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Thread: Just Plain Wrong

  1. #1031
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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    You just demonstrated quite well why it's always going to be circular logic in a morality argument.

    First, it can only be "related to it's nature" by way of creating an arbitrary designation of what is natural.
    You seem to simply be calling any such definition arbitrary. At the very least that would hinge on the actual content of that designation and how it is argued for.

    The nature of a ball is not to be used in a child's game unless you define 'nature' in such a way to allow you to reach said conclusion by including such things as natural in the definition.

    The "final cause" is an arbitrary decision to claim that this is what such an object can be used for. But a rubber ball is equally usable to plug up the sphincter of a kinky fetish model. Who defines the "appropriate" final cause? The person trying to make the circular argument vilifying or justifying a certain behavior, that's who. And they do so by reverse engineering their logic from the conclusion to the premises, carefully creating premises that imply their desired conclusion.
    The problem is that you remove the final cause and the efficient, or immediate, causes come crashing down. Cause and effect become loose and separate as Hume puts it. Take a different example, one where purposeful human action is only peripheral; the heart. Now if we can say the final cause of the heart, and all it is made up of, is to pump blood around the body. Now we know that this is what it does from observation. We therefore say its final cause is to pump blood around the body, its formal cause is the properties that are required for this like a certain muscular toughness and texture and all the division in ventricles and what have you, and they all express its nature or essence.

    Now you might say this is an arbitrary view, though arbitrary is probably the wrong word and mistaken understanding of what is taking place is more correct because you will probably be implying there is no purpose involved, it is all just parts coming together fortuitously with no outside direction. But the challenge of Aristotle, Aquinas and indirectly Hume is that take away the final cause of the heart, to pump blood and the cause and effect become loose and separate; or as Aquinas puts it, if we remove the end of final cause of a cause (an efficient or immediate cause) then there is no reason for one cause to follow another except by chance. In other words if you remove the final cause of those things or efficient causes, that make up the heart, from its DNA upwards, then there is no reason for them to form into a healthy heart and keep the apparent order and purpose they haveand not a piano or a plate of humus. If you were a hardcore Humean you might say so what (at least when arguing, though as the common sense philosopher Thomas Reid quipped of Hume it is hard to take seriously someone who claims to=have such a position and still lives a relatively normal life), but most of us are not and do not think it likely that the orderly and regular progression of cause and effect we experience everyday is all just chance. There are more arguments in favour of the Aristotelian, but I think most people balk at the full implications of causality without final causation when they realise what this means, as Hume did though whether he actually knew the proper Aristotelian position I'm unsure. One important point is that this final cause shouldn't be mistaken for necessarily some sort of conscious, anthropomorphic action. The point is that this can happen with or without conscious involvement depending on what we are talking about.

    When you have to "relate" that which you wish to call "natural" or "unnatural" back to your definition of "natural" or "unnatural", you cannot possibly have employed anything otehr than circular logic.

    Why? Because as any student of logic knows, conclusions follow from the premises. You, however, have been demonstrating the complete opposite of a logical progression, and your language choices demonstrate that perfectly. If the argument must be "related back" it certainly does not follow, at least on it's own merits.

    Since the conclusions are what must be "related back" to the premises (and not by virtue of a premise), we can clearly see that the arguments involved are invalid ones.
    This doesn't make much sense, to me. If we take natural as according to nature and essence then we still need to find out what the nature or essence of any particular thing is. In Aristotelian-Thomistic perspective we do this by looking to its formal cause or properties and particularly its final cause or end, we see this from observation or induction and rationally analysing these. If it was so obviously circular then Aristotle, the Angelic Doctor and all their commentators would have immediately noticed it. Unless you are just objecting to the assertion things have natures or essences and think this is unproven, although I think the proof for it has basically been given. Well, obviously, I don't think it is too controversial to say we see things in the world that usually seem to have certain properties and that they sometimes share some of these with other things. From there we can investigate to what degree these properties are necessary to them, what is necessary to them and what relationships they have with other things. None of this is circular, though any particular argument you might not find convincing.

    I think one problem is that you are confusing what is deductive and inductive. We reason that things have natures based upon a first look at our plane of existence, we reason in general how to deduce what we can about their natures and then, when it comes to specific things we use our deduced method to reason based on what we see through induction or observation. This is generally the Peripatetic way; the Platonic way is to intellectually, not discursively but through direct noetic vision, grasp the intelligible essence of a thing, but as such a position relies on an appreciation of the power of the intellect far above what moderns in general will allow, I have ignored the Platonic viewpoint in general in this discussion.
    Last edited by Wessexman; 12-29-11 at 02:09 AM.
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  2. #1032
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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    You seem to simply be calling any such definition arbitrary. At the very least that would hinge on the actual content of that designation and how it is argued for.
    I am calling any definition that is used in an equivocal way arbitrary. Any possible definition of "natural" can only be used in an equivocal way in order to make a morality argument.

    The problem is that you remove the final cause and the efficient, or immediate, causes come crashing down. Cause and effect become loose and separate as Hume puts it.
    I'm pointing out that final causes,as you have described them, cannot be considered in a morality argument, because it becomes circular logic. Your examples are defining the final causes instead of observing them. That's a key to it being circular in a morality argument.

    If we are only using observed final causes, we cannot possibly use that definition as the basis for a valid morality argument because things can have many final causes, many of which will be immoral.




    Take a different example, one where purposeful human action is only peripheral; the heart. Now if we can say the final cause of the heart, and all it is made up of, is to pump blood around the body. Now we know that this is what it does from observation. We therefore say its final cause is to pump blood around the body, its formal cause is the properties that are required for this like a certain muscular toughness and texture and all the division in ventricles and what have you, and they all express its nature or essence.
    Where is the heart in question? If it's sitting in a corpse in a shallow grave, it does not have that final cause at all. It has the final cause of being a food source for bacteria, microbes, small animals, etc.

    Since all body parts would decompose under normal circumstances, we can easily say that the final cause of a heart is to become food for some other creature. Using Aristotelian logic, we can also see that many of the other three causes do follow from knowing this final cause.

    Thus we can say that my own heart, currently beating away, has the final cause of becoming food.

    So if we want to employ this kind of definition of "natural" in a morality argument, eating my heart would be proper and moral since my heart's final cause (my entire body's "final cause", actually) is to become food.

    That is where my point lies. Using that definition of "natural" isn't circular in and of itself. The argument which becomes circular when using that definition of natural is one that equates natural to moral. This is because one must redefine "final cause" in such a way to only include those final causes that the arguer considers moral (this is where "relate it back" comes into play).

    We can only use this definition of "natural" in a valid logical argument for whether or not something is natural. We cannot use it to determine if said thing is moral, though.




    Now you might say this is an arbitrary view, though arbitrary is probably the wrong word and mistaken understanding of what is taking place is more correct because you will probably be implying there is no purpose involved, it is all just parts coming together fortuitously with no outside direction. But the challenge of Aristotle, Aquinas and indirectly Hume is that take away the final cause of the heart, to pump blood and the cause and effect become loose and separate; or as Aquinas puts it, if we remove the end of final cause of a cause (an efficient or immediate cause) then there is no reason for one cause to follow another except by chance. In other words if you remove the final cause of those things or efficient causes, that make up the heart, from its DNA upwards, then there is no reason for them to form into a healthy heart and keep the apparent order and purpose they haveand not a piano or a plate of humus. If you were a hardcore Humean you might say so what (at least when arguing, though as the common sense philosopher Thomas Reid quipped of Hume it is hard to take seriously someone who claims to=have such a position and still lives a relatively normal life), but most of us are not and do not think it likely that the orderly and regular progression of cause and effect we experience everyday is all just chance. There are more arguments in favour of the Aristotelian, but I think most people balk at the full implications of causality without final causation when they realise what this means, as Hume did though whether he actually knew the proper Aristotelian position I'm unsure. One important point is that this final cause shouldn't be mistaken for necessarily some sort of conscious, anthropomorphic action. The point is that this can happen with or without conscious involvement depending on what we are talking about.
    I'm specifically discussing the use of said definition in a morality argument. The context of our discussion is important here, and you seem to have lost track of it.


