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January 01, 2013


Hi RonH, I think the point I hoped you'd deal with is covered by page 6. If you have an answer to the challenge of the necessity for accounting for the preconditions for knowledge maybe you could elaborate. Since your next post seems to leave room for a metaphysical view, I may be suprised. However if you continue to demand physical proofs for things that do not register to sense perception, you fit my characterization whether you want to accept it or not.


My take on

accounting for the preconditions for knowledge
depends on what you mean by 'knowledge'. So?

I suppose I leave room for a metaphysical view. Sure why not. But my issue was with your description of me as 'committed to a worldview'. I don't consider not believing Christianity a worldview and I am not committed to that anyway. How about you? Committed?


"depends on what you mean by 'knowledge'. So?"

Start with intelligibility. What is necessary for knowing things...anything. Do you not see Cheungs point that if a mind is blank, sensory input is just noise. The categories or forms if you like Plato or Aristotle cannot be derived from the senses, they have to be existing in the mind to know whether you are sensing a thing or an action, or thing or its opposite, or a thing vs. a mirage, and so on and so on.

As far as being committed, yes I am. Everyone is, so I have no hesitation to confess. The thing is, having a worldview [the Christian worldview] being provided that has coherency with the world as experienced by mankind is a luxury that no other worldview has. I am inclined to see in the scriptures the Word of God, The fact that I see Him and hear Him in them [the scriptures] is not by my own willing, I am just as much a slave to my nature as any unbeliever is also a slave to the devil and the nature with the curse of the fall in full effect. I dont glory in myself, but do the scriptures for their superior message.

Even so, logic is able to be utilized by people committed to any worldview. The challenge is to see if someone is willing to subject their foundations to logical scrutiny for coherency. Admittedly, I am no accomplished philosopher, but standing on the shoulders of some who are and also gifted teachers, the arguments are displayed for any to see....if they only will. Logic the taskmaster is as unforgiving as math as a disclipline, but laden with more personal baggage. If the product of a math problem was as loaded as many logical propositions appeal to, people would probably blurr the rules of math also. Nonetheless, the rules are equally unforgiving.



"It completely ignores...

What is it? (Sye's site?)"

It is the site I relinked to that was given earlier. It ignores what I pointed out it does.

"The question asked is loaded...

What is the question? (Is it What do you believe??)

I just want it to be clear."

Maybe you want to be clear, but the website you pointed to was anything but clear. There is a question asked that pretends to be an essay question, but is actually morphed into a multiple choice questions on the site with button answers provided. Then there is the question of ambiguity blended into the mix. The phrase "absolute truth" is ambiguous and is presented in all four choices. It is left up to the individual to decide what that actually means. This is the reason that I will hurl a charge of a lack of clarity to the whole enterprise of that website. Having pointed us to an unclear website, I will now question your sincerity about wanting things to be clear. If you are on-board with folks who muddle the issue with a lack of clarity, how can I believe that you have a commitment to clarity? When your actions are inconsistent with your words, you have a lot of explaining to do.


I should point out that there is actually a definition given on the site regarding what the author thinks "absolute truth" means. It states that it is "True for all people at all times everywhere". That definition assumes that which I have already pointed out. It is a "truth for", not "truth about" definition and thus, it assumes that the truth is subjective and you can go ahead and assume that something is true about something for someone and false about that same thing for someone else, which effectively leaves us with no proper definition on the site at all. This leaves us back on square one, it is up to each of us to decide what "absolute truth" really means and the means used to arrive at the given definition gives us license to assume that any definition we come up with is legitimate even if it is not properly anchored to reality by giving content in the definition that tackles the issue of "true about". As long as the definition asserts "true for" it is enough to justify the assumption of it being true, even if it is completely divorced from reality. I call that insane logic.

I really like Jim's response. It gets to the heart of the issue, because I think everyone here agrees that it is a non-sequitor, so if this the reason the blogger is giving for being an atheist, then he is hiding the real reason. The question is, what is that reason?

excuse me, if this is the reason...


Jim said the blogger was being 'disingenuous'.

You say he is 'hiding the real reason'.

I'll give an alternative that seems equally possible given what little evidence we have: the blogger has more in mind than what he says.

We don't know what he has in mind.

So, we need to ask something like Why do you say that? before we judge characterize the reasons he's said that he's said.


Hi Brad B,

I found someone has already written what could have been part of a long response from me to you about 'intelligibility' and 'knowledge'.

