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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

episode 10, special guest Brian Knapp

In episode 10 we welcome special guest Brian Knapp, the founder of and a contributor to the website, editor of the forthcoming apologetics journal In Antithesis, and co-author of the book The Portable Presuppositionalist. In this podcast we discuss what makes a good reason, and also the problem of induction, with a special focus on the presuppositionalist approach to finding a solution.

Download the podcast here.



  1. Just a quick correction...

    At ~1:15 I say: "'s a regularity of God causing things..."

    But this was a misstatement on my part. (Sorry!) What I *meant* to say was that, "here's a regularity of God WILLING (or perhaps commanding, or something like that) things..."

    The context of the statement, just to remind everyone, is that, according to presuppositionalist Calvinism, supposedly God is causing induction to hold (for the most part) in our experience. But before we can even talk about God CAUSING things, we need to have some sort of inductive concept. In particular, we need to have a regularity in whatever (Biblical) story we decide to tell between God willing/commanding things, and those things which he wills/commands occurring in the real world. But in addition to that regularity, if we don't want to call it mere happenstance---if we want to call this story *causal*---then that only makes sense when the regularity is interpreted in inductive terms, i.e. when we expect the regularity to hold up universally. Without induction, we cannot infer that the regularity in the story holds up beyond the story.

    Of course, we can always make universality part of the story. So, in other words, we could just say that the the Bible tells us (in so many words) the regularity holds up universally. In that case we have no need to make any inferences beyond the context of the Biblical story, because that story will encompass *everything*. But this seems to me tantamount to merely adding induction to our bag of Calvinist assumptions. In this case, the Calvinist assumes that one of the things God wills/commands is that induction will hold, and furthermore that everything which God wills/commands---including the holding of induction---is instantiated in the real world. If he doesn't assume in advance that induction holds up, then he has no way to infer this from God willing/commanding it.

    Now, I don't think there's anything terribly wrong with taking induction as an assumption. That's more or less what Michael and I do, and on a conscious level! But if we're going to assume induction holds, the additional assumption that God exists and wills induction to hold seems rather superfluous to me.

    So, my apologies for the misstatement in the podcast. I hope it wasn't too distracting, and that this comment clears up any misunderstanding.

    Also, let me say once more that it was really fun having Brian on the podcast. I confess that my day up to that point hadn't gone very well (for personal reasons totally unrelated to counter-apologetics or philosophy), and it was brightened by our talk!


  2. I just noticed this, but just wanted to make a small correction. Jamin Hubner is the author of The Portable Presuppositionalist - Brian, Chris and I contributed essays for it, but we can't be considered "co-authors", I don't think ;)