July 9th, 2012
Inductive logic, generally speaking, takes elements of a set and applies this subset of elements to a broader set. More specifically, the principle of mathematical induction states that if zero has a property, P, and if whenever a number has the property its successor also has the property, then all numbers have the property:
Induction works by enumeration: as support for the conclusion that all p’s are q’s, one could list many examples of p’s that are q’s. It also includes ampliative argument in which the premises, while not entailing the truth of the conclusion, nevertheless purports good reason for accepting it.
Inductive probability in the sciences has been generally successful in the past. It has been used by Galileo, Kepler, and has even resulted in the discovery of Neptune. The English astronomer John Michell exemplified this discuss in a discussion of ‘probable parallax and magnitude of the fixed stars’ published by the Royal Society in 1767. Michell found that the incidence of apparently close pairings of stars was too great for them all to be effects of line of sight, and that next to a certainty such observed pairs of stars must actually be very close together, perhaps moving under mutual gravitation. Michell’s conclusion was not corroborated for forty years until William Herschel’s confirmatory observations.
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July 5th, 2012
In a correct deductive argument if the premises are true the conclusion is true regardless of whether or not further evidence is considered. There must be a reasonable connection or relationship between the conditions in a deductive argument (in the instance of implication). Consider the argument, as modus ponens, that if the moon’s core is made of cheese then my desk is made out of mahogany. What relationship do these two conditions have? The truth-value is valid (F-T-T). However, I recognize that this is merely a preference, which is, at times, convenient. When making a novel explanans and prediction the relationship between the conditions may not be epistemically evident.
There are generally three options, which are often considered as an explanation for the fine-tuning data: chance, necessity, a combination of chance and necessity, or a fine-tuner. One immediate problem in implementing explanatory options in a deductive manner is that the first premise may be false wherein it may be lacking in options and the argument still is valid. When these options are used in a [strict] deductive argument it may appear as:
- The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
- It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
- Therefore, it is due to design.
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June 6th, 2012
This was a debate on March 21, 2012 at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, VA. It was sponsored by the Freethinkers at Virginia Tech, Leopard Zeus Fan Club, Ask Big Questions at Virginia Tech, and the Department of Philosophy at Liberty University.
- Max Andrews, Department of Philosophy Liberty University
- Josh Nixon, Virginia Tech
- Dan Linford, Virginia Tech
- Beau Bradley, Virginia Tech
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May 31st, 2012
Alas, here is another PPT I’ve used in some of my lectures concerning axiology and the objectivity of moral values. In this lecture I briefly discuss the deductive form of the moral argument for the existence of God, the distinctions between different ethical theories, and the Euthyphro dilemma. I hope you find the material beneficial and edifying. Please follow through on some of the sources cited in the pages and in the notes for further information.
Definitions and distinctions:
Objective: To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so.
Subjective: Personal taste or feelings [which may be of an individual, group, or society].
Good/Bad: Correlated with moral values
May 3rd, 2012
- Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
- The universe began to exist.
- Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
Note that the primary argument is philosophical and mathematical. It’s not dependent on any particular cosmology; however, the leading model of cosmology and particle physics, the standard model (big bang), simply confirms the philosophy. The argument for premise 1 is that anything that begins to exist does so temporally, at some indexical moment of time. Because there is a difference between moments, an earlier or later than, there must be a cause to the thing which begins to exist, which determines its temporal existence. William Lane Craig offers two arguments for premise 2
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