Inductive Logic 101 (Updated 23-Apr-14)

Here is a very quick and very rough overview of inductive logic. Almost all of it is taken from sources other than me; I'll try to identify where the material came from. The Difference between Deductive and Inductive Arguments Logic Type Unsuccessful Arguments Successful Arguments Deductive Logic Invalid* Valid* Inductive Logic Incorrect Correct *I'm oversimplifying this somewhat by ignoring the question of whether the premises are true The late philosopher … [Read more...]

F-Inductive Arguments: A New Type of Inductive Argument

In his extensive writings, the prestigious philosopher Richard Swinburne makes a useful distinction between two types of inductive arguments. Let B be our background information or evidence; E be the evidence to be explained; and H be an explanatory hypothesis. “C-inductive argument”: an argument in which the premisses confirm  or add to the probability of the conclusion, i.e., P(H | E & B) > P(H | B). “P-inductive argument”: an argument in which the premisses make the … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Cosmological and Teleological Arguments – Part 5

The Cosmological Argument (TCA) is the first argument in Swinburne's inductive case for the existence of God. The arguments are presented in a specific order, each argument adding one more contingent fact (or specific set of contingent facts) to the facts presented in the premises of the previous arguments. Since TCA is the first argument, it is presented against a background of ZERO contingent factual claims or assumptions. On Swinburne's approach, we literally start from scratch. The ONLY … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Cosmological and Teleological Arguments – Part 4

Richard Swinburne presents his inductive cosmological argument in Chapter 7 of his book The Existence of God (second edition, hereafter: EOG). I plan to start at the beginning of the chapter and go paragraph by paragraph, stopping to comment on each paragraph that includes either support for, or defense of, some part of the cosmological argument (hereafter: TCA). Paragraph 1 (EOG, p.133) This paragraph neither supports nor defends a part of TCA. Paragraph 2 (EOG, p.133-134) This … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Cosmological and Teleological Arguments – Part 3

I am exploring a concern about, or potential objection to, Swinburne's inductive cosmological and teleological arguments for the existence of God. The objection I have in mind is something like this, for the cosmological argument: Although the one factual premise of Swinburne's cosmological argument is supposed to be the ONLY contingent factual claim or assumption upon which the conclusion of the argument rests, the argument actually rests on a considerable number and variety of contingent … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Cosmological and Teleological Arguments – Part 2

Like many other liberals, I'm delighted and mesmerized by Bridgegate and various other Chris Christie scandals from the fine state of New Jersey. I cannot wait for my daily dose of Rachel Maddow dishing the latest dirt on Christie and his idiotic crowd of corrupt New Jersey hooligans. What does this have to do with Swinburne's arguments for God? Well, one neat trick that a couple of Christie's friends have pulled is to plead the 5th amendment as a legal justification for refusing to turn … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Cosmological & Teleological Arguments

I'm not going to try to fully explain and evaluate Swinburne's Cosmological and Teleological arguments for God here. That would be way too much to tackle in one or two blog posts. There are just a couple of doubts or concerns about these arguments that I would like to express and explore. Swinburne's inductive cosmological argument for God has just one premise: e. A complex physical universe exists (over a period of time). Therefore: g. God exists. Swinburne argues that e is more … [Read more...]

John Shook Is Now on Patheos in the Atheist Channel

Philosopher John Shook now has his own blog in the Patheos Atheist Channel. About John: John R. Shook is a scholar and professor living in the Washington, D.C. area. After receiving his PhD in philosophy from the University at Buffalo in 1994, he taught at small colleges and then was a professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University from 2000 to 2006. John then joined the faculty of the Science and the Public online EdM program at the University at Buffalo, and he continues to be an … [Read more...]


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