What is a good argument?

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kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 03:08 pm
@Emil,
Emil;101078 wrote:
I agree with you about that sense of "subjective", but it is not that that that I had in mind.

I mean "subjective" as in: Dependent of the existence of minds.
I mean "objective" as in: Independent of the existence of minds.

If you wish, I can stop using "objective" and "subjective" and just use the phrases that I wrote above.



Good. Then we're in agreement about that.



Yes, these words are particularly troublesome.

Now I've clarified what I mean by them. Do you think that whether an argument begs the question (BTQ) is an objective fact or not? Basically I want to continue the discussion we had on the other board. You seem to be a staunch defender of some objectivist view.



But all arguments depend on the existence of minds. And whether they commit fallacies at all, depends on the existence of minds. So, you have to be clearer about what you have in mind when you say that begging the question depends on the existence of minds. Of course it does! But not more than does denying the antecedent. What cut do you want do make within the notion of objective vs. subjective fallacies? Better, what is it you think makes BTQ subjective, but denying the antecedent objective?
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 03:08 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;101052 wrote:
Since this was all in the logic forum, I thought that "logic" was understood.

A logically bad (deductive) argument is an unsound argument. A sound argument establishes its conclusion. Since all sound arguments have true conclusions. (Although, of course, it is not true that only sound arguments have true conclusions).


I didn't know there was some standard definition for a 'logically bad' argument. What is that? You can have a valid argument that is, 'logically' ok, meaning that the premises lead to the conclusion, but if the premises are false, it is of course not a sound argument. I wonder why you keep throwing around these normative terms of 'good' and 'bad', when they aren't really necessary. The rules of logic allow us to evaluate an argument without such terms, and then adding the word 'good' or 'bad' to an argument that we know is invalid seems to be meaningless. An invalid argument might be great to the sophist, if it is convincing. Why can't we just stick to valid/invalid and sound/unsound?

kennethamy;101068 wrote:

What I mean by a cogent deductive argument is that the premises are known to be true, and the argument is valid. So cogency implies soundness, but not conversely.


Once again, there's no such thing as a cogent deductive argument. You are just playing a word game here, mixing up and making up terms. Check out a logic textbook...otherwise, you're 'trying to row a boat without oars', remember?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 03:16 pm
@Pangloss,
Pangloss;101083 wrote:
I didn't know there was some standard definition for a 'logically bad' argument. What is that? You can have a valid argument that is, 'logically' ok, meaning that the premises lead to the conclusion, but if the premises are false, it is of course not a sound argument. I wonder why you keep throwing around these normative terms of 'good' and 'bad', when they aren't really necessary. The rules of logic allow us to evaluate an argument without such terms, and then adding the word 'good' or 'bad' to an argument that we know is invalid seems to be meaningless. An invalid argument might be great to the sophist, if it is convincing. Why can't we just stick to valid/invalid and sound/unsound?



Once again, there's no such thing as a cogent deductive argument. You are just playing a word game here, mixing up and making up terms. Check out a logic textbook...otherwise, you're 'trying to row a boat without oars', remember?


You don't think that an unsound argument is a bad argument? I wonder why you don't. It certainly does not do what arguments are supposed to do, namely establish its conclusion. Just as a watch that fails to keep time does not do what watches are supposed to do, namely keep time. Peirce said that the function of logic was to separate good from bad arguments. That is why he called logic a normative science. I think that is right (although I think that logic has a wider function too).

Some logic books do use the term cogent deductive argument. What is wrong with saying that a cogent deductive argument is a sound argument whose premises are known true? Nothing, so far as I can see. Of course, that imposes no obligation to use the notion on you.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 03:27 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;101085 wrote:
You don't think that an unsound argument is a bad argument? I wonder why you don't.


If you read my posts, you'll see that I never said that. I'm wondering why you think we need to classify arguments as being 'good' or 'bad', as we already have the established tools to evaluate validity and soundness of arguments, and it should be pretty clear that most logicians would say that a sound argument is 'good', but it's not necessary. What's the point?

kennethamy;101085 wrote:

Some logic books do use the term cogent deductive argument. What is wrong with saying that a cogent deductive argument is a sound argument whose premises are known true? Nothing, so far as I can see. Of course, that imposes no obligation to use the notion on you.


Uh...because a 'sound' deductive argument is already known to be both logically valid, and to have true premises. That is the definition of 'soundness'. So, there's no need to then also claim that it is 'cogent', which is never used to describe a deductive argument in the first place; it's used when speaking of inductive arguments.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 03:54 pm
@kennethamy,
I can take Emil's criticism, indeed I haven't studied formal logic and would probably benefit from it. Accordingly, will send PM for aformentioned text.

My only other observation at this point is the degree of difficulty associated with the notion of 'objectivity'. It is a genuinely difficult issue in contemporary philosophy which could be parodied by the suggestion that perhaps everyone has their own idea of what 'objectivity' constitutes.

Incidentally, on second reading I find the argument neither obtuse nor abstruse, so will take that back (whatever it was I was thinking).
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 03:59 pm
@kennethamy,
..the one that leads to success.

It doesn't nessesarily have to be intelligent or thought through. Look at orators though history, Hitler is a good example of a lesser intelligent man could boss around more intelligent men.
 
Emil
 
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 04:18 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;101082 wrote:
But all arguments depend on the existence of minds. And whether they commit fallacies at all, depends on the existence of minds. So, you have to be clearer about what you have in mind when you say that begging the question depends on the existence of minds. Of course it does! But not more than does denying the antecedent.


What do you mean by that "all arguments depend on the existence of minds"? Recall that arguments are sets of propositions, and these exist necessarily. Minds do not exist necessarily, thus arguments exist independently of minds.

kennethamy;101082 wrote:
What cut do you want do make within the notion of objective vs. subjective fallacies? Better, what is it you think makes BTQ subjective, but denying the antecedent objective?


AFAIK the set of subjective fallacies could be empty, but I don't know. I want to find out. I think that all formal fallacies and some informal fallacies belong to the set of objective fallacies.

I don't think that BTQ is subjective. I didn't write that either. I don't have an opinion yet.

---------- Post added 11-01-2009 at 11:19 PM ----------

jeeprs;101095 wrote:
I can take Emil's criticism, indeed I haven't studied formal logic and would probably benefit from it. Accordingly, will send PM for aformentioned text.

My only other observation at this point is the degree of difficulty associated with the notion of 'objectivity'. It is a genuinely difficult issue in contemporary philosophy which could be parodied by the suggestion that perhaps everyone has their own idea of what 'objectivity' constitutes.

Incidentally, on second reading I find the argument neither obtuse nor abstruse, so will take that back (whatever it was I was thinking).


(My emphasis.)

Hahaha!

I quoted you on my website. If you want your name on the quote, let me know. I used your username on this board.

---------- Post added 11-01-2009 at 11:27 PM ----------

Pangloss;101083 wrote:
I didn't know there was some standard definition for a 'logically bad' argument. What is that? You can have a valid argument that is, 'logically' ok, meaning that the premises lead to the conclusion, but if the premises are false, it is of course not a sound argument. I wonder why you keep throwing around these normative terms of 'good' and 'bad', when they aren't really necessary. The rules of logic allow us to evaluate an argument without such terms, and then adding the word 'good' or 'bad' to an argument that we know is invalid seems to be meaningless. An invalid argument might be great to the sophist, if it is convincing. Why can't we just stick to valid/invalid and sound/unsound?

Once again, there's no such thing as a cogent deductive argument. You are just playing a word game here, mixing up and making up terms. Check out a logic textbook...otherwise, you're 'trying to row a boat without oars', remember?


Ken seems to be looking for a set of necessary/sufficient conditions for correct use of the term "good argument". Additionally "good" as in "logically good" and not in, for instance, rhetorically good (good at convincing people). The question is whether such a sense makes sense. I doubt that when closer scrutinized the notion of "establishing a conclusion" makes sense without appeal to an observer/observers of some kind.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 05:16 pm
@Pangloss,
Pangloss;101089 wrote:



Uh...because a 'sound' deductive argument is already known to be both logically valid, and to have true premises. That is the definition of 'soundness'. So, there's no need to then also claim that it is 'cogent', which is never used to describe a deductive argument in the first place; it's used when speaking of inductive arguments.


