How To (And How Not To) Argue, 2nd Edition 22 replies

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Locomotor

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#1 10 years ago

Firstly: I'm glad to see The Pub is not a complete piece of junk, seeing as I was away for a while :smokin:. Some new (or newer) members have been contributing some very worthwhile threads and posts, not to mention the regulars that have stuck it out this long, and who all continue to contribute. We have a strong community here in The Pub, hopefully it will remain as much and maybe become more.

In any case, I've decided to resurrect a thread I made way back in the good old days, a thread dealing with argumentation theory and fallacious reasoning. Anyone that was here back then remembers how sloppy it was, so that's why this one's called Version 2.

Part 1 is a quick primer on argumentation theory. I don't want to insult anyone's intelligence, but I think it a good idea to put it out there for anyone that is interested. Just an overview of what exactly a proper argument is, and what is meant to be achieved with one.

Part 2 is a list of ten major logical fallacies and poor arguments (and we have our share of those here in The Pub :deal:). While it’s not a huge problem in The Pub right now, people still call each other names, attack sources and not content, exclude contexts, make reckless generalizations, fail to properly string together premises, evidence, and rhetoric into cohesive arguments, and so on. So, Part 2 will be quick reference guide to look at every now and then if you think someone is pulling a dirty trick in an argument.

While most people that were around when I wrote the original thread have grown up by now, there are new members and such that seem to need a lesson in the discipline of arguing. Remember, I am referring to arguments here, not necessarily debates. Debates are usually contests, where the goal is to win or not to lose, and I have no interest in that kind of argumentation.

I also want to make it very clear that this is not an academic treatise or anything. This is purely casual, even some might say "pop" argumentation theory. I have an admittedly mild experience on this subject, built from a few lectures and a couple books. It should be taken into consideration that I have no kind of formal education or anything on this stuff, and most of this I will be bringing up from memory (Part 1 is entirely off-hand, so forgive me if something looks or reads glaringly stupidly) and quick glances at Wikipedia and such. So take everything with a grain of salt, and if anyone notices anything that could be improved or changed or removed, please don't hesitate to mention it. This is a project to help everyone in The Pub, so I welcome everyone and anyone to contribute.

(As well, don't accuse me of plagiarism this time (you know who you are) I did write this. :beer:)




Locomotor

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#2 10 years ago

(Damn the character limit)

[COLOR=SeaGreen]How To (And How Not To) Argue 2nd Edition[/COLOR]

Part 1: What An Argument Is

An argument can be most simply defined as a discussion involving opposing views in which one or more parties tries to convince the other that he or she is in fact correct. An argument is typically a battle of ideas, where two or more opponents enter into a more or less structured conversation revolving around a single topic, where each presents his or her point of view, and reasons why that point of view is more virtuous than his or her opponent's. Any good argument facilitates a relatively universal structure, reasoning, and rhetoric. The inherent purpose of an argument is to persuade some party, whether the opponent or an audience or both, that one's conclusion, built from reasoning followed from a premise or premises, deserves acceptance from said party.

Arguments typically are ignited by predetermined conclusions, or claims, or assertions. A claim can be a value judgment, an "ought to" or "ought not", as arguments are clashes of values (especially here in The Pub); an example could be "Socializing healthcare in America would benefit a great many people that currently have little or no access to medicine and treatment". Or, an assertion can be factual claim, such as “This is that, this was that, or this will be that.” A claim alone is not enough, and a conclusion on its own can’t be an argument, it is merely one part. Before an argument proper is formed, you must include a premise or premises. A premise can be almost anything, from a simple statistical statement like "X amount of people every year suffer from Y" to more sweeping statements about society or nature. From the base premise or premises, reasons must be given to prove their validity. Each arguer must justify with his or her premise or premises. The justifications themselves can be scientific or historical evidence (gas in an area of high pressure tends to move to an area of lower pressure, Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, etc), legal or personal testimony, mathematical or philosophical axioms or truisms (2+2=4), common observations (the sky is blue), or what have you.

Using sound reasoning, the justifications must bring together the premises into a cohesive whole, that logically ends up at the arguer's conclusion, or original claim or assertion. A good argument is a stack of premises, such as "This is this" and "That is that", and, when infused with a dose of logic, ends in a conclusion, a "Therefore this is that". Of course most arguments are not this simple, though any good argument utilizes this basic structure.

