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Thread: Just Plain Wrong

  1. #1041
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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorgasm View Post
    It's okay. Tucker is most likely the only one reading your comments and he's used to looking at small things.
    that's true.

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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    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.
    No you really haven't. At no time have you said why all such arguments must be fallacious or circular.


    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.
    This all relies on the fact that I was wrong in my interpretation, however instead of arguing that you have just stated it. I think I was correct and have tried to show why.
    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).
    This makes no sense. I have actually put forward this position on nature, instead of simply appealing to Aristotle. You tried to argue against it, but totally misunderstood it. Other than that I have simply mentioned people who have made such arguments in order that you know that it was intelligent people who made these arguments, therefore you shouldn't simply assume it is an obvious circular argument or fallacy. I think that is valid, at least until you put forward your position, after until then what else do we have to go on? So put forward your argument why it is a logical fallacy and circular argument.
    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.
    Well it would help if you actually put forward your argument.
    The main reason there has been any movement away from the core argument by either of us is because you won't put forward the basic position and defend it.
    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?
    I'm certainly assuming that it is unlikely such ancient philosophers made such obvious mistakes as you are implying without you ever actually to try to show why. The reason I have put forward Aristotle's position is both because I'm a realist and essentialist, and his are the easiest for moderns to understand, and also because it is clear your implied argument, which will just be the usual modern nonsense, fails to deal with the Peripatetic and Thomistic position.

    Come on Tucker, you are being silly now. It is clear you have stopped actually trying to argue your position and are just trying to make distractions and obstacles to avoid answering the main point. Say why it must always be a circular argument or logical fallacy.
    Last edited by Wessexman; 12-30-11 at 07:41 PM.
    "It is written in the eternal constitution that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." - Edmund Burke

  3. #1043
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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    I have actually put forward this position on nature, instead of simply appealing to Aristotle.
    Well, since you've decided you are going to dodge those questions I asked (I really was looking forward to your explanation of why you moved the goal posts, but que sera sera), let's just focus on this little bit right here.

    If you really are putting forward this position, then you should certainly be capable of providing a specific logical argument about how something is moral simply because it is natural.

    When you do this, I will then provide a detailed explanation of the logical fallacies in your argument. That should be enough to clear up all of your confusion.

    So get crackin'.

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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    I wouldn't dream of being so rude and pushing ahead when you haven't even had the chance to give your position of why any argument basing morality on nature must be fallacious and circular.

    Actually I didn't move any goal posts. What has happened is you haven't given your basic position and defended it. All the rest followed from this; like me assuming (quite appropriately when you used terms like the 'naturalistic fallacy') you were just giving the usual modern position, showing that intelligent people have disagreed with this and hence you need to state your position; like me exploring a position on nature that does escape these moderns assumptions and sanctions. None of this is moving the goalposts. It is just a game of a penalties while we wait for the other team to arrive. At the moment there is just the mascot giving the team motto, but without any of the players to defend it.

    And by the way, it is clear you are now trying to get me to attack the position you won't defend and hence trying to avoid defending the whole reason for our discussion. If that isn't moving the goalposts, indeed directly switching them around, then what is?
    Last edited by Wessexman; 12-30-11 at 09:02 PM.
    "It is written in the eternal constitution that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." - Edmund Burke

  5. #1045
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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    I wouldn't dream of being so rude and pushing ahead when you haven't even had the chance to give your position of why any argument basing morality on nature must be fallacious and circular.

    Actually I didn't move any goal posts. What has happened is you haven't given your basic position and defended it. All the rest followed from this; like me assuming (quite appropriately when you used terms like the 'naturalistic fallacy') you were just giving the usual modern position, showing that intelligent people have disagreed with this and hence you need to state your position; like me exploring a position on nature that does escape these moderns assumptions and sanctions. None of this is moving the goalposts. It is just a game of a penalties while we wait for the other team to arrive. At the moment there is just the mascot giving the team motto, but without any of the players to defend it.

    And by the way, it is clear you are now trying to get me to attack the position you won't defend and hence trying to avoid defending the whole reason for our discussion. If that isn't moving the goalposts, indeed directly switching them around, then what is?
    It wouldn't be rude to provide me a canvas to work with to explain my views so that they can be understood more easily.

    To do this, I must have a specific logical argument to work with. Then I can demonstrate exactly how that argument is employing circular reasoning Take your assumpetions inhernent in your claims against my final cause of the heart for example. You are employing unchallenged assumptions about reality based on an human-centric perspective of reality.

    All natural law proponents I have encountered fall prey to this same problem, and those unchallenged assumptions about reality lead to circular reasoning, but in a very subtle, yet meaningful way.

    In order to see the logical flaws, you must first look at your argument from a totally different perspective (but one still firmly grounded in reality). My point about the final cause of the heart is one that employs a fundamentally different perspective from what you are using, but both perspectives are still firmly grounded in reality. Mine incorporates a far larger time frame, though, and a much, much wider scope. I understand the inherent difficulty in understanding that perspective, though, most people have difficulty expanding their views in such a way because doing so immediately forces them to realize the meaninglessness of their own individual existence.

    When that perspective is applied to the same reasoning, though, the result of said reasoning changes dramatically. Therein lies my overall position on "nature". The perspective from which someone views reality defines their understanding of reality in a way that it causes many unchallenged assumptions which lead to circular reasoning when one argues that what is natural is good.

    From the larger scope perspective, "good" and beneficial are determined in dramatically different ways than it is in the smaller scope perspective. What is good for the individual in the smaller scope perspective is not necessarily good for the whole in the larger scope perspective. What is a final cause in a smaller-scope perspective is actually a stepping stone along the way to the final cause in the larger scope perspective.

    Let's use Aristotle's seed example to explain this a bit. Aristotle would argue that the final cause of a seed is to become an adult plant. The seedling stage of development would simply be a step along the way to this final cause. From the larger-scope perspective, though, the final cause of the plant is taken into account, hell even the final cause of the species is accounted for in the larger-scope perspective I am employing.

    Because of the limited scope of Aristotle's perspective, he had unchallenged (even unknown) assumptions about reality that went into his analysis. The way that one determines natural law, though, is entirely dependent upon the results of those unchallenged and unknown assumptions. That's where the circular reasoning comes into play. You keep assuming that circular reasoning is always an obvious mistake (which is a great example of an unchallenged assumption based on perspective, by the way), when circular reasoning can often be quite subtle.

    On top of that, for Aristotle and most long dead philosophers such assumptions are completely understandable, if not entirely unavoidable. When the Earth is believed to be the only planet in the universe (and the center of the universe, no less) and the total time it has existed is believed to be only a few thousand years, it's almost impossible to employ a perspective like the one I am employing.

    But with today's knowledge, such a perspective is possible (although very rarely employed in this manner). And when discussing concepts such as nature, such a perspective is of absolute importance. Anything less requires one to ignore more than 99.99999999% of all reality. In that choice to ignore lies the circular reasoning in modern argument, too.

    But once that wider-scoped perspective can be achieved, we could actually begin to start discussing my own personal views on nature and natural laws and how morality, by necessity, requires a smaller-scoped perspective than what is required for any discussion on nature.

    Now, if you want to see the above explanation put into action, present a specific logical argument about how something is moral simply because it is "natural". I will then give a very detailed demonstration of how you have employed unchallenged assumptions in a circular manner.

    The ultimate question you have to ask yourself about any given premise you could use is "Why do I think this?" If the answer is along the lines of "Well, because it is" then you are probably employing circular reasoning of the type I describe.

  6. #1046
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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    But you were wrong in your attempted refutation of the example of the heart. This may partly be because I'm not the clearest or concisest person when it comes to expression of such arguments and you may have misunderstood me because of this. But you ignored the importance of formal causes and the fact that final causes are the instantiation of a nature with its properties or formal causes. I suppose to really fully grasp Aristotle's (and Aquinas' because my understanding of Aristotle is coloured by Thomistic interpretation) position you have to understand his (or rather the Angelic Doctors) distinction between act and potency and his doctrine of form and matter or hylomorphism and the four causes. This is really my fault as I haven't explained them and am hoping to convey the argument without having to go into such areas. I'll see if I can do this a bit better. Basically the material cause or material substance, in this case human flesh and tissue, remains the same, but the formal cause, which is the properties of the living human heart, change.


