What is a good argument?

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Emil
 
Reply Wed 4 Nov, 2009 08:24 am
@fast,
fast;101675 wrote:


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.


Yes. There are exceptions. That's not a problem. I said primary function, not essential function (a function that it cannot lack).
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 4 Nov, 2009 08:31 am
@fast,
fast;101667 wrote:
So, I guess a refrigerator has both a function and a purpose.


Yes, a function and a (derivative) purpose. It fulfills the purposes of people to keep food cold. So, we are ultimately talking about the purposes of people.

---------- Post added 11-04-2009 at 09:35 AM ----------

Emil;101731 wrote:
Yes. There are exceptions. That's not a problem. I said primary function, not essential function (a function that it cannot lack).


What makes that function primary? Descartes writes that he presented his arguments for God not to convince his audience (who, he said (hastily) were already convinced) but to establish the truth of the existence of God about which everyone was convinced. When you talk of conviction by argument you are really talking about argumentation, not argument. Argumentation is about the place of argument in discourse. It includes rhetoric, tha art of persuasion. But we ought to separate logic from rhetoric as Aristotle did.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 5 Nov, 2009 05:35 pm
@fast,
fast;101662 wrote:
Does anything that cannot think have a purpose?


That is a really interesting question. We have this situation in current philosophy where the idea of purpose or intention is only comprehensible as the conscious activity of an individual mind. In fact one of the principle tenets of scientific naturalism is that 'nature acts without purpose' - therefore no 'telos' or tendency, not only 'religious' terms but even in terms of 'progressiveness' in evolution (i.e. Herbert Spencer et al).

The paradox is that existentially this means that the human ego is left with the task of devising purposes in a universe where there is none.

of course, in all traditional (i.e. pre-modern) societies, nature is alive with purpose, and the diety or dieties have purposes in which humans even feature in some ways.

it is really out of scope for this thread but I think I will put together a post on it separately.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 5 Nov, 2009 07:01 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;102082 wrote:
That is a really interesting question. We have this situation in current philosophy where the idea of purpose or intention is only comprehensible as the conscious activity of an individual mind. In fact one of the principle tenets of scientific naturalism is that 'nature acts without purpose' - therefore no 'telos' or tendency, not only 'religious' terms but even in terms of 'progressiveness' in evolution (i.e. Herbert Spencer et al).

The paradox is that existentially this means that the human ego is left with the task of devising purposes in a universe where there is none.

of course, in all traditional (i.e. pre-modern) societies, nature is alive with purpose, and the diety or dieties have purposes in which humans even feature in some ways.

it is really out of scope for this thread but I think I will put together a post on it separately.


Of course, if we suppose deities, they can have a purpose, and then the world, and the people in it, become artifacts. Then they have derivative purposes, like ashtrays, namely the purposes their makers made them to fulfil. The crucial question is whether (as Aristotle believed) the world and the things in the world can have an intrinsic purpose. Aristotle held that all explanation was purposive or teleological. Galileo put an end to this belief when he instituted the view that only causal explanations were suitable explanations. At least for things.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 5 Nov, 2009 07:27 pm
@kennethamy,
yes, and an interesting corollary of this outlook is that, in Aristotlean terms, modern science and philosophy don't acknowledge the existence of the formal cause and final causes, only efficient causes. I am inclined to think that the idea of formal cause might be making a comeback.

Furthermore, the Christian view is that the human is by no means an artefact, but a free being who is able to accept or reject the existence of God and is therefore self-determining (as I understand it).
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2009 09:10 pm
@kennethamy,
A good argument is one we find persuasive. A bad argument is one that the person we want to persuade does not find persuasive.

Persuasive, in my sense, includes all the moral/aesthetic criteria you like. If a person judges an argument for some ideal non-applied value, that's fine. An argument is also a poem.

The sophists have not been superseded. That is my opinion. Since Plato and other moralists disguised as truth-seekers hit the scene, the sophists have had a bad reputation. Man is too keen on his moral role-play to see what is otherwise obvious. That man argues pseudo-logically for non-logical motives. He wants to love himself and be loved. He wants food, shelter, sex, respect, status.

A good weapon is one that kills. A good argument is one that persuades. But a shoelace is a good weapon if its yourself you want to kill, and a moral-logical concept of argument is good if its yourself you want to persuade. Perhaps you want persuade yourself of your resemblance to Spock. Perhaps you want to rule the world with Plato as some philosopher king, showing as your credentials some pseudo-divine dialectic that somehow transcends "mere" persuasion....
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 12:55 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;108655 wrote:
A good argument is one we find persuasive.


