Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 107 (8806 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 12-16-2017 3:29 PM
280 online now:
anglagard, dwise1, Faith, halibut, PaulK, Tangle (6 members, 274 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: jaufre
Post Volume:
Total: 824,370 Year: 28,976/21,208 Month: 1,042/1,847 Week: 417/475 Day: 80/102 Hour: 1/6

Announcements: Reporting debate problems OR discussing moderation actions/inactions


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
1
23456
...
9Next
Author Topic:   Presuppositionalism
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15987
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 1 of 123 (789870)
08-21-2016 1:35 PM


For those who haven't encountered them, presupositionalists are the creationists of philosophy. What seems obvious when reading the productions of both groups is that they are largely uninterested in the questions they are ostensibly addressing. What they are interested in is their predetemined answer: they want to get to goddidit as quickly as possible, riding roughshod over facts and reason to get there --- because a solution involving God implies that he exists, and proving his existence is all that really interests them.

Here's an example chosen more or less at random, culled from the musings of one James N. Anderson on the topic of "The Theistic Preconditions of Knowledge". The essence of Mr. Anderson's argument is to perform what I think of as the Mjolnir Maneuver, which goes something like this:

(1) Define lightning to be that phenomenon caused by Thor wielding his magic hammer Mjolnir.
(2) Point out that we all know that lightning exists.
(3) Conclude that you have proved the existence of Thor.

The problem with this, of course, is that we do not all know that lightning exists in the sense in which it has been redefined in step (1). On the contrary, this is very much in doubt. (For an example of the maneuver used in creationism, see Werner Gitt's nonsense about "information".)

Anderson, similarly, manages to concoct a definition of "knowledge" in which we know something if (a) we believe it and (b) we arrive at this belief by a method which is approved of as morally virtuous by a supernatural personal being. This, combined with the fact that knowledge does exist, is meant to make theists of us all. But we are only convinced that knowledge exists in the ordinary sense; we have no reason to believe that "knowledge" exists in Anderson's sense. And we should note that Anderson's sense is not at all like the ordinary sense: for if we were to take Anderson seriously, it would seem that a man can look at an elephant, walk round it, touch it, and thereby become thoroughly convinced of its existence, and yet he does not "know" that it exists unless there is a supernatural being somewhere who approves of him drawing this conclusion from his observations. (Whereas in the ordinary sense we would say that the man knows that the elephant exists because he has seen the elephant; and we would add that it is the job of the philosopher of knowledge to make this concept of knowledge formal and rigorous, and not to gratuitously dick about with it.)

If anyone thinks this is an unfair sample of presuppositionalism, please show me a better one; or if anyone thinks that this particular example is defensible, please defend it, and I shall elaborate on Mr. Anderson's mistakes.


Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Phat, posted 08-21-2016 9:13 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
AdminAsgara
Administrator
Posts: 2073
From: The Universe
Joined: 10-11-2003


Message 2 of 123 (789872)
08-21-2016 3:26 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Presuppositionalism thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
jar
Member
Posts: 29802
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 3 of 123 (789873)
08-21-2016 4:07 PM


Presuppositionism like all apologetics is just silly.
The basic problems with Presuppositionalism rest in its basic foundation.

It starts with a fairly reasonable concept, that the basic suppositions color all subsequent conclusions.

But then it steps through the looking glass and left becomes right. It begins with the supposition that the Christian faith is the only basis for rational thought, that the Bible is divine revelation, that one could not make sense of any human experience except through Christianity, and there can be no set of neutral assumptions from which to reason with a non-Christian.

Of course, by Christian they seem to mean those Christians that presuppose the same suppositions.

Naturalism on the other hand begins with the assumptions that reality and the universe are capable of being understood.

A simple refutation of Presuppositionalism is the fact that there are Christians who are not presuppositionalists and in fact Christians that think all of Calvinism can only be pitied.

Like Creationism, like Young Earth, like Floodists, Calvinism and Presuppositionalism should be tolerated as long as it does not try to impose itself on others but never taken seriously.

Edited by jar, : appalin spallin

Edited by jar, : Floodists not Foodists, foodists actually make sense

Edited by jar, : fix supposition of presuppositionalism


My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 10240
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 4 of 123 (789879)
08-21-2016 9:13 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dr Adequate
08-21-2016 1:35 PM


If The Shoe Fits...
Dr.A writes:

For those who haven't encountered them, presuppositionalists are the creationists of philosophy. What seems obvious when reading the productions of both groups is that they are largely uninterested in the questions they are ostensibly addressing. What they are interested in is their predetemined answer: they want to get to goddidit as quickly as possible, riding roughshod over facts and reason to get there --- because a solution involving God implies that he exists, and proving his existence is all that really interests them.

After pondering this a few minutes, I tentatively concluded that I might be a presuppositionalist. This is, by the way, the first time I have heard this term used---so I did a quick bit of internet research.

First I went to this website: What Is Presuppositionalism?

quote:
One of the contenders is “presuppositionalism.” In its modern form, the pioneers include Abraham Kuyper, H. G. Stoker, Cornelius Van Til, and, in their own manner, Francis Schaeffer, Richard Mouw, John Frame, and Michael Goheen. To begin with, presuppositionalism is not a great word. It implies circular reasoning, or worse, fideism, a leap of faith. A better choice might be “covenantal apologetics.” The idea is that the apologist begins by frankly acknowledging divine condescension. Unlike the classical approach, which begins with a logical demonstration, or the evidentialist view, which appeals directly to the facts, covenantal apologetics begins (positionally, not in every conversation) with the authority of divine revelation. One of its slogans in that there is no neutrality. If you appeal to logical demonstrations you may be ignoring the doctrine of the “noëtic effects of sin,” that is, the fallenness of reason. If you appeal to the empty tomb or to “irreducible complexity,” you may be ignoring the human tendency to observe the world with prejudice, or what James K. A. Smith calls the fall of interpretation.

I find myself believing some of the precepts mentioned here. I most definitely believe in divine revelation so I suppose that is one of my presuppositions.
I suspect that there could be a fallenness of reason in some instances.
I even suspect that there may be a fall of interpretation so my checklist confirms that I am a presuppositionalist. Now what?


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-21-2016 1:35 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-22-2016 12:13 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply
 Message 31 by marc9000, posted 08-26-2016 8:27 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15987
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 5 of 123 (789896)
08-22-2016 12:13 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Phat
08-21-2016 9:13 PM


Re: If The Shoe Fits...
I'm afraid that now you have to produce transparently bad apologetics while being complacently unaware of their defects.

But seriously, I don't think that checklist does make you a presuppositionalist, it depends what you do with those beliefs once you have them.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Phat, posted 08-21-2016 9:13 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15987
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.0


(1)
Message 6 of 123 (789931)
08-22-2016 12:41 PM


Morality
Mr. Anderson refers to the question of "objective norms". This is a recurrent theme in presuppositionalist apologetics, usually in a more obviously ethical context, and it's worth taking a look at it.

The problem (and it is a genuine problem, unlike this stuff about knowledge, which is a mere wrangle about definitions) is this: you cannot derive a proposition about how things ought to be from how they are. If someone tries to justify their morality by producing a statement about how things ought to be, then you can ask them for evidence that that is how things ought to be, and if they then supply a statement about how things are, you can say "so what?"

For example, consider this fabricated but typical example of a conversation between a theist (T) and an atheist (A).

T: So, you agree that it would be wrong to torture Fred?
A: Of course.
T: Why?
A: Well, because it would hurt Fred.
T: So what?
A: Well, you ought not to torture people.
T: Why not?
A: Because it hurts.
T: So what?
A: Well, you ought not to hurt people.
T: Why not?
A: Because they don't like it. Fred doesn't want me to torture him.
T: So what?
A: Well, I wouldn't like it.
T: So what?
A: You ought to treat people as you want to be treated.
T: Why?
A: Uh ... because they are people like you.
T: So what?
A: Uh ... if you don't see that, I confess I have run out of arguments.
T: You see, atheism cannot supply us with secure moral foundations!

Haha, he has the atheist right on the back foot, and can now happily go about his day confident that atheist accounts of morality are intellectually unfounded.

Unless, of course, the atheist starts asking questions ...

A: So, your turn.
T: Huh?
A: Why shouldn't you torture Fred?
T: Because he is made in God's image.
A: So what?
T: Uh ... God doesn't want you to torture him.
A: So what? (You will note that you brushed it off when I pointed out that Fred doesn't want me to torture Fred, which seems, if anything, more relevant.)
T: You ought to do what God wants.
A: Why?
T: Because he's God.
A: So what?
T: He created you.
A: So what?
T: You ought to obey the dictates of your creator.
A: Why?
T: Apart from anything else, he'll send you to Hell if you don't.
A: So what? I mean, I concede that it is prudent to avoid going to hell, but we were discussing what we are morally obliged to do. I didn't try to justify ethics by pointing out that if you tortured Fred you'd risk gong to jail.
T: But he's God.
A: So what?

... and so on.

There's an interesting phrase in Anderson's essay: "Why would one configuration of atoms be more virtuous than another configuration merely on account of its physical properties and relations?" But one might just as well ask "Why would one configuration of invisible intangible soul-stuff be more virtuous than another configuration merely on account of its metaphysical properties and relations?" If I have a soul, and if there is a God, the properties of my soul and my relationship with God would be just one more fact about the universe, and we would still be in need of a reason why I ought (in a moral and not merely a prudential sense) to have one relationship with him rather than another.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Tangle, posted 08-22-2016 1:35 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5258
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 7 of 123 (789938)
08-22-2016 1:35 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Dr Adequate
08-22-2016 12:41 PM


Re: Morality
It's just a different version of the uncaused cause. "Because He's God" is supposed to put a stop to the infinite regress.

Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-22-2016 12:41 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by jar, posted 08-22-2016 1:43 PM Tangle has responded
 Message 9 by Phat, posted 08-22-2016 1:43 PM Tangle has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 29802
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 8 of 123 (789942)
08-22-2016 1:43 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Tangle
08-22-2016 1:35 PM


Re: Morality
And where is the problem with that? "It's turtles all the way down" works.

My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Tangle, posted 08-22-2016 1:35 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Tangle, posted 08-22-2016 1:59 PM jar has not yet responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 10240
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 9 of 123 (789943)
08-22-2016 1:43 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Tangle
08-22-2016 1:35 PM


Re: Morality
Ive got one for you, Tangle--

Skepticism & The Brain


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Tangle, posted 08-22-2016 1:35 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by Tangle, posted 08-22-2016 2:22 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply
 Message 12 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-22-2016 2:22 PM Phat has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5258
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.0


(1)
Message 10 of 123 (789947)
08-22-2016 1:59 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by jar
08-22-2016 1:43 PM


Re: Morality
jar writes:

And where is the problem with that? "It's turtles all the way down" works.

Works for me too.

Back in April I visited a temple in Vietnam and saw loads of sacred turtle statues carrying all sorts of stuff on their backs. Apparently that's where Pratchet - may the Lord bless him and praise him - got the idea.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by jar, posted 08-22-2016 1:43 PM jar has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5258
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 11 of 123 (789952)
08-22-2016 2:22 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Phat
08-22-2016 1:43 PM


Re: Morality
Phat writes:

Ive got one for you, Tangle--

Oh, Phat, your naivity knows no bounds. Those are really childish and ignorant arguments.

The 'law' of cause and effect works for all normal everyday purposes but breaks when things get very small or at singularities - like what we think occurred at the 'big bang'. No one knows what happened just before that - and the term 'before' probably doesn't mean anything at that point.

What makes my head explode is not the pig ignorant silly argument like those in your video, its trying to understand what those researching quantum and 'big' physics are finding out about our universe. It's quite beyond the vast majority of us. Which is why the ignorant will always find really dumb, simplistic argument persuasive.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Phat, posted 08-22-2016 1:43 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15987
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 12 of 123 (789953)
08-22-2016 2:22 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Phat
08-22-2016 1:43 PM


Re: Morality
It was prudent of them to disable the comments, so as to prevent comments from actual atheists whose words they can't script, but on the other hand hanging out the huge lie that they "won the James Randi $1,000,000 Paranormal Challenge" is kind of shooting themselves in the foot, it only draws attention to their shameless dishonesty.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Phat, posted 08-22-2016 1:43 PM Phat has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15987
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 13 of 123 (790079)
08-25-2016 12:58 AM


One persistent odd thing about Presuppositionalists is that they don't seem to grasp what it even means to solve a philosophical problem.

To give a concrete analogy, suppose we are faced with the problem of crossing a ravine. A man steps forward and says "If there was a bridge, that would solve the problem". We nod in agreement. "And," he says, "I firmly believe that there is a bridge."

"Well," we say, "while we cannot share your sunny optimism, good for you, I guess."

"And so," he concludes, "I have solved the problem of crossing the ravine, unlike you poor saps who don't believe in the bridge."

Well, solving the problem would require, not just belief in the bridge, but that he should locate and cross it. In the same way, the Presuppositionalist will take an old philosophical chestnut (say the is/ought problem or the problem of induction) argue (often erroneously) that postulating God makes it solvable, and then concludes that theists can solve the problem! But theists only believe in God; unless they can prove his existence (which Presuppositionalists sedulously avoid doing) then they have not solved the problem.

And they assume that these problems have solutions, which they need not. If someone asks me to find a rational square root of seven, and I reply that I can solve it if I can find two perfect squares differing by a factor of 7, and that I believe in the squares --- then I have not, in fact, solved the problem, or found the squares, or proved that such squares exist, or proved that there is a solution. There is, in fact, no solution. Why should there be? And similarly there's no particular reason why for example, the Problem of Induction should have a solution. Some problems don't.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Phat, posted 08-25-2016 9:08 AM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 10240
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 14 of 123 (790090)
08-25-2016 9:08 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Dr Adequate
08-25-2016 12:58 AM


Evidently Not
But theists only believe in God; unless they can prove his existence (which Presuppositionalists sedulously avoid doing) then they have not solved the problem.
Unless of course belief in and of itself does in fact solve the problem. It may well be that proof is elusive without belief and that evidence is never evident without belief.

Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-25-2016 12:58 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-25-2016 9:34 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply
 Message 16 by ringo, posted 08-25-2016 11:48 AM Phat has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15987
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 15 of 123 (790097)
08-25-2016 9:34 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Phat
08-25-2016 9:08 AM


Re: Evidently Not
Unless of course belief in and of itself does in fact solve the problem.

Well, it doesn't. As in my analogies. Once you've found a hypothetical that would solve the problem, in order to solve the problem you need to prove the hypothetical.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Phat, posted 08-25-2016 9:08 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
1
23456
...
9Next
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2015 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2017