Self-Attesting Laws of Logic

Discussion on accounting for the laws of logic on comment section of post

Hermonta:

Justin,
The laws of logic/reason are self attesting. There is no needed other rational basis. This is not said that refute the true belief that God is the creator/sustainer of the laws of reason. It simply means that I can be confindent about my epistemology without having a fully worked out ontology.

Let us imagine that someone who grew up in an Islamic country and never had seen/read Bible decided to presuppose an Islamic ontology to be the ontological foundation of the laws of logic. If or when they lost confidence in the Islamic worldview, would they also lose confidence in the laws of logic? The answer is no. The reason is that one does not need a fully worked out and true ontology in order to have confidence in the self attesting rules of reason/logic.

Next, general revelation is the foundation for special revelation. The simple counter to your position is that those who never are introduced to a Bible still know various things and are responsible for knowing things about God; specifically due to the created order (Romans 1) even though they never see a Bible.

Referring to God creating light or anything else that He created as Special Revelation is an abuse of the term. Show me a Reformed Confession, that uses the term in that fashion!

Justin: 

“The laws of logic/reason are self attesting.”

Whether or not they are self attesting, you still need a rational explanation for how we know them. If you deny the God of the Bible, you have no rational explanation. If you deny a revelational epistemology, you’re stuck with an inadequate rationalism, empiricism, or existentialism that not only fail to explain how we know what we know (including the laws of logic), but in fact contradict the very possibility of knowing them at all (as the transcendental argument demonstrates).

If you’re making the claim that you’re aware of an epistemology that explains how we know what we know that does not include divine revelation, then please, provide it here.

“There is no needed other rational basis.”

So there’s no need for an epistemology?

“This is not said that refute the true belief that God is the creator/sustainer of the laws of reason. It simply means that I can be confindent about my epistemology without having a fully worked out ontology.”

And what exactly is your epistemology?

“Let us imagine that someone who grew up in an Islamic country and never had seen/read Bible decided to presuppose an Islamic ontology to be the ontological foundation of the laws of logic.”

First thing to note here is that if they presuppose an Islamic ontology, they are usurping the revelation given through creation, which testifies to the very Godhead of the triune God, and exchanging it for a lie, and at the same time destroying any possible justification for how they can know the laws of logic to begin with.

“If or when they lost confidence in the Islamic worldview, would they also lose confidence in the laws of logic? The answer is no. The reason is that one does not need a fully worked out and true ontology in order to have confidence in the self attesting rules of reason/logic.”

This, I would argue, is clearly false. People hold irrational worldviews all the time, and undercut all epistemological justification for knowing what they know–the laws of logic included.

“Next, general revelation is the foundation for special revelation. The simple counter to your position is that those who never are introduced to a Bible still know various things and are responsible for knowing things about God; specifically due to the created order (Romans 1) even though they never see a Bible.”

I think you missed my point entirely. You state “specifically due to the created order.” Let me ask you, what set that created order into motion? Was it not his very Word spoken? And, if not for that Word, general revelation would not exist.

“Referring to God creating light or anything else that He created as Special Revelation is an abuse of the term. Show me a Reformed Confession, that uses the term in that fashion!”

Are you saying our access to the knowledge that God said “Let their be light,” which set the world into motion, is not special revelation?

Hermonta:

Justin writes: Whether or not they are self attesting, you still need a rational explanation for how we know them. If you deny the God of the Bible, you have no rational explanation. If you deny a revelational epistemology, you’re stuck with an inadequate rationalism, empiricism, or existentialism that not only fail to explain how we know what we know (including the laws of logic), but in fact contradict the very possibility of knowing them at all (as the transcendental argument demonstrates).
—–
Hermonta responds: Oh they are easy to know: every assertion is either consistent with them or meaningless. A better question is how does one not know them. Next, who said anything about denying anything about the God of the Bible? The question has been what must be affirmed as true/binding etc before we can confidently start our inquiry. I do not have to affirm the God of the Bible being the true God in order to investigate which religious claims are true.
—–
Justin writes: If you’re making the claim that you’re aware of an epistemology that explains how we know what we know that does not include divine revelation, then please, provide it here.
——
Hermonta writes: When you reference – “divine revelation” are you excluding General Revelation? If you including General Revelation, I have no idea what you question is. If you are excluding it, then you have to deal with Romans 1 and all the unbeliever is responsible for knowing without ever being introduced to a Bible.
——
Justin writes: So there’s no need for an epistemology?
—-
Hermonta responds: Accepting that which is self attesting is a self explanatory epistemology.
——
Justin writes: And what exactly is your epistemology?
—–
Hermonta responds: The laws of logic are true/binding and whatever works against them being true is false/meaningless.
——
Justin writes: First thing to note here is that if they presuppose an Islamic ontology, they are usurping the revelation given through creation, which testifies to the very Godhead of the triune God, and exchanging it for a lie, and at the same time destroying any possible justification for how they can know the laws of logic to begin with.
——
Hermonta responds: Again having a worked out ontology, true or false, is not necessary to have justification for the laws of logic. That is what self attesting means.
—–
Justin writes: This, I would argue, is clearly false. People hold irrational worldviews all the time, and undercut all epistemological justification for knowing what they know–the laws of logic included.
—–
Hermonta responds: Many people do hold to false worldviews, but such does not undercut the laws of logic because the laws of logic are more basic than the false worldview claims. The proper response to a collapsing worldview is that one needs to find the true worldview and not they they should question the laws of logic/reason.
——
Justin writes: I think you missed my point entirely. You state “specifically due to the created order.” Let me ask you, what set that created order into motion? Was it not his very Word spoken? And, if not for that Word, general revelation would not exist.
——
Hermonta responds: Does one need to know that God spoke the world into existence before one is responsible for knowing what General Revelation says about God and what He requires of us? If you say yes, one needs to know that then everyone who either never has seen the Bible or has never had the Bible explained properly etc, is with excuse and all that comes with that. If the answer is no, then my claim of general revelation does not need Special Revelation to be properly understood is confirmed.
—–
Justin writes: Are you saying our access to the knowledge that God said “Let their be light,” which set the world into motion, is not special revelation?
——
Hermonta responds: I said it was an abuse of the term, and you have not shown any reason to believe otherwise. One learns of how God created through the Bible, which is what the Reformed Confessions claim is Special Revelation.

Justin:

“Hermonta responds: Oh they are easy to know: every assertion is either consistent with them or meaningless.”

I did not ask if they were hard or easy to know; I asked how it is we have knowledge of the laws of logic in the first place. Are you asserting there is no explanation?

“A better question is how does one not know them.”

Easy. God never reveals it to them.

“Next, who said anything about denying anything about the God of the Bible? The question has been what must be affirmed as true/binding etc before we can confidently start our inquiry. I do not have to affirm the God of the Bible being the true God in order to investigate which religious claims are true.”

You’re presupposing some form of neutrality. But Scripture is clear; we are either actively suppressing true religious claims, or we are embracing them. And again, Scripture is clear–for the latter, we must be born again and given new hearts which no longer suppress the truth, but rather embrace it.

Therefore, without knowledge of the God of the Bible, and special revelation (Scripture), in conjunction with a new heart, we will suppress all religious truth and put in its place a false religion.

“When you reference – “divine revelation” are you excluding General Revelation?”

No I am not.

“If you including General Revelation, I have no idea what you question is. If you are excluding it, then you have to deal with Romans 1 and all the unbeliever is responsible for knowing without ever being introduced to a Bible.”

My question is simple…without presupposing the God of Scripture, and being made privy to his Word as found in Scripture, there would be no such thing as a divine revelational epistemology in ones mind, would there? I mean, just look at history until God made himself known through special revelation; not a single philosopher came to the conclusion that we get our knowledge from a divine creator.

And if a divine revelational epistemology is inaccessible without Scripture, then those without Scripture have an irrational worldview, and cannot therefore account how they know the laws of logic themselves, nor how they can exist, etc.

“Accepting that which is self attesting is a self explanatory epistemology.”

Again, you’re confusing the laws of logic with the knowledge of those laws. Are the laws of logic self-attesting? Of course. But how we know those laws–or anything at all–isn’t. Hence the whole study of epistemology in the first place; the propositions that describe the laws of logic aren’t somehow abstract from ones epistemology. The knowledge of them needs to be accounted for as well.

“The laws of logic are true/binding and whatever works against them being true is false/meaningless.”

Again, that’s not an epistemology. That’s ontology. That truth could exist without us ever knowing it.