It's actually something like the passage by Cheung you pointed me to. But humble.

A key phrase you will come to begins, "Your philosophy regarding..."

And, sorry about my glib "haha" of last night.

Thanks for your time.


"Notice that they equate knowledge with certainty. If you’re not certain that some proposition p is true, then you do not know that p. But what justification is there for that assumption? I know that I have a head, for example. But I could be a brain in a vat of chemicals being stimulated by a mad scientist to think that I have a body. Does this mere possibility imply that I do not know that I have a head? If your friends answer, “Yes,” ask them for their justification for thinking that knowledge requires certainty. Anything they say, you can reply to by asking, “Are you certain of that?” If they say, “No,” then they don’t know that knowledge requires certainty. If they say, “Yes,” then it’s not true after all that we can’t know anything about life, the universe, or logic.

Scepticism, ironically, draws its life’s blood from claims to have a good deal of knowledge.

For example, your friends claim to know, “Since every possible option has not been explored, nothing can be said for certain.” That statement is itself a claim to knowledge! (A claim that is patently false, but never mind!)

How do they know that?

Or again, how do they know that “Since nothing can be said for certain, we cannot say that your premisses are absolutely true”? This is a claim to knowledge (again, funnily enough, a false claim, but never mind). Or how about the claim, “If the premisses cannot be proven absolutely true, then there is no reason to believe them”? How do they know that? (Again, this seems patently false, but leave that to the side.)

Where do these sceptics come up with all this knowledge?

And if we cannot know anything about logic, how can they reason:

1. Since every possible option has not been explored, nothing can be said for certain.

2. Since nothing can be said for certain, all of the premises that you pose may seem true to us, but we cannot say they are absolutely true.

3. If they cannot be proven absolutely true, then there is no reason to believe them.

That looks to me for all the world like the premisses for the logical inference form called Hypothetical Syllogism! But if that inference rule is not true, then no conclusion follows from (1-3) and we have no reason to doubt my original argument.

The fundamental problem with scepticism is that it presupposes that in order to know p, you must know that you know p. But if I can know some truth without knowing how it is that I know it, then the nerve of scepticism is severed. The sceptic actually is making a very radical claim, for which he cannot provide any justification without pulling the rug from beneath his own feet.

Scepticism is thus strangely presumptuous and self-defeating. It relies on our having knowledge of some very non-obvious claims. The sceptic cannot provide any justification of those claims, lest his view becomes self-referentially incoherent; yet without them his scepticism collapses, for then my lack of certainty does not imply that I have a lack of knowledge." (William Lane Craig)

Hi RonH, the link did not go through for me, would like to see your reference. I appreciate the willingness to delve into this further than it seemed it was, [I was going to ask "was it all funny or just one particular thing" ;~)]

scbrownlhrm, had me going there for a while. I didn't know you were quoting W.L. Craig til the end. Craigs words, not to dismiss him, are just as legitimate for Christians if they dont ultimately know in Whom their trust should rest. If a Christian grounds their faith in natural proofs, or arguments derived from anything but the Word of God, they're subject to the same end point...namely scepticism because the problem of induction applies to everyone. Craig's point seems to want to lower the standard of what is "knowledge" by saying certainty shouldn't be part of the equation. We can trust logic because it is grounded in God, the Eternal Logos, if we practice logic soundly, the conclusion is certain.


Why not just provide a link?

(BTW, my previous link was bad. Go here.)

Craig says

And if we cannot know anything about logic, how can they reason...

So, what does it mean to know something about logic?

Well, here is something about logic: In classical logic, the hypothetical syllogism is an AXIOM that establishes implication as transitive.

No doubt, this axiom is introduced because implication often seems transitive in natural language - so often that it may seem to be TRUE.*

Language is basic to us. Very very basic. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between talk conventions and metaphysics. I think this might be why Craig seems to think, for example, that it is SO very easy to see that the hypothetical syllogism is TRUE.* (I think this is the basis of TAG.)

Then again, maybe he talks this way for apologetic purposes; it's his job to shore up your faith in sophisticated sounding ways. (His own faith gets a boost too.)


* Transitive implication:

I was a baby Feb 6, 1957.

If I was a baby Feb 6, 1957, then I was a baby Feb 13, 1957.
If I was a baby Feb 13,1957, then I was a baby Feb 20, 1957.
If I was a baby last Tuesday, then I am a baby today.

Therefore, I'm a baby today.