That is not true. The premises may be true without our knowing they are. So an argument may be sound without our knowing it is sound. To know it is sound, so we can know the conclusion is true, we have to know that the premises are true, and, of course, know the argument is valid.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 05:26 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;101107 wrote:
That is not true. The premises may be true without our knowing they are. So an argument may be sound without our knowing it is sound. To know it is sound, so we can know the conclusion is true, we have to know that the premises are true, and, of course, know the argument is valid.


Sure an argument could be sound without us knowing it is sound. That doesn't change the definition of 'soundness', when applied to deductive arguments. I obviously didn't mean that we had to know an argument is sound for it to be sound...I was simply getting at the fact that a sound argument, as defined, is one that is both valid and supported by true premises. Cogency is considered with inductive arguments. What about this do you not understand?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 05:52 pm
@Pangloss,
Pangloss;101110 wrote:
Sure an argument could be sound without us knowing it is sound. That doesn't change the definition of 'soundness', when applied to deductive arguments. I obviously didn't mean that we had to know an argument is sound for it to be sound...I was simply getting at the fact that a sound argument, as defined, is one that is both valid and supported by true premises. Cogency is considered with inductive arguments. What about this do you not understand?


A cogent deductive argument is simply an argument which is not only sound, but it is known to be sound. That does not seem to me hard to understand. What I don't understand is what you find to object to. You needn't use the notion if you don't like it, or find it helpful. No compulsion. This is a non-issue, unless you have some objection to the notion. So far, you have just indicated that you do not like it.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 08:01 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;101118 wrote:
A cogent deductive argument is simply an argument which is not only sound, but it is known to be sound. That does not seem to me hard to understand. What I don't understand is what you find to object to. You needn't use the notion if you don't like it, or find it helpful. No compulsion. This is a non-issue, unless you have some objection to the notion. So far, you have just indicated that you do not like it.


It's interesting, because I've never encountered these definitions before...I think you've made them up.

Anyway, carry on with the thread. Like jgweed said, a 'good' argument could really just depend on the context and the type of argument being made. You seem to be speaking specifically of deductive arguments, where obviously one that is sound is 'good', compared to one that is not. I'm not sure if we can say much more than that here. But if you want to discuss inductive arguments, there is much more to be said.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 08:12 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;101118 wrote:
A cogent deductive argument is simply an argument which is not only sound, but it is known to be sound. That does not seem to me hard to understand. What I don't understand is what you find to object to. You needn't use the notion if you don't like it, or find it helpful. No compulsion. This is a non-issue, unless you have some objection to the notion. So far, you have just indicated that you do not like it.


When did he say anything about liking or disliking cogency?

His point was simply that the property cogency is usually applied to inductive, not deductive, arguments.

Sometimes it is an issue if you start applying a property to a thing which does not usually have that property applied, and then more, change the notion of that property to fit the thing in question. An extrapolated notion can make sense, but you'd have to clarify if people usually don't refer to something as having that property. If I started calling my dog "smooth", you would probably have people questioning what I mean, since they know I usually refer to my countertop as "smooth", not my dog. I could explain to them that I meant my dog's coat was "smooth", but I can't blame people for not referring to my dog as "smooth", or telling me that my word usage was confusing.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 08:47 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;101139 wrote:
When did he say anything about liking or disliking cogency?

His point was simply that the property cogency is usually applied to inductive, not deductive, arguments.

Sometimes it is an issue if you start applying a property to a thing which does not usually have that property applied, and then more, change the notion of that property to fit the thing in question. An extrapolated notion can make sense, but you'd have to clarify if people usually don't refer to something as having that property. If I started calling my dog "smooth", you would probably have people questioning what I mean, since they know I usually refer to my countertop as "smooth", not my dog. I could explain to them that I meant my dog's coat was "smooth", but I can't blame people for not referring to my dog as "smooth", or telling me that my word usage was confusing.


Well, I am coining "deductive cogency" and I have defined it. So, what is supposed to be the objection? Actually, I did not coin it. Several logic books already use the term. But, since the term is clearly defined, I don't see the issue.
 
fast
 
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 11:22 am
@kennethamy,
Argument A:

1.
2..
Therefore, 3.


