Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Kierkegaardian argument for miracles

Here is a valid, and perhaps even sound, argument. Kierkegaard would worry that 4 begs the question.

  1. (Premise) If something is naturally impossible and it occurs, it occurs by miracle.
  2. (Premise) If a proposition is incredible, it is naturally impossible to believe it.
  3. (Premise) Christian doctrine is incredible.
  4. (Premise) Someone believes Christian doctrine.
  5. Therefore, there is at least one miracle.


Anonymous said...

First, I would have said that (2) is false, but I misunderstood "incredible".

The problematic premise is (3).

Spencer said...

What about the following argument?

1. We cannot properly infer from the fact that, if event e were inconsistent with the physical laws understood by current science (henceforth C), then e will probably be inconsistent with the physical laws understood by any possible future state of science (henceforth F). [premise]
2. If we cannot properly infer F from C, then we cannot properly infer F (because there's no other basis from which F can be inferred). [premise]
3. If we cannot properly infer F, then we cannot justifiably claim that e, if C, is probably naturally impossible (henceforth N). [premise]
4. Therefore, if e occurs, and C, we cannot justifiably claim N.

Alexander R Pruss said...

I think (1) fails to take into account the difference in our confidence in different consequences of the laws. Thus, we should have very low confidence about, say, a particular version of quantum mechanics being true. But we should have very high confidence about, say, the claim that it is not probable for elephants to come into existence ex nihilo, or the claim that HIV tends to cause AIDS, or the claim that dead people stay dead.