Logic And Theism: Arguments For And Against Bel...
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The chief difficulty with criteriological arguments, whether bold ormodest, is that they provide no means for taking into account any otherconsiderations that might weigh against the historical claim inquestion. Intuitively, extreme antecedent improbability ought to carrysome weight in our evaluation of the credibility of a factual claim. Adefender of a criteriological argument might respond that so long asthe bar is set high enough, antecedent improbability will beoverwhelmed by the fact that the event does indeed meet the stipulatedcriteria. But this is a claim that requires argument; and the bolderthe conclusion, the more argument it requires.
Arguments against miracle claims, like arguments in their favor,come in a variety of forms, invoke diverse premises, and have distinctaims. We may distinguish general arguments, designed to show that allmiracle claims are subject in principle to certain failings, fromparticular arguments, designed to show that, whatever may be the casein principle, such miracle claims as have historically been offered areinadequately supported.
Because the field of arguments for miracles is so wide, aconsideration of all of the criticisms that have been leveled againstparticular arguments for miracles would fill many volumes. But fourparticular arguments raised by Hume are sufficiently well known to beof interest to philosophers.
There are two exceptions to this general acquiescence in theevidential value of miracles. First, there is a question regarding theidentity of the cause. If God alone can work miracles, this is easilysettled; but this claim has been a point of contention in thetheological literature, with some writers (Clarke 1719: 305 ff; Trench1847) maintaining that lesser, created spirits may work miracles, whileothers (e.g. Farmer 1771, Wardlaw 1852, Cooper 1876) vigorously denythis. The point is of some interest to the evaluation of arguments formiracles, since as Baden Powell points out, there is adistinction
Have you ever considered a legal career or wondered whether you might be able to think and reason like an attorney If so, you might be interested in Logic and Legal Reasoning! In this class, students will learn to assess the validity and soundness of legal arguments. To do this, students will first acquire competence with some introductory logical concepts before moving on to gain experience with paradigmatic types of legal reasoning. The first kind of legal reasoning that we study in this course involves examining a set of facts before arguing why one rule is more aptly applied to that set of facts than another. The second kind of legal reasoning involves logical analysis of legal interpretation. For the former kind of legal reasoning, students will study a small portion of American property law. For the latter kind of legal reasoning, students will learn to (i) reconstruct arguments from seminal cases in Constitutional law and then (ii) assess those arguments for logical soundness.
What is an argument and what makes for a good one When is one legal case stronger than another What styles of reasoning do lawyers use and how exactly do they use them In this class, we will study the various types of logical reasoning and how to use logic effectively. We'll also look at various famous legal arguments from across different sub-fields of law. Along the way, we'll even spend some time practicing the sort of \"Logic Games\" one would find on the LSAT. This should be an exciting course if you are interested in learning about styles of reasoning, rules of logic, critical thinking, developing focused arguments, reading the law attentively and carefully, famous legal arguments, and logic puzzles.
Should we believe in God The concept of God has been defined in many different ways throughout history, and a wide variety of arguments have been offered for and against believing in such a being. This class will provide an in-depth look at issues such as: possible explanations for the existence and complexity of the world, the nature of morality, the occurrence of apparently gratuitous evils, the role of faith and personal religious experience, and the challenge of religious diversity.
You probably feel that when religious faith expresses itself thus, in the language of the gaming-table, it is put to its last trumps. Surely Pascal's own personal belief in masses and holy water had far other springs; and this celebrated page of his is but an argument for others, a last desperate snatch at a weapon against the hardness of the unbelieving heart. We feel that a faith in masses and holy water adopted willfully after such a mechanical calculation lack the inncr soul of faith's reality; and if we were of the Deity, we should probably take pleasure in cutting off believers from their infinite reward. It is evident that unless there be some pre-existing tendency to believe in masses and holy water, the option offered to the will by Pascal is not a living option. Certainly no Turk ever took to masses and holy water on its account; and even to us Protestants these seem such foregone impossibilities that Pascal's logic, invoked for them specifically, leaves us unmoved. As well might the Mahdi write to us, saying, \" I am the Expected One whom God has created in his effulgence. You shall be infinitely happy if you confess me; otherwise you shall be cut off from the light of the sun. Weigh, then, your infinite gain if I am genuine against your finite sacrifice if I am not! \" His logic would be that of Pascal; but he would vainly use it on us, for the hypothesis he offers us is dead. No tendency to act on it exists in us to any dcgree.
