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Re: Truthfunctionality & TA's: Bahnsen vs. Frame



Hello everybody.  I've been a lurker on the list for quite awhile,
and find many of the dialogues to be quite thought provoking, if not
at times a little over my head.  Usually if I reread the posts
several times I start getting the picture.  In this case, I am
hoping that people will be able to clarify a few things, as it
appears that people are talking past each other.

For example,

On Tue, 27 Aug 2002, David Byron wrote:

> Aaron grants that the syllogism would be rendered fallacious by
> a denial of its second premise.  So Aaron's strategy is to rebut
> me by arguing that a denial of premise 2 is non-viable.  First,
> he wonders what a denial of 2' would mean.  In the case of the
> Cartesian conundrum, I should think it would mean something like
>
>       "I neither affirm nor doubt that I exist; I'm agnostic on
>       the question of my own reality".
>
> Granting a similar paraphrase, Aaron's strategy leads him to
> assert that in the very act of claiming agnosticism regarding
> one's own existence, one thereby takes a definite stand on that
> very issue.  By citing performative inconsistency at this
> juncture, Aaron thinks he "puts the objection back in business",
> and proceeds to recommend for consideration a revised
> formulation of my syllogism.  But consider Aaron's moves:

Now I'm not altogether sure that Aaron was attempting to revise
David's formulation of the syllogism, but from my reading of
Aaron's original post, it appears that he was attempting to
show that David's formulation would require an infinite
number of such revisions in order to account for the denial of
the granted premise.

>
> First, consider what permits the apologist to assume that the
> very act of claiming agnosticism regarding one's existence
> amounts to taking a definite stand on that very issue?  If the
> antichristian is agnostic *in general* regarding whether or not
> she exists, then she is likewise agnostic *in particular* about
> whether specific acts of withholding (or affirming or denying)
> entail existence. The antichristian (say, a committed Buddhist
> of a certain flavor) would simply swallow the infinite regress
> of appeals to uncertainty, since the antichristian here is *not*
> overtly committed to the view that intentional acts are a
> non-illusory index of actual existence.

Yes, but would it be cogent to do so?  It seems to me that at
this point the antichristian has been reduced to absurdity.  What
does it mean to say, "I am agnostic about my agnosticism regarding
my own existence"?  What about "I am agnostic about my agnosticism
regarding my agnosticism regarding my own existence"?  No matter
how many recursions are inserted into the objection, the "I" is
fatal to the agnostic, is it not?  Does this not make the whole
infinite regress "problem" superfluous?  The very act of asserting
agnosticism regarding *anything* presupposes one's own existence.

>
> To his credit, Aaron doesn't simply take for granted the frame
> of reference in which allegations of performative inconsistency
> make sense.  Aaron recognizes that some monists feel no need to
> hang their hats on a peg of ontic individuality.  For that
> reason, he presses his own argument and discovers its weak
> underbelly: an infinite regress problem.  But then, Aaron's
> "slamming hammer" which "puts the argument back in business"
> ends up offering more crisis than resolution.

I may be mistaken, but I believe that what Aaron was attempting
to do was refute David's formulation.  The objection which was
being "put back in business" was the objection to David's
formulation, not Aaron's, if I read Aaron's post right.  David's
formulation of the TA turns out to be a strawman, or at least
an inadequate formulation of a TA.

So I guess the question remains, can a TA be properly syllogized?
I take it Bahnsen said no.

Neal



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