is a philosopher, he is a sinner, etc…?

armourbearer said:
God's knowledge is not propositional because it does not involve process or parcels of information.

Alas, we finally have the argument. It goes as follows…

Premise 1: All knowledge that does not involve process or parcels of information is not propositional. (Major Premise – necessarily assumed.)
Premise 2: All God’s knowledge is knowledge that does not involve process or parcels of information. (Minor Premise – “…it (Gods’ knowledge) does not involve process or parcels of information.”)
Conclusion: All God’s knowledge is not propositional. (Conclusion – “God’s knowledge is not propositional.”)

I have two things I want to say: (1) This is a valid argument. (2) Premise 1 and Premise 2 are not stated in your argument in post #43. Before I comment on the soundness of this argument, is this the argument you are actually making?

Brian
 
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Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Maybe it's just me, Brian, but in a discussion wherein one group expresses reservation about the use of propositional forms on the matter at hand, yet has to continually be subjected to the use of propositional forms of said decriers' statements about matter at hand, it is very unlikely that the discussion will move forward. :confused:

AMR
 

discipulo

Puritan Board Junior
A very personal opinion, looking from outside, it seems Brian on his last post made a very good effort to clarify his definitions, and surely this rather difficult subject has been good and edifying to read and ponder to most of us, I would say...

:popcorn:
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I am happy to oblige with a small sampling.

Very nice, but none of these prove your allegation that "your definition is not how philosophers of language or logicians would understand the term." In fact, there is a "form of words" and a "what" in every definition you have provided; and this is precisely what I have defined the proposition as. Insofar as the "what" always includes a subject and predicate, there is nothing in all these definitions which contradicts my definition.

In Roger Scruton’s Modern Philosophy he writes…

Yes, he is discussing the correspondence theory of truth, and makes no point which contradicts what I have said.

In Noah Lemos’ An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge he write on page 2…

And surprisingly, the example he provides is a form of words consisting of subject and predicate. Furthermore, he goes on to state:

We may also think of propositional knowledge as a relation between a subject and a proposition. More precisely, propositional knowledge is a relation between a subject and a true proposition.

I can't imagine you will find one reference work which does not utilise a form of words consisting of subject and predicate in the presentation of propositions.

This is not what I asked. I simply asked you if you understood the distinction between words, sentences, paragraphs, etc…and the meanings conveyed by words, sentences, paragraphs, etc...

Actually you asked, "Do you agree that there is a distinction between declarative sentences and the meaning of those sentences?" If I am being asked the philosophical question of the relationship between propositions to the truth, then of course there is a difference. But that is irrelevant to a discussion as to whether a proposition is always by nature finite regardless of whether the form of words or the meaning is the referent.

What do you mean by this? Why even say something like this? It certainly does not move the discussion forward. This kind of rhetoric is not helpful or necessary.

It will prove helpful if you stop asking questions which can be answered by a reference to a dictionary.

So, is the universal affirmative statement “Socrates is mortal” a limited relation in the sense that Socrates is more than just mortal, i.e., he is a man, he is a created being of God, he is a philosopher, he is a sinner, etc…?

The limitation is in the subject, "Socrates," in distinction from "Plato;" in the predicate, "is mortal," in contrast to being "immortal;" and in the relation between them, "Socrates is mortal" instead of "Plato is immortal."

armourbearer said:
God's knowledge is not propositional because it does not involve process or parcels of information.

Alas, we finally have the argument.

That is not an argument, and what you make of it is certainly not required by the syntax of the sentence. Any grammarian (and logician?) knows that "because" can provide numerous causal relationships.
 

Brian Bosse

"The Brain"
Hello Matthew,

I choose to no longer participate in discussions with you. You continue to make unhelpful and indirectly cutting comments like...

If you are acquainted enough with the philosopy of language to call my view of "proposition" into question then this should not need explanation...It will prove helpful if you stop asking questions which can be answered by a reference to a dictionary.

You continue to refuse to clairfy your arguments when in good faith I am simply trying to understand what your actual argument is. Case in point, rather than clarify the syllogism based on the very words you used, you simply made some remark that 'because' can mean many things. If the 'because' you used did not mark a conclusion based on what was said before, then there is no reason to move forward with you. For whatever reason, you refuse to make your arguments formally explicit.

Lastly, I have consistently said that propositions are commonly thought of as being the meaning of sentences and not the sentences themselves. You have said that propositions are "a finite form of words consisting in subject and predicate." Every one of the quotes I provided contradicts this - every one! Every quote I provided states that propositions are the meaning of finite forms of words - not the finite form of words themselves. And your quoting Lemos stating that a proposition is a "relation between predicate and subject" is *not* the same as your assertion that a proposition is "a finite form of words consisting in subject and predicate." Lemos' statement came right after he said, "It is important to distinguish between sentences and propositions." Your definition for proposition fits that of a declaretive sentence. Yet, you are not even willing to acknowledge such an obvious point. As such, I deem discussions with you to be unfruitful. I am content to let the interaction in this thread speak for itself.

Brian
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
In my estimation, this thread has proved useful for me to underline in my own mind why I find sterile, philosophical approaches to theology so impious.

Theology is to be approached in a spirit of worship as we approach a Holy God and seek to apprehend what He has revealed to us. Truth is not discovered by atomizing the Word into tiny bits in the assumption that our minds will serve as the organ to filter them and make them coherent. Rather, it is approached humbly with full understanding that, without illumination, we would have no eyes to see the noonday sun that blazes forth.

Theology brings me to doxology. Just the other day I was meditating on the glory of God. We were discussing it in Church and exposited how the glory of God was unapproachable such that even Moses had to leave the Tabernacle when God's glory filled it. Someone then remarked that it must be a different kind of glory spoken of in the NT because Christ was that glory.

It suddenly dawned on me in a way I had not meditated on before. It suddenly struck me with great wonder how powerful is the statement in Hebrews that we enter boldly into the presence of God through the veil of Christ's flesh.

Such things are too wondrous for me. They are unspeakably glorious. I stop at a point of understanding the propositions and apprehend to a point and then I simply get down on my knees and worship.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
You continue to refuse to clairfy your arguments when in good faith I am simply trying to understand what your actual argument is.

Actually, no; you continue to line up my statements with a view to formal debate in an informal discussion forum.

I'm sorry, but I just refuse to fall down and worship the rational God of Logic. This idea of turning every statement into a formal argument to be tested for its validity is nonsense. The best lesson you could learn right now is the fact that logic is a mere tool for thinking and communicating; it does not in and of itself lead to truth. A person can have a perfectly valid logical argument and be completely wrong. You are using that tool to tear down rather than build up. This is a confessional discussion board. I am not here so you can display your skill as a logician. I am here "for the truth's sake." When you are here "for the truth's sake," then I am sure as fellow Christians we will have much to talk about.
 
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