An example of a solid, deductive argument could be (well, is):

Socrates is a man. All men are mortal. Therefore Socrates is mortal.

This isn't the best example, actually, but it's super easy, if not of course extremely cliche. In any case, the conclusion or original claim is Socrates is mortal. The two premises are the first two statements, Socrates is a man, and All men are mortal. Justifications for each could be, respectively: "Socrates is a man" is true because common observation makes apparent that he is just like everyone else, that he exhibits no supreme or unique characteristic or property that suggests he is immortal, and "All men are mortal" is true because it is an established scientific truism, that all organic beings die, and as well, common observation again makes readily apparent that all men are indeed mortal, that everything eventually ends, and that nobody can be plainly immune to death. From the two premises the conclusion logically follows, Socrates is mortal. This example is a syllogism, which is a structure of an argument where the predicate of the first premise (is a man) is the subject of the second (All men), and creates a “A = B, B = C, therefore A = C” conclusion. Structures can be a whole lot more complex, as the syllogism was introduced by Aristotle, and has been ever since enhanced and complicated by philosophers from Leibniz to Frege to Russell and on. (For three reasons I won’t go into the more complicated formal structures of arguments and propositional calculus and such: I don’t know all that much yet, it would take pages to properly summarize them, and this is a casual overview, not an academic essay. :beer:)

Anyway, the other key elements of any argument are the burdens of proof and rejoinder.

When an original claim is proposed, a Burden of Proof is established, and is owned by the person that put forth his or her claim. Let's call him Arguer A. Arguer A must provide evidence and give reasons to show that his proposal is indeed true. It is not a rational tactic for Arguer A to enter into an argument with something like "God exists until you prove that he doesn't". The Burden of Proof belongs to him, as he is the one that put forth the original claim, not the other way around. (This will be addressed in depth later.)

There are two sides to the coin, however. After a burden of proof is fulfilled, when one's claim has been supposedly proven, enter the Burden of Rejoinder: Arguer B is then charged with the task of finding fault in Arguer A's argument or premise or premises, with convincing him and/or the audience that Arguer A's argument is based on dubious evidence and/or fallacious reasoning. First: We put forth our claim: A is C. At this point the burden of proof is on our shoulders and we must give reasons to validate our proposal. Second: We identify our premises: A is B, and B is C. Then we justify with evidence and reasoning the statements made in the premises, that the evidence shows us that A is in fact B and B is in fact C. Thus the burden of proof is fulfilled, and in comes the opponent with the burden of rejoinder. He might point out that A is in fact B and E, and E contradicts C, or that there is no consensus that B or C even exist, or whatever. Thus the argument begins proper. It is now up to us to counter our opponent with more evidence and more reasoning. Remember as well: It is not enough for an argument to be valid, it must also be true. As in the examples above, the arguments are valid not necessarily because of the truthfulness of their premises, but because of the logical structure in which they were constructed. For instance, if I were to make the following argument: 1. If I believe that 9/11 was an inside job, then it was an inside job. 2. I believe 9/11 was an inside job. Therefore 3. 9/11 was an inside job. It would be a logically sound argument, following the structure: 1. If A, then B. 2. B Therefore 3. A That does not mean it is true, necessarily. There is a big, important difference between the validity of an argument and the truthfulness of one. We must analyze the individual premises in order to discover whether or not an argument is true or not. In this case, it is as easy as pointing out the idiocy in supposing that a person’s belief actually renders something this or that. Practically speaking, to destroy an argument we need only to prove that one or more of its premises is false, that is if the argument is a simple one, dealing with a single point on a single topic. It can be more difficult to identify truth or untruthfulness within a large, complex argument or even many arguments combined, as the premises are often muddled, poorly presented, or intentionally made ambiguous in an attempt to tire out one’s opponent.

No practical argument is as simple as these examples, of course, and many more factors go into the formation of any real argument, including the ones we use here, but we can use these basic rules as a standard for creating arguments and as guidelines for following, and eventually proving the validity or revealing the fallaciousness of some given viewpoint, as well as discovering the truth or untruthfulness of a given argument.

