Archive for October 5th, 2012

October 5th, 2012

That Classic Ole’ Design Argument

by Max Andrews

The argument should be understood to have the best explanatory scope and power by demonstrating that a being capable of intelligent design is a more probable conclusion than its alternatives.  The teleological argument may be formulated as follows:

1) The fine-tuning of the universe is due to physical necessity, chance, or design.
2) It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
3) Therefore, it is due to design.

Premise (1) should be uncontroversial.  These three options are not merely limited to these, but the range between necessity and chance seem to cover the spectrum of possibilities.  According to physical necessity, the constants and quantities must have the values they do, and there was really no chance or little chance of the universe’s not being life-permitting.

October 5th, 2012

Inferential Justification and Empiricism

by Max Andrews

In this post I’ll be responding to R.A. Fumerton’s “Inferential Justification and Empiricism” in The Journal of Philosophy 73/17 (1976).

In this paper Fumerton argues for the empiricist’s version of foundationalism.  He draws important distinctions between senses of how one may be inferentially justified.  His argument is matched against another argument, which proceeds from observations about what we do and do not infer.  His primary contention is that is that one can never have a noninfterentially justified belief in a physical-object proposition.  One must always justify one’s beliefs in propositions about the physical world by appealing to other beliefs or basic beliefs; a thesis I disagree with.

I will be faithful to knowledge being defined as a justified true belief.  The task that is of concern in this paper is to examine the coherence of inferential reasoning in a foundationalist’s system.  A problem with inference to the best explanation (IBE) is that it has the potential to create an infinite regress.  With inferential reasoning, in an attempt to justify a belief in proposition P there may be an appeal to another proposition (or set of propositions) E, and by either explicitly or implicitly appeal to a third proposition, that E confirms or makes P probable.  The challenge of inferential justification challenges one of two propositions: