The Fact of All Facthood: God and a Philosophy of Fact

“But I would not talk endlessly about facts and more facts without ever challenging the nonbeliever’s philosophy of fact.” -Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, 257.

“The result of our historical enquires thus depends on the philosophical views which we have been holding before we even began to look at the evidence. This philosophical question must therefore come first.” -C.S. Lewis, Miracles, 2.

Fake facts, true facts, red facts, blue facts! In this blended age of scientism and postmodernity, facts are both touted and flouted on a daily basis. “Facts” are on everyone’s lips. We speak of “fake news” and “alternative facts”. Political commentators announce that “facts don’t care about your feelings”,[1] and politicians caught between a fact and a hard place opt for “moral correctness” rather than factual accuracy.[2] The marshalling of facts often occurs in our politics, but it also takes place in our ethical debates, our investment strategies, our religious dialogues, our sports talk- in fact, in every area of our lives we battle to find, to interpret, and to state facts.

While facts play an enormous role in our lives today, we hardly ever take time to ask “what are facts?” Are they “out there”? Are they rigid things that speak for themselves or are they malleable and subject to interpretation? Are they even things at all? Indeed, what is a fact? In this paper I will seek to explicate a brief philosophy of fact, then following the lead of Cornelius Van Til and C.S. Lewis, I will use a transcendental argument in order to show that our human ability to find, interpret, and state facts ultimately presupposes the existence of the Christian God of Scripture; i.e. that God is the Fact of all facthood.

Philosophy of Fact

Throughout the history of philosophy, thinkers have often regarded facts as “opposed to theories and to values.”[3] This idea has most memorably been stated by Sherlock Holmes: “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”[4] But while Sherlock’s dictum has the ring of truth to it, we are still left with a glaring question: “how are we to theorize about facts themselves?” As C.S. Lewis notes, “What we learn from experience depends on the kind of philosophy we bring to experience. It is therefore useless to appeal to experience before we have settled, as well as we can, the philosophical question.”[5] Thus, while we acknowledge that our theories ought to be subject to the facts, we still need to answer the philosophical question. This brings us to a philosophy of fact.

So, what is a fact? Gottlob Frege claimed that “A fact is a thought that is true.”[6] But Frege’s definition turns out to be far too subjective to be true- for if there were no human thoughts, it would still be a fact that there were no human thoughts. Thus we need to move beyond the human mind for a definition. Bertrand Russell, flipping Frege’s definition on its head, says “What makes a belief true is a fact, and this fact does not (except in exceptional cases) in any way involve the mind of the person who has the belief.”[7] So a fact is something “out there”. Our thoughts and beliefs are true in so far as they correspond to the facts of reality- not the other way around. C.S. Lewis, summing up this idea, says “truth is always about something, but reality is that about which truth is.”[8] So, the facts of reality make statements, judgements, thoughts, and beliefs true. Facts, then, are objective truth makers.

As we continue to approach an adequate definition, we turn from Russell to his protégé, Ludwig Wittgenstein. The early Wittgenstein said that “The world is the totality of facts, not of things.”[9] and that “…the totality of facts determines both what is the case, and also all that is not the case.”[10] Now, completely settling the debate between the fundamentality and/or ultimacy of “facts” or “things” would warrant a whole discussion of its own,[11] but initially we might reply that facts and things are mutually dependent on one another- for without things, facts are empty; and without facts, things are meaningless- but we will return to this debate later. It is Wittgenstein’s notion of “what is the case”, however, which is helpful for our current endeavor.

In seeking a more precise definition of a fact, we might substitute “state of affairs” for “what is the case”. As John Frame explains, “A state of affairs is not a thing. States of affairs include things, together with their properties and relations to other things.”[12] While Frame’s “state of affairs” offers a more adequate and technical definition of a fact, something more is still needed: obtaining and non-obtaining. Alvin Plantinga explains that,

“There are such things as states of affairs; among them we do find some that obtain, or are actual, and some that do not obtain. So, for example, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s being more than seven feet tall is a state of affairs, as is Spiro Agnew’s being President of Yale University. Although each of these is a state of affairs, the former but not the latter obtains, or is actual. And although the latter is not actual, it is a possible state of affairs; in this regard it differs from David’s having travelled faster than the speed of light and Paul’s having squared the circle. The former of these last two items is causally or naturally impossible; the latter is impossible in that broadly logical sense.”[13]

States of affairs, then, can obtain or not obtain, they are possible or impossible, and to obtain is to be actual. Philosophers Mulligan and Correia further explain that “Obtaining is a mode of being. If a state of affairs obtains, then an obtaining state of affairs exists, a fact exists.”[14] With this information in hand we can now define a fact as a state of affairs that obtains in the actual world.

On this definition then, while Santa Claus has a big white beard is a possible state of affairs (since it does not entail a logical contradiction like a square-circle) it is not a fact since that state of affairs does not obtain in the actual world. Thus the belief that Santa Claus has a big white beard is not a true belief -and cannot count as knowledge- because there is no corresponding fact that makes that belief true (sorry kids). Given our definition of a fact, there can be no such thing as a “false fact” or a non-obtaining fact, since again, facts are obtaining states of affairs in the actual world. There are facts and there are non-obtaining states of affairs which would be falsehoods concerning their truth value in the actual world. It would be a contradiction in terms to call someone’s statement a “false fact”.

Continuing on, we note that obtaining states of affairs in the real world- Facts- are relations between things. If the statement my laptop keys are square is true then there must be a corresponding fact which makes that statement true. If it is a fact that my laptop keys are square, then the relation between my keys and ‘squareness’ is the obtaining state of affairs in the actual world. Now, concerning the debate between the “Factualists” and the “Thingists”[15], we agree with Wittgenstein and the “Factualists” that the world is made up of facts, but insofar as facts are relations between things, abstract or concrete, then the world is also made up of things. James Anderson notes that,

“A good argument can be made that [facts] must be necessary, abstract entities, rather than contingent, concrete entities such as trees, tables, transistors, and other physical objects. Facts must certainly be distinguished from the objects to which those facts pertain: Michael’s washing of his car is quite distinct from Michael and his car, not least because the latter could exist without the former (and vice versa, if there are such things as past facts and future facts).”[16]

Leaving off the modal status of facts, we see that facts, as relations between things, are themselves abstract rather than concrete. Again we note that, facts without things are empty and things without facts are meaningless; if there were no things, then there would be no relations between things, and if there were no relations between things, then predication about things would be impossible.

A final consideration in our explication of a philosophy of fact is a mereological one: the relationship between fact and facts. According to philosopher Achille Varzi, mereology derives its name from the Greek word μερος, meaning ‘part’, and “is the theory of parthood relations: of the relations of part to whole and the relations of part to part within a whole.”[17] For our purposes, ‘the whole’ is represented by ‘fact’, i.e. the fact of the universe, and ‘the parts’ are represented by ‘facts’, i.e. the individual facts that make up the whole ‘fact’. When it comes to the fact of the world and the facts of the world, we may ask which is more fundamental? Is the universe one unified fact from which facts are derived, abstracted out and observed? Or is the universe comprised of atomic facts from which we can build an abstract, unified notion of ‘fact’? This problem of unity and diversity is not unique to our philosophy of fact but is actually the ancient problem known as “The Problem of the One and the Many” which William James deemed, “the most pregnant of all the dilemmas of philosophy”.[18] Mortimer Adler recognized that some might find this problem trite, but he went on to argue that “the disagreement on this single point changes the perspective on everything else.”[19] He further argued that “The philosophers who magnify either the one or the many behold universes more radically dissimilar than the same object looked at from opposite ends of a telescope.”[20] As this problem rears its head in the philosophy of fact, we feel the pressure to choose between monism, where diversity is illusory, and atomism where unity is mere abstraction.