In short:

An argument is a claim we make, which is built off of a premise or premises that we justify with reasons - while overcoming the burdens of proof and rejoinder - to convince one party or another of the validity and truthfulness of our own claim, or the fallaciousness or untruthfulness of our opponent's claim, or both.

Part 2: What An Argument Is Not Now that we have gotten out of the way the elementary rules to follow when constructing arguments, let's look at how not to construct an argument. All of the following indeed may be considered arguments, but they certainly cannot be considered good ones. These are all fallacies of relevance, ignorance, ambiguity, logic, some are formal, some are informal, etc, but the categorizations aren't that important right now. I’m going to include an even ten major fallacies here, though there are many dozens (Wikipedia has a very comprehensive list, as do a thousand other sources if anyone wishes to Google it). In explanations I may make references to similar fallacies and make notes and such as well. (Note 1:And - as I said so many years ago - are actually really easy to avoid. If everyone did avoid these pitfalls, the productivity of arguments in The Pub could jump tenfold.)

(Note 2: I'm going to use primarily English terms and phrases to identify these fallacies. The Latin translations are unnecessary and I don't want to fool anyone into presuming I have any sort of grasp on that language. My command of English is poor enough. :deal:)

1. Argumentum ad hominem, or Personal Attack

While not necessarily the most common fallacy employed here, it is by far the most unforgivable, that is the ad hominem, or personal attack. Surely most people already know what this is. It is basically name-calling, or a somewhat shallow attempt at character assassination.

They amount to an attack on one's character in an attempt to discredit his or her argument, attacking the arguer, rather than the argument itself or its premises.

An example of Argumentum ad hominem:

1. Captain Football proposed we use Play X to score a touchdown against Rival Team Y. 2. Captain Football is a jerk.

therefore 3. Play X is not a good option and another formation should be considered.

The faulty thinking here is not hard to recognize, and a third grader should know better, nevermind us (:smokin:) than to employ such low means in an argument.

Note: That is not to say that all attempts at character assassination are actually useless. It isn't necessarily wrong to point out that Arguer A might not be readily trusted, or whatever. Say, if Politician A proposes Moral Initiative X, but everyone knows of Politician A's own suspicious and corrupt career, then it wouldn't necessarily be a bad idea to point out his history to the audience. However it cannot itself be the argument, it must be supplementary.

1a - the You Too Fallacy This is a form of an ad hominem attack that attempts to remove the arguments at hand from the stage by redirecting the audience's attention back at the original arguer by accusing him or her of being a hypocrite. An example might be "You claim that gun ownership cannot be a constitutional right, yet you yourself own many guns!"

1b - the Bad Company Fallacy Another sub-fallacy of the ad hominem attack is the Bad Company fallacy, that attempts to induce guilt or submission by pointing out an invented, exaggerated association between the arguer or his viewpoint and some universal evil. An example might be: "You enjoy playing golf... So did Hitler."

1c - the Genetic Fallacy The genetic fallacy is an attack on the medium, mode, style, or history of an argument rather than on the content of the argument itself. It is very similar to a plain personal attack, though rather than assaulting a person's character, it assaults his or her sources. An example or two might be "Cody used as one of his sources the New York Times, and everyone knows how liberal they are!" or "Your arguing about [Issue A] on an internet forum, nobody will take you seriously!".

Note: These are also referred to as Red Herring Fallacies. They are curve balls used to derail the discussion, and are usually used when the arguer has run out of any real counter-evidence, and their use always reveals their user as the coward and ignoramus that he or she is.

2. the Circular Argument A circular argument can also be called tautological. It is an argument that inherently assumes that Proposition A is true because Proposition A has been assumed already true earlier in a premise; where part or the whole of the original assertion appears in one or more of the premises.

An example of a Circular Argument:

1. Abortion is murder and is unethical. 2. Murdering a baby is unethical.

therefore 3. Abortion is unethical. The fallacy here is clear yet again, as the final conclusion can be seen within one of the premises.

Note: This fallacy is mostly committed unwittingly, where a redundant phrase is dressed up differently, but essentially says the exact same thing it originally did, which doesn't get the argument any further.

