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Christian Tractatus

(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)


By reason, I mean the deduction of conclusions from initial premises (propositions) using the rules of logic. To provide knowledge of the world, these premises must be based on experience.

  1. A distinction is to be drawn between a priori propositions & self-evident1 propositions. A priori propositions are prior to all observation of the (or any possible) world, describing how the world (allegedly) must be. Self evident propositions are those most fundamental propositions for which no further justification can be found. A self evident proposition is a response to the world, whereas an a priori proposition is a prescription for the world though often masquerading as a response to it. An individual's set of self-evident propositions forms (to quote Richard Rorty) his final vocabulary.
  2. There is only one logic2 or method of reasoning. Since logic is basic to argument and to thought, it is not possible to for or argue against a system of logic other than that commonly received. It is also difficult to imagine what an alternative system of logic would be like.
  3. Systems of knowledge, such as mathematics3, that are based on axioms and subsequent reasonings, do not constitute knowledge of the world, but may be used as models or pictures of the world.
  4. Similarly, as has been explained above, a priori theology is not necessarily true of the world, and its "proofs" are unsound when they assert allegedly necessary statements of fact. Theologies are models of the world, and whether or not they have any application outside themselves can only be determined by inspection of the world.
  5. We must distinguish between sense and reference4. An idea may have sense, in that we understand what it means, but have no reference, in that there is nothing corresponding to it in the world. Classic examples of ideas with sense but no reference are unicorns and fairies (though there is more sense to the concept of a unicorn than to that of a fairy, in that we can better analyse what a unicorn would be like if it existed (by analogy with a horse) than we can a fairy).
  6. The idea of a game5 is also useful in picturing or modelling the world.




Note last updated Reference for this Topic Parent Topic
12/08/2007 10:17:46 208 (Reason) Empirical Knowledge

Summary of Note Links from this Page

Reason - Game Reason - Logic Reason - Mathematics Reason - Self-Evidence Reason - Sense & Reference

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Summary of Note Links to this Page

Empirical Knowledge        

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