“…….the grounding objection seems to assume a particular theory about the relationship of truth and reality. The theory presupposed by the grounding objection appears to be a certain construal or version of a view of truth as correspondence which has come to be known as the theory of truth–makers. During the realist revival in the early years of the twentieth century various philosophers turned their attention to the question of the ontology of truth. Logical Atomists such as Russell and Wittgenstein thought that in addition to truth–bearers, whether these be sentences, thoughts, propositions, or what have you, there must also be entities in virtue of which such sentences and/or propositions are true. Various names were employed for these entities, such as "facts" or "states of affairs." Among contemporary philosophers they have come to be known as "truth–makers."

A truth–maker is typically defined as that in virtue of which a sentence and/or a proposition is true. According to Peter Simons, "Truth–maker theory accepts the role of something which makes a proposition true, that is, whose existence suffices for the proposition to be true. But it does not automatically pronounce on the ontological category of the truth–maker." "Indeed," he insists, "anything whatever is a truth–maker."

But historically the orthodox view has identified truth–makers with such abstract realities as facts or states of affairs–more often than not, the fact stated as a proposition's truth condition, as disclosed by the disquotation principle. Thus, what makes the statement "Al Plantinga is an avid rock–climber" true is the fact that Al Plantinga is an avid rock–climber or the state of affairs of Al Plantinga's being an avid rock–climber.

Now we immediately see the potentially misleading connotations of the term "truth–maker" for such entities. For making sounds like a causal relation between a truth–bearer and some concrete object, but truth–maker theorists are quite clear that the relation is by no means causal. An entity a makes a proposition p true if and only if that a exists entails that p. That truth–makers are usually conceived to be such abstract entities as facts or states of affairs underlines the point that a causal relation is not at issue here.

That the relation between a truth–maker and a truth–bearer is not causal is especially evident if we require truth–makers for negative existential statements like "Baal does not exist." According to Kevin Mulligan, Peter Simons, and Barry Smith, "Not only Wittgenstein, but indeed almost all other philosophers who have investigated the relation of making true, have felt compelled in the face of the problems raised by negative propositions to adopt an ontology of truth makers as special, non–objectual entities having a complexity which is essentially logical." Obviously a fact like Baal's non–existence, which is sufficient for the truth that Baal does not exist, is not a cause of anything…….” (William Lane Craig)

Brad B’s referenced paper brings it along one more step:

“For Augustine as for Plato, the Forms are eternal and immutable archetypes or patterns of reality. And insofar as all visible things participate in and with the Forms by imitating them, Forms may be understood as the exemplary cause of all things, and indeed as the foundation of all reality. Augustine regarded these Forms as eternally subsisting in the mind of God, and viewed them as “principle forms or stable and unchangeable essences of things. They are themselves not formed, and they are eternal and always in the same state because they are contained in God’s intelligence. They neither come into being nor do they pass away, but everything that can or does come into being and pass away is formed in accordance with them.”

Materialism uses Logic, as Brad B notes, so long as it serves its ends, but once Logic reveals that Materialism cannot Know anything (as RonH’s referenced paper eludes to in that sensory input can and does mislead and in fact all sets of falling dominos cannot be said to follow truth or anything at all but only paths of resistance) it dumps Logic’s Necessary derivative, the everlasting uncaused free lunch, and therein forfeits Knowledge. “That you do know things doesn't mean that you don’t need foundations, it means that you deny the source of the preconditions and use them [either steal or borrow, you choose which] to hide the philosophically beggarly and vacuous worldview you own.” (Brad B)

Immutable Archetypes and Triune Patters of Reality are perpetually slicing up the skies above our heads as well as the skins in which we live, and even the We and the I which live in said skins beneath said skies. Logic is no taskmaster to Materialism within a pure Materialism for Materialism void of God must make of Logic a servant and thereby descends into nonsense, though fortunately Epistemology itself and Ontology itself both betray triune archetypes which neither come into being nor pass away and therein rescue Materialism in provision of that which it claims to seek yet perpetually denies: the everlasting uncaused free lunch which material but reflects.

Why do you do this?
Please. Put a link!


"…….the grounding objection seems to assume a particular theory about the relationship of truth and reality."

You are right,but RonH likes floating anchors. He ties things to the whims of human fancy, which is ever changing like the ocean waves and tides and the winds that blow above. So, when his ship runs aground, he knows not who to blame since he is convinced that if it looks like an anchor the fact that it floats like a life-preserver is irrelevant.


