Understanding Bahnsen… Again

Our feedback this week once again comes from Peter who is still convinced that I have misrepresented the presuppositional method. Peter claims that (1) all forms of circular reasoning are fallacious and (2) that the presuppositional method as advanced by Bahnsen and Van Til does not involve any circular reasoning.

Bahnsen on Circular Reasoning

Our critic this week, Peter, is not a critic of Christianity. Rather, he has criticized my previous article in which I show the difference between vicious (arbitrary) circular reasoning and virtuous (rationally necessary, or “spiral”) circular reasoning. Peter has an unargued philosophical bias that all circular reasoning is wrong / fallacious, and that the presuppositional method used by Bahnsen and Van Til does not employ circular reasoning.

The Ultimate Standard

We previously covered the Münchhausen trilemma: an argument that knowledge is impossible because it can never be ultimately justified. Any (true) belief must be based on a good reason in order to be considered knowledge. But the reason is only good if it also is based on a good reason, which is based on a good reason and so on.

The Chain of Reasoning

Knowledge begins with God (Proverbs 1:7). But what is the mechanism by which we reason to have knowledge of other things? How does our knowledge that the “sun is bright” depend on revelation from God? By what chain of reasoning are we able to know anything about anything? How do we prove our most basic, foundational belief?

Biblical Epistemology

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). The fact that knowledge begins with God and that everyone has some degree of knowledge can be used in apologetics to expose the unbeliever’s suppressed knowledge of God. The argument is powerful and irrefutable. But what exactly is knowledge?