TAG: Precariously Straddling the Horns of a Nasty Dilemma
Premise 1A: “If knowledge then God”
Premise 2A: “knowledge”
Conclusion A: “therefore God”
Premise 1B: “Logic”
Premise 2B: “If not-Christianity then not-Logic”
Conclusion B: “therefore Christianity”
In my 18 May comment to this blog of Bolt’s (see also here), I gave reasons – reasons gleaned from relevant literature sympathetic to presuppositionalism – for suspecting that the circularity of the TAG argument is hidden from view, particularly when the focus is trained exclusively on the bare models which Chris has presented. The models which Chris has presented are carefully constructed to keep their inherent circularity (and other problems) safely out of view.
That is why I raised the issue of soundness versus validity of an argument as well as questions about how Premise 1A and Premise 2B are supported. To accept the conclusion of either argument, both premises of either argument must be demonstrably true.
So far as I have seen throughout this discussion, Chris has made no attempt to demonstrate the truth of his argument’s premises.
I suspect, strongly I might add, that as we examine the individual cases for the controversial premises of these arguments (namely Premise 1A and Premise 2B above), that circular logic will be uncovered. It is for this reason that I think Chris resists presenting support for the premises of his two argument models. I suspect this is the reason why he also resists interacting with my comments. If I’m wrong on this, it’s up to Chris to show us that I’m wrong and where I’m wrong.
It is in the interest of settling once and for all the question of whether or not TAG is *ultimately* circular that I asked Chris to state for the record whether or not he thinks knowledge and logic presuppose the existence of the Christian god.
It seems that the only alternatives here are
i) yes, knowledge and logic do presuppose the existence of the Christian god, andii) no, knowledge and logic do not presuppose the existence of the Christian god.
Neither alternative seems to bode well for the presuppositionalist position. Consider:
If on the one hand knowledge and logic presuppose the existence of the Christian god, then Premise 1A and Premise 2B contain elements which assume the truth of their respective Conclusions A and B (the existence of the Christian god, or the truth of Christian theism, which assumes the existence of the Christian god), and thus the two models of TAG which Chris has presented are by definition circular.
If on the other hand knowledge and logic turn out not to presuppose the existence of the Christian god, then knowledge and logic are at best presuppositionally neutral, perhaps even anti-theistic (as I have argued on my website - see for example here and here). Since presuppositionalism insists that neutrality is a form of self-deception, I’m guessing that Chris would not affirm this horn of the dilemma. But then he’s faced with affirming the ultimate circularity of TAG.
It is because of this dilemma, and Van Til’s adamant rejection of presuppositional neutrality, that the apologetic master rejected the latter alternative and stated explicitly that he would “prefer to reason in a circle to not reasoning at all” (A Survey of Christian Epistemology, p. 12).
So, Chris, how do you untangle this mess?
I’m glad these aren’t my problems.
by Dawson Bethrick