An "Irrational" Argument (and Rational)

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madel
 
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 04:27 pm
It's been a bit since I took formal logic, so this is just a question of technicality and I can't find a thread that deals with it already (though it seems like one should be here somewhere...Seems impossible that it's never been brought up. I assume I'm not searching well enough, but I'm also short on time :p Smile )

I'm in a discussion and definitions have been introduced (oh sweet danger, how I love you!). Here is the quote from the other person:

"I didn't make up the notion of "irrational argument", it is an accepted philosophical term that I picked up in Philosophy. Anytime two or more sides can not PROVE their assumption, yet continue to argue it, it is called an irrational argument."

Now...when I think argument, I think formal logic, which I don't necessarily think is what he is thinking here (but might be - I had been assuming he'd been using "irrational" in a more layman's term variety than it appears he thinks he is, so anything is possible).

But I can't find anything that directly addresses an accepted philosophical definition of "irrational argument" though I know there has to be one. I know are are valid, invalid, sound, and unsound arguments...but I'm not seeing "irrational" or "rational"...and I do seem to recall the idea was very very briefly discussed in my basic logic class and that those terms were more or less set aside because they don't really mean anything in formal logic (but I could be quite wrong!). Guidance? Thoughts?

Thanks!
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 05:34 pm
@madel,
madel;121381 wrote:
It's been a bit since I took formal logic, so this is just a question of technicality and I can't find a thread that deals with it already (though it seems like one should be here somewhere...Seems impossible that it's never been brought up. I assume I'm not searching well enough, but I'm also short on time :p Smile )

I'm in a discussion and definitions have been introduced (oh sweet danger, how I love you!). Here is the quote from the other person:

"I didn't make up the notion of "irrational argument", it is an accepted philosophical term that I picked up in Philosophy. Anytime two or more sides can not PROVE their assumption, yet continue to argue it, it is called an irrational argument."

Now...when I think argument, I think formal logic, which I don't necessarily think is what he is thinking here (but might be - I had been assuming he'd been using "irrational" in a more layman's term variety than it appears he thinks he is, so anything is possible).

But I can't find anything that directly addresses an accepted philosophical definition of "irrational argument" though I know there has to be one. I know are are valid, invalid, sound, and unsound arguments...but I'm not seeing "irrational" or "rational"...and I do seem to recall the idea was very very briefly discussed in my basic logic class and that those terms were more or less set aside because they don't really mean anything in formal logic (but I could be quite wrong!). Guidance? Thoughts?

Thanks!


How do you know that there "has to be" an accepted philosophical definition of "irrational argument"?

It is always possible that the person took a philosophy class and his teacher used the phrase in that way, which, frankly, seems similar to common use (though if there is more to it that you are leaving out, then it may not be). But as far as I know, it is a phrase that does not have any technical meaning to logicians, unlike words like "valid" and "sound".

My advice is to go ahead and let him use the phrase as he says in that thread, and to adopt his use, in that thread, assuming that there is not more to it than just what you stated, that is not obvious. If there are people who are having a disagreement, and they present arguments with premises that the other person does not accept, it is fairly pointless to simply repeat the argument. One would need to develop an argument for whatever premises are in dispute (assuming, of course, that we are dealing with valid deductive arguments or good inductive ones), or simply come up with a new argument, or abandon one's position, or simply end the discussion.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 05:46 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;121385 wrote:
How do you know that there "has to be" an accepted philosophical definition of "irrational argument"?

It is always possible that the person took a philosophy class and his teacher used the phrase in that way, which, frankly, seems similar to common use (though if there is more to it that you are leaving out, then it may not be). But as far as I know, it is a phrase that does not have any technical meaning to logicians, unlike words like "valid" and "sound".

My advice is to go ahead and let him use the phrase as he says in that thread, and to adopt his use, in that thread, assuming that there is not more to it than just what you stated, that is not obvious. If there are people who are having a disagreement, and they present arguments with premises that the other person does not accept, it is fairly pointless to simply repeat the argument. One would need to develop an argument for whatever premises are in dispute (assuming, of course, that we are dealing with valid deductive arguments or good inductive ones), or simply come up with a new argument, or abandon one's position, or simply end the discussion.


Or, of course, we can try to define a rational argument (say one with plausible premises, and a conclusion that follows from those premises) and then simply define "irrational argument" as an argument which fails to meed those conditions. Or even, an argument which ought to convince a rational person.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 07:28 pm
@madel,
Quote:
Anytime two or more sides can not PROVE their assumption, yet continue to argue it, it is called an irrational argument."


No, there are lots of arguments where the assumptions can't be proven that aren't considered irrational.

I would assume that a rational argument would have reasonable premises in addition to being logically valid (which would just be a logical argument).
 
Emil
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 04:02 am
@madel,
I agree with what Pyrrho and Kennethamy wrote.

I've read a couple of logic textbooks and I've never heard of "rational argument" before.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 08:11 am
@madel,
One wonders what kind of argument would not appeal to reason; maybe an upraised middle finger? The test cannot be whether "two or more sides can not PROVE their assumption, yet continue to argue it." First, assumptions (or perhaps premises?) are assumptions, and one can legitimately debate their merits in an attempt to rationally prove their truth or falsity; one can attempt, of course, to supply logical warrants for their truth, but one can also use all sorts of different non-logical warrants (definition or diistinction, for example; induction from examples). Again, an argument involves, for lack of better word, "logical" steps, and it is legitimate to question whether these steps are correct or applicable to proving the conclusion; in this case, the disagreement is not about matters at hand, but about the proper nature of the steps in the argument itself, and one can suppose at least some of the points of contention cannot be resolved in a strictly "logical" manner.

Suppose I say, "All men are mortal and Sokrates was a man and therefore Sokrates is mortal." Now this is a correct argument from a logical standpoint. Some moron refuses to accept the conclusion, citing all sorts of completely non-relevant points, or simply refuses to accept logic as somehow binding as a "proof." If both are stubborn, there will never be agreement about our Sokrates, but in this case is my syllogism irrational?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 11:42 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;121493 wrote:


Suppose I say, "All men are mortal and Sokrates was a man and therefore Sokrates is mortal." Now this is a correct argument from a logical standpoint. Some moron refuses to accept the conclusion, citing all sorts of completely non-relevant points, or simply refuses to accept logic as somehow binding as a "proof." If both are stubborn, there will never be agreement about our Sokrates, but in this case is my syllogism irrational?


No, it is "rational". But take the hypothetical syllogism, 1. All men are mortal. 2. Socrates is mortal. Therefore, 3. Socrates is a man. That syllogism is invalid, and if an invalid syllogism is irrational, it is irrational. Perhaps a better case would be to argue that President Obama is a Communist, because he is in favor of universal health care, and all Communists are in favor of universal health care. That commits the fallacy of the undistributed middle term.

Is there any particular reason you spell "Socrates" that way?
 
Emil
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 11:50 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;121562 wrote:
No, it is "rational". But take the hypothetical syllogism, 1. All men are mortal. 2. Socrates is mortal. Therefore, 3. Socrates is a man. That syllogism is invalid, and if an invalid syllogism is irrational, it is irrational. Perhaps a better case would be to argue that President Obama is a Communist, because he is in favor of universal health care, and all Communists are in favor of universal health care. That commits the fallacy of the undistributed middle term.

Is there any particular reason you spell "Socrates" that way?


Famous old people usually have different names in different languages. In danish it is Sokrates, Aristoteles, Platon. It is Socrates, Aristotle, Plato in english. I don't know why. Accoridng to Wiki, the original spelling used a K.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 01:18 pm
@Emil,
Emil;121567 wrote:
Famous old people usually have different names in different languages. In danish it is Sokrates, Aristoteles, Platon. It is Socrates, Aristotle, Plato in english. I don't know why. Accoridng to Wiki, the original spelling used a K.


I wondered why he spelled it with a 'K' when he was writing English.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 01:30 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;121613 wrote:
I wondered why he spelled it with a 'K' when he was writing English.


Maybe he isn't a native English speaker, and prefers what he is accustomed to seeing (or wrote it that way out of habit). Of course, since we are discussing an individual's motivation for a particular action, it might be best to let him speak for himself.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 02:58 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;121622 wrote:
Maybe he isn't a native English speaker, and prefers what he is accustomed to seeing (or wrote it that way out of habit). Of course, since we are discussing an individual's motivation for a particular action, it might be best to let him speak for himself.


Right. But I think he is Australian.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 03:27 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;121644 wrote:
Right. But I think he is Australian.


Maybe he reads Plato in the original Greek. Besides, Australians don't speak English.Wink
 
Emil
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 04:00 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;121659 wrote:
Maybe he reads Plato in the original Greek. Besides, Australians don't speak English.Wink


Neither do americans!
 
jgweed
 
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2010 05:25 am
@madel,
From an orthographical, phonetical, and etymological viewpoint, the transliteration of the Greek kappa to the English K seems preferable to retaining the Roman one of using their hard C. Hence, some English linguists opt to reverse the Latin transliteration process for Greek proper names.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2010 09:40 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;121749 wrote:
From an orthographical, phonetical, and etymological viewpoint, the transliteration of the Greek kappa to the English K seems preferable to retaining the Roman one of using their hard C. Hence, some English linguists opt to reverse the Latin transliteration process for Greek proper names.


Maybe. But that still isn't how "Socrates" is spelled in English (as you can see) and spelling is ruled by conventions. There are a great many words which should not be spelled as they are. But that is the way they are spelled. In any case, the conventions of the hard and soft 'C' in Latin are not those of English.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 08:33 am
@Emil,
Emil;121567 wrote:
Famous old people usually have different names in different languages. In danish it is Sokrates, Aristoteles, Platon. It is Socrates, Aristotle, Plato in english. I don't know why. Accoridng to Wiki, the original spelling used a K.
Usually nations likes to translate things into their own language.

UK = saint John
DK = helgen Johannes
 
jack phil
 
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 06:21 pm
@madel,
People cannot speak 'irrationally'. A contradiction is not illogic, but the limit of logic.

The confusion is one of the logic of our language.

When people say "this is logical and this is not" all they show is that which they agree with. But logic is not a thing of popularity. Likewise, people say they can 'prove' things in logic. can one prove 2+2=4, or is that a matter of the symbolism?

"This sentence is true" and "this sentence is false" are tautology and contradiction-- not illogical. But they are quite senseless. Like the number 0.
 
 

 
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