3. Argumentum ad nauseam This fallacy is probably the most used in The Pub, and is by far the most annoying. It is arguing the same thing to the point of disgust, and is somewhat similar to a circular argument. An idea repeated over, and over, and over, and just when you think you've destroyed it, it pops up again, verbatim.

An example of Argumentum ad nauseam:

"God is good because the bible says he is good." "God is supposedly a perfect being, one that we cannot conceive of because he exists on a level higher than our own, so we cannot know whether he is good or bad, if he indeed does exist." "God is good... because the bible says he is good." "..."

This fallacy doesn't really require any more elaboration, and I'm sure everyone here can recall an instance when such a discussion about drove them over the edge.

Note: This fallacy cannot be used as a compliment to an argument, as it is essentially the argument just told over again. "A is B" + "A is B" doesn't exactly prove that "A is B".

3. the Appeal to Popularity

An Appeal to Popularity argument is one that relies on the supposed popularity of some idea in order to justify it. It suggests that because a great many people believe in this or that it must be true.

An example of Appeal to Popularity:

1. Polls show that most people in America believe that gun ownership is a fundamental right.

therefore 2. Gun ownership is a fundamental right.

Again, this fallacy is easily recognizable. There isn't any kind of logical connection between the supposed support of an idea and the actual validity of that idea.

Note: Again, though, an appeal to popularity isn't necessarily a bad tactic in an argument. To point out that most people very well might believe it is a person's right to own a firearm could go very far in convincing someone that it at least ought to be a right, if we are to place an importance on democratic decision making. But it as well can only be a supplement to an argument.

3a - the Appeal to Tradition The appeal to tradition is very similar to the appeal to popularity. It is an attempt to prove the virtue of some proposition by pointing out its impressive history. An example of an appeal to tradition might be "

4. the Appeal to Authority The argument on authority is quite common in The Pub as well. It attempts to prove a proposition using the endorsement of some authority figure, be him politician, weatherman, scientist, or whatever, that isn’t necessarily even connected with the topic at hand. An example of an Appeal to Authority: 1. Celebrity A endorses Political Initiative B. 2. Celebrity A is a famous celebrity, and many hold him or her in high regard. therefore 3. Political Initiative B is a good idea. The fallaciousness of reasoning here is impossible to miss, but nonetheless it is commonly used. “Hell, even Person X thinks it’s a good idea!” Note: An example of a useful Appeal to Authority might be “Milton Friedman was a famous, respected economist, and he wrote that capitalism is necessary and wonderful, so it follows that we ought to believe as much”. When one references a competent authority on a given subject, he or she is more likely to gain the trust of the audience, as everyone knows that said authority knows what he or she is talking about - the weatherman knows about weather, so it follows that because his expertise and knowledge and capabilities lie outside our everyday abilities, knowledge, and experience we might reasonably believe what he says. But one must be careful when employing this. “Well, he said so, so it must be true” is not an argument. It cannot be used alone, as an argument, but as part of a justification of a premise, and indeed when used effectively it can be a very good one.

5. the Appeal to Ignorance This one I haven't seen too often in The Pub, but anyway: The argument from ignorance proposes that because Premise A hasn't been proven, it must be false.

An example of the Argument from Ignorance:

1. Science has not proven that God does not exist.

therefore 2. God exists.

Enter the Burden of Proof. Here it lies squarely on the shoulders of whoever put forth Claim 1. It is fallacious and plainly stupid to propose that because "you can't come up with anything better, my assertion is correct and yours is incorrect".

Another example that illustrates the Burden of Proof could be:

1. Defendant A has no alibi for the night that the murder took place.

therefore 2. Defendant A committed the murder.

The burden of proof is the prosecutor's, not the defendant's.

This issue does come up in The Pub a lot. People are always bickering about who exactly owns the burden of proof in an argument. To find out, you must trace the argument back to its original claim or assertions.

Note: This also applies to the opposite, the assumption that something must be false because it hasn't been "proven" true. A classic example might be "Science has yet to truly 'prove' evolutionary theory, and until then evolution will remain false."

6. the Argument from Coincidence The argument from coincidence suggests that "with this, therefore because of this", or that "because this, that". It assumes that because one thing happened after another, they are necessarily connected, that correlation implies causation.

