Argument from properly basic beliefs

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Argument from properly basic beliefs

Postby sepia » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:42 am

Here are some of my thoughts on people, who appeal to properly basic beliefs. With enough sources I think one could also create a wiki-article on the topic.

In order to defend his moral argument, William Lane Craig advices his disciples to tell the sceptic, that everyone already believes in objective moral values:

In that sense, rather than get into an argument with someone over a premiss he already believes, it is better simply to ask him, “Do you believe (2)?” If he does, then the only point of contention is (1).

Read more: ... z2X82HJxiJ

Because this is said to be a properly basic belief. Craig also sometimes appeals to "intuitive knowledge" and "knowing deep down in our heart", which seems to be related to properly basic beliefs.

However the idea, that such beliefs are justified ("warrented") goes back to Alvin Plantinga, who proposes a religious reliabilism. After Plantinga we shall trust those beliefs, because they are created by god. And if they aren't created by god they become unrelaible (think about Evolutionary Argument against naturalism).

And this makes an appeal to properly basic beliefs, in order to make a case for theism, question begging. The theist presupposes god to lable some beliefs as "warrented".

Beside of being question begging I also think, that an appeal to the opponents belief is an ipse dixit fallacy. I have seem for example Craig often claiming, that Richard Dawkins beliefs in objective morality, because Dawkins said indirectly so (after Craig's interpretation).
Last edited by sepia on Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Argument from properly basic beliefs

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:38 pm

Native German speaker? At least I think that's German in the wikipedia link. "de." is for Deutsch, right? Lol.

Everyone has what could be called "properly basic beliefs". I like the term "axioms" to emphasize that they're unjustified, unjustifiable (in terms of the axiomatic framework in question), and furthermore that the person who holds those axioms has no intention to even try to justify them through formal logical argument. (However, I can and frequently do attempt emotional appeals on axioms, because I don't have much else if you disagree with them.)

Unfortunately, at this point, I will sound no better than Craig. Everyone "knows" that you should base your beliefs on evidence as appropriate. Everyone is a scientific thinker. Similarly, everyone is a skeptic about most aspects of their life. They recognize that you have the position "I don't know" on nearly all positions when you lack sufficient evidence.

But Craig and Plantinga, oh boy. They're trying to claim the existence of god as axiomatic. I don't have a good reply except: no, that is not an acceptable axiom. I hold that any specific claim as to specific material fact or specific fact which has implications about something which has material causal power, then I want evidence. Any non-trivial god is going to have material causal power and do something, which means that I want evidence before I give belief.

I don't know what you do with someone who is so openly and brazenly abandoning the basic standards of evidence. I don't know what to do with someone who thinks it's ok to have such a belief absent all evidence, even absence evidence of personal experience.

PS: I don't know what "objective morality" means. It's nonsensical. It lacks meaning. All coherent systems of morality start with at least one founding axiom. From there, sure, you can make statements that certain things are objectively right or wrong in the context of that axiomatic framework, and further I would argue that there's only one acceptable or "right" moral framework (basically Sam Harris's well-being). However, when the theist says "objective morality", they mean something else. They reject wholesale Hume's is-ought distinction.
They make the appeal to nature fallacy.
(Same thing.) They think that our moral values are informed by objective material facts. They think that goodness derives from "god's nature", whatever the fuck that means.
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Re: Argument from properly basic beliefs

Postby sepia » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:37 pm

You are right, sorry. I have repaired the link.
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