    Let's use Aristotle's seed example to explain this a bit. Aristotle would argue that the final cause of a seed is to become an adult plant. The seedling stage of development would simply be a step along the way to this final cause. From the larger-scope perspective, though, the final cause of the plant is taken into account, hell even the final cause of the species is accounted for in the larger-scope perspective I am employing.
    You misunderstand Aristotle's use of a final cause. A final cause is the playing out of a nature, or even the playing out of parts of a nature. A recognisable piece of matter may have many final causes and this does not refute Aristotle's position. Indeed we may be able to discern multiple final causes in the one being, which go towards its overall final cause. Final causes are just another term for teleology or the motion (in the sense of change) towards an end. Indeed to him, or at least Aquinas, all final causes lead to the final cause of the universe and then the final cause of cause, or God. I cannot imagine a larger scale than the Unmoved Mover. In terms of the seed, the final cause of the living seed can be said to be a fully developed adult plant, but certainly a single plant can be said to have final cause, or part of it, as perpetrating the species and then the species has its final cause and so on. There is nothing in acknowledging this that refutes the Aristotelian-Thomistic position.

    It is often claimed that the ancients were generally less reliable in all thought because of their lack of scientific knowledge. This all depends on what one assumes about the universe and reality and the place and importance you put on the material, corporeal and quantifiable. The ancients, like Plato and Aristotle, could reason about intellect, quality, form, matter, time, and a multitude of such things and it is hard for me to understand that they had a smaller perspective than the ancients, unless you define smallness in terms of distance and quantity, which would be a very modern assumption.

    To be honest Tucker, I'm not going to put forward the full Aristotelian-Thomistic position because to do it properly I'd have to fill the equivalent of a small philosophical primer. I see now I would have to discuss act/potency, essentialism, the four causes and so on. If you can give me a jist of how you'd you'd generally proceed then that would help. Note, your last paragraph does give the hint of this jist, but it appears to simply repeat the flawed basis of the so called naturalistic fallacy. The Ancients, for instance did not really talk of value, but of the Good and beyond that the distinction between value and fact is based on modern assumptions about what fact or is are and what value and ought are.
    Last edited by Wessexman; 12-31-11 at 09:43 AM.
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  7. #1047
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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    If the Mother did not have guts enough to say it she should never put her child to do the dirty work.

    An 8 year old would have no idea what he was saying.

  8. #1048
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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    But you were wrong in your attempted refutation of the example of the heart. This may partly be because I'm not the clearest or concisest person when it comes to expression of such arguments and you may have misunderstood me because of this. But you ignored the importance of formal causes and the fact that final causes are the instantiation of a nature with its properties or formal causes. I suppose to really fully grasp Aristotle's (and Aquinas' because my understanding of Aristotle is coloured by Thomistic interpretation) position you have to understand his (or rather the Angelic Doctors) distinction between act and potency and his doctrine of form and matter or hylomorphism and the four causes. This is really my fault as I haven't explained them and am hoping to convey the argument without having to go into such areas. I'll see if I can do this a bit better. Basically the material cause or material substance, in this case human flesh and tissue, remains the same, but the formal cause, which is the properties of the living human heart, change.
    Again, you are limiting your perspective on the formal causes, though. You see them form this perspective, but are not also looking at them from the wider perspective. Doing so illuminates different properties.


    You misunderstand Aristotle's use of a final cause. A final cause is the playing out of a nature, or even the playing out of parts of a nature. A recognisable piece of matter may have many final causes and this does not refute Aristotle's position.
    How can you say that I misunderstand when I explicitly said this earlier. The issue is not simply Aristotle's view of nature (my perspective employs the same view of nature), but how he related that to good. It is that relation that causes the problem, not simply the view of nature.

    Indeed we may be able to discern multiple final causes in the one being, which go towards its overall final cause. Final causes are just another term for teleology or the motion (in the sense of change) towards an end. Indeed to him, or at least Aquinas, all final causes lead to the final cause of the universe and then the final cause of cause, or God. I cannot imagine a larger scale than the Unmoved Mover. In terms of the seed, the final cause of the living seed can be said to be a fully developed adult plant, but certainly a single plant can be said to have final cause, or part of it, as perpetrating the species and then the species has its final cause and so on. There is nothing in acknowledging this that refutes the Aristotelian-Thomistic position.
    Again, I'm not simply discussing the view of nature, but of how that relates to "good" or the naturalistic fallacy.

    You are defending the argument by focusing entirely on the view of nature itself without including the second portion of the equation.

    This all depends on what one assumes about the universe and reality and the place and importance you put on the material, corporeal and quantifiable.
    Or, to put it more succinctly for a very pointed purpose, this all depends on how ones assumptions are shaped by perspective. Those assumptions are very important for any kind of judgement. Which is a big part of my point.

    To be honest Tucker, I'm not going to put forward the full Aristotelian-Thomistic position because to do it properly I'd have to fill the equivalent of a small philosophical primer. I see now I would have to discuss act/potency, essentialism, the four causes and so on. If you can give me a jist of how you'd you'd generally proceed then that would help.
    This is a strawman.

    You weren't asked to put forward the full position. Just one specific logical argument about something, anything, being considered moral or good because it is natural. Conversely, you can also provide one single argument about something, anything, being considered immoral or bad because it is "unnatural".

  9. #1049
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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    Again, you are limiting your perspective on the formal causes, though. You see them form this perspective, but are not also looking at them from the wider perspective. Doing so illuminates different properties.
    Huh? How can their be properties outside formal causes?



    How can you say that I misunderstand when I explicitly said this earlier. The issue is not simply Aristotle's view of nature (my perspective employs the same view of nature), but how he related that to good. It is that relation that causes the problem, not simply the view of nature.
    Yes, but we might as well make sure we both have that view of nature correct. Some views of nature are fallacious in the way you seem to mean, others aren't necessarily.



    Again, I'm not simply discussing the view of nature, but of how that relates to "good" or the naturalistic fallacy.

    You are defending the argument by focusing entirely on the view of nature itself without including the second portion of the equation.
    This is because you hadn't yet given your argument for why it is circular. I presumed all along you simply just meant the so called naturalistic fallacy or something very similar. As I said near the beginning of the discussion this 'fallacy' is not a strict logical fallacy, as it relies on modern assumptions about reality, including the distinctions between is and ought, fact and value. Most modern ways of looking at these fall victim to it, but not a lot of a pre-modern ones. And by the way, if this 'fallacy' was true in these cases, of pre-modern views on nature and the good, it would be more or less visible immediately. This is not a full argument against it of course, but, unless you assumed all pre-moderns and non-Westerners were stupid, you'd expect a few to notice they'd fallen into this 'fallacy'.

    Now we are near to what you mean by circular reasoning and a fallacy, if you just put it into a brief argument or position we can pretty much get to the bottom of it.


    Or, to put it more succinctly for a very pointed purpose, this all depends on how ones assumptions are shaped by perspective. Those assumptions are very important for any kind of judgement. Which is a big part of my point.
    Unless you're trying to make rather out of place general skeptical points, I do not think this argument really helps you, as there was a lot of intellectual and rational thought involved in the areas of investigation I mentioned.


    This is a strawman.

    You weren't asked to put forward the full position. Just one specific logical argument about something, anything, being considered moral or good because it is natural. Conversely, you can also provide one single argument about something, anything, being considered immoral or bad because it is "unnatural".
    I think you are using the term strawman wrong, as we were just discussing what I might do. I think for me to put forward such a specific argument I would have to give such a full position, because the moment I had to defend it I would have to appeal to this full position.
    Last edited by Wessexman; 12-31-11 at 10:03 AM.
    "It is written in the eternal constitution that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." - Edmund Burke

  10. #1050
    Sporadic insanity normal.


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    Re: Just Plain Wrong

    I have only the vaguest grasp on this discussion between Tucker Case and Wessexman...

    But I think it's interesting...

    Still not quite sure what they're discussing though...
    Education.

    Sometimes I think we're alone. Sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the thought is staggering. ~ R. Buckminster Fuller

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