View Single Post
Old 10-06-2008, 01:42 AM   #7
Samuel Dravis
Samuel Dravis's Avatar
Status: Moderator
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,973
Originally Posted by Litofsky View Post
So, his logic fits his views?
Yes, but he probably didn't choose that view, which is why I said he wasn't lying. It most likely grew out of his study with Cornelius Van Til, a man who had similar views. A teacher often has a powerful effect on the views of his students. My problem with Bahnsen is that he attempts to say that his view is The View - an objective view, one above or below all others. I disagree with that mainly because I don't see how it's possible to have such a view. Only God could be said to be objective in that way; no man is an island, cut off from every influence.

So, before we argue, we assume that certain notions or ideas are true? That makes sense: if you don't have an initial platform, you can't argue from there. However, I wonder where we developed these initial ideas from (i.e., 'what is logic?') at times.
We can't assume they are true, since they can't be false. Perhaps a better way to think of it is that you have to speak English in order to be understood by someone who speaks only English.

If you're asking how we came to use logical laws, I imagine it was because we found a use for the varieties of expression they provide, or wanted a more general system that combined several systems with smaller scopes. That's what prompted the growth of logic within the last 150 years, with Frege, Russel and other innovations like set theory in mathematics. It's pretty useful to have ways to formulate arguments which force your opponent to agree with you.

But the truths of logic would be entirely dependent upon one's viewpoint, would they not? Relying on my previous idea (that we shape logic to our opinions), would not reason be a point of view?
I'm not sure what you mean by entirely dependent. Yes, I agree that the particular terminology we might use is dependent on our viewpoint, but if we use the same methods we should be free from subjectivity as far as meaning goes. Indeed, it's essential that logic should be free from subjectivity; if it wasn't it would be logic. That's just part of what it logic is... but you will remember that I am not an independent observer; I am human, after all. "That is just part of what logic is" shows what I have learned of the use of the word within the context of my language and my life. I couldn't be wrong about it, if that's what you're asking, in the same way I couldn't be wrong about the fact that my name here is Samuel Dravis-- but someone else might know differently.

To say that being reasonable is just a point of view is in some cases appropriate and others not. For example, I could understand it if you said that in the context of seeing an insane person raving about something imaginary, and you'd say, "See that man? He thinks he's reasonable, but that's just his point of view." And I would agree: "Yeah, he's a bit crazy."

But if you were to say, then, that our being reasonable was just a point of view: "What if we're like him, not reasonable and we don't even know it? How can we justify saying that we're reasonable?" I'd have to dismiss your speculation. Why? Because it simply demonstrates a misunderstanding. In order to say this, you have to learn the use of the word "reasonable." A necessary part of learning the use of the word is learning the contexts in which it is appropriate to say. If the word "reasonable" cannot be applied to us - we who are here talking calmly and normally about this man's illness - then it cannot be applied to anyone, but it's clear from a cursory inspection of the possibilities that it is in fact used and applied to people like us all the time. If you were to insist that, contrary to the natural linguistic usage and everything you'd been taught, we could not be described as reasonable people in this situation, then you'd simply have made a mistake using the word. Some things can't be denied because there literally is no such thing as their denial.

It's interesting when you look at language this way. It seems to wrap itself around us, like quicksand, in a sheathe we cannot escape, always changing and never solid... but really that quicksand is of the thickest concrete and serves as the foundation of our most lasting structures.

"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein

Last edited by Samuel Dravis; 10-06-2008 at 02:36 AM.
Samuel Dravis is offline   you may: quote & reply,