What is a good argument?

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kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 04:16 pm
@fast,
fast;101347 wrote:
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.


Yes. It depends on what you want an argument to do. But I would think you that certainly want an argument to prove its conclusion. Don't you? Of course, given that, you may commend it for other virtues too.
 
fast
 
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 05:14 pm
@kennethamy,
[QUOTE=kennethamy;101350]Yes. It depends on what you want an argument to do. But I would think you that certainly want an argument to prove its conclusion. Don't you? Of course, given that, you may commend it for other virtues too.[/QUOTE]
If my objective is to provide an argument that establishes its conclusion as true, then I have met my objective if I provide an argument that establishes its conclusion as true.

If my objective is to provide an argument that convinces someone from jumping off a roof, then I have not met my objective if only I provide an argument that establishes its conclusion as true. In fact, a better argument (in such a circumstance) would then be one that convinces someone not to jump off a roof-regardless of whether or not the conclusion is true, and the reason for that is because of the intended use of the argument.

Of course, this brings rise to the idea that we can use things for which they were not originally intended (i.e. the use of a computer monitor being used as a door stop). However, what's important in determining whether or not an argument is good (I surmise) is the primary function of the argument, and the primary function of an argument is not to convince people to refrain from jumping off roofs; It's to establish its conclusion as true.

What then is the difference between the primary function of an argument and an argument that is good? The primary function of an argument is to establish that its conclusion is true, and a good argument is one that succeeds in doing so.

I don't know if I should use the word, "primary;" that appears to imply that there may be other secondary (or perhaps even tertiary) functions of an argument beyond that of establishing its conclusion as true.

I understand and agree that there's a distinction between proving and proving to. I too would not want to say that an argument is somehow faulty if it does not convince or persuade someone that the conclusion is true. We can only expect so much from a good argument, and what we should expect is for it to properly function.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 06:47 am
@fast,
fast;101360 wrote:

If my objective is to provide an argument that establishes its conclusion as true, then I have met my objective if I provide an argument that establishes its conclusion as true.

If my objective is to provide an argument that convinces someone from jumping off a roof, then I have not met my objective if only I provide an argument that establishes its conclusion as true. In fact, a better argument (in such a circumstance) would then be one that convinces someone not to jump off a roof-regardless of whether or not the conclusion is true, and the reason for that is because of the intended use of the argument.

Of course, this brings rise to the idea that we can use things for which they were not originally intended (i.e. the use of a computer monitor being used as a door stop). However, what's important in determining whether or not an argument is good (I surmise) is the primary function of the argument, and the primary function of an argument is not to convince people to refrain from jumping off roofs; It's to establish its conclusion as true.

What then is the difference between the primary function of an argument and an argument that is good? The primary function of an argument is to establish that its conclusion is true, and a good argument is one that succeeds in doing so.

I don't know if I should use the word, "primary;" that appears to imply that there may be other secondary (or perhaps even tertiary) functions of an argument beyond that of establishing its conclusion as true.

I understand and agree that there's a distinction between proving and proving to. I too would not want to say that an argument is somehow faulty if it does not convince or persuade someone that the conclusion is true. We can only expect so much from a good argument, and what we should expect is for it to properly function.


Why aren't there secondary functions of an argument? You mentioned some. Aquinas, for instance, criticized the ontological argument in two ways: He said although it was sound, it was not convincing, and then, he said something very curious. He said that although it was sound, no one could know the essence of God. He seems to be saying here that it is a defect in the argument that it assumes that God's essence is His existence; that is true; but that no one can know God's essence. What do you make of that? In any case, Aquinas rejected the argument for reasons other than whether it was sound, since he thought it was sound.
 
fast
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 12:02 pm
@kennethamy,
[QUOTE=kennethamy;101418]Why aren't there secondary functions of an argument? You mentioned some.[/QUOTE] I didn't know that they qualified as secondary functions, but now that you mention it, I guess they do. I wouldn't have guessed that an example of a secondary function of a computer (though) would be to prop doors open. But, I can live with it if you can.

[QUOTE]Aquinas, for instance, criticized the ontological argument in two ways: He said although it was sound, it was not convincing, and then, he said something very curious. He said that although it was sound, no one could know the essence of God. He seems to be saying here that it is a defect in the argument that it assumes that God's essence is His existence; that is true; but that no one can know God's essence. What do you make of that? In any case, Aquinas rejected the argument for reasons other than whether it was sound, since he thought it was sound.[/QUOTE]

Well, to be honest, I do not know the ontological argument (although I've heard the term thrown around--I suppose it has to do with God's existence). In addition, I do not know what his views were, but I never let little things like being clueless stop me from trying to answer questions.

Based on your post coupled with a lot of guesswork, I'm supposing a few things. One, he has (in his mind) raised the bar of what is necessary for an argument to be a good argument; thus, he expects more of an argument than you. You gave an example that shows this: the argument (though sound) does not always succeed in convincing others that the conclusion is true, but because convincing someone that an argument is true is a secondary function, that's not to say the argument itself is faulty.

Also, it appears that he thinks the argument is faulty (despite being sound) for another reason: because the argument fails to address what he thinks is important: God's essence (whatever that is.)

So, because 1) the argument fails to convince and because 2) the argument is irrelevant (in so much that it doesn't address God's essence), he thinks the argument is faulty.

However, it appears that his underlying mistake is expecting more from an argument than its primary purpose, and if that is in fact a mistake, then the argument is not faulty because it functions just as its designed to.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 12:17 pm
@fast,
fast;101535 wrote:
I didn't know that they qualified as secondary functions, but now that you mention it, I guess they do. I wouldn't have guessed that an example of a secondary function of a computer (though) would be to prop doors open. But, I can live with it if you can.



Well, to be honest, I do not know the ontological argument (although I've heard the term thrown around--I suppose it has to do with God's existence). In addition, I do not know what his views were, but I never let little things like being clueless stop me from trying to answer questions.

Based on your post coupled with a lot of guesswork, I'm supposing a few things. One, he has (in his mind) raised the bar of what is necessary for an argument to be a good argument; thus, he expects more of an argument than you. You gave an example that shows this: the argument (though sound) does not always succeed in convincing others that the conclusion is true, but because convincing someone that an argument is true is a secondary function, that's not to say the argument itself is faulty.

Also, it appears that he thinks the argument is faulty (despite being sound) for another reason: because the argument fails to address what he thinks is important: God's essence (whatever that is.)

So, because 1) the argument fails to convince and because 2) the argument is irrelevant (in so much that it doesn't address God's essence), he thinks the argument is faulty.

However, it appears that his underlying mistake is expecting more from an argument than its primary purpose, and if that is in fact a mistake, then the argument is not faulty because it functions just as its designed to.


No, I don't think that propping open a door is a secondary function of a computer, no more than using a watch as a paper-weight would be a secondary function of a watch. But using an expensive watch as an ornament might very well be.

The ontological argument was just an example. (But you should read up on it. It is the most fascinating argument of the bunch. Called sometimes, "the many-faced argument". Aquinas holds that although the premise that God's existence is His essence is true, no one can know it is true. What do you think that means?
 
fast
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 12:49 pm
@kennethamy,
[QUOTE=kennethamy;101541]Aquinas holds that although the premise that God's existence is His essence is true, no one can know it is true. What do you think that means?[/QUOTE]

Ever? Perhaps he believes that "God's existence is His essence is true" on faith and that we cannot know that God's existence is His essence while here on Earth.

However, this is still tricky. I'm not sure if you're asking the right question. It may be more important to know what he means than it to know what he says means. I would need more insight into how he uses the words. I don't think it's too risky to assume that people sometimes don't mean what they say means. For example, could he be conflating knowledge with certainty?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 01:11 pm
@fast,
fast;101551 wrote:


Ever? Perhaps he believes that "God's existence is His essence is true" on faith and that we cannot know that God's existence is His essence while here on Earth.

However, this is still tricky. I'm not sure if you're asking the right question. It may be more important to know what he means than it to know what he says means. I would need more insight into how he uses the words. I don't think it's too risky to assume that people sometimes don't mean what they say means. For example, could he be conflating knowledge with certainty?


All these are possible explanations. But what he does say is curious.
 
fast
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 01:35 pm
@kennethamy,
[QUOTE=kennethamy;101559]All these are possible explanations. But what he does say is curious.[/QUOTE]

I wouldn't give all explanations equal weight. I'm not saying that you are. What he says may be curious, but I wouldn't think it impossible to figure out what he's saying. In fact, it may even be plausible that we could figure out exactly what he means. It would take some work though. Just as you can spot the underlying confusions that people make today, so could you do the same with him. You could, for example, review his writings and discover what mistakes (if any) that he makes in an effort to uncover what he means by what he says. The writings reviewed need not even be related to the issue. I'm certainly not up to the challenge.

If we take what he says to mean just what you would mean if you were to say such a thing (not that you would, of course), then I suppose he just means the truth of what he says is independent of any knowledge that it's true.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 01:49 pm
@fast,
fast;101571 wrote:


I wouldn't give all explanations equal weight. I'm not saying that you are. What he says may be curious, but I wouldn't think it impossible to figure out what he's saying. In fact, it may even be plausible that we could figure out exactly what he means. It would take some work though. Just as you can spot the underlying confusions that people make today, so could you do the same with him. You could, for example, review his writings and discover what mistakes (if any) that he makes in an effort to uncover what he means by what he says. The writings reviewed need not even be related to the issue. I'm certainly not up to the challenge.

If we take what he says to mean just what you would mean if you were to say such a thing (not that you would, of course), then I suppose he just means the truth of what he says is independent of any knowledge that it's true.


Yes. But then, he also says it is true. If he didn't think he knew it, why would he say it? But then, how could he think he knew it if he also says that no one can know such a thing?
 
fast
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 02:59 pm
@kennethamy,
[QUOTE=kennethamy;101577]Yes. But then, he also says it is true. If he didn't think he knew it, why would he say it? But then, how could he think he knew it if he also says that no one can know such a thing?[/QUOTE]

If I flat out say that something is true without qualification, then you're going to presume (or at least should presume) that I'm positing what I say as something I know (or at least as something that I think I know).

But, he didn't say what he said without qualification. He said that no one can know such a thing, so he did give an indication that could lead us to believe that he strongly believes that God's existence is His essence. Sometimes, people say they know something when in fact they only strongly believe it.

However, things may not even be as they seem. There may be two different issues at play. Suppose he does mean to imply that he knows, but what is it exactly that he thinks he knows? From what you wrote, it would indicate that he knows (or at least thinks he knows) that God's existence is His essence. That in itself doesn't go to show that he's claiming to know that God exists--just that God's existence is His essence. What (then), is he saying that no one can ever know? That God's existence is His essence? I doubt it. He may mean that no one can ever know that God exists (and thus no one can ever know God's essence) and thus is not saying that no one can ever know that God's existence is His essence ... thereby not making it as curious as it seems.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 06:09 pm
@fast,
fast;101598 wrote:


If I flat out say that something is true without qualification, then you're going to presume (or at least should presume) that I'm positing what I say as something I know (or at least as something that I think I know).

But, he didn't say what he said without qualification. He said that no one can know such a thing, so he did give an indication that could lead us to believe that he strongly believes that God's existence is His essence. Sometimes, people say they know something when in fact they only strongly believe it.

However, things may not even be as they seem. There may be two different issues at play. Suppose he does mean to imply that he knows, but what is it exactly that he thinks he knows? From what you wrote, it would indicate that he knows (or at least thinks he knows) that God's existence is His essence. That in itself doesn't go to show that he's claiming to know that God exists--just that God's existence is His essence. What (then), is he saying that no one can ever know? That God's existence is His essence? I doubt it. He may mean that no one can ever know that God exists (and thus no one can ever know God's essence) and thus is not saying that no one can ever know that God's existence is His essence ... thereby not making it as curious as it seems.


I'll tell you one thing: Aquinas certainly did not believe even for a minute that we could not know that God exists. He presented his famous five ways (five arguments) for proving God. But for the reason I mentioned, he did not believe that the ontological argument was a way. He held it was blasphemous to say we could not know God exists.
 
Emil
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 06:55 pm
@Pangloss,
Pangloss;101318 wrote:
[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]



I didn't say that you did. I said that you were close to it. Especially the tone of your posts reveals this.

I don't recall making any "snide" comments about having a formal background in logic. If you search my posts you would find exactly that. Of course no formal background is needed. I don't have a formal background in logic. Kenneth can answer for himself. Knowledge of logic is what is needed. If someone can manage to learn it himself, all the better!
You're attacking a straw man and it's quite obvious.

I never heard "cogent" used that way before, but does it matter? No. People make up terms (and words in general) all the time. That's not always a bad thing, often it's a good thing to make up new terms (words or phrases) to describe something. The only problem in this case was that "cogent" already had a meaning in a nearly related field (inductive logic) and so using it for something else is confusing. But since the matter has been clarified I see no further problems with using it. Especially when it is used with a qualifier like "deductive" or "inductive".

There is a difference between a deductively cogent sound argument and an un-cogent sound argument. The difference is that the premises are known by somebody. There are a lot of sound arguments but most of them are not known. I'm talking about argument types, not argument tokens though it is true for both.

I hope that your future posts will be better than this.

---------- Post added 11-04-2009 at 02:04 AM ----------

kennethamy;101335 wrote:
Establishing a conclusion is just proving that the conclusion is true. Isn't that what the function of arguments is?


Argument tokens have many different functions. Sometimes it is to convince people, sometimes something else. I don't think argument types have a function if that means purpose.

What does it mean to prove that its conclusion is true? I don't understand this non-personal and purely logical "prove". What does it mean? Can you state the truth conditions for an argument proving its conclusion?

kennethamy;101335 wrote:
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.


Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is not. Mostly it is.

kennethamy;101335 wrote:
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".


All of this depends on your claim that the function of an argument (token) is not to prove something to someone. But it is often then function of an argument (token)!

You keep writing "good argument" when you really should write "logically good argument". I suppose that is what you mean. Otherwise you are painfully wrong.

I suppose that a logically good argument is one that is: Sound (or corresponding inductive term) and non-fallacious.

---------- Post added 11-04-2009 at 02:10 AM ----------

Ken, are you going to answer my post #27?

I'm still interesting in hearing whether you think whether or not an argument BTQ is an objective fact or not. You've previously said that it is but apparently you did not know what I meant by objective. I've since clarified it. You should re-answer my question.
 
fast
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 07:24 pm
@Emil,
[QUOTE=Emil;101647]Argument tokens have many different functions. Sometimes it is to convince people, sometimes something else. I don't think argument types have a function if that means purpose.[/QUOTE]
I can use a screwdriver to get into a paint can just as you can use an argument to convince someone that a statement is true, but the purpose of a screwdriver is no more to get into a paint can than is an argument's purpose is to convince someone that a statement is true.

Just as there can be a difference between what you mean by a word and what a word means, so too can your purpose for using an argument be different than the primary purpose of an argument.

---------- Post added 11-03-2009 at 08:31 PM ----------

kennethamy;101637 wrote:
I'll tell you one thing: Aquinas certainly did not believe even for a minute that we could not know that God exists. He presented his famous five ways (five arguments) for proving God. But for the reason I mentioned, he did not believe that the ontological argument was a way. He held it was blasphemous to say we could not know God exists.

Maybe he thought God's essence is beyond our comprehension. At any rate, it is interesting.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 07:46 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;101418 wrote:
Aquinas, for instance, criticized the ontological argument in two ways: He said although it was sound, it was not convincing, and then, he said something very curious. He said that although it was sound, no one could know the essence of God. He seems to be saying here that it is a defect in the argument that it assumes that God's essence is His existence; that is true; but that no one can know God's essence. What do you make of that? In any case, Aquinas rejected the argument for reasons other than whether it was sound, since he thought it was sound.


This is illustrative of the fact that Thomas was first, a theologian, and second, a philosopher. The distincion between 'the essence (of God) and His energies' is an old one, and also one of the key distinctions between Eastern Orthodox and Catholic theology. In any case, Thomas here assumes one factor that may be absent in the reasoning of many modern philosophers, namely, Faith. It is a given that Faith is not something that be acquired by reason, although reason can be employed in support of faith.

---------- Post added 11-04-2009 at 12:47 PM ----------

Essay on same

Can Ratio Fathom the Truth: an Essay on the Triads of St. Gregory Palamas
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 07:52 pm
@fast,
fast;101651 wrote:

I can use a screwdriver to get into a paint can just as you can use an argument to convince someone that a statement is true, but the purpose of a screwdriver is no more to get into a paint can than is an argument's purpose is to convince someone that a statement is true.

Just as there can be a difference between what you mean by a word and what a word means, so too can your purpose for using an argument be different than the primary purpose of an argument.

---------- Post added 11-03-2009 at 08:31 PM ----------


Maybe he thought God's essence is beyond our comprehension. At any rate, it is interesting.


Not even that. He thought that God's essence was His existence.

---------- Post added 11-03-2009 at 09:03 PM ----------

Emil;101647 wrote:
I didn't say that you did. I said that you were close to it. Especially the tone of your posts reveals this.

I don't recall making any "snide" comments about having a formal background in logic. If you search my posts you would find exactly that. Of course no formal background is needed. I don't have a formal background in logic. Kenneth can answer for himself. Knowledge of logic is what is needed. If someone can manage to learn it himself, all the better!
You're attacking a straw man and it's quite obvious.

I never heard "cogent" used that way before, but does it matter? No. People make up terms (and words in general) all the time. That's not always a bad thing, often it's a good thing to make up new terms (words or phrases) to describe something. The only problem in this case was that "cogent" already had a meaning in a nearly related field (inductive logic) and so using it for something else is confusing. But since the matter has been clarified I see no further problems with using it. Especially when it is used with a qualifier like "deductive" or "inductive".

There is a difference between a deductively cogent sound argument and an un-cogent sound argument. The difference is that the premises are known by somebody. There are a lot of sound arguments but most of them are not known. I'm talking about argument types, not argument tokens though it is true for both.

I hope that your future posts will be better than this.

---------- Post added 11-04-2009 at 02:04 AM ----------



Argument tokens have many different functions. Sometimes it is to convince people, sometimes something else. I don't think argument types have a function if that means purpose.

What does it mean to prove that its conclusion is true? I don't understand this non-personal and purely logical "prove". What does it mean? Can you state the truth conditions for an argument proving its conclusion?



Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is not. Mostly it is.



All of this depends on your claim that the function of an argument (token) is not to prove something to someone. But it is often then function of an argument (token)!

You keep writing "good argument" when you really should write "logically good argument". I suppose that is what you mean. Otherwise you are painfully wrong.

I suppose that a logically good argument is one that is: Sound (or corresponding inductive term) and non-fallacious.

---------- Post added 11-04-2009 at 02:10 AM ----------

Ken, are you going to answer my post #27?

I'm still interesting in hearing whether you think whether or not an argument BTQ is an objective fact or not. You've previously said that it is but apparently you did not know what I meant by objective. I've since clarified it. You should re-answer my question.


"Function" does not mean purpose. The liver has a function, but it does not have a purpose. Sure, a particular argument token may have all kinds of purposes. E.g. embarrass someone, to annoy someone, etc. That is, the purpose of the arguer may be other than to prove the conclusion. But the function of the type (and that was what I was talking about) is to establish the conclusion as true. An d-argument has to be sound to prove the conclusion is true. I thought I had replied to #27. I will look at it again.
 
fast
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 08:26 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;101656 wrote:
"Function" does not mean purpose. The liver has a function, but it does not have a purpose. Sure, a particular argument token may have all kinds of purposes. E.g. embarrass someone, to annoy someone, etc. That is, the purpose of the arguer may be other than to prove the conclusion. But the function of the type (and that was what I was talking about) is to establish the conclusion as true. An d-argument has to be sound to prove the conclusion is true. I thought I had replied to #27. I will look at it again.

Does anything that cannot think have a purpose?

Things have a function, and people have a purpose -- or something like that?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 08:29 pm
@fast,
fast;101662 wrote:
Does anything that cannot think have a purpose?

Things have a function, and people have a purpose -- or something like that?


Well, ashtrays have (used to have?) a purpose. The purpose for which they were manufactured, or the purpose for which they were used by people. A "derivative" purpose. People have purposes. But atheists (and existentialists) don't believe that people have a purpose.
 
fast
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 08:48 pm
@kennethamy,
So, I guess a refrigerator has both a function and a purpose.
 
Emil
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 09:38 pm
@fast,
fast;101651 wrote:
I can use a screwdriver to get into a paint can just as you can use an argument to convince someone that a statement is true, but the purpose of a screwdriver is no more to get into a paint can than is an argument's purpose is to convince someone that a statement is true.


The primary purpose of a screwdriver is not to open paint cans, but the primary purpose (=function) of a presented argument is to convince people

fast;101651 wrote:
Just as there can be a difference between what you mean by a word and what a word means, so too can your purpose for using an argument be different than the primary purpose of an argument.


I agree.

fast;101651 wrote:
Maybe he thought God's essence is beyond our comprehension. At any rate, it is interesting.


I think it is waste of time. I nearly only talk about God when there is someone that I think it is possible to convince to be an atheist, and I think it is worthwhile to do so, or there is some other purpose for talking about it.

---------- Post added 11-04-2009 at 04:58 AM ----------

kennethamy;101656 wrote:
Not even that. He thought that God's essence was His existence.

---------- Post added 11-03-2009 at 09:03 PM ----------



"Function" does not mean purpose. The liver has a function, but it does not have a purpose. Sure, a particular argument token may have all kinds of purposes. E.g. embarrass someone, to annoy someone, etc. That is, the purpose of the arguer may be other than to prove the conclusion. But the function of the type (and that was what I was talking about) is to establish the conclusion as true. An d-argument has to be sound to prove the conclusion is true. I thought I had replied to #27. I will look at it again.


"Function" and "purpose" are in some contexts used interchangeably. Though it seems rare to me.

I suppose the difference is this:

The function is what a thing does. In the case of a liver. It filters blood (or whatever). The purpose is why it is there. In the case of a liver to filter blood. The function and purpose of a liver is indeed the same.

What are the conditions for a d. argument proving it's conclusion? What about being sound and fallacy-free?

---------- Post added 11-04-2009 at 05:01 AM ----------

fast;101662 wrote:
Does anything that cannot think have a purpose?

Things have a function, and people have a purpose -- or something like that?


"Purpose" is ambiguous here. In one sense people don't have a purpose, in the sense of a meaning of their existence/life. In another sense they do have many purposes i.e. intentions.

And they certainly have many functions.
 
fast
 
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 10:36 pm
@Emil,
[QUOTE=Emil;101669]The primary purpose of a screwdriver is not to open paint cans, but the primary purpose (=function) of a presented argument is to convince people[/QUOTE]

What if only I want to show that a statement is true? To do so, I could present a sound argument. It's both the least and the most I need to do.

If I want to convince someone that a statement is true, then presenting a sound argument may be either insufficient or unnecessary.
 
 

 
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