Formal TAG

Posted: December 6, 2014 in General Presup Issues
Tags: , , , ,

While no Presuppositionalist should downplay the importance of Sye Ten Bruggencate’s work, his overly-general style has resulted in atheists suggesting presuppositionalism is little more than trite word games and disingenuous talking-points.  Of course, this reaction is likely due to their attempts to suppress God’s truth with lies (as per Romans 1) and cannot be attributed to Sye.

Nevertheless – I’m constantly asked to provide a formal statement of the “Transcendental Argument for God’s Existence”.1

While there is no one single formulation of the TAG (as both James Anderson and John Frame have noted)2 we should be able to provide a formal “outline” anyway; even if we’re not interested in catering to atheists, it’s always a good idea to have a clear understanding of what we’re attempting with our talking-points.

The Reformed Apologist has provided the best (as far as I’m concerned) formal statement.3 I’ve poured over it trying to detect any formal deficiencies in its structure but have not, as of yet, found any.  I’m re-posting the argument here for the convenience of my readers:

———————————-

Prove A:The Christian God exists.

Step 1 ~A: (Assume the opposite of what we are trying to prove): The Christian God does not exist.

Step 2 (~A–> B): If God does not exist, then there is no intelligible experience since God is the precondition of intelligibility

Step 3 (~B): There is intelligible experience (Contradiction!)

Step 4 (~ ~A): It is not the case that God does not exist (Modus Tollens on 2 and 3)

Step 5 (A): –> God does exist (Law of negation.)

———————————–

Step 2 is immediately controversial and will likely see the most sustained criticism.  I strongly recommend reading the Reformed Apologist’s interaction with it (linked to above).


1. I get this request almost daily from unbelievers across various venues. It’s a common challenge.

2. See James Anderson’s comments on “TAG” being a group of arguments: http://www.proginosko.com/docs/No_Dilemma_for_TAG.pdf  

3. Additionally, Brian Bosse provides the same reconstruction in his article meant to refute the Transcendental Argument. “Van Tillian Presuppositional Apologetics – A Critique Concerning Certainty”. I’m not clear on who first formulated the argument this way or if both Bosse and the Reformed Apologist came up with it separately.

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