Karl Popper, in his Conjectures and Refutations, briefly reflected on this apparent paradox between fact and facts saying:

“Facts are something like a common product of language and reality; they are like abstracts from a book, made in a language which is different from that of the original, and determined not only by the original book but nearly as much by the principles of selection and by other methods of abstracting, and by the means of which the new language disposes. New linguistic means not only help us to describe new kinds of facts. In a way, they even help us to create these new kinds of (perfectly objective) facts, new kinds of states of affairs. In a certain sense, these facts obviously existed before the new means were created which were indispensable for their description; I say, ‘obviously’ because a calculation, for example, of the movements of the planet Mercury of 100 years ago, carried out today with the help of the calculus of the theory of relativity, may certainly be a true description of the facts concerned, even though the theory was not yet invented when these facts occurred. But in another sense we might say that these facts do not exist as facts before they are singled out from the continuum of events and pinned down by statements- the theories which describe them.”[21]

Popper’s description is paradoxical in that, on the one hand there is a continuum of events, the great obtaining state of affairs that is the real world, yet there are potential facts waiting to be isolated out- waiting to be found, interpreted, and stated by observers. Facts are objective in that they have taken place, are taking place, or will take place apart from a subjective observer, yet they depend on a fact finding observer in order to be isolated out as individual facts. There is the great fact, and there are an untold, unimaginable number of isolatable facts which comprise the whole fact.

But rather than falling into the ditch of monism or atomism concerning facts, wisdom drives us to affirm what D.M. Armstrong calls “symmetrical supervenience” between the whole fact and its parts. In defining supervenience, Armstrong explains that “entity Q supervenes upon entity P if and only if it is impossible that P should exist and Q not exist, where P is possible.”[22] So supervenience describes asymmetrical dependence relationships. But then what about ‘symmetrical’ supervenience? Does that even make sense? Armstrong explains that in symmetrical supervenience “The mereological whole supervenes upon its parts, but equally the parts supervene upon the whole. In a world where all the parts exist, then there is just one whole which they compose, the same whole in all worlds. In a world where the whole exists, then all the parts exist, the same parts in all worlds.”[23] Symmetrical supervenience, then, is another way of expressing what Van Til calls an “equal ultimacy”,[24] i.e., in our case, neither fact nor facts are more fundamental than the other, but rather they are both equally ultimate in the world- they supervene on each other. The fact of reality presupposes the facts of reality; the facts of reality presuppose the whole fact of reality. Facts supervene on fact; fact supervenes on facts.

To conclude thus far, facts are objective truth makers; they are states of affairs that obtain in the actual world; facts are one and facts are many.

The Preconditions of Facts

Now that we have found an adequate definition of facts, we need to define ‘transcendental arguments’ if we are to attempt to argue transcendentally for God from facts. In describing transcendental arguments, Julian Baggini and Peter Fosl explain that, “Despite its name, this sort of argument has nothing to do with Eastern religion or meditation. It is, rather, a cool, calm analytic procedure most notably used by Immanuel Kant”.[25] But we might ask, “why transcendental?” Roger Scruton, responding to our question, says “The word ‘transcendental’ needs some explanation. An argument is transcendental if it ‘transcends’ the limits of empirical enquiry, so as to establish the a priori conditions of experience.”[26] While Scruton’s answer is helpful, perhaps Van Til’s definition is more beneficial for our purposes. He states that “A truly transcendental argument takes any fact of experience which it wishes to investigate, and tries to determine what the presuppositions of such a fact must be, in order to make it what it is.”[27] With Van Til’s notion of a transcendental argument (TA from now on) in mind, we may take our experience of finding, interpreting, and stating facts and try to determine the presuppositions or preconditions[28] of said experience. We now begin our transcendental argument.

Given that we are able to find facts, interpret facts, and state facts (our given fact of experience, “G” from now on), what must be true? This is a form of “deductive”[29] TA in that it assumes that the reader is not skeptical about G and proceeds from G to find the preconditions of G. But can’t a skeptic just doubt G and derail our whole argument? Well, if the skeptic wants to negate G, we might ask “is it a fact that -G?”[30] If the answer is “yes, it is a fact that -G”, then their statement is self-referentially incoherent since the skeptic has stated the fact that facts can’t be stated and we’ve produced a reductio ad absurdum for -G, therefore G. If the skeptic answers that “it is not a fact that -G” then the skeptic is not arguing against G and we may proceed. Thus if the reader wishes to negate G, our argument turns from a deductive to a “retorsive” TA. Robert Stern explains that “Such arguments have been called “retorsive” from the Latin “retorquere”, meaning to twist or bend back, referring to the way in which such arguments “turn back” the sceptics own position against her.”[31] So, once again, given G (either deductively or retorsively), what must be true?