    This doesn't make much sense, to me. If we take natural as according to nature and essence then we still need to find out what the nature or essence of any particular thing is. In Aristotelian-Thomistic perspective we do this by looking to its formal cause or properties and particularly its final cause or end, we see this from observation or induction and rationally analysing these. If it was so obviously circular then Aristotle, the Angelic Doctor and all their commentators would have immediately noticed it. Unless you are just objecting to the assertion things have natures or essences and think this is unproven, although I think the proof for it has basically been given. Well, obviously, I don't think it is too controversial to say we see things in the world that usually seem to have certain properties and that they sometimes share some of these with other things. From there we can investigate to what degree these properties are necessary to them, what is necessary to them and what relationships they have with other things. None of this is circular, though any particular argument you might not find convincing.

    I think one problem is that you are confusing what is deductive and inductive. We reason that things have natures based upon a first look at our plane of existence, we reason in general how to deduce what we can about their natures and then, when it comes to specific things we use our deduced method to reason based on what we see through induction or observation. This is generally the Peripatetic way; the Platonic way is to intellectually, not discursively but through direct noetic vision, grasp the intelligible essence of a thing, but as such a position relies on an appreciation of the power of the intellect far above what moderns in general will allow, I have ignored the Platonic viewpoint in general in this discussion.
    I think the problem is actually that you have lost sight of the context of this particular discussion. We are not simply arguing about the nature of things, but about how the nature of things can be applied in a moral argument. That's a very important detail to ignore.

    My point is that using that definition in a morality argument would require circular logic.

  3. #1033
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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post

    I'm pointing out that final causes,as you have described them, cannot be considered in a morality argument, because it becomes circular logic. Your examples are defining the final causes instead of observing them. That's a key to it being circular in a morality argument.

    If we are only using observed final causes, we cannot possibly use that definition as the basis for a valid morality argument because things can have many final causes, many of which will be immoral.
    I think you are jumping ahead of yourself here. You do seem to be jumping between arguing what is natural and how the natural is moral, but also our discussion has mostly been about how you prove what is natural. There is of course how you decide what is natural is moral or good. That would be some variation of classical arguments of the good. It is not something that I will prove to you in a setting like this, but why it is automatically a circular argument, I'm not sure.

    Where is the heart in question? If it's sitting in a corpse in a shallow grave, it does not have that final cause at all. It has the final cause of being a food source for bacteria, microbes, small animals, etc.

    Since all body parts would decompose under normal circumstances, we can easily say that the final cause of a heart is to become food for some other creature. Using Aristotelian logic, we can also see that many of the other three causes do follow from knowing this final cause.

    Thus we can say that my own heart, currently beating away, has the final cause of becoming food.

    So if we want to employ this kind of definition of "natural" in a morality argument, eating my heart would be proper and moral since my heart's final cause (my entire body's "final cause", actually) is to become food.

    That is where my point lies. Using that definition of "natural" isn't circular in and of itself. The argument which becomes circular when using that definition of natural is one that equates natural to moral. This is because one must redefine "final cause" in such a way to only include those final causes that the arguer considers moral (this is where "relate it back" comes into play).

    We can only use this definition of "natural" in a valid logical argument for whether or not something is natural. We cannot use it to determine if said thing is moral, though.


    In Aristotelian logic the dead heart shares only a similar material cause, or material substance, with the living heart. It lacks the formal cause, or same properties as a living heart. Something may have several multiple final causes or ends. For instance, in line with this very topic, genitalia may have the final cause of both urination and the sex act. In the full Aristotelian logic a final cause is not a nature or essence, but its playing out in our realm of existence. This nature is also not something totally separate and complete. Both lead back to the final cause of causes, or the essence of essence; which is known by a three letter word which I won't mention now. The point though is that a final cause certainly need not be the unique such cause for a thing, and it is importantly only the sign of a nature or essence, along with the formal cause. Using these two, as well as the material cause we differentiate between the heart as part of a human being and as the food of vermin.



    I think the problem is actually that you have lost sight of the context of this particular discussion. We are not simply arguing about the nature of things, but about how the nature of things can be applied in a moral argument. That's a very important detail to ignore.