Ahmadinejad may not find the evidence for the Holocaust persuasive, but the evidence is overwhelming despite that. And the flat-earthers may not find the evidence for a spherical Earth overwhelming, but it is, nevertheless.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 01:02 am
@kennethamy,
The evidence is overwhelming for you, but not for Abmadinejad. You and your consensus will mock him, and he and his consensus will mock you.

And the string theorist may mock you for seeing the Earth as a sphere, when for them its obviously a 12-dimensional object. It's the same old human animal, patting itself on the back for its prejudices. It's the same old role-play, identification with God, or the Truth, or common sense, or the majority, or individualism. It's a cape that comes in many colors.
To say that one's view is a truth for everyone is the new version of religious superstition. I think I prefer religious superstition which is explicitly based on faith.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 01:39 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;108696 wrote:
The evidence is overwhelming for you, but not for Abmadinejad. You and your consensus will mock him, and he and his consensus will mock you.

And the string theorist may mock you for seeing the Earth as a sphere, when for them its obviously a 12-dimensional object. It's the same old human animal, patting itself on the back for its prejudices. It's the same old role-play, identification with God, or the Truth, or common sense, or the majority, or individualism. It's a cape that comes in many colors.
To say that one's view is a truth for everyone is the new version of religious superstition. I think I prefer religious superstition which is explicitly based on faith.


Of course I think the evidence is overwhelming, and Ahmadinejad does not. That is what it means to disagree. I believe one thing, someone else believes the contrary. You are simply repeating that he and I disagree. But, so what? I said that the evidence for the Holocaust is overwhelming, not that I just think it is overwhelming. And that is true. Someone (for who knows what cause) may think that a basketball weighs more than a large building. Does that mean that the large building does not weigh more than the basketball? That the evidence that it does is not overwhelming?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 01:47 am
@kennethamy,
For him it does not weigh more than a large building.

But this is to slide away from the pressure point. It's where men disagree that arguments are necessary in the first place.

From a practical point of view, I believe in the truth of physics. But such belief is so justified that it makes comes across as a dodge of the issue.

It's still just your opinion that the Holocaust happened. I happen to agree with you. Maybe you would bet your life on it. But others disagree. And perhaps they would bet their lives on it. Yes, it more to persuasive to appeal to the Lord or objective reality, depending upon your audience, but that is not proof of your connection to some transubjective entity. You have your faith/justification and certain consensus behind you. Nothing else.

But that is enough, for we get by on our prejudices all the time. Myself included.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 02:21 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;108710 wrote:
For him it does not weigh more than a large building.

But this is to slide away from the pressure point. It's where men disagree that arguments are necessary in the first place.

From a practical point of view, I believe in the truth of physics. But such belief is so justified that it makes comes across as a dodge of the issue.

It's still just your opinion that the Holocaust happened. I happen to agree with you. Maybe you would bet your life on it. But others disagree. And perhaps they would bet their lives on it. Yes, it more to persuasive to appeal to the Lord or objective reality, depending upon your audience, but that is not proof of your connection to some transubjective entity. You have your faith/justification and certain consensus behind you. Nothing else.

But that is enough, for we get by on our prejudices all the time. Myself included.


For him it does not weigh more than a large building.

I already know he does not think the building weighs more that the ball (I think you mean to say). That is what I told you. Tell me something new besides that "for him X is Y" is synonymous with "he believes X is Y". I already knew that as an English speaker. The issue is whether he is right or wrong.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 02:48 am
@kennethamy,
This issue is that right and wrong, true and false, real and unreal are decided subjectively.

When many subjectivities agree on something (like the relative weights of buildings and basketballs), they experience a strong sense of objectivity. The word "objective" is appropriate.

But when it becomes less obvious, the subjective root of existence becomes more obvious. Morality, politics, a murder trial, first date conversation, the tact or tactlessness of a eulogy, this discussion we are having right now....

I've never denied objectivity in a practical sense, but only in a theoretical sense. It's an extremely useful prejudice. It's a lie that works.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 02:51 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;108748 wrote:
This issue is that right and wrong are decided subjectively. When many subjectivities agree on something (like the relative weights of buildings and basketballs), they experience a strong sense of objectivity. But when it becomes less obvious, the subjective root of existence becomes more obvious. Morality, politics, a murder trial, first date conversation, the tact or tactlessness of a eulogy, this discussion we are having right now....