As it turns out, there are many preconditions of G. For the sake of clarity I must introduce another piece of philosophical jargon: Triperspectivalism. This is theory put forward by philosopher-theologians John Frame and Vern Poythress who postulate that all of reality can be viewed from three perspectives: the Normative perspective, the Situational perspective, and the Existential perspective.[32] Applied to a philosophy of fact we say: there are norms that govern facts, there are states of affairs which obtain in time and space-i.e., facts themselves, and there are fact finding, interpreting, and stating persons. We now move to triperspectivally analyze the preconditions that make G possible. Given that G is possible:

The Normative Preconditions of G

  • Laws of Logic Obtain (G is G, not both G and -G, either G or -G)
  • Mathematical objects obtain
  • Abstract Objects such as propositions exist as truth bearers
  • Intentionality – propositions exhibit aboutness, they are about things
  • Alethic modality – logical necessity, possibility and impossibility (some states of affairs are necessary, possible, and impossible)
  • The unity of truth

The Situational Preconditions of G

  • There are obtaining states of affairs in the actual world (facts) to be found, interpreted, and stated
  • the external world exists
  • Law of Induction obtains, nature is uniform
  • Intelligibility of the external world
  • Logical relations between things and things, things and facts, and facts and other facts obtain such that facts do not truly contradict one another
  • Time
  • Space
  • Concrete particulars (things) exist

The Existential Preconditions of G

  • General reliability of our senses
  • Adequacy of human language to describe reality – predication is possible
  • Cognitive faculties aimed at truth and truth makers (facts) rather than mere survival beliefs
  • Generally adequacy of the human memory
  • Human beings are capable of apprehending logical laws
  • Human thoughts and beliefs can be true or false
  • The ethics of inference, i.e. that you ought to believe the truth and you ought to based your beliefs around the facts
  • Humans are self-conscious persons capable of reflecting on and focusing in on facts
  • Human volition – that humans are capable of acting to some extent on their desires to find, interpret, and state facts
  • Noetic unity – humans are capable of using inference and implication to find facts and rule out states of affairs that don’t obtain in the actual world[33]

It is certainly possible that I have missed some preconditions of G and of course the reader might take issue with some of the ones that I have included. However, if even one precondition from each perspective obtains then we are able to continue on in our transcendental argument, for these philosophical preconditions presuppose something deeper- theological preconditions.

The Fact of All Facthood

Pushing the argument back a step further, we ask: given the preconditions of G (let ‘P’ represent “the preconditions of G” from now on), what must be true? In short, P presupposes that God must exist as the Fact of all facthood. Now, assertion is one thing, but how exactly is God presupposed by P?

P presupposes “the three transcendental ideas: the soul, the world, and God.”[34] And though these ideas might be attributed to Kant, Van Til argues that they ought to be traced further back beyond Kant to the Bible:

“The fully biblical or Reformed view of the necessity of special revelation may be signalized in that it does full justice to the presuppositions of biblical theism. These presuppositions are the existence of the Ontological Trinity, the temporal creation of the universe ex nihilo, and man’s creation in the image of God. Full acceptance of these presuppositions requires us to think of the whole created universe as clearly revelatory of God. The very being of any created “fact”, whether man, “nature”, or “history”, is exhausted in its revelatory character. There can be no other facts than such as speak clearly of God and therefore of God’s claims upon man. Every fact speaks of God and speaks of him in the imperative as well as in the declarative voice.”[35]

Following Van Til’s lead, we return once again to our Triperspectival analysis- this time to Christian Doctrines. God is presupposed by the Normative perspective of P, Creation is presupposed by the Situational perspective of P, and Man as God’s image bearer is presupposed by the existential perspective of P.

God:

The normative preconditions of P presuppose an eternal, non-material, eternal, necessary mind who exists outside of time and space as their ontic referent. Necessarily true propositions, like the laws of logic, require a necessary mind in which to exist. Mathematical objects, and abstracta like shapes have been the source of much controversy, precisely because they have been stripped from their proper place as eternal necessary concepts in the mind of God. Modal categories like necessity, possibility, and probability presuppose a non-material, timeless, standard which governs reality: God’s creative ability, His divine nature, and eternal plan. The unity and diversity of necessary true propositions (again, like the three fundamental laws of logic) i.e., that they are fundamentally one in being “true” or “actual”, yet are not identical, presupposes a God of unity and diversity- God is one God in three Persons- He is Tri-unity. Thus, if there are to be facts at all, then we say with Lewis that “God is basic Fact or Actuality, the source of all other facthood”[36] and with Van Til that “God is the one and only ultimate Fact.”[37]

