Sunday, April 21, 2013

Examination of the "is-ought" fallacy and its implications on the nature of the epistemic warrant of ethics (part 3)

Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

     In part 2, I discussed the issue of how (R)2K does not take into account:
       -the issue of competing worldviews, and related to that is:
       -how natural man understands "nature" completely different from the Christian man,
       -the issue of necessity vs sufficiency,
       -its epistemological arbitrariness, and finally:
       -the larger apologetical and methodological issue of how (R)2K is evidential, and not presuppositional.

     In part 1, I mentioned that this fallacy is defined as a statement in which the allegedly impersonal nature can direct personal and social standards of living. You cannot derive an 'ought' from an 'is.'" In other words, you cannot simply conclude that Johnny has an obligation (imperative) to obey his father simply from the description (indicative) that Johnny has a father.
     So, how can we apply what was previously discussed to (R)2K and the "is-ought" fallacy? We understand that (R)2K attempts to convince the non-Christian to understand the Christian's view of nature by using various natural law arguments, of course, and various reasoning etc...

     Here is a quick rehash of the problems with this approach:
     (1) From a MN point of view, there is absolutely no basis AT ALL to derive any sort of natural law or order from mere observation. The Christian has already lost the argument before he even began because he will never attack the non-Christian's MN presuppositions. Merely using the concept of natural law will never address the MN presuppositions. (R)2K simply uses a concept (natural law) that the MN non-Christian man doesn't accept in the first place. 
     (2) (R)2K has never seriously tried to understand that the natural man's concept of nature is significantly different in key points from the Christian's view of nature. If non-Christian man does not acknowledge anything immaterial in nature and believes that nature is simply physical, no amount of argumentation will logically convince the non-Christian that there are in fact immaterial things (e.g. natural law) that exist in nature.
     (3) Therefore, because of points 1 and 2, it should be obvious that from a consistent MN presupposition, the "is-ought" understanding is indeed a fallacy. From the Christian presupposition, with the benefit of the Scriptures to interpret nature for us, the "is-ought" concept is not a fallacy.
Point #3 is very crucial, and in all the discussions of (R)2K and theonomy/kuyperianism/neo-calvinism, I have never seen this particular point ever being brought up.

It is crucial to understand point #3 because (R)2K insists that Christians could actually make ***logically sufficient*** arguments even though (R)2K cannot even fully recognize that one's particular presuppositions greatly impact whether or not the "is-ought" is indeed a fallacy.

No logical verbal exchange can ever be conducted when a Christian is trying to prove a concept that is inherently fallacious to the consistent MN non-Christian, and trying to convince that person on his fallacious grounds. In other words, it is utterly incoherent to try to prove the truth of a concept that is inherently false to the non-Christian.

Next time, we will look at how natural law arguments can be used properly given this discussion above (they can be), and we will look at more deeply how the NL2K doctrine is grossly absent of any proper epistemological examination in its normative ethical and meta-ethical understanding of natural law.

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