Brian Smith

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Everything posted by Brian Smith

  1. If you want to change the dual focus of your argument and have everyone forget about deduction (a vital cognitive tool), then you need to restate your argument and narrow the focus to that which you are now claiming is important.In other words, do not get upset or frustrated because people are addressing the argument you actuallymade rather than the argument you should have made or thought you made. Put simply, if you wish to retract as invalidyour comments about 'deduction', then do so. But, if you continue to argue their validity (see your last post - "deduction is bogus"), then do not blame others for disputing the argument you continue to make. That is not "semantics". That is addressing YOUR argument as YOU present it.
  2. Ayn Rand on Abortion

    I seem to recall Miss Rand wrote a bit about ethical questions raised concerning abortions in the later stages of pregnancy. However, in reviewing her works, I don't seem to be able to find reference to such ideas. Is anyone familiar with such material - or am I mistaken in my recollections?
  3. Plato declares the State must properly be ruled by a philosopher. But does Plato every explain why a philosopher would ever want to be King? Supposedly a philosopher is a man who progressively turns his back on the world of appearances - on the physical and the passions. Instead, the philosopher focuses his mind on the abstract. And he pursues this knowledge - true knowledge, which is knowledge of universals - not for any particular end, but simply for the sake of attaining knowledge. For Plato, the philosopher is indeed the pure lover of wisdom. And he loves wisdom, not for the sake of what he can do with his wisdom, but simply for the sake of loving it. If that is the case though - if a philosopher seeks and finally gains ultimate knowledge (that of the universal Good) - does Plato explain why this man would then return his focus to the World of Appearances (the world of the untrue) and try to run every aspect of it? In other words, does Plato explain why the philosopher be interested in anything but the world of Universals? Why should the philosopher be interested in the organization and control of particulars? Why should he be interested in this 'unreal' world at all - the world from which he has sought to isolate himself? Put simply, does Plato state why a man who is supposed to have no interest in that which is 'unreal' should dedicate himself to being ruler of the unreal? I can imagine a few reason on my own. But I am interested in learning if Plato provided any such reasons himself.
  4. I am auctioning four CD lecture series from the AR Bookstore: Psycho-Epistemology I by Harry Binswanger The Epistemology of Altruism by Peter Schwartz Clarity in Conceptualization: The Art of Identifying "Package Deals" by Peter Schwartz Savoring Ayn Rand's "Red Pawn" by Dina Schein The auction will begin on Tuesday evening and run five days. All materials are in pristine condition. And all are being offered at half the AR Bookstore price. Here are links for all four: While all were quite informative, Ms. Schein's work was particularly insightful and enjoyable. Its approach and the depth of analysis is similar to Dr. Peikoff's "Eight Great Plays". That said, all bidders will definitely be getting their money's worth no matter which lecture they acquire.
  5. On-Topic and Off-Topic Issues

    I am confused. Who has attacked a poster here or gone off topic? Since this warning follows my post, is the claim here that pointing out the lack of support for assertions a poster makes about the morality of public schools is somehow off limits on The Forum?
  6. On-Topic and Off-Topic Issues

    I must disagree with your ideas but, before leaving the conversation, I did want to thank you for expressing them.
  7. Fundamentals of Logic

    As I explicitly stated, identifying a false premise or invalid logic identify the fact that a man needs to check his premises. In other words, they are the REASONS one provides to support the claim that someone else needs to check his specific premises.With that, and for the reasons stated in the 'On/Off Topic' thread, I will express my appreciation for the thread and take my leave of it.
  8. Fundamentals of Logic