An example of an argument from coincidence:

1. City X has very liberal gun ownership policies, with little to no restrictions on owning a firearm. 2. City X has a relatively low violent crime rate. Therefore 3. Unrestricting the ownership of guns decreases violent crime.

This is a very easy pitfall to fall into. After all, correlation can often imply causation, but one must be careful not to assume as much, as the real evidence or history can come back to haunt us later if we aren't mindful.

Note: With a little investigation, an argument from coincidence can be turned into a powerful piece of evidence. If causation can be proven, the fallacy has turned 180 degrees, and this can often make or break an argument.

8. the Sweeping Generalization People here do this all the time. A sweeping generalization is made when one asserts that what is true for some is true for all. It assumes that because an apparent part of some group does this or that, that the entire group must be guilty of the same thing.

An example of a Sweeping Generalization:

1. Studies show that religious people are often less intelligent than the non religious.

therefore 2. To hold religious beliefs is to display stupidity.

This is fallacious reasoning because what is true of some part is not necessarily true of the whole. Indeed, some of the greatest thinkers of all time were Christians, or whatever. 8a - the Hasty Generalization A hasty generalization occurs most often when some statistic shows up that perpetuates some stereotype. A sarcastic example might be "Did you see the news? More violence in Iraq. Surprise, surprise, another Muslim has gone and blown himself up! 8c - the Slippery Slope The Slippery Slope fallacy occurs when a proposal is shot down because it might lead to this or that in the future. It suggests that this will necessarily lead to that, and should therefore be avoided, as that would be undesirable.

An example of the Slippery Slope fallacy:

1. The censoring of pornography is censorship. 2. Censorship of pornography will lead to censorship eventually of even less offensive material, and on and on until everything is censored. 3. Censorship of everything is undesirable.

therefore 4. Pornography should not be censored.

The fallacy occurs in the second premise, because it assumes that this must eventually become that. That presumption has no logical base whatsoever, which renders that premise false, which in turn renders the conclusion false.

Note: When employed tactically and appropriately, the slippery slope can be a powerful thing. After all, history does indeed show us that censorship tends to lead to more and more censorship, but, again, this must be used to compliment an existing premise, it cannot be the argument. 9. the Straw Man The straw-man argument is another fallacy that is very common in The Pub. When an arguer sets up a straw-man, he takes his or her opponent's position and stretches it to an extreme, and oftentimes irrelevant, end, in an attempt to illustrate the preposterousness of the entire idea.

An example of a Straw Man Argument:

"Nationalized healthcare systems have a rather poor track record, and are usually inefficient and ineffective." "So, you don't think the poor deserve to be healthy?" "..."

He or she sets himself up for an easy victory this way - the name apparently comes from the idea that one could attempt to display his or her strength by placing up a scarecrow and then knocking it down. The Straw Man fallacy is an especially obnoxious Red Herring statement, and is immediately recognizable, and warrants unconditional condemnation. 9a - the Black/White Fallacy An sub-fallacy of a Straw Man argument is the Black/White, or Either/Or, fallacy. An Either/Or arbitrarily limits the options at hand, by suggesting that we have only one alternative to a given proposition, one that is comparatively less desirable. An example might be "Atheists are lonely, disturbed people that don't see any value in life. At least we Christians believe in something." 10. the Weak Analogy Everyone in The Pub uses weak analogies from time to time, including myself. A weak analogy is an analogy that, while attempting to illustrate the similarity of some proposal to another, falls flat on its face because of a poor choice of content and/or structure.

An example of a weak analogy:

"Guns kill people, and their ownership should be heavily restricted." "Cars kill people, too. Should we make driving illegal as well?"

A weak analogy has little or no relevance to the original claim or premise, and is in this way mildly related to the Red Herring fallacies. It is a lazy attempt to quickly get one's point accross.

Analogies are issues of identity: a good analogy resembles in structure almost identically to the original statement, whereas a weak one is plainly dissimilar and inappropriate. In the case of that example, we can easily demonstrate why criminalizing automobiles would be hugely counterproductive economically, compared to criminalizing firearm ownership, and that the purpose of banning firearms would be to curb violent crimes, whereas banning cars could serve no such purpose.