It is only our already dead hypotheses that our willing nature is unable to bring to life again. But what has made them dead for us is for the most part a previous action of our willing nature of an antagonistic kind. When I say 'willing nature,' I do not mean only such deliberate volitions as may have set up habits of belief that we cannot now escape from,--I mean all such factors of belief as fear and hope, prejudice and passion, imitation and partisanship, the circumpressure of our caste and set. As a matter of fact we find ourselves believing, we hardly know how or why. Mr. Balfour gives the name of 'authority' to all those influences, born of the intellectual climate, that make hypotheses possible or impossible for us, alive or dead. Here in this room, we all of us believe in molecules and the conservation of energy, in democracy and necessary progress, in Protestant Christianity and the duty of fighting for 'the doctrine of the immortal Monroe,' all for no reasons worthy of the name. We see into these matters with no more inner clearness, and probably with much less, than any disbeliever in them might possess. His unconventionality would probably have some grounds to show for its conclusions; but for us, not insight, but the prestige of the opinions, is what makes the spark shoot from them and light up our sleeping magazines of faith. Our reason is quite satisfied, in nine hundred and ninety-nine cases out of every thousand of us, if it can find a few arguments that will do to recite in case our credulity is criticised by some one else. Our faith is faith in some one else's faith, and in the greatest matters this is most the case. Our belief in truth itself, for instance, that there is a truth, and that our minds and it are made for each other,--what is it but a passionate affirmation of desire, in which our social system backs us up We want to have a truth; we want to believe that our experiments and studies and discussions must put us in a continually better and better position towards it; and on this line we agree to fight out our thinking lives. But if a pyrrhonistic sceptic asks us how we know all this, can our logic find a reply No! certainly it cannot. It is just one volition against another,--we willing to go in for life upon a trust or assumption which he, for his part, does not care to make.
Now, let us consider what the logical elements of this situation are in case the religious hypothesis in both its branches be really trne. (Of course, we must admit that possibility at the outset. If we are to discuss the question at all, it must involve a living option. If for any of you religion be a hypothesis tbat cannot, by any living possibility be true, then you need go no farther. I speak to the 'saving remnant' alone.) So proceeding, we see, first that religion offers itself as a momentous option. We are supposed to gain, even now, by our belief, and to lose by our nonbelief, a certain vital good. Secondly, religion is a forced option, so far as that good goes. We cannot escape the issue by remaining sceptical and waiting for more light, because, although we do avoid error in that way if religion be untrue, we lose the good, if it be true, just as certainly as if we positively chose to disbelieve. It is as if a man should hesitate indefinitely to ask a certain woman to marry him because he was not perfectly sure that she would prove an angel after he brought her home. Would he not cut himself off from that particular angel-possibility as decisively as if he went and married some one else Scepticism, then, is not avoidance of option; it is option of a certain particular kind of risk. Better risk loss of truth than chance of error,-that is your faith-vetoer's exact position. He is actively playing his stake as much as the believer is; he is backing the field against the religious hypothesis, just as the believer is backing the religious hypothesis against the field. To preach scepticism to us as a duty until 'sufficient evidence' for religion be found, is tantamount therefore to telling us, when in presence of the religious hypothesis, that to yield to our fear of its being error is wiser and better than to yield to our hope that it may be true. It is not intellect against all passions, then; it is only intellect with one passion laying down its law. And by what, forsooth, is the supreme wisdom of this passion warranted Dupery for dupery, what proof is there that dupery through hope is so much worse than dupery through fear I, for one, can see no proof; and I simply refuse obedience to the scientist's command to imitate his kind of option, in a case where my own stake is important enough to give me the right to choose my own form of risk. If religion be true and the evidence for it be still insufficient, I do not wish, by putting your extinguisher upon my nature (which feels to me as if it had after all some business in this matter), to forfeit my sole chance in life of getting upon the winning side,--that chance depending, of course, on my willingness to run the risk of acting as if my passional need of taking the world religiously might be prophetic and right. 59ce067264