What does "decided subjectively" mean?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 03:19 am
@kennethamy,
All that is experienced is real. A dream is real. Feelings are real. Misunderstandings are real. All consciousness is reality. We tend privilege objectivity for practical reasons, but subjectivity is the source, root, and ground of objectivity. And the individual genius in art,philosophy, and science is where we honor subjective visions. But these visions must be assimilated before anyone finds them honorable.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 07:18 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;108763 wrote:
All that is experienced is real. A dream is real. Feelings are real. Misunderstandings are real. All consciousness is reality. We tend privilege objectivity for practical reasons, but subjectivity is the source, root, and ground of objectivity. And the individual genius in art,philosophy, and science is where we honor subjective visions. But these visions must be assimilated before anyone finds them honorable.


Dreams exist, of course. But their content is not real. It did not really happen. You need a clearer analysis of what the term "real" means.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 07:52 am
@kennethamy,
Reconstructo wrote:

When many subjectivities agree on something (like the relative weights of buildings and basketballs), they experience a strong sense of objectivity.


You mean intersubjectivity. But, I think that you think that intersubjectivity = objectivity, don't you? Why, again, do you think we don't have access to the objective, just because we are experiencing subjectively?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 08:00 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;108799 wrote:
You mean intersubjectivity. But, I think that you think that intersubjectivity = objectivity, don't you? Why, again, do you think we don't have access to the objective, just because we are experiencing subjectively?


I am not sure what you have in mind by "intersubjectivity", but I would say that intersubjectivity amounts of objectivity in some cases, but not in other cases. For instance, if everyone agrees that an object looks red under normal conditions of observation (whatever those are) then the object is red. But, on the other hand, if everyone agrees that the Earth looks flat under normal conditions of observation, it does not follow that Earth is flat. So it depends.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 08:28 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;108803 wrote:
I am not sure what you have in mind by "intersubjectivity", but I would say that intersubjectivity amounts of objectivity in some cases, but not in other cases.


This is what I have in mind by intersubjectivity.

You typed this in another thread:

Objective: What is true no matter what anyone believes.
Subjective: What is believed to be true.

And to this I will add intersubjectivity:

Intersubjectivity: What is believed to be true by two or more people.

What I implied is that intersubjectivity does not equal objectivity. This means, like you noted, that just because we have intersubjectivity for something, it does not follow that that thing is objectively true. But, it could mean we have access to the objective. For instance, if everyone agrees that they see and feel this rock here, there would be intersubjectivity that the rock exists, and I think we can safely assume that the rock objectively exists.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 08:37 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;108812 wrote:
This is what I have in mind by intersubjectivity.

You typed this in another thread:

Objective: What is true no matter what anyone believes.
Subjective: What is believed to be true.

And to this I will add intersubjectivity:

Intersubjectivity: What is believed to be true by two or more people.

What I implied is that intersubjectivity does not equal objectivity. This means, like you noted, that just because we have intersubjectivity for something, it does not follow that that thing is objectively true. But, it could mean we have access to the objective. For instance, if everyone agrees that they see and feel this rock here, there would be intersubjectivity that the rock exists, and I think we can safely assume that the rock objectively exists. This is not to say I'm absolutely certain that the rock objectively exists, but that I do find it much more likely.


The two people may be equally insane. You can't mean that. It would depend on who the people were who agreed the rock exists. But yes, strong evidence for the existence of something is agreement among people. But, remember, lots of people have agreed on having been abducted by space-aliens. I think that evidence is pretty weak. In fact, the United Kingdom has recently stopped its research program into the existence of UFOs.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 08:40 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;108814 wrote:
The two people may be equally insane. You can't mean that. It would depend on who the people were who agreed the rock exists. But yes, strong evidence for the existence of something is agreement among people. But, remember, lots of people have agreed on having been abducted by space-aliens. I think that evidence is pretty weak. In fact, the United Kingdom has recently stopped its research program into the existence of UFOs.


You are correct. If we were to try to evaluate the truth of the claim, we would need to consider more than simply the amount of people believing said claim. For instance, if we would consider the people that believed the claim, reasonable. I'm sorry, my example was very rough in order to illustrate my point. I agree with you.

But Reconstructo believes that intersubjectivty = objectivity. At least this is what I think he is insinuating. And this I think is not true. I think that what is objective is true regardless who believes it.
 
 

 
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