Please don't take offense to the following question because I don't mean it disparagingly; I ask out of genuine curiosity--why do you frequent these blog pages? Is it merely for conversation or do you have an ultimate goal in mind?

I ask because you seem to be someone who clearly is convinced that Christianity is an incorrect worldview; your posts exhibit no trace of someone who is trying to get a grasp on the veracity of Christianity for the purpose of making a decision on trusting Christ. Rather, you appear to just seem content with being the resident atheist/agnostic on an apologetic website.

If my assessment is incorrect, I apologize, but if it is incorrect, then that is why I asked my original question. Why are you here, what is your goal, what is your motivation?

Thank you and God bless!

John M

I've continued to improve & learn due to RonH's company.

Hi RonH, did you link to W.L.Craigs piece on the grounding problem regarding middle knowledge for any particular reason or just to make the point to scblhrm about linking? Molinism is not biblical in the first place, its grounding problem is not even worth considering since it is patently false as an option to account for creaturly free acts and how they relate to mans responsibility.

btw...I will second scblhrm 1-8-13 3:25 comment. Also, the apostle Paul, a well educated and knowledgeable foe was far more of an antagonist to Christians and argued according to a false foundational principle until God gave eyes to see and ears to hear. We can only hope God has similar plans for it appears the new STR man J. Warner Wallace's testimony affirms is a possibility.

So, I worked through the linked page that was first referenced to further the discussion about preconditions of intelligibility. The problem is that the person in the dark room already possesses categories to reason logically with. My challenge from Cheungs e-book is where does the categories of rockness, chairness, throwing, meaning, sound, time, cause and effect, doorness, etc... come from?

Last, I dont think your example of transitive implication is really taking the roof off as you suppose--it's not faithful. It seems to me that the hypothetical syllogism allows for a logical chain that must necessarily follow from each prior proposition and the transitory nature regards linking propositions, but it has to account for time if time changes the subject, which in your example time does change the subject. Maybe this is your point about word games, but it just isn't faithful to logic.

It seems in the first quote of WLC and in the second quote from WLC there is some utility, not with those quotes specifically, but to the light they cast on the current thread here (not there inside those quotes). The first shows us that the skeptic stands in self-contradiction, for he claims, uses, applies, and stands on knowledge, and also makes truth-claims on knowing, yet he cannot affirm certainty. Even short of the standard of God this makes clear that the skeptic knows things, claims to know things, uses logic and knowing-things, and so forth, and all without certainty. Now, this only shows us that Logic is his Free Lunch, and that is a bridge (at a later point) to Brad B’s testimony that the skeptic does know things, only, he cannot account for Logic for it is, in the fashion he uses it, Pre-Material and so the skeptic cannot account for such, and he even contradicts himself for he cannot claim certainty though he clearly claims to know things and thus the skeptic himself defeats himself. In our second quote of WLC we see a window into what a Free Lunch just is. The Uncreated does not “cause to be” just everything. By that we mean Himself, or, Logic, or, the Triune fabric of Epistemology and of Ontology, for those things are the Everywhere and Always, and thus have no cause. Eventually all philosophy comes to such a Hard Stop, such an Uncaused, such an Everlasting Free Lunch which is by definition Free for it is that which IS, the I-AM, and so forth. Materialism is hopeless for Logic must be its servant and thus Nonsense ensues. Simple Immaterialism is no better for such says exactly nothing and attempts to stand on knowledge and truth-claims about knowing while playing the agnostic's cannot-know. Theism is better. Triune Vectors are best of all. Immutable Archetypes and Triune Patters of Reality are perpetually slicing up the skies above our heads as well as the skins in which we live, and even the We and the I which live in said skins beneath said skies. Epistemology itself and Ontology itself both betray triune archetypes which neither come into being nor pass away: such are not caused-to-be, but are Uncaused. Regarding any philosophy or theology which secretly charges God with what God openly charges Man and thus makes of God a liar, well such is another topic for another OP. Molinism is for all we know insanity; such was not the point pro or con.

Brad B,

To save the OBVIOUS TRUTH of the hypothetical syllogism, you want to exclude the propositions in my example based on their membership in a certain class: "time does change the subject".

But what is that class exactly?

Is it the only class you need to exclude?

Can we identify all members of all excluded classes by some test?

Or, do we have to wait for each failure of the hypothetical syllogism?


Hi RonH, unless I'm misunderstanding your claim, to wit; that there is something fallacious about transititive implication within the operation of hypothetical syllogisms, I think it is obvious that if you change a paramater, or cause an equivocation of terms, you have changed the validity of the hypothetical syllogism. In the case you used, you equivocate on you as a baby and you as an adult, not accounting for the passage of time. [same sense, same time, same relationship]

Maybe you have another example that will shed light on this for me..or a reference, or url/link to a site?

Brett's response is now posted.

As I said, the transitivity of implication (TI) is axiomatic in classical logic.

So, by definition, it can't be fallacious (in classical logic).

My example was intended to make you doubt on whether TI is 'TRUE' - whether it governs the world.

Let's call this proposition X

"I was a baby Feb 6, 1957"

X is a perfectly good proposition. For example it could be substituted for A or B here

If A then B
Therefore B

Or (sometimes) here

If A implies B and B implies C, then A implies C.

But (as you pointed out) we need to supervise classical logic sometimes. We have to manually exclude X from my example - and probably lots of other places too.

TI is not unique in this regard. Take the law of non-contradiction comes. Symbolically, it's written

not(P and not-P)
That's IT. Done. Perfect. But it's just MATH.

When we come out of symbolic logic and into natural language - which is an attempt to bring the LNC into the world - we need to supervise. We begin by stating the LNC this way

Contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time.

Furthermore, we have no law for determining what 'same sense' and 'same time' mean. Supervision must be done case by case. Some 'law'.

The LNC, like TI and the rest of logic requires constant supervision and governs nothing but symbols. My example was intended to make this plausible to you.

The situation is the same for physical 'laws' and theories. They express models. The govern nothing (as far as we can tell).


Volition constrains Logic.

One cannot live without the other. Multiple Perfect Fronts within one Whole.

Logic constrains Volition.

One cannot live without the other. Multiple Perfect Fronts within one Whole.

If Volition is but psychic phosphorescence following paths of resistance, there is no volition, nor logic. No “manually”. No “supervision”. None at all. Zero Perfect Fronts. Only falling dominoes. The Hard Stop for the Materialist is therein the Nonsense decreed by Cascading Dominoes, Reverberating Photons, all Unsighted.

It is not just Love, but Logic.

It is not just Logic, but Love.

Logic and Love bring us to the End of all ad infinitums.

Tis the fool who turns his back on Logic.

Tis the fool who turns his back on Love.

Wisdom's Sighted Volition spreads His arms wide, and by Love, in Love, of Love, He pours Himself out.

John M,


It's an interesting question. There are multiple ways of looking at it and your question prompted me to look a some of them over the past few days.

However, it's not the topic here - at least,not under this post. You asked very nicely, so I'm sorry. But I'm not going there.



I bet that's you and not WLC. Right?


Another view may be something along these lines:

Man with volition notes a circle in which he observes three square rocks.

Words come to the fore and declare, "Circles have 3-Square rocks" and this is by Man's Volition as he by volition both swallows and vomits Words.

Thus Logic spoke a truth, though not the whole truth.

Man at a later time notes a Child who takes one square rock out of said Circle.

Words come to the fore and declare, "Circles have 3-Square rocks [Unless]/[Until] the thing called Child removes 1 rock. In all cases of said Unless/Until, Circles have 2-Square rocks."

Thus Logic spoke a truth, a different truth, though not the whole truth.

Now, to observe this on-going process of Man and Logic and Volition and Words and try to assert that Man is here steering Logic, rather than Sighted Logic simply widening the window, is a non-truth. Man here did exactly No-Thing to Truth. Truth here did exactly Every-Thing to Man and Man's Words; though not quite Every-Thing for Man we find by Volition can both restrain and permit Truth's stubborn bombardments. Enter Lie’s Will. Logic is here found beyond the Man, just as, the Man's volition to so adjust his Words is found both stubbornly intact as its own force and also stubbornly constrained.

Volition constrains Logic.
Logic constrains Volition.

By Volition Logic walks through either an Entrance or an Exit. Swallow. Vomit. Truth. Lie.
By Logic Volition is unmasked as True. Lie's Will here enters. Cascading dominoes here exit.

We find Material here indebted to Logic, and not the other way around.

We find Material here indebted to Volition, and not the other way around.

We find Material here indebted to Words and not the other way around.

We find Man here composed of all Three Strong Vectors. Know. Will. Word.

All manifest Corporeal. End infinite regress. Eternal Language. Immutable Semantics.


Tis the fool who turns his back on Word's Corporeal, high on that Hill.

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