Argument B:

4.
5.
Therefore 3. [not 6]

If argument A establishes its conclusion, and if argument B establishes the same conclusion, then why must we always conclude that one argument is not better (but just different) than the other?

Perhaps both arguments should convince me, but if only one argument does, then I'd be inclined to think that both are good yet one is better than the other.

This is not to say, however, that I believe an argument that fails to convince is not a good argument, but why must we refrain from considering issues that go beyond the role of the logician in determining what a good argument is?

We need a list of preferable qualities of an argument. I'd like to see an argument that is clearly written. I'd rather see an argument that is relevant. I most certainly want an argument that establishes its conclusion. It needs to be sound -or cogent. The less controversial the better. One that considers the target audience. One that isn't bogged down with technicalities. One that convinces and persuades and informs. One that is not offensive. One that is simple in nature. I'm sure we can add to the list.

Yet, if argument B has all those qualities and if argument A merely establishes its conclusion, then yes, both arguments are good (at least in one sense of the word), but I'm not so sure we should be satisfied with an argument that is merely good.
 
Emil
 
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 12:33 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;101118 wrote:
A cogent deductive argument is simply an argument which is not only sound, but it is known to be sound. That does not seem to me hard to understand. What I don't understand is what you find to object to. You needn't use the notion if you don't like it, or find it helpful. No compulsion. This is a non-issue, unless you have some objection to the notion. So far, you have just indicated that you do not like it.


I'll just note that I have no problem with that stipulation in this context, even though it is a bit confusing because the term is also used in another sense with inductive argument. In the future in this thread I shall refer to your stipulation of "cogent" as d. cogent for deductively cogent, as opposed to i. cogent for inductively cogent.

---------- Post added 11-02-2009 at 07:35 PM ----------

Pangloss;101131 wrote:
It's interesting, because I've never encountered these definitions before...I think you've made them up.

Anyway, carry on with the thread. Like jgweed said, a 'good' argument could really just depend on the context and the type of argument being made. You seem to be speaking specifically of deductive arguments, where obviously one that is sound is 'good', compared to one that is not. I'm not sure if we can say much more than that here. But if you want to discuss inductive arguments, there is much more to be said.


It does not matter who made it up. You're approaching the genetic fallacy:
[INDENT]"The Genetic Fallacy is the most general fallacy of irrelevancy involving the origins or history of an idea. It is fallacious to either endorse or condemn an idea based on its past-rather than on its present-merits or demerits, unless its past in some way affects its present value. For instance, the origin of evidence can be quite relevant to its evaluation, especially in historical investigations. The origin of testimony-whether first hand, hearsay, or rumor-carries weight in evaluating it."[/INDENT]

---------- Post added 11-02-2009 at 07:42 PM ----------

Hi Fast. Good to see you over here. Smile

I see that you succeeded in getting a "Thanks" for your post and I didn't get any for the long posts I made in this thread. Sad

fast;101286 wrote:
Argument A:

1.
2..
Therefore, 3.


Argument B:

4.
5.
Therefore 3. [not 6]

If argument A establishes its conclusion, and if argument B establishes the same conclusion, then why must we always conclude that one argument is not better (but just different) than the other?


Who believes that we must? You ask the question like holds that opinion, yet I don't know who that would be.

Also, what do you mean by "establishes its conclusion"? I repeatedly asked Kenneth what that means but he have not answered me yet. (Ken, are you reading this?)

fast;101286 wrote:
Perhaps both arguments should convince me, but if only one argument does, then I'd be inclined to think that both are good yet one is better than the other.


I think Kennethamy is only after what could be adequately called "logically good". Not what is good for convincing people, or other 'worldly' qualities.

fast;101286 wrote:
This is not to say, however, that I believe an argument that fails to convince is not a good argument, but why must we refrain from considering issues that go beyond the role of the logician in determining what a good argument is?


We should if we're considering the notion of a logically good argument. But if we're interested in the more broad notion of a good argument, then we should consider such things.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 01:45 pm
@Emil,
Emil;101302 wrote:
It does not matter who made it up. You're approaching the genetic fallacy:[INDENT]"The Genetic Fallacy is the most general fallacy of irrelevancy involving the origins or history of an idea. It is fallacious to either endorse or condemn an idea based on its past-rather than on its present-merits or demerits, unless its past in some way affects its present value. For instance, the origin of evidence can be quite relevant to its evaluation, especially in historical investigations. The origin of testimony-whether first hand, hearsay, or rumor-carries weight in evaluating it."[/INDENT]
[INDENT]

That's terrific, but I never condemned the idea. I've just never heard those terms used before in formal logic, in the manner he's been using them, so I obviously was confused as to what he was talking about. It's pretty funny that both you and him are constantly making snide comments about how people need to have a formal background in logic before spouting off on the subject, and yet both of your own supposed backgrounds seriously come into question when you throw around these terms that are never formally used...

Regardless, I fail to see the merit in making a distinction between kennethamy's "cogent sound deductive argument" and a standard sound deductive argument. If we don't know that the premises are true, we simply evaluate its validity, and don't call it sound. If we do know, then we call it a sound argument. Making up a term for a 'known sound argument' is ridiculous. There, so now I am condemning the idea, but as you can see, my problem with it has nothing to do with 'genetics', but with its actual merit.
[/INDENT]
 
fast
 
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 01:58 pm
@Emil,
Emil;101302 wrote:

Hi Fast. Good to see you over here.

I see that you succeeded in getting a "Thanks" for your post and I didn't get any for the long posts I made in this thread.

Ya got one now.

[QUOTE]Who believes that we must? You ask the question like holds that opinion, yet I don't know who that would be.[/QUOTE]I get the impression that he holds that if an argument establishes the truth, then it's a good argument, and if it doesn't, then it's not. No in between ... no middle ground ... no room for one argument being better than another if both do as good arguments do: establish the truth.

[QUOTE]Also, what do you mean by "establishes its conclusion"? I repeatedly asked Kenneth what that means but he have not answered me yet. (Ken, are you reading this?) [/QUOTE]If I hold that some statement is true, I might be called upon to show that it's true, and if I use an argument that does that, then I have established its conclusion--with the conclusion being the statement that I hold as true.

[QUOTE]I think Kennethamy is only after what could be adequately called "logically good". [/QUOTE]Um, no. He wants to know what a good argument is-what makes an argument a good argument. What is it to say of an argument that it is good? He wants an analysis of the necessary and sufficient conditions for a good argument.

[QUOTE]Not what is good for convincing people, or other 'worldly' qualities.[/QUOTE]Yes, but he doesn't deny it outright (or without reason). He doesn't believe that convincing people is a necessary condition of a good argument, but if anyone were to present a logical argument that establishes that it is a necessary condition, then he would accept it. Either that or explode, lol. However, no one is going to present a sound argument that convincing people is a necessary condition of a good argument, so he's safe.

[QUOTE]We should if we're considering the notion of a logically good argument. But if we're interested in the more broad notion of a good argument, then we should consider such things.[/QUOTE]This is where things might get interesting.
 
Bhaktajan
 
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 01:59 pm
@kennethamy,
Why did the Chicken cross the Road? Because the Owner kept smacking it without just cause!

No arguments?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 03:23 pm
@Emil,
Emil;101302 wrote:
I'll just note that I have no problem with that stipulation in this context, even though it is a bit confusing because the term is also used in another sense with inductive argument. In the future in this thread I shall refer to your stipulation of "cogent" as d. cogent for deductively cogent, as opposed to i. cogent for inductively cogent.

---------- Post added 11-02-2009 at 07:35 PM ----------



It does not matter who made it up. You're approaching the genetic fallacy:[INDENT]"The Genetic Fallacy is the most general fallacy of irrelevancy involving the origins or history of an idea. It is fallacious to either endorse or condemn an idea based on its past-rather than on its present-merits or demerits, unless its past in some way affects its present value. For instance, the origin of evidence can be quite relevant to its evaluation, especially in historical investigations. The origin of testimony-whether first hand, hearsay, or rumor-carries weight in evaluating it."[/INDENT]

---------- Post added 11-02-2009 at 07:42 PM ----------

Hi Fast. Good to see you over here. Smile

I see that you succeeded in getting a "Thanks" for your post and I didn't get any for the long posts I made in this thread. Sad



Who believes that we must? You ask the question like holds that opinion, yet I don't know who that would be.

