Is the transcendental proof considered a reductionist argument?

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Comment by Adam J. Benton on November 9, 2011 at 10:30am

I've been pondering this a while in an effort to make it easier to understand. Both for me and, hopefully, you so I'd be interested to hear what you think about it.


For the transcendental argument to be valid logic must have certain properties such as, amongst other things, existing externally yet being non-material. Thus it isn't explainable without a God and the rest of the argument flows from there.


However, a description of an attribute of the universe lacks those properties. For example, a description of a car is only external in the sense it refers to a physical property of the universe and is only non-material in the sense its a thought. Neither of these things require a God. They could be the result of a God (i.e. me and my ability to have thoughts was created) but God isn't a requirement. 


I put it to you that logic is simply a description of the physical nature of the universe, just like my description of a car. There is no categorical difference between the descriptive statement "my car is black" and the logical statement "my car is not a whale" (law of identity). Thus logic is actually descriptive and so lacks the attributes needed for the transcendental argument.


Now, which opinion of logic is right? Well, if mine is then a universe with different physical attributes would have a different system of logic since its describing different physical properties.


Now, some scientists posit that the mathematics which describes our universe permits the existence of an "alternate" universe where time flows backwards. In such a universe the laws of logic would be different since causality is mixed up. In other words, this alternate universe with different physical properties would have different laws of logic.


Thus it would appear logic is simply describing physical properties (hence why the alternate universe has different laws of logic) and my view is right.

Comment by Adam J. Benton on November 6, 2011 at 8:07pm

Everything humanity has experienced suggests logic works, so I am happy to use it in pretty much any situation I find myself in. However, everything humanity has experienced makes up only a fraction of everything, ever. So to thus declare that "since based on everything I know logic is a universal, therefore it is" is a tad unjustified, imo.


My point was simply that transcendental arguments require logic to be a non-material, external entity that cannot be explained with a materialistic world view. Unlike a description, which whilst referring to something external remains confined within the individual. However, to me logic appears to be just a description of reality. Yes its a useful description that can be used to infer things about reality, but it is a description none the less. Thus since logic isn't this mystical, external, non-physical entity the transcendental arguments requires it be they hold little weight with me.

Comment by Private Private on November 6, 2011 at 7:40pm

Do you think that  laws of logic are universal though? Are laws of logic a reflection of how God thinks, or just man-made conventions?


Can you try to clarify, I'm not really getting what you are saying.


It was interesting in what you said about gravity; this link might be interesting to watch by the way.

Comment by Adam J. Benton on November 6, 2011 at 2:19pm
It's just that every transcendental argument I read relies upon the laws of logic being these non-material entities which exist, just not physically. Yet they're not really - there isn't some massive, existential edifice sitting somewhere and making sure nothing contradicts itself. Logic isn't proscriptive, its descriptive. The law of non-contradiction doesn't make things not contradict, it describes a reality where things don't contradict. Much like the law of gravity doesn't prescribe gravity, it simply describes a reality where gravity exists. Yet for some reason, people have decided that a description of non-contradiction is immaterial whilst a description of gravity is not.
Comment by Private Private on November 6, 2011 at 1:17pm

Why should one's immaterial thoughts imply that the subject of thought has to be immaterial as well?


Are you saying thoughts are material since they are chemical reactions in the brain?

Comment by Adam J. Benton on November 4, 2011 at 10:58am

Well that was a silly article. The laws of logic are descriptors of the natural world, yet since they're descriptors their held in our head so...they're non-material? Since my thoughts about a car are non-material does that render the car non-material too?


It appears to be somewhat reductionistic since its attempting to get a justification from various aspects of logic from the constituent parts of God, i.e. since God can be reduced to immaterial, sovereign, and beyond time attributes then that justifies logic with immaterial, sovereign, and beyond time attributes.

Comment by Private Private on November 3, 2011 at 9:09pm

Thank you, Mr. Benton.


To be more specific, the transcendental proof I am talking about the following: "In order to be able to prove anything, the Bible must be true." It is the one Dr. Bahnsen used against Dr. Stein in the "Does God Exist?" debate in the 80s.


It is basically that, in philosophy, it is considered irrational to believe something without accountability for it. The Bible can account for Uniformity of Nature, Laws of Logic, and laws of morality. The presupposition, or world view, is Christian theism. The Atheist world view cannot account for these things. Therefore it is an arbitrary belief.


Is it still a reductionist argument?


For more information, read The Ultimate Proof of Creation by Dr. Jason Lisle.

An article by Dr. Lisle that might help is:  Atheism: An Irrational World View

In Christ,


Comment by Adam J. Benton on November 3, 2011 at 4:31am
There are numerous variants of the transcendental argument so it's difficult to categorise as reductionist, but the one I most frequently hear can be roughly surmised as "Logic = concepts. Concepts require a mind. Mind = God." In that form it is reductionist as it attempts to break down formal logical absolutes to reveal a conceptual component which requires a mind. It also kinda reduces God to just being a mind and all you can really infer from it is that there exists the mind required by the argument and little else.

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