    My point is that using that definition in a morality argument would require circular logic.
    I don't think this is quite the right way to view our discussion, as you have certainly often been disputing ideas of nature and essence. But the most important point is you haven't really given any sort of argument as to why applying nature to a morality argument must be circular logic. In classical thought (as in Platonic, Peripatetic and to a certain and partial degree Christian) the terms morality and value are not so much used as the good and its relation, virtue. I'm not sure how one can assume that Plato or Plotinus or Aristotle or Origen or Augustine or Aquinas, some of the greatest thinkers in the history of mankind, simply made an amateurish mistake in their reasoning; and lets not forget that unlike modern philosophers there was a lot in common between these thinkers; they weren't all striving for a novel system of thought. You will really have to show how all such notions of the morality or the good, intertwined with such ideas of nature, must be circular.
    Last edited by Wessexman; 12-29-11 at 09:46 AM.
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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    I think you are jumping ahead of yourself here. You do seem to be jumping between arguing what is natural and how the natural is moral, but also our discussion has mostly been about how you prove what is natural. .
    That's just false. I've been very clear from the start of this particular discussion. Let me repost it for you so that you can see. I will highlight the sections of my posts indicating that I've been consistently arguing about the use of natural in a moral argument (I explicitly stated it a great many times).


    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    The word isn't the problem, the way it is used in people's arguments is. When people use it as the basis for a moral argument, they are engaging in a logical fallacy.
    That one's extremely important because it sets the stage for the argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    Which fallacy?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    Naturalistic. Which is different from the appeal to nature fallacy in that a naturalistic fallacy only has to resemble the appeal to nature, but is not required to be an actual appeal to nature. It can be an appeal to any number of things, like "normal" for instance. Instilling pleasure is another commonly used basis for naturalistic fallacy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    The naturalistic fallacy is not a strict, logical fallacy. It only applies if you accept certain modern, Enlightenment assumptions about distinguish between fact and value, is and ought and certain other nominalist and rationalist assumptions. It does not apply to those, like most pre-modern, Western and non-Western thinkers who did not accept such assumptions. Indeed it would seem close to unintelligible nonsense to a Plato or a Shankara (even those most afflicted by chronological snobbery can hardly, in a way that would totally convince themselves, write off such thinkers as simply being completely illogical and missing the obvious).
    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    It was once normal to beat your wife. Are you saying that you think that it was therefore also moral to beat your wife when it was normal to do so?

    It was once perfectly normal to own people who were darker than you. Was it therefore moral to own people who were darker than you when it was normal to do so?

    The examples of the flaws in the logic can go on and on and on. It's clear that the logic employed is fallacious, regardless of whether or not an individual is willing to accept the fact that it is.

    The added bonus of an "appeal to normalcy" is that if one definition of normal is used it is always an appeal to majority, and if the other common definition is used it is always circular reasoning.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    Yes, those are the sorts of modern, Enlightenment assumptions I mean.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    Those aren't assumptions. They are just reiterations of the arguments used by those who make an appeal to normalcy with the terms altered and the date changed. The only assumption that is made is that which is made by the person making the argument (that assumption is that normal = good).
    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    It is clear, looking at the edit you made to your last but one post, that you are referring to normal simply in the sense of average. Obviously I would agree with you in criticising that notion if it was then used as the basis for a moral judgement. But normal isn't used in this sense alone, indeed seeing as it is based on the root 'norm' I would say it shouldn't be used simply as average anyway( but that boat has long sailed it seems), as I said it is a problematic term, at least unless it is defined succinctly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    I'm not simply limiting it to "average". No matter how it's defined it'll end up being a fallacy in a moral argument.

    If it's used to describe, as you put it, "what is right or proper or natural", then the argument begs the question since the conclusion that something is or is not right or proper or natural is implied by the premise.

    No definition of "normal" can exist which allows one to use it as the means to draw a conclusion about the morality of an action which is not fallacious.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    You will certainly have to run the last two sentences by me again. Presumably the person will try and make an argument about what is right or proper or natural and not just assert it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    The term "Normal" is being used in the premises, while the conclusion is about the morality of the thing which they have deemed to be normal or abnormal in the premise. In these situations, the argument begs the question.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    It can still be part of a valid argument. It depends on how they define natural and how they go about proving its role in deciding what is moral.
    I think it's important to note that your post above was when you moved the goal posts from our original argument about "normal" being used in moral arguments to a new one about "natural" being used in moral arguments. Given your accusation about how I have been "jumping back and forth", I felt it necessary to point out this fallacy this time around.