Creation:

The situational preconditions of P presuppose God’s creation and governance over the intelligible universe of facts. The uniformity of nature and the law of induction presuppose that God has created the universe in an orderly, rational fashion and that He continues to hold all things and facts together through his sovereign providence. The unity and diversity of fact and facts, i.e. that individual facts can be abstracted out or focused in on apart from the unified fact of the universe, also presupposes a God of unity and diversity. The Problem of the One and the Many is precisely what we would expect to run into in rejecting the God of Creation in whom unity and diversity are equally ultimate. Likewise, these preconditions presuppose someone who actualized possible states of affairs for a purpose and continues to hold them together for a purpose. It is in the rejection of the doctrine of Creation that the Problem of Induction rears its skeptical head.

Man:

The existential preconditions of G presuppose that mankind’s cognitive faculties have been specifically designed for this earthly environment, and that our generally reliable senses have been designed for finding, testing, and knowing truth claims with the facts of reality. C.S. Lewis, notes the transcendental nature of P[38] and argues that a Rational Spirit must lie behind these preconditions if they are to be trustworthy: “If the deepest thing in reality, the Fact which is the source or all other facthood, is a thing in some degree like ourselves- if it is a Rational Spirit and we derive our rational spirituality from it- then indeed our conviction can be trusted.”[39] Man’s ability to interpret the facts of reality presupposes a rational designer who intended a correspondence between the mind of man and external reality.[40]

While the connection between Man’s mind and the external world presupposes the doctrine of the Imago Dei, Man’s innate awareness of the ‘ethics of inference’, i.e., that he should believe the truth and base his theories on fact, as well as the ethical ought which arises from the statement of fact, i.e., that you ought not state falsehoods, presuppose a moral obligation to his Maker, God. Man as a rational, volitional, and moral creature, who is capable of thinking rightly about facts as he ought, presupposes the biblical teaching that man is made in the image of God with the responsibility to think God’s thoughts after Him.

At this point we may now summarize our argument in syllogistic form with ‘C’ representing the three Christian doctrines listed above:

  • If G, G presupposes P
  • If P, P presupposes C
  • Therefore if G, G presupposes C [transitive from (1) & (2)][41]
  • G (either deductively of retorsively)

Therefore C

If this argument is successful, then our human ability to find, interpret, and state facts- which we take as a given in a deductive TA or as a retorsive starting point from the performative inconsistency of denying the given in a retorsive TA- presupposes the existence of the Trinitarian God of Scripture. In turn, if our use of facts presupposes the existence of God, then we can never use facts to disprove the existence of God. We then say with Lewis that “God is basic Fact or Actuality, the source of all other facthood.”[42] And with Van Til that “God is the one Supreme object of knowledge. He is the most ultimate fact and the most ultimate universal. It is from Him that all facts and all universals that we ordinarily deal with derive their meaning.”[43] God stands as the norm of fact, the creator and sustainer of facts, and the Archetypal Self-conscious Person from whom our cognitive faculties are derived. Any time we claim to have found a fact, any time we interpret a fact, and any time we state a fact, we are demonstrating the existence of God.

The Stroudian Critique

But before we take our TA to the streets in triumphal procession, we must deal with the Stroudian critique of TAs. Barry Stroud’s criticism is so powerful that no proponent of TAs after him can write on the subject without engaging with his argument. Stroud sums up the thrust of his argument in critiquing a TA from language: “the sceptic can always very plausibly insist that it is enough to make language possible if we believe that [a necessary precondition] S is true, or if it looks for all the world as if it is, but that S needn’t actually be true.”[44] This brief statement has bifurcated the field of TAs into “modest” or “conceptual” TAs- which relegate the transcendental conclusions to the realm of thought alone- and “ambitious” or “world-directed” TAs- whose transcendental conclusions actually speak about the world outside of the mind. In short, the Strodian can affirm the conclusion of a TA and remind their interlocutor that the conclusion explains nothing about the world as it is, but merely about how we must think the world is.