Also, what do you mean by "establishes its conclusion"? I repeatedly asked Kenneth what that means but he have not answered me yet. (Ken, are you reading this?)



I think Kennethamy is only after what could be adequately called "logically good". Not what is good for convincing people, or other 'worldly' qualities.



We should if we're considering the notion of a logically good argument. But if we're interested in the more broad notion of a good argument, then we should consider such things.



Establishing a conclusion is just proving that the conclusion is true. Isn't that what the function of arguments is? The function of an argument is not to persuade anyone of the conclusion because whether an argument is persuasive depends on who it is who is being persuaded. Some people, would never be persuaded of something no matter how good the argument is. And some people would always be persuaded, no matter how bad the argument is. Because for some people, whether they are persuaded by an argument depends on whether they believe the conclusion or don't. So how can whether the argument persuades be a criterion of a good argument? Whether an argument is persuasive is a psychological matter, not a logical matter. Those who think that persuasiveness is a criterion of a good argument are confusing "proving" with "proving to". I can prove something, but not prove it to my audience. This may be for two general reasons. The audience may be too in love with the conclusion to care about any argument; or the audience may not understand the argument. As Samuel Johnson is reported to have said to someone he was having a discussion with: "Sir, I have given you an argument. But I am unable to give you understanding".

---------- Post added 11-02-2009 at 04:26 PM ----------

Bhaktajan;101324 wrote:
Why did the Chicken cross the Road? Because the Owner kept smacking it without just cause!

No arguments?


That is not an argument. That is an explanation. There is a difference. When I say, "The dog is scratching himself, therefore he has fleas", that is an argument. But when I say, "The dog is scratching himself because he has fleas", that is an explanation.

---------- Post added 11-02-2009 at 04:33 PM ----------

fast;101323 wrote:
Ya got one now.

I get the impression that he holds that if an argument establishes the truth, then it's a good argument, and if it doesn't, then it's not. No in between ... no middle ground ... no room for one argument being better than another if both do as good arguments do: establish the truth.

If I hold that some statement is true, I might be called upon to show that it's true, and if I use an argument that does that, then I have established its conclusion--with the conclusion being the statement that I hold as true.

Um, no. He wants to know what a good argument is-what makes an argument a good argument. What is it to say of an argument that it is good? He wants an analysis of the necessary and sufficient conditions for a good argument.

Yes, but he doesn't deny it outright (or without reason). He doesn't believe that convincing people is a necessary condition of a good argument, but if anyone were to present a logical argument that establishes that it is a necessary condition, then he would accept it. Either that or explode, lol. However, no one is going to present a sound argument that convincing people is a necessary condition of a good argument, so he's safe.

This is where things might get interesting.


Since "good" is "the most general adjective of commendation" we can commend something for all kinds of things depending on what I want from it. I may say "that is a good watch because it is pretty, because I can wear it when I am swimming, etc.". But if we want to commend a watch for being a watch, we commend it (say it is good) because it keeps the time accurately. Just so, I can commend an argument for being elegant and proving its conclusion in the fewest number of steps. Or, I can commend an argument for being persuasive. But if I commend an argument for being an argument, I commend it for being sound (and maybe, cogent).
 
fast
 
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 04:07 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;101335 wrote:

Since "good" is "the most general adjective of commendation" we can commend something for all kinds of things depending on what I want from it. I may say "that is a good watch because it is pretty, because I can wear it when I am swimming, etc.". But if we want to commend a watch for being a watch, we commend it (say it is good) because it keeps the time accurately. Just so, I can commend an argument for being elegant and proving its conclusion in the fewest number of steps. Or, I can commend an argument for being persuasive. But if I commend an argument for being an argument, I commend it for being sound (and maybe, cogent).


Both of our watches keep time accurately, so both of our watches are good, but my watch looks nice, so my watch is better.

Both of our arguments are sound, so both of our arguments are good, but my argument is written more clearly, so my argument is better.
 
 

 
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