    Anyway, carrying on:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    Sure, but any argument of that type would be demonstrably unsound if if is presented while using a computer.
    Note: "of that type" in this context would refer to the type of argument I have been describing throughout the discussion: a moral argument. You demonstrate that you understood this when you said the bolded part of the following:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    Unless it was an argument that defined nature according Essences and Formal and Final Causes and did not see these being violated in man's case by using a computer. There is of course even a difference between something contrary to the nature, in this sense, and simply something other than the natural function involved. For instance if we say, using such a definition, that deafness is contrary to the nature of an ear, which is to hear; an earring (without going into an in depth analysis of such topics) could be said to be not contrary to the nature of an ear, as long as it did not interfere with hearing, but nor its natural function either. In general those who try and construct these kind of arguments object only to what is contrary to nature and not simply superfluous, if that is the correct term.
    The part in bold is also why I said the following, especially the underlined portions:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    Well, then it's circular reasoning because you invented a fake definition for a word for the sole purpose of using said word in an argument designed specifically to reach the per-determined conclusion you wish to achieve. Thus making the argument invalid again.
    The per-determined conclusion is that the thing being called "natural" is "moral" and the thing being called "unnatural" is "immoral".

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    You really are going to have to run that past me again. In general nature in this sense is defined as Essence or what something cannot be without and be itself. Exactly how that is circular reasoning is beyond me, Tucker.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    If you had limited your definition to "Essence or what something cannot be without and be itself" it wouldn't have been a made up definition. It also wouldn't be possible to relate it back to homosexuality, though.

    So you added the extra stuff that was necessary to for it to work in a morality argument. That would mean that any attempt to use it in such a way would make such an argument circular.

    Now, one could argue that you really just mashed multiple definitions of "natural" together to create one that could hypothetically work. That would mean it's all really just equivocation. Which is actually true of any moral argument relying on "normal" or "natural" as the indicators. I have yet to see, nor do I ever expect to see, anyone present such an argument without having a loose and fluid definition of normal or natural.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    That depends on how you argue for it, surely. Scholastic thought, for instance, does relate it back, even if you think it fails to do it properly.

    I don't follow all. All else I mentioned is Formal and Final Causes. Formal Causes are the instantiation, in Aristotelian and Thomistic thought, of Essences or Forms. Final Causes are the end goal or purpose of something and in a sense the playing out of the instantiation of the Essence.

    For a rubber ball the Formal Cause is bounciness, roundness and such properties, which obviously are a reflection of the Essence of such a ball, and its Final Cause might be for a child's game, which can be related to its nature or Essence. The Essence here is something one defines indirectly in discursive description, because to completely capture it one would have to convey the entire Essence in words, which is not possible of course; the description of something is always distinct from the thing itself. So Formal and Final Causes are here simply added descriptions of the Essence or nature, which help us to understand it better.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    You just demonstrated quite well why it's always going to be circular logic in a morality argument.

    First, it can only be "related to it's nature" by way of creating an arbitrary designation of what is natural.

    The nature of a ball is not to be used in a child's game unless you define 'nature' in such a way to allow you to reach said conclusion by including such things as natural in the definition.

    The "final cause" is an arbitrary decision to claim that this is what such an object can be used for. But a rubber ball is equally usable to plug up the sphincter of a kinky fetish model. Who defines the "appropriate" final cause? The person trying to make the circular argument vilifying or justifying a certain behavior, that's who. And they do so by reverse engineering their logic from the conclusion to the premises, carefully creating premises that imply their desired conclusion.

    When you have to "relate" that which you wish to call "natural" or "unnatural" back to your definition of "natural" or "unnatural", you cannot possibly have employed anything otehr than circular logic.

    Why? Because as any student of logic knows, conclusions follow from the premises. You, however, have been demonstrating the complete opposite of a logical progression, and your language choices demonstrate that perfectly. If the argument must be "related back" it certainly does not follow, at least on it's own merits.

    Since the conclusions are what must be "related back" to the premises (and not by virtue of a premise), we can clearly see that the arguments involved are invalid ones.


    As we can clearly see, the common thread in all of my posts was about using "natural" or "normal" in a moral argument.

    So I must ask, since I have consistently referred to arguments about morality in almost every single one of my posts, how can it possibly seem as though my arguments are jumping back and forth?