In light of Stroud’s critique, is our argument relegated to the merely conceptual? Let F stand for the successful conclusion of our TA (in Vantillian and Lewisian terms: that God is the Fact of all facthood). The Stroudian might grant the soundness of our argument but would argue F* rather than F, with F* being a conceptual/modest TA with the conclusion that the argument forces the skeptic to merely think that God exists not that God truly does exist in the actual world. I propose that we can move through Stroud and strengthen our argument by asking the Stroudian skeptic: “is it a fact that F*?” If they double down on the Stroudian critique and state that it is not a world-directed fact that F* but that we merely think that it is a fact that F*, the resultant is F**. It does not take much effort to see that by continuing with the conceptual critique of F, the Stroudian is left in an infinite regress; they have to think that they have to think that they have to think etc.. ad infinitum. If, however, the Stroudian, upon being asked if F* is a fact, answers “yes, it is a fact”, then he has stated a fact and opened himself up to our ambitious TA from G, thus we move from the conceptual TA, F*, back to a world-directed TA, F, the latter of which has a conclusion that God exists in the actual world. Though it seems more rational to choose the answer that does not lead to an infinite regress, the former option is open to the skeptic- but claiming, ad infinitum, that they think that God is the Fact of all facthood doesn’t appear to be a loss for the proponent of F. Thus, if our argument is sound, and if our move to pass through Stroud works, then Van Til is justified in stating that “every fact- not some facts- every fact clearly and not probably proves the truth of Christian theism. If Christian Theism is not true, then nothing is true.”[45]

In conclusion, facts are states of affairs that obtain in the actual world. If humans are able to find, interpret, and state these facts, then certain preconditions must obtain. These preconditions in turn presuppose three foundational Christian doctrines: the doctrine of God, the doctrine of Creation, and the doctrine of Man- the latter two of which depend on the first. Since we are able to find, interpret, and state facts, God exists. God is the Fact of all facthood.

[1] Ben Shapiro’s pinned tweet, https://twitter.com/benshapiro/status/695638866993115136?lang=en, accessed May 5th, 2019.

[2] “I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.” Alexandria Occasio Cortez, https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/01/06/ocasio-cortez_people_being_more_concerned_about_me_being_factually_correct_than_morally_right.html accessed on April 20th, 2019.

[3] Mulligan, Kevin and Correia, Fabrice, “Facts”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2017/entries/facts/&gt;.

[4] Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, via Sherlock Holmes, “A Scandal in Bohemia”, in The Complete Sherlock Holmes vol. I (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2003) 189.

[5] C.S. Lewis, Miracles (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1947) 2.

[6] Gottlob Frege, “Thought” in The Frege Reader (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 1997) 342.

[7] Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997) 130.

[8] C.S. Lewis, Myth Became Fact” in God in the Dock (Grand Rapids, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1970) 58.

[9] Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus in Major Works (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2009) 5.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Or book length argument, see D.M. Armstrong, A World of States of Affairs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

[12] John Frame, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1987) 99.

[13] Alvin Plantinga, The Nature of Necessity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1974) 44.

[14] Mulligan, Kevin and Correia, Fabrice, “Facts”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2017/entries/facts/&gt;. 4.

[15] These words borrowed from D.M. Armstrong, State of Affairs, 4.

[16] James Anderson, “Presuppositionalism and Frame’s Epistemology” in Speaking the Truth in Love: The Theology of John Frame, ed. John J. Hughes (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2009) 455.

[17] Varzi, Achille, “Mereology”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2019/entries/mereology/&gt;.

[18] William James, “The One and The Many” in Philosophy: The Classic Readings, ed. David E. Cooper & Peter S. Fosl (West Sussex: Blackwell Publishing, 2010) 784.

[19] Mortimer J. Adler, Syntopicon vol. II (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 1952) 284.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations (New York: Routledge, 1963) 290.

[22] Armstrong, States of Affairs, 11.

[23] Ibid., 12.

[24] Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith 2nd ed. (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1955) 48.

[25] Julian Baggini and Peter S. Fosl, The Philosopher’s Toolkit (West Sussex: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2003) 218.

[26] Roger Scruton, Kant: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001) 33.

