A Conversation for The Wesleyan Quadrilateral

Reason v Experience

Post 1

Almighty Rob - mourning the old h2g2

I think the link between reason and experience is a lot closer than you think... or maybe you just chose a dodgy example:

'Poodles cannot fly because a) I have never seen them fly, b) no one in my experience has seen them fly, and c) they do not have wings or rocket- packs, and I have seen few things that can fly without wings or rocket- packs'. There is no need to resort to tradition, reason, or revelation to make such a point.

This is, essentially, an argument based on logical induction. Based on the fact that you have never seen poodles, or anything without wings or jetpacks, fly, you then contend that poodles can *never* fly.

Don't get me wrong, this is a perfectly valid argument (and I'm convinced it's true, too), but experience can only provide the premises on which reason bases its argument.

Good entry, though.


Reason v Experience

Post 2


This argument relies on non-experience and is therefore false. You could see any number of non-flying poodles and the theory is no stronger, but one flying poodle rewrites the whole idea.

Experience can be used as a basis for problem solving if you use it in the form 'this worked before'. This makes no assumption that it will continue to work but could be viewed as being closer to tradition: this is how we do it.

Reason v Experience

Post 3

Almighty Rob - mourning the old h2g2

I disagree that an argument based on non-experience is false. It is simply inductive rather than deductive.

If I see a billion poodles without wings, then it is a pretty safe bet that the next one I see can't fly, either. Sure, seeing one poodle *with* wings would cause me to change my mind, but until I do, then my argument still holds.

I agree that this is by no means as conclusive as a direct-experience based argument, but that doesn't mean it's false...

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