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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    Yes, sorry Tucker, I should have been clearer about what I meant, plus I know doubt had a slightly different memory of what occurred to if I had scrutinised each past post. My point is that, at the very least, you equally participated in making an important place for what is natural in our discussion. A lot of it was because you seemed to consider natural as only average or normal or as just what we observe in the 'natural world'. This led to a discussion on different views of nature. But most importantly you haven't given any real argument for why any argument that links the natural must be circular. This is what most of all has caused the confusion in our discussion. I still have no idea why it must always be circular.
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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    I'm not sure why my comments are in that size. Must of hit the button by mistake.
    "It is written in the eternal constitution that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." - Edmund Burke

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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    Yes, sorry Tucker, I should have been clearer about what I meant, plus I know doubt had a slightly different memory of what occurred to if I had scrutinised each past post. My point is that, at the very least, you equally participated in making an important place for what is natural in our discussion. A lot of it was because you seemed to consider natural as only average or normal or as just what we observe in the 'natural world'. This led to a discussion on different views of nature. But most importantly you haven't given any real argument for why any argument that links the natural must be circular. This is what most of all has caused the confusion in our discussion. I still have no idea why it must always be circular.

    I didn't scrutinize every post, I just made an effort to make it clear in almost every post that I was discussing the use of "natural" in the specific context of it being used as the basis of a moral argument. Since I did put that effort in, it was simply a matter of remembering. Reposting it all and then bolding those efforts was actually quite easy.

    Now, I'm sorry if I wasn't as clear as I thought I was being. The point I have been making is that, regardless of the definition of natural used, any attempt to use "natural" (or "normal") as the basis for determining if something is "moral" or "immoral" is going to be fallacious (with special interest given to the arguments about homosexuality).

    You disagreed and attempted to give an example of a definition that you felt could be used as the basis for a valid logical argument determining if something is moral or immoral. The debate was never about whether or not something is or is not natural, nor did I ever say anything about the different views of nature.

    I simply pointed out how the definition that you employed would only reach a conclusion about morality if the definition was designed in a way that allowed the predetermined conclusion to be reached. In your example, any attempt to use the definition in a moral argument would be achieved only by limiting the "final causes" to those things that one wishes to consider moral (which makes it circular).

    I don't care about whether or not something is or is not natural because, as I have clearly stated multiple times, the line of argumentation about natural in the context of a moral argument is fallacious. I have no interest in trying to prove whether or not something is or is not natural because it is of no import to the real discussion. Instead, I focus my effort into pointing out the futility of that line of argumentation.

    Frankly, nothing I have written should give any indication of what I personally consider to be natural because I haven't even given any arguments about what I personally do or do not consider natural. This is because I really don't give a flying **** about whether or not something is natural or unnatural. The whole debate about whether or not something is natural or unnatural is pure nonsense.

    To give an analogy, the who "natural = moral" is like the disturbingly effective advertising ploy that gets idiots to buy overpriced garbage posing as food by putting "All Natural, 100% Organic" prominently on the label. I almost want to start selling a line of "All Natural, 100% Organic Nightshade Tea" just to see how many morons would actually buy it. My theory is that if they died from doing so, it'd just be evidence that natural selection works and I'd be doing a service to humanity with it. But alas, the law wouldn't see it that way.

    Anyway, that's why the whole natural = moral debate is a waste of time, effort, and brain power. From what I can tell, it's impossible to make a valid argument that is based on the "natural = moral" premise because nobody actually believes that rubbish. If they do, then they should buy my All Natural, 100% Organic Nightshade tea. (That one works on the final causes definition of natural, too, because the final cause of my "All Natural, 100% Organic" nightshade tea is to kill people who are delusional enough to think "natural = moral" for the greater good of mankind).

  8. #1038
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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    The main problem Tucker is you haven't really said why it is fallacious or a circular argument.

    I think you have implied a definition of nature, because your last paragraph, for one, implies it. Platonists, Peripatetics and Christians influenced by any of these or their own realist and essential view of reality all believe what you have called 'rubbish' and have often made very good arguments for it. Indeed the whole talk about nightshades implies a lack of understanding of such views, which, as I did try and show, at least could mean your whole, unstated view of the fallacies and circular logic involved in linking nature and morality could be blighted by such a misunderstanding. This is certainly the case with many moderns, who do not understand that the so called 'naturalistic fallacy' is not a strict logical fallacy and is only a fallacy if you make certain Enlightenment and modern assumptions about things like the distinctions between fact and value and is and ought. But until you state you actual position we won't really know.