    One of the fundamental things the science of Logic tells man is that his ideas must correspond to reality. This means when a man makes an argument in support of an idea, that argument must not contradict reality. If an argument does contradict reality, it must be rejected. The reason for this is that existence, not consciousness, is primary. Now there are two ways an argument may contradict reality: if the claimed premises of an argument contradict the facts a man knows of reality - and/or - if the claimed relationship between the premises (or the premises and the conclusion) of an argument contradict the fact that is the Law of Identity. In other words, the two ways an argument may contradict reality is if its premises are false and/or its logic is invalid. In either case, the fact that the argument contradicts reality proves the argument must be rejected. Again, the reason for this is that reality, not a man's argument, is primary. So what becomes of the conclusion - the idea - the argument was trying to prove? Does the fact that the argument has been dismissed have any relevance to a continued discussion of that idea? Of course. Because the argument has been dismissed, the conclusion is now unsupported. It no longer has its identified connection to reality. As such, the conclusion cannot validly be identified as 'true' or 'false' (or even 'possibly true' or 'possibly false') since these claims require that which no longer exists - an identified connection to reality. This means either a different argument must be presented - or - the conclusion must also be dismissed. Put simply, absent a new argument, the conclusion is nothing. It is what Logic identifies as arbitrary. And "the arbitrary is automatically invalidated". The reason for this is that existence exists - and only existence exists. Thus, far from being irrelevant to anything a man is discussing, when a man identifies that an argument's premise is false or its logic is invalid, he is identifying the fact that the argument can no longer be asserted, the fact that the conclusion no longer has its identified connection to reality, and the fact that the conclusion must either be given a new argument or itself must be rejected. Put simply, Logic shows man that finding false premises or invalid logic in an argument actually 'proves' quite a lot. Most specifically, it dictates what a man rationally does with the idea he has been discussing.
  9. Fundamentals of Logic

    Excellent. Of course, when the person indicates they cannot explain WHY they make the claim - as was the case of the example - then that is still verecundiam. If you reference different examples - as you are here - then of course it may NOT be verecundiam. But that would be addressing different context, not this one.
  10. On-Topic and Off-Topic Issues

    Unfortunately, so have I. And I think it goes to the heart of this thread. When one or two fallacies are not understood, explaining them can be important to the discussion of a subject and can be resolved fairly easily. But when fundamentals of logic are not grasped, then no rational discussion of a subject will be possible. Regardless of the subject, the discussions will necessarily become about logic (just as disagreements on political subjects which are the result of not grasping fundamentals of ethics will ultimately become discussions about ethics). Given the above, at this point I would simply like to state my appreciation for this thread - including that it was allowed to continue for so long. While it did not serve the purpose I had hoped, it has certainly helped me resolve a few long-standing questions here - and has proved useful to me in an entirely different context (though that is merely a happy coincidence). Therefore, I shall be taking my leave from this (and related) conversation.
  11. Fundamentals of Logic

    That is the problem - one my arguments do not seem to have been able to resolve. At this point, the issue becomes one of diminishing returns.
  12. Fundamentals of Logic

    As I have already stated, I do not accept things on faith (nor do I encourage others to accept things on faith). I do this precisely BECAUSE I am honest and rational. As has been stated multiple times, the requirements of reason are that a person either needs to connect the conclusion to reality - or - dismiss it. Doing something else takes the person out of the realm of reason. The argument from ignorance which you provide (don't dismiss the conclusion because X might be good - you haven't proven its not) for doing something other than those two things does not somehow make it rational. Do not accept ANYTHING on faith - not even Ayn Rand.
  13. On-Topic and Off-Topic Issues

    The above is false. There is no such thing as an 'Arbitrary and True' statement or 'Arbitrary and False' statement. The arbitrary can neither be true nor false. Only that which has a connection to reality can be identified as either true or false. In other words, the terms are indeed mutually exclusive.Put simply, the nature of the terms is as I have identified them True and False are the 'non-A'. Arbitrary is the 'A'
  14. Fundamentals of Logic

    WHERE has that been the context of ANY discussion here?Most of the statements here have been made in the context of 'finding a logical fallacy or false premise' in an argument. And if you want to trace back the context of this particular thread of the discussion, it was an individual who makes a claim but can't identