The Unavailablity of the Axioms of Reason to the Naturalist

The Unavailablity of the Axioms of Reason to the Naturalist...

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The Unavailablity of the Axioms of Reason to the Naturalist 1. The inferences we draw are reasonable only if they are guided by rational axioms (like the principles of logic, mathematics, and metaphysics -- e.g., the principle of causality) that are known. 2. These rational axioms can be known only if the truth of the axioms is accessible to our minds. 3. If naturalism is true, then the truth of a proposition is accessible to our minds only if that truth can be learned from experience (broadly construed). 4. The truths of the axioms of reason cannot be learned from experience (since our learning anything from experience already presupposes the truths of those axioms). Consequently, if naturalism is true, none of the inferences we draw are reasonable. IV. The Unavailablity of Speculative, Metaphysical Knowledge to the Naturalist 1. If naturalism is true, then the only truths that can possibly have an influence on our habits of inference are those concerned with the world of practical experience, i.e., not highly
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Unformatted text preview: theoretical or speculative truths, like those of metaphysics. Consequently, if naturalism is true, no highly theoretical or speculative truths can be known (see argument above). 2. Naturalism is itself a metaphysical (highly theoretical and speculative) proposition. Consequently, if naturalism is true, it cannot be known. D. Lewis's argument that the naturalist cannot defeat these arguments 1. Suppose the naturalist appeals to some argument linking biological usefulness and truth. 2. In appealing to such an argument, the naturalist is assuming the value of human reasoning. 3. But this is just what is at issue, so the naturalist would be begging the question (reasoning in a circle). Why doesn't the same thing apply to a theist seeking to establish the validity of our reasoning? Because, unlike the case of naturalism, theism doesn't provide any basis for even a prima facie challenge to the value of our reasoning...
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