[27] Cornelius Van Til, A Survey of Christian Epistemology (Phillipsburg, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co. 1980) 10.

[28] I use presupposition and precondition interchangeably in this argument.

[29] “Now, the first and perhaps most straightforward way a transcendental claim can be used against a sceptic is in a deductive argument, where it forms the second premise, and where the first premise is something the sceptic accepts, from which the transcendental claim is used to derive a conclusion which the sceptic doubts or rejects, thus giving us a transcendental argument of this form:

  1. p (e.g. there is thought, consciousness or a way things appear)
  2. q is a necessary condition for the possibility of p (where q is e.g. an external world, or other minds)
  3. therefore q”

Robert Stern, “Silencing the Sceptic?” in Transcendental Arguments in Moral Theory, ed. Jens Peter Brune, Robert Stern, Micha H. Werner (Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2017) 10.

[30] “Is it a fact that we are not able to find facts, interpret facts, and state facts?”

[31] Robert Stern, “Silencing the Sceptic?” in Transcendental Arguments in Moral Theory, ed. Jens Peter Brune, Robert Stern, Micha H. Werner (Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2017) 11.

[32] John Frame, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1987) 75.

[33] “In a more recent philosophical presentation of modern logic, L.S. Stebbing distinguishes and interrelates inference (the essential noetic structure) and implication (the logical relation), the “therefore” and the “if… then,” as she also puts it. Dallas Willard, “Knowledge and Naturalism” in Naturalism: A Critical Analysis, ed. William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland (Oxfordshire: Routledge, 2000) 43.

[34]Bavinck’s summation of Kant, Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics vol. II ed. John Bolt, translated by John Vriend (Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2004) 42.

[35] Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology (Phillipsburg, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co. 1974) 197.

[36] C.S. Lewis, Miracles, 145.

[37] Van Til, Intro. Sys. Theo., 30.

[38] “whatever else we may come to believe about the universe at least we cannot believe naturalism. The validity of rational thought, accepted in an utterly non-naturalistic, transcendental (if you will), supernatural sense, is the necessary presupposition of all other theorizing. There is simply no sense in beginning with a view of the universe and trying to fit the claims of thought in at a later stage. By thinking at all we have claimed that our thoughts are more than mere natural events. All other propositions must be fitted in as best they can round that primary claim.” C.S. Lewis, “Religion Without Dogma?” in Compelling Reason (London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1996) 94.

[39] C.S. Lewis, Miracles (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1947) 168.

[40] When it comes to this correspondence between man’s mind and reality, Thomas Nagel notes that,

“Although the procedures of thought by which we progress are not self-guaranteeing they make sense only if we have a natural capacity for achieving harmony with the world far beyond the range of our particular experience and surroundings. When we use our minds to think about reality, we are not, I assume, performing an impossible leap from inside ourselves to the world outside. We are developing a relation to the world that is implicit in our mental and physical makeup, and we can do this only if there are facts we do not know which account for the possibility. Our position is problematic so long as we have not even a candidate for such an account.” Thomas Nagel, The View From Nowhere (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986) 85.

Nagel goes on to brush off Descartes’ attempt to ground certainty, and the mind/reality connection, in God but then admits that he has no idea what to ground our connection in, but that “without something fairly remarkable, human knowledge is unintelligible” Though he has offered no argument against Descartes, but rather has assumed the failure of his arguments and with them, the failure of all attempts to ground the mind/reality connection in God.

[41] “The relation expressed by ‘…is a necessary condition for the possibility of_’ is usually, and plausibly, assumed to be transitive. If y is a necessary condition for the possibility of x, and z is a necessary condition for the possibility of y, it follows that z is a necessary condition for the possibility of x. Transitivity enables the construction of TAs from transcendental conditionals.” Boris Räme, “Ambition, Modesty, and Performative Inconsistency” in Transcendental Arguments in Moral Theory, ed. Jens Peter Brune, Robert Stern, Micha H. Werner (Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2017) 27.

[42] C.S. Lewis, Miracles (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1947) 145.

[43] Cornelius Van Til, A Survey of Christian Epistemology (Phillipsburg, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co. 1980) 184.

[44] Barry Stroud, “Transcendental Arguments” in Understanding Human Knowledge (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000) 24.

[45] Van Til, Defense of the Faith, 264.

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