    I simply pointed out how the definition that you employed would only reach a conclusion about morality if the definition was designed in a way that allowed the predetermined conclusion to be reached. In your example, any attempt to use the definition in a moral argument would be achieved only by limiting the "final causes" to those things that one wishes to consider moral (which makes it circular).
    It is hard to tell if this is your argument on the subject or not. But it is also hard to make sense of. The final causes, as shown, and the formal causes are not observed by man but not created by him. Your example of the dead heart was simply wrong. That heart has the same material cause as the living heart, mostly, but does not have the same formal cause or set or properties, nor the same final cause as when it is part of a living, organic system. These are old and basic questions that Aristotelians have long ago answered. One such example sometimes used is a triangle made in clay. The formal cause is the properties of a triangle, which is three perfectly straight sides, to keep it brief. The material cause is is the clay. The final cause can be said to be insubstantiation of a triangle. The efficient cause is whatever made the triangle. You take smash up the clay and you no longer have a triangle, it no longer has the same formal cause and therefore the same form or essence or nature. The final cause goes along with the formal cause and insubstantiates it, and is an important way we discover what the formal cause and nature of something is. But if the formal cause changes then so does the final cause. Again the above comments of yours do imply a critique of this very idea of nature.

    The link of these arguments to morality all depends on which arguments are used to relate them to morality. For Aristotle and St.Thomas, like Plato and Plotinus, it is based on classical arguments about the Good.
    Last edited by Wessexman; 12-30-11 at 02:41 AM.
    "It is written in the eternal constitution that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." - Edmund Burke

  9. #1039
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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    The main problem Tucker is you haven't really said why it is fallacious or a circular argument.
    I certainly have. I can only say it, though, I can't force you to understand without asuming your ability to understand is so great that you can ignore th ewords within the explanation.

    I think you have implied a definition of nature, because your last paragraph, for one, implies it.
    And therein lies the problem. You are far too confident in your ability to determine what is implied by my comments. Thus far, you have given no indication that you are understanding what I have said, so you should stop trusting your interpretations because the only thing about them I can say is that they are consistently incorrect. I demonstrated this quite clearly in post 1034. Apparently you didn;'t take teh lesson from that post that you should have: You clearly aren't as competent a judge of what people's arguments are as you have assumed you are.

    When you make an interpretation such as the one above, you further demonstrate a lack of competence in interpreting my arguments. Exacerbating this problem is the fact that your interpretations of my arguments are based on your interpretations of other people's arguments. Without any demonstrated competence in interpretations, though, such an approach is sheer folly.


    Next, you have demonstrated quite well in your posts that you aren't really aware of what is or is not fallacious. Thus far, you have moved the goal posts (by switching from "normal" to "natural" in order to maker what you hoped might be a more effective argument. I can show the post where you did this again if you wish), relying almost entirely on an appeal to authority argument (Aristotle et al. could certainly be wrong, in fact, he often was about a great many things, but especially with regard to his beliefs about natural. More importantly, though, your interpretations of their arguments are also potentially flawed. You aren't even citing them, but instead giving your interpretations of them. This creates an extra layer of uncertainty. If you actually provided their arguments directly, at least one layer of potential flaw is removed, but you aren't doing that).

    You've also created many, many strawmen in our debate. Again, this is due to the assumption you have that you are so skilled at interpreting the arguments of others, that you can actually ignore those arguments and replace them with other arguments.

    So, instead of breaking down your last post further, allow me to ask you three important questions:

    1. Why do you think you are so skillful that you can rely entirely on your interpretations of the arguments of long dead philosophers in order to make an argument?
    2. Why are you assuming that name-dropping ancient philosophers has any logical merit? Are you under the impression that philosophers of the past were incapable of using fallacious logic?
    3. Why exactly did you move the goal posts in post #1013?

  10. #1040
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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    I'm not sure why my comments are in that size. Must of hit the button by mistake.
    It's okay. Tucker is most likely the only one reading your comments and he's used to looking at small things.
    Quote Originally Posted by faithful_servant View Post
    Being a psychiatric patient does not mean that you are mentally ill.



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