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Why Isn’t Induction Circular?

A friend asked a question about my theory of knowledge: “It seems that your epistemology is pretty circular—You know by reasoning. How do you know that you know by reasoning? Well, you reasoned that you do.”

The Problem

He was asking about what has been called “the problem of method.” If it is true that we gain knowledge by a certain method, then we also gain “knowledge of method” by that very same method; so how did we discover the method in the first place? If at first we did not know anything about the method, then how, without such knowledge, were we able to gain it?

How do we know that, “To know is to reason about observations”? Is the method of induction circular?

Inductionism: What’s the Plan?

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Where are we headed? Today I want to show a brief outline of the philosophic system I advocate, which I call Inductionism.

My philosophy has three main normative principles:

1) Seek your own life by gaining knowledge.

2) Gain knowledge by inductive reason.

3) Base your faith on facts.

Why Believe the Bible? Evidentialism.

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In response to a previous post, a friend of mine asked, “How can you know that the Bible is true, that it is inspired by God, or that it is inerrant, without appealing to the Bible as the source for these claims?”

My friend was pointing out that Christians tend to make a circular claim: We know the Bible is true because it is God’s word–We know it is God’s word because it says it is–God wouldn’t lie.

Of course, this answer fails to address the unbeliever’s question: “What if someone else wrote the Bible and only claimed it was from God?”

Why Have Faith in Jesus? Is It Reason vs. Revelation?

In his guest post at The Gospel Coalition a couple days ago, Jason Helopoulos wrote on Evangelism, Reason, and Faith.

I enjoy reading Helopoulos, so I was surprised to find him setting up the false dichotomy between reason and faith. His article revealed a mystical approach to what knowledge is and to why we have faith in Jesus. My mission includes helping people value their own reason. I have to argue against Helopoulos on this topic.

Knowledge in the Bible

I surveyed the Bible to find its position on the status of knowledge. Does the Bible say knowledge/certainty is impossible to the unbeliever? Actually, I found that sinners can know many things. What they can’t know is the deceit of their own heart. But they can know good and evil. In fact, it is for knowing the good, yet choosing the evil, that people are condemned (Romans 1-2).

Below is a set of verses to help combat the mystical approach to knowledge (presuppositionalism). We see the common-sense view of knowledge: we learn by observation and reasoning. People come to faith because they see evidence; seeing leads to believing.

Knowledge plays a huge role in Scripture. In these verses we find a treasury of insight about what knowledge is possible to man and about how knowledge works. Enjoy!