Is Philosophy a weaker form of argumentation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I asked the atheist on the page why Aristotle should be rejected. Well, he wrote over 2,000 years ago and we have learned a lot since then. Surely we have, but what have we learned that disproved his arguments? In response to that, his arguments are philosophical and cannot be proven.
This is a rather strange argument. For one thing, it’s a philosophical argument (Which means by its own standards it’s unproven) that says that we shouldn’t accept a philosophical argument that can’t be proven. Second, it is quite likely that this is a person who would choose to trust in science. Nothing against science, but proof doesn’t not exist in science. Instead, there is extremely high probability. There are some matters that we could say are practically certain, but today’s reigning science could be tomorrow’s junk science.
By the way, that also applies to history, a subject I prefer much more to talk about. In history, our knowledge is inductive as well. There are some matters that are so probable that we say they are practically certain. One such example in my field is that Jesus died by crucifixion.
Actually, if we only believed things in our lives that we could prove, we would believe very little. I don’t know how I could begin to prove to you what I had for breakfast this morning. Now we are getting to the point where you could start wondering if a blog is by me or an AI. How could I prove either one?
There are plenty of things out there that we cannot prove, but we would be crazy to even question those things. I have never been to London, but my Dad has and I know people at the Seminary who have. Now I could say that there are people involved in a grand conspiracy, including the media, to get me to believe that a place called London exists, but that would be crazy. (Although to be fair, the media being involved in a conspiracy in itself is not necessarily crazy.)
Some of you are waiting for me to get to the areas where there is proof. Those areas are logic and mathematics. Actually, both of them are highly philosophical in dealing with abstract objects and things that don’t depend on material reality for their being. Perhaps there is something to that, but that is something to ponder for another blog.
Let’s consider the classic syllogism.
All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man.
Socrates is mortal.
If the premises are true, and they are, and the form is valid, and it is, then the conclusion follows with certainty. There is no getting around it. Consider this.
All cats have six legs.
Scooby-Doo is a cat.
Scooby-Doo has six legs.
In this case, the premises are wrong, but the form is valid. If the premises are true, the conclusion would be.
All men are rational.
Linda is rational.
Linda is a man.
In this case, both premises are true, but unless someone has an odd name for a guy, Linda is not a man. Linda is a woman. The form in this case is not valid. There are invalid and valid syllogisms. The point is simply that if we have good data and good form, we can have conclusions.
Then there is Math. It could be something as simple as 2 + 2 = 4 or Fermat’s Last Theorem. Either way, these are things that can be proven or in some cases, disproven.
Once again, I find it odd the way atheists online interact in talking about proof and neglecting the best areas of proof and placing greatest trust in the areas where there is no proof.
Maybe all men are not rational….
(And I affirm the virgin birth)