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Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Neccessity of Scripture in Justifying (even) Logic

Since no man has observed every instance of the law of non-contradiction no man can justify an a priori knowledge of the universal, invariant nature of the law of non-contradiction; we need special revelation from the Divine Mind that the law of non-contradictoin applies in all circumstances. Accordingly, if a universal is not revealed by an ominiscient God who knows with certainty the universality of all universals, man - unaided by special revelation - cannot deduce that the law of non-contradiction is indeed a law. The justification of all tools of reason reduce to rational inferences if God has not revealed them to man through special revelation; yet rational inferences are unjustifiable apart from a true doctrine of creation and providence, which too must be grounded in special revelation. Moreover, the law of non-contradiction presupposes truth, which too cannot be justified apart from special revelation. This is not to say that man being made in the image of God does not know the law of non-contradiction a priori. He does (and because of that he can be found guilty of bearing false witness to the truth). Yet notwithstanding, man cannot ground even that essential and basic transcendental apart from special revelation, which today is found in Scripture alone.

Ron

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11 comments:

razzendahcuben said...

Where in scripture is the law of non-contradiction stated? And where does it say that it applies in all circumstances?

Also, would you say that the ONLY propositions that can be called knowledge are the propositions found in the Bible? (I'm pretty sure you are going to say yes, but just checking.)

As a corollary, I mentioned that Bahsen defines 'certainty' as "the property of a proposition that it cannot fail to be true". Do you agree or disagree with this definition? I guess I don't really see how this differs from the definition of knowledge (justified true belief), but at the same time I know that you wouldn't call certainty a psychological feeling, since that's already ascribed to 'confidence'. Thanks.

-razz

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

God is logic, just as God is holy. This attribute of logic is communicated to man, which is why God may command man to be logical in all circumstances by commanding man never to bear false witness to the truth, but rather to always speak the truth. This command of God’s has no exceptions. After all, if logic were not universal, then it would be contradictory of God to command man without qualification to think Christ’s thoughts after him or never to bear false witness or lie.

If there is no universal law of non-contradiction, then Scripture is not trustworthy
It is false that Scripture is not trustworthy
Therefore, it is false that there is no universal law of non-contradiction

There are many propositions that I can know as true that are not found in the Bible. For instance, I am saved by the grace of God. I know this by revelation and I can deduce it:

If the Holy Spirit bears witness with my spirit that I’m a son, then I’m a son
The Holy Spirit does bear witness with my spirit that I’m a son
Therefore, I’m a son

Also:

If one believes in Christ he shall be saved
I believe in Christ
I shall be saved

Anonymous said...

How can man be said to "know (an epistemic claim) the law of non-contradiction a priori" and yet not be justified in his belief?

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

Good question, A.

Man is indeed justified but apart from God's special revelation found in Scripture man cannot give an account for his justification. For instance, man knows a priori that it is wrong to murder but how can he justify the warrant for such belief apart from God's written word?

Ron

Anonymous said...

You say that "Man is indeed justified but apart from God's special revelation found in Scripture man cannot give an account for his justification".

So man (unbeliever) is not justified in this case - in that he cannot give an 'account' of it. If the unbeliever is not justified (or cannot give an account of it) then he does not *know* whether certain principles (logic et al) are true, as justification is an integral part of knowledge. Therefore, it follows that the unbeliever has no knowledge.

My concern is in what sense can an unbeliever be said to have knowledge, since without justification he has no knowledge?

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

The point that must be grasped is that one can be justified without being able to give an account of his justification. The distinction is that one can have warrant without being able to articulate the actual warrant.

A man has knowledge whenever he believes something true due to maximal warrant. Now let's apply this to knowledge in the area of ethics rather than logic for no other reason than it's easier to grasp. Do men apart from Scripture *know* that it's wrong to murder? Yes, they do. They *know* that it's wrong to murder because they believe this ethical-truth according to the warrant provided to their consciences by the work of the Holy Spirit. Now then, how would a man justify that knowledge that he has apart from an appeal to Scripture? He can't, which goes to show that man is able to know things that he cannot justify.

Man is not capable of justifying ethics apart from special revelation. Man can only posit a conceptual scheme as the precondition for intelligible experience, which of course does not imply actual necessity. Again, from above: The point that must be grasped is that one can be justified without being able to give an account of his justification. The distinction is that one can have warrant without being able to articulate the actual warrant.

Anonymous said...

Ron said, "The point that must be grasped is that one can be justified without being able to give an account of his justification. The distinction is that one can have warrant without being able to articulate the actual warrant."

Ok so the unbeliever can have warrant without being able to articulate the warrant. But that is nothing more than an externalist view of knowledge.


You said, "Now then, how would a man justify that knowledge that he has apart from an appeal to Scripture? He can't, which goes to show that man is able to know things that he cannot justify.

But why would you then put an internalist constraint on knowledge if the unbeliever knows things (though unaware of his justification) without those constraints? Why does he now need to be able to articulate that justification - why should he accept an internalist view now?


you said, "A man has knowledge whenever he believes something true due to maximal warrant."

I'm a Christian, but how does theistic belief attain maximal warrant? Does this statement/proposition itself attain maximal warrant in order to know it?

Define maximal warrant. On the typical definition, it would appear that introspective beliefs have maximal warrant since the belief condition warrants the truth condition. I could possibly see your point in a pre-fall state. You may appeal to Romans 1 and 2 but is that epistemic or psychological belief? Bahnsen and VT would say psychological and if so, it wouldn't seem to come to bear on the topic.

thanks

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

It's not at all clear what you are trying to point out. My point is that a man can know things without being able to justify his knowledge, to which you reply "Why does he now need to be able to articulate that justification - why should he accept an internalist view now?" For starters a man does not need to be able to articulate a justification for the warrant of his beliefs for him to be held responsible for those things he knows (which he cannot justify).

"I'm a Christian, but how does theistic belief attain maximal warrant?

Revelation, deduction or non-inductive use of the senses.

Does this statement/proposition itself attain maximal warrant in order to know it?"

Yes, it can be deduced. I'll let you work on that.

I'm not sure whether you have posted here before, but much of your line of questioning is similar to that of Razzendahcuben. I'd suggest reading my responses to him. Through discussing matters on the phone I believe he has come to embrace a sound theory of knowledge. Maybe you might be interested in doing the same.

Regards,

Ron

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

I received an additional response by anonymous. I found it too confused to interact with in such a forum as this. For instance, that he would bring into the conversation "psychological" belief and internalist constraints demonstrates that he has not begun to connect the dots. I gave him the opportunity to discuss the matter over the phone, which he rejected (without giving a reason). If he wants help, I will strive with him but on my terms, as it is my experience that confusion is more quickly dealt with in verbal as opposed to written discussion.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain Ron....

You said... "Now then, how would a man justify that knowledge that he has apart from an appeal to Scripture? He can't, which goes to show that man is able to know things that he cannot justify.

Then your opponent said..."But why would you then put an internalist constraint on knowledge if the unbeliever knows things (though unaware of his justification) without those constraints? Why does he now need to be able to articulate that justification - why should he accept an internalist view now?"

Ron,

Your opponent seems to be thinking that someone does not need to play by the rules that you play by. But this makes no sense if the rules you are playing by are true. I'ts like saying that someone who doesn't accept logic cannot be held accountable to logic and cannot be found fallacious. Does that make sense?

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

Yes, it does get painful at times. I got him / her to appreciate that one can have knowledge without being able to articulate the warrant for that knowledge. Then he turns and says: "Why does he now need to be able to articulate that justification - why should he accept an internalist view now?"

Does he actually think that I believe that one needs to be able to justify his knowledge in order to have knowledge? Of course he shouldn't think I meant that, for I explicitly denied that! Accordingly, he must be saying something like "one need not be able to justify his knowledge in order to justify his knowledge!" Again, he's a bit confused but doesn't want me to help him.

Ron