Can a bad person be a philosopher?

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Fido
 
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 11:27 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;127762 wrote:
Would be like begging demagogues to pull your legs, no thanks.

Maybe, pull my finger...
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 07:07 am
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;127737 wrote:
To have the intention of the argument forfilled.


What is the "intention" of an argument? Arguments have no intentions. But arguers intend that their arguments should prove the conclusions of the arguments are true. That is why they advance arguments. Arguers also have a secondary goal. It is to persuade others that the conclusions of their arguments are true.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 07:41 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;127825 wrote:
What is the "intention" of an argument? Arguments have no intentions. But arguers intend that their arguments should prove the conclusions of the arguments are true. That is why they advance arguments. Arguers also have a secondary goal. It is to persuade others that the conclusions of their arguments are true.
To persuade another/others IS an intention.
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 08:08 am
@kennethamy,
Quote:
Arguers also have a secondary goal. It is to persuade others that the conclusions of their arguments are true.
Not in every case. I am pretty sure I often say something of the form, "I believe Q, and I think I believe it because I believe P, and I believe that P implies Q, because of argument A. Is Q not true, and if so, is this because P is not true, or because argument A is not valid?"

In the present instance, for example, Q is the proposition "an argument is not always intended solely to persuade", P is "I often argue in such-and-such a way [as described in the previous paragraph]", and A is "anyone arguing in that way has other possible outcomes in mind, not only the possible outcome that their interlocutor will believe in the truth of their premises and in the validity of their argument, and therefore also in the truth of their conclusions".

(I know this is not yet exactly clear! But I'm watching television at the moment; also, I hesitate to get on to the whole vast topic of what 'reason', 'logic', and 'argument' mean. I hope I've found something small to say, that can be considered in relative isolation.)

The aim is perhaps always to be explicit rather than tacit.

Also, I think that the naked and single-minded intention to persuade is more likely to be associated with irrational rhetoric than with rational argument. Reason is, or should be, modest and open-minded.

If reason vanquishes an opponent, it should be by using that opponent's own strength against him, as if in a kind of verbal martial art, aiming to do no harm.

Also, I suspect (although this is no more than a suspicion) that to be irrational is to mean something other than what one says, while pretending to mean exactly what one says (so that religious fundamentalism is perhaps a paradigm case); an irrational linguistic production is a lie which lies about itself. But that is starting to get on to the larger subject, about which I haven't thought nearly enough.

I think Bertrand Russell once said something like, "The virtue of a logical argument is not that it compels belief in its conclusions, but that it sheds doubt on its premises" - but I can't recall his exact words, and I expect he put it better than that.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 08:42 am
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;127839 wrote:
Not in every case. I am pretty sure I often say something of the form, "I believe Q, and I think I believe it because I believe P, and I believe that P implies Q, because of argument A. Is Q not true, and if so, is this because P is not true, or because argument A is not valid?"

In the present instance, for example, Q is the proposition "an argument is not always intended solely to persuade", P is "I often argue in such-and-such a way [as described in the previous paragraph]", and A is "anyone arguing in that way has other possible outcomes in mind, not only the possible outcome that their interlocutor will believe in the truth of their premises and in the validity of their argument, and therefore also in the truth of their conclusions".

(I know this is not yet exactly clear! But I'm watching television at the moment; also, I hesitate to get on to the whole vast topic of what 'reason', 'logic', and 'argument' mean. I hope I've found something small to say, that can be considered in relative isolation.)

The aim is perhaps always to be explicit rather than tacit.

Also, I think that the naked and single-minded intention to persuade is more likely to be associated with irrational rhetoric than with rational argument. Reason is, or should be, modest and open-minded.

If reason vanquishes an opponent, it should be by using that opponent's own strength against him, as if in a kind of verbal martial art, aiming to do no harm.

Also, I suspect (although this is no more than a suspicion) that to be irrational is to mean something other than what one says, while pretending to mean exactly what one says (so that religious fundamentalism is perhaps a paradigm case); an irrational linguistic production is a lie which lies about itself. But that is starting to get on to the larger subject, about which I haven't thought nearly enough.

I think Bertrand Russell once said something like, "The virtue of a logical argument is not that it compels belief in its conclusions, but that it sheds doubt on its premises" - but I can't recall his exact words, and I expect he put it better than that.
And in layman terms?
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 08:44 am
@Zetherin,
Can a good person be a bad philosoph:Der?
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 08:53 am
@Pepijn Sweep,
Pepijn Sweep;127852 wrote:
Can a good person be a bad philosoph:Der?
I'm afraid Twirlip stated an answer, not a question Very Happy
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 09:03 am
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;127832 wrote:
To persuade another/others IS an intention.


Yes it is. But it cannot be the argument's intention. It would be the arguer's intention. Arguments cannot have intentions. Only arguers.

---------- Post added 02-13-2010 at 10:13 AM ----------

Twirlip;127839 wrote:
Not in every case. I am pretty sure I often say something of the form, "I believe Q, and I think I believe it because I believe P, and I believe that P implies Q, because of argument A. Is Q not true, and if so, is this because P is not true, or because argument A is not valid?"

In the present instance, for example, Q is the proposition "an argument is not always intended solely to persuade", P is "I often argue in such-and-such a way [as described in the previous paragraph]", and A is "anyone arguing in that way has other possible outcomes in mind, not only the possible outcome that their interlocutor will believe in the truth of their premises and in the validity of their argument, and therefore also in the truth of their conclusions".

(I know this is not yet exactly clear! But I'm watching television at the moment; also, I hesitate to get on to the whole vast topic of what 'reason', 'logic', and 'argument' mean. I hope I've found something small to say, that can be considered in relative isolation.)

The aim is perhaps always to be explicit rather than tacit.

Also, I think that the naked and single-minded intention to persuade is more likely to be associated with irrational rhetoric than with rational argument. Reason is, or should be, modest and open-minded.

If reason vanquishes an opponent, it should be by using that opponent's own strength against him, as if in a kind of verbal martial art, aiming to do no harm.

Also, I suspect (although this is no more than a suspicion) that to be irrational is to mean something other than what one says, while pretending to mean exactly what one says (so that religious fundamentalism is perhaps a paradigm case); an irrational linguistic production is a lie which lies about itself. But that is starting to get on to the larger subject, about which I haven't thought nearly enough.

I think Bertrand Russell once said something like, "The virtue of a logical argument is not that it compels belief in its conclusions, but that it sheds doubt on its premises" - but I can't recall his exact words, and I expect he put it better than that.


I should have said that arguers often have the intention of persuading their audiences. But I also said it was secondary. And whether or not the argument is persusive has nothing to do with the alethic merits of the argument.

The alethic virtues of argument, as I said, have nothing to do with the effects the argument has on its audience. So Russell would be mistaken if he were talking about the logical virtues of the argument. Of course, he might just have meant that if the conclusion of an argument is implausible, then if the argument is valid, that will lead you to doubt the premises of the argument. That may be a non-alethic virtue of an argument.
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 09:36 am
@HexHammer,
Quote:
And in layman terms?
But I am a layman! I have never taken a philosophy course in my life (and it often shows). I have just dipped into a few philosophical books from time to time, and not finished very many of them, certainly very few in recent years. I haven't even taken Logic 101 (although I have read some books on mathematical logic, not that I can remember much of what I read).

If write something that's obscure, then that's almost certainly a fault of my style, which is itself the result of a lifetime's lack of practice in this sort of thing. Sorry if it hurts to be practised on like this! :bigsmile:
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 09:39 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;127859 wrote:
Yes it is. But it cannot be the argument's intention. It would be the arguer's intention. Arguments cannot have intentions. Only arguers.
So your saying if one doesn't know the arguer, the argument can't be understood and therefore can't be swayed?

Nonsens?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 09:54 am
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;127876 wrote:
So your saying if one doesn't know the arguer, the argument can't be understood and therefore can't be swayed?

Nonsens?


No, what makes you think I am saying that? I can understand the argument very well without knowing who presented the argument. And I can evaluate it too. And I may or may not be persuaded by the argument. Nothing I wrote is contrary to that.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 09:59 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;127878 wrote:
No, what makes you think I am saying that? I can understand the argument very well without knowing who presented the argument. And I can evaluate it too. And I may or may not be persuaded by the argument. Nothing I wrote is contrary to that.


kennethamy wrote:

Yes it is. But it cannot be the argument's intention. It would be the arguer's intention. Arguments cannot have intentions. Only arguers.

If an argument can't have intentions noone can be perswayed, therefore arguments can have intentions, it's that simple
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 10:00 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;127859 wrote:
I should have said that arguers often have the intention of persuading their audiences. But I also said it was secondary. And whether or not the argument is persusive has nothing to do with the alethic merits of the argument.

The alethic virtues of argument, as I said, have nothing to do with the effects the argument has on its audience. So Russell would be mistaken if he were talking about the logical virtues of the argument. Of course, he might just have meant that if the conclusion of an argument is implausible, then if the argument is valid, that will lead you to doubt the premises of the argument. That may be a non-alethic virtue of an argument.

I think my objection applies even to what you said was the primary, "alethic" purpose or intention or function of an argument, viz.:
Quote:
But arguers intend that their arguments should prove the conclusions of the arguments are true. That is why they advance arguments.
I'm sure you are right about what Russell meant (by whatever it is exactly that he wrote); and that is always what I have taken him to have meant. But surely the alethic virtue of the contrapositive of an argument (which is always implicit in the argument) is an alethic virtue of the argument itself? And aren't you overstating the case when you say that the alethic virtues of an argument have "nothing to do" with its effect during an actual, well, argument?

I have a vague impression that you are feeling the need to defend kind of some Fregean sense of objectivity against some sort of muddled, atavistic psychologism. But I still haven't read most of this thread, I may be speaking out of turn, and you might have something much more specific in mind than that.

May I at least ask whether by "argument" you mean some sort of text written in a fully formalised language? If not that, then what do you have in mind? If an "argument" is not part of an interaction between conscious, rational, embodied beings, then what is it? Do you perhaps mean something that is written down somewhere, not necessarily in a fully formalised artificial notation, but perhaps in a natural language such as English? What exactly are we talking about here?

(Sorry if this has already been settled somewhere earlier in the thread. I'll butt out if I'm only causing confusion or irritation.)
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 10:04 am
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;127880 wrote:
If an argument can't have intentions noone can be perswayed, therefore arguments can have intentions, it's that simple


Your first premise is obviously false. Only people can have intentions. Arguments are not people. So arguments cannot have intentions. People can, of course, have intentions by producing certain arguments. One of those intentions may be to persuade.

---------- Post added 02-13-2010 at 11:09 AM ----------

Twirlip;127881 wrote:
I think my objection applies even to what you said was the primary, "alethic" purpose or intention or function of an argument, viz.:
I'm sure you are right about what Russell meant (by whatever it is exactly that he wrote); and that is always what I have taken him to have meant. But surely the alethic virtue of the contrapositive of an argument (which is always implicit in the argument) is an alethic virtue of the argument itself? And aren't you overstating the case when you say that the alethic virtues of an argument have "nothing to do" with its effect during an actual, well, argument?

I have a vague impression that you are feeling the need to defend kind of some Fregean sense of objectivity against some sort of muddled, atavistic psychologism. But I still haven't read most of this thread, I may be speaking out of turn, and you might have something much more specific in mind than that.

May I at least ask whether by "argument" you mean some sort of text written in a fully formalised language? If not that, then what do you have in mind? If an "argument" is not part of an interaction between conscious, rational, embodied beings, then what is it? Do you perhaps mean something that is written down somewhere, not necessarily in a fully formalised artificial notation, but perhaps in a natural language such as English? What exactly are we talking about here?

(Sorry if this has already been settled somewhere earlier in the thread. I'll butt out if I'm only causing confusion or irritation.)


An argument is a set of statements, one of which is the conclusion, the others of which are the premises. The premises are supposed to provide support for the conclusion. The argument need not be written. It may be spoken.

I do think that what the argument is, is an objective matter, and whether the argument is a good one or a bad one is also an objective matter. Don't you?
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 10:10 am
@Twirlip,
For example, is any part of this thread an "argument"?

I mean that in your sense of the word, of course, whatever that sense might be.

Obviously, this entire thread is an "argument" in a different (but related) sense of the word, in which it is roughly a synonym for "dialogue".

---------- Post added 02-13-2010 at 04:15 PM ----------

I beg your pardon!

I've just realised that we are not in the thread I thought we were in!

I thought this was your "What is a good argument?" thread!

I suppose this must have come about through me making a joking reference to that thread in this one. See, this is the kind of thing that always happens when I join a thread!:sarcastic:

How do you usually sort out this kind of muddle in this forum? (Not by requiring the drinking of hemlock, I hope.)

I would rather like it if the "Can a bad person be a philosopher?" thread could continue uninterrupted, and I'm sure you would too.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 10:17 am
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;127885 wrote:
For example, is any part of this thread an "argument"?

I mean that in your sense of the word, of course, whatever that sense might be.

Obviously, this entire thread is an "argument" in a different (but related) sense of the word, in which it is roughly a synonym for "dialogue".


These threads do (I hope) contain arguments. In particular my contributions. My sense is the common logician's or philosopher's sense of argument. Of course, "argument" has other senses. "Dispute" being one of them. I don't think you ought to be puzzled about what I mean by "an argument". I have already explain what I mean, I thought, clearly. I will repeat it for you: An argument is a set of statements, one of which is the conclusion. The others of which are premises. The premises are supposed to provide support for the conclusion. If you find anything unclear about that, just ask me to clarify it.

Yes, I was going to point out that we are off-topic, and that there is another thread devoted to the topic we are now discussing.
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 10:29 am
@kennethamy,
I'll reply in the other thread (or else relegate this whole sidetrack to the "whereof we cannot speak" bin, and remain silent about it), so that this one can resume its course. I suggest others do the same. The thread in question is in the Philosophy of Logic forum. Sorry about the diversion.
 
Fido
 
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 09:14 am
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;127832 wrote:
To persuade another/others IS an intention.

Truth is always our first goal, and I say that knowing truth as an infinite...Yet, truth is what changes minds and so changes persons and personalities...Every fact one accepts must be accomodated within each person, and accord with their perception of truth, which all people feel they are, and represent...The contradiction no one can fully accept is some truth that denies ones existence...So the object of philosophy is first truth, having the faith that truth is what persuades...
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 01:00 pm
@Fido,
Fido;128179 wrote:
Truth is always our first goal, and I say that knowing truth as an infinite...Yet, truth is what changes minds and so changes persons and personalities...Every fact one accepts must be accomodated within each person, and accord with their perception of truth, which all people feel they are, and represent...The contradiction no one can fully accept is some truth that denies ones existence...So the object of philosophy is first truth, having the faith that truth is what persuades...
I think I have already established that you are a delusional person, too much of your rethoric are empty pharses.
I will spare myself the agony of trying to make your world spin the other way, and just put you on ignore.

http://www.philosophyforum.com/philosophy-forums/metaphilosophy/6480-can-bad-person-philosopher-10.html#post127491 look at my former post clarifying why I find you delusional.
 
Fido
 
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 04:06 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;128202 wrote:
I think I have already established that you are a delusional person, too much of your rethoric are empty pharses.
I will spare myself the agony of trying to make your world spin the other way, and just put you on ignore.

http://www.philosophyforum.com/philosophy-forums/metaphilosophy/6480-can-bad-person-philosopher-10.html#post127491 look at my former post clarifying why I find you delusional.

You have left me no alternative but to thank you...
 
 

 
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