On "Circular Reasoning"
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16-05-2012, 12:25 PM
On "Circular Reasoning"
Zephony just posted a good thread compiling and explaining some of the attempts at logical arguments that apologists frequently offer. One of them is the TAG argument, which employs the following assumption about our use of logic:

from Zeph's thread :
Quote:In the case of TAG, we start with logic, reason, and knowledge. It's argued that our logic is inherently circular (we use logic to create a hypothesis and then (dis)prove that hypothesis with logic). Therefore, we must conclude God is the source of our logic in order to avoid an infinite regress.
I've seen a similar line of reasoning with prepositional apologetics. It seems to me, and those more knowledgeable of philosophy can correct me here because I'm asking, that this is a distortion of what circular logic really is. As I understand it, circular reasoning is where the conclusion being proven is also in the premise. "Circular reasoning works because circular reasoning works."
Quote:
  1. Premises in which the truth of the conclusion is claimed or the truth of the conclusion is assumed (either directly or indirectly).
  2. Claim C (the conclusion) is true.
The spurious charge of "circular reasoning" seems to make the assumption that the use of any similar process must be circular. For example, reading one book that confirms what another book claims is not necessarily circular, especially if there were different case studies, tests, research, etc. that are cited in the confirming source. Just because the process of reading a book is similar doesn't itself mean that it's circular reasoning to say what you read in one book confirms what you've read in another.
I would also say it's not circular reasoning when we are speaking of personal preference.
  • Person A: I like strawberry ice cream.
  • Person B: Why?
  • Person A: I just do.
This is not circular reasoning because it's not reasoning of any kind. It's the statement of personal taste. Personal taste, where it is not imposed as a "truth" that must be accepted by all, is not something that requires logical justification.
  • Person B: I don't agree with you.
  • Person A: Well then, don't order strawberry ice cream for yourself.
Now applied to the "justification" of the use of logic:
  • Person A: I think science is preferable to superstition.
  • Person B: Why is that?
  • Person A: Because science creates a society that I prefer to live in.
  • Person B: Why is that preferable?
  • Person A: Because that's what I prefer.
I don't need to justify the use of logic because that's a personal preference. It sounds a bit funny to say "I like logic" but if you need me to say it, there you go. If you prefer a magical or other form of irrational worldview, you have the option to go live in some cult community if that's your preference.
It seems like one of the many problems with the presup and TAG arguments is they demand a justification for something that doesn't really require justification and they charge circular reasoning when it's not really circular. They do this with the intent not to justify their use of logic but to justify their belief in what they already believe in.
Also "GodWillsIt" doesn't either provide a satisfying answer, nor does it explain anything, nor does it prevent any infinite regress (e.g. why does God will it? Why does God will to will it? Why does God will to will to...?)

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16-05-2012, 02:05 PM
RE: On "Circular Reasoning"
From the mouth of the master of Apologetics, William Lane Craig.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpDOYlZuums

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16-05-2012, 03:07 PM
RE: On "Circular Reasoning"
(16-05-2012 02:05 PM)Thomas Wrote:  From the mouth of the master of Apologetics, William Lane Craig.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpDOYlZuums
Besides the two bare assertions leading to his predetermined conclusion, did anyone catch the glaring self-contradiction he articulates in 0:26 of the video?

He says at that point that by "objective" he means "mind independent".

So, let me see if I got this straight...

The mind of God is necessary to create a set of morals that are mind independent? That without this mind, we wouldn't have mind-independence in our morals?

Doesn't this make these "morals" whatever they may be, subjective in the mind of God by freaking definition?

Apologists make my brain hurt.

"An idea is a greater monument than a cathedral and the advance of (humanity's) knowledge over time is a greater miracle than all the sticks turning to snakes and the parting of the waters."
-Henry Drummond, "Inherit the Wind"
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16-05-2012, 04:48 PM
RE: On "Circular Reasoning"
(16-05-2012 12:25 PM)DeistPaladin Wrote:  Zephony just posted a good thread compiling and explaining some of the attempts at logical arguments that apologists frequently offer. One of them is the TAG argument, which employs the following assumption about our use of logic:

from Zeph's thread :
Quote:In the case of TAG, we start with logic, reason, and knowledge. It's argued that our logic is inherently circular (we use logic to create a hypothesis and then (dis)prove that hypothesis with logic). Therefore, we must conclude God is the source of our logic in order to avoid an infinite regress.
I've seen a similar line of reasoning with prepositional apologetics. It seems to me, and those more knowledgeable of philosophy can correct me here because I'm asking, that this is a distortion of what circular logic really is. As I understand it, circular reasoning is where the conclusion being proven is also in the premise. "Circular reasoning works because circular reasoning works."
Quote:
  1. Premises in which the truth of the conclusion is claimed or the truth of the conclusion is assumed (either directly or indirectly).
  2. Claim C (the conclusion) is true.
The spurious charge of "circular reasoning" seems to make the assumption that the use of any similar process must be circular. For example, reading one book that confirms what another book claims is not necessarily circular, especially if there were different case studies, tests, research, etc. that are cited in the confirming source. Just because the process of reading a book is similar doesn't itself mean that it's circular reasoning to say what you read in one book confirms what you've read in another.
I would also say it's not circular reasoning when we are speaking of personal preference.
  • Person A: I like strawberry ice cream.
  • Person B: Why?
  • Person A: I just do.
This is not circular reasoning because it's not reasoning of any kind. It's the statement of personal taste.

Actually, we call the example above a "tautology".

I agree with you that logic is not circular reasoning, BUT it does contain axioms --- assumed truths. This is true of literally any worldview; at its base, something has to be assumed. Calling God in to end the "infinite regress" isn't any more logical than ending it with your cat. Using this to prove God rather than your cat does appear to be a statement of personal taste.

The reason that we prefer logical axioms to other assumptions is that these ones work very well at describing how the world works and getting at the truth, and those who throw out logic in favor of a TAG argument are very easy to debate, because you can use literally any argument you like and it can't be thrown out as logically fallacious because the premise of the argument is that logic is presumed useless. I like to use a non-sequitar, such as "Apples are red, therefore God does not exist".

TheoreticalBullshit shoots down TAG far better than I can.





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