Note: analogies can be one of the most powerful tools available in an argument, but they must be chosen selectively and carefully. A strong analogy can by itself completely dismantle your opponent's argument in one fell swoop.

All done. Lemme know if I missed any important ones.




Locomotor

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#3 10 years ago

(Damn it yet again. I apologize for the triple post.)

A closing remark: Let me as well highlight the most important aspect of constructive argumentation, [COLOR=DarkOrchid]***Honesty***[/COLOR]. If we wish to have fruitful discussions here at all, we must be prepared to do a couple key things. The first is that we must listen to what our opponents are saying. Too many people merely ignore everyone else and flatly restate their assumptions without a second thought. Secondly, we must cast aside our personal prejudices, our unreasonable ideological shackles, our meaningless nationalistic loyalties, and our egos. Until all of these issues are addressed on the individual level, we can't expect The Pub to mature as a whole.




Nemmerle Forum Mod

Voice of joy and sunshine

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#4 10 years ago

Locomotor;4200144"All men are mortal" is true because it is an established scientific truism, that all organic beings die, and as well, common observation again makes readily apparent that all men are indeed mortal, that everything eventually ends, and that nobody can be plainly immune to death.[/QUOTE]

Quantifier shift falacy. Observation allows us to make the assertion that there exists at least one thing X such that X has the property of mortality but it doesn't therefore follow that for all X X has the property of mortality unless you can individually observe every X in the domain and refer to them. Just because of all the men we've seen they tend to be mortal it doesn't follow that all men are mortal. Just as if someone's only seen white Swans they might think that all swans are white whereas there are infact black swans.

Locomotor;4200144 Remember as well: It is not enough for an argument to be valid, it must also be true. As in the examples above, the arguments are valid not necessarily because of the truthfulness of their premises, but because of the logical structure in which they were constructed. For instance, if I were to make the following argument: 1. If I believe that 9/11 was an inside job, then it was an inside job. 2. I believe 9/11 was an inside job. Therefore 3. 9/11 was an inside job. It would be a logically sound argument, following the structure: [/QUOTE]

No it wouldn't, it would be logically valid. =p Soundness refers specifically to a logical argument where the structure is valid and where the premises are true.

Locomotor;4200144Practically speaking, to destroy an argument we need only to prove that one or more of its premises is false, that is if the argument is a simple one, dealing with a single point on a single topic.

Only if the conclusion isn't a conditional or based upon some other type of easily exploited connective you can trick with a discharge rule. Logically there are some interesting things you can do to make arguments wrest upon no premises whatsoever. =p

: (Q -> R) -> ((P -> Q) -> (P -> R))

[QUOTE=Locomotor;4200144]The fallacy occurs in the second premise, because it assumes that this must eventually become that. That presumption has no logical base whatsoever, which renders that premise false, which in turn renders the conclusion false.

Logic is by and large to do with the structure of arguments rather than whether the individual premises are true or false. Indeed the basic structure of that premise if expressed in formal logic to a more exact gramatical degree would be X -> Y which is perfectly valid. Whether it's sound or not isn't logic's problem unless there are some other premises in play that let you do RAA on it.

[QUOTE=Locomotor;4200144]Analogies are issues of identity: a good analogy resembles in structure almost identically to the original statement, whereas a weak one is plainly dissimilar and inappropriate. In the case of that example, we can easily demonstrate why criminalizing automobiles would be hugely counterproductive economically, compared to criminalizing firearm ownership, and that the purpose of banning firearms would be to curb violent crimes, whereas banning cars could serve no such purpose.

But in doing so you rely on a set of premises that you haven't stated to do with why the nature of killing people is wrong. It's easy to counter when you enter those premises but the analogy itself resembles almost identically in structure the original subject.

X -> Y, Y -> Z : Z S -> Y, Y -> Z : Z




Nostradamouse

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#5 10 years ago

Wasn't it MA that came up with this long ago?




MrFancypants Forum Admin

The Bad

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#6 10 years ago

Locomotor;4200145(Damn it yet again. I apologize for the triple post.)

A closing remark: Let me as well highlight the most important aspect of constructive argumentation, [COLOR=DarkOrchid]***Honesty***[/COLOR]. If we wish to have fruitful discussions here at all, we must be prepared to do a couple key things. The first is that we must listen to what our opponents are saying. Too many people merely ignore everyone else and flatly restate their assumptions without a second thought. Secondly, we must cast aside our personal prejudices, our unreasonable ideological shackles, our meaningless nationalistic loyalties, and our egos. Until all of these issues are addressed on the individual level, we can't expect The Pub to mature as a whole.

:agreed

Being a good Pubber involves open-mindedness, at least to the degree where one overcomes his ego and admits to be wrong when the other side has the better arguments.




GreatGrizzly

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#7 10 years ago

1) Saying something is true a thousand times doesnt necessarily make it true. 2) Attacking someone doesnt make the attacker the winner of an argument.




Locomotor

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#8 10 years ago

NemmerleQuantifier shift falacy. Observation allows us to make the assertion that there exists at least one thing X such that X has the property of mortality but it doesn't therefore follow that for all X X has the property of mortality unless you can individually observe every X in the domain and refer to them. Just because of all the men we've seen they tend to be mortal it doesn't follow that all men are mortal. Just as if someone's only seen white Swans they might think that all swans are white whereas there are infact black swans.[/quote] Interesting. Practically speaking, though, we needn't observe every man to "know" that every man is indeed mortal, we have the entire history of the species, the world, and sufficient scientific expertise to make that evaluation. Again, though, only practically speaking.

In any case, that is an informal fallacy, and doesn't deal with the logical structure of the syllogism itself. Remember at this point Aristotle wasn't dealing in quantifiers at all really. It questions the truth of the second premise, about the limits of inductive reasoning. And is true as much, I suppose, but the syllogism is still valid.

A is B B is C All B's are C (thank you Leibniz) therefore A is C

Soundness refers specifically to a logical argument where the structure is valid and where the premises are true.
Yes, well, I was tired. :beer:
Only if the conclusion isn't a conditional or based upon some other type of easily exploited connective you can trick with a discharge rule. Logically there are some interesting things you can do to make arguments wrest upon no premises whatsoever. tonguez.gif : (Q -> R) -> ((P -> Q) -> (P -> R))

Wait, what exactly is going on there?

A = B C = A therefore C = B

Am I missing something? Aren't there premises?

Logic is by and large to do with the structure of arguments rather than whether the individual premises are true or false. Indeed the basic structure of that premise if expressed in formal logic to a more exact gramatical degree would be X -> Y which is perfectly valid. Whether it's sound or not isn't logic's problem unless there are some other premises in play that let you do RAA on it.
Of course. I mixed up truthfulness/logical a few times, it seems. Like I said it was late and I was tired. :beer:I did address that in Part 1, so keep that in mind, everyone, if you come across any more mistakes like this.
But in doing so you rely on a set of premises that you haven't stated to do with why the nature of killing people is wrong. It's easy to counter when you enter those premises but the analogy itself resembles almost identically in structure the original subject.
Correct, I see. Well, really I suppose any analogy would resemble the original statement's "structure", but at least there, the degree of usefulness comes in the appropriateness of the content, which in that case is no good. I suppose an even "worse" analogy might mangle the structure of the whole, but I'm actually having trouble thinking of one right now. :( [quote=Nostradamouse]Wasn't it MA that came up with this long ago?

Pfft, no. :deal:




EON_MagicMan

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#9 10 years ago

Pffffft, all arguments are winnable, and the best way to win them is with an unrelenting flurry of ad hominem attacks.

Oh, and if you ever feel threatened, just compare your opponent to Hitler.




Dave-Mastor

Thus, I refute thee.

50 XP

7th May 2004

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#10 10 years ago

Don't forget to call them a fascist... that always makes you win. More on the topic... very good points; If only more members, (Including me) would adhere to this. I did read through the full thing, and I noticed several things: 3a is missing content, and 7 doesn't exist. I'd like to add this though: In arguments in real life.(Real Life as is, not over the computer.) If you have to resort to shouting, you've lost the argument. (Not always true, but I believe in it as a general rule.) Also, "You enjoy playing golf... So did [COLOR=white]Hitler[/COLOR]." ROFL.