“Again having a worked out ontology, true or false, is not necessary to have justification for the laws of logic. That is what self attesting means.”

Self-attesting simply means the laws of logic are evidently real and need no argument for their reality. That is completely separate than the question regarding how we can know anything at all, nor how they exist in the first place. Whatever epistemology you choose to explain it, save for divine revelation, will collapse on itself.

“Hermonta responds: Many people do hold to false worldviews, but such does not undercut the laws of logic because the laws of logic are more basic than the false worldview claims.”

Again, you’re confusing ontology with epistemology (which you seem to continue to do).

I never said false worldviews undercut the laws of logic themselves; I said it simply makes them irrational most fundamentally, since the very things they claim contradict the possibility of a rational universe (i.e. a logical universe).

“The proper response to a collapsing worldview is that one needs to find the true worldview and not they they should question the laws of logic/reason.”

It’s those very laws that point to the God found in Scripture, without which, such laws make absolutely no sense…indeed, reality itself makes no sense apart from Scripture.

“Hermonta responds: Does one need to know that God spoke the world into existence before one is responsible for knowing what General Revelation says about God and what He requires of us? If you say yes, one needs to know that then everyone who either never has seen the Bible or has never had the Bible explained properly etc, is with excuse and all that comes with that. If the answer is no, then my claim of general revelation does not need Special Revelation to be properly understood is confirmed.”

The truths communicated through general revelation are properly understood in themselves, enough to make the receiver of those truths without excuse. But the God who created “into nothing” is a necessary truth we need to embed what we get from general revelation into a coherent worldview, and that truth is found in Scripture alone.

“Hermonta responds: I said it was an abuse of the term, and you have not shown any reason to believe otherwise. One learns of how God created through the Bible, which is what the Reformed Confessions claim is Special Revelation.”

Special revelation is the divine Word of God being spoken in propositional form to human beings, and that is only found in Scripture. God does not speak literal words through general revelation; he does that in Scripture, and he did it when he created the world. General revelation is a result of his spoken, literal Word…a literal Word we have in Scripture, not general revelation.

Greg: 

Justin says of Hermonta: :Again, you’re confusing the laws of logic with the knowledge of those laws. “
Yes, this is very key right here. A thing I have been thus far unable to successfully get from my mind into Hermonta’s, by which I intend NO insult whatsoever. He keeps telling me the “that” and I keep asking him the “why”.
And
“Again, you’re confusing ontology with epistemology (which you seem to continue to do).”
The reverse of what he was alleging of me. Confusing epistemology with ontology.

Ya know what I’ve found? Almost nobody knows what epistemology is. Not the average lobotomized post modern Joe six pack and not even those with some learning who’ve heard the word and claim to.

AND, scientists are the very least likely of all to have any idea and the more educated they are the less likely they are to have a clue. I’ve had this debate with numerous mufti lettered scientists of various types. Though highly intelligent and impressively capable in their chosen disciplines, they have in my experience to a man, never ONCE had it dance across their consciousness to question WHY 2+2=4.

Justin: 

Greg,

Exactly. I am not arguing that the laws of logic aren’t self-attesting, and they need to be argued for in the mind of a skeptic. Indeed, if one says they need an argument for the law of contradiction’s validity, they are in effect validating the law simply by requesting “proof.”

My point is, given those laws of logic that clearly exist, how is it possible that we know them at all? Is that knowledge accessible without God giving us that knowledge? And if so, are you asserting a reality that exists outside of God wherein accessible knowledge dwells, that we can go “to and fro” in our efforts to collect that knowledge? If so, then you need to avoid the very same pitfalls all the other epistemological theories run into (rationalism, empiricism, existentialism, etc.). If not, then you would be asserting a divine revelational epistemology as the means by which we can know the laws of logic, and if that’s what you’re asserting, then anyone who knows those laws without acknowledging the very source of that knowledge–God himself who reveals it to us–then you are fundamentally stuck with an irrational, self-defeating worldview, which crumples under the very weight of your own knowledge of the laws of logic.

Therefore, presupposing the God of Scripture is necessary to construct a worldview that is rational and sees reality for what it is…the expression of God’s mind INTO (not from) nothing. And that epistemology is inaccessible without Scripture. It follows, then, that Scripture–the source of our rational basis for how we know what we know–is to be the very authority by which our own fallen, corrupt, rebellious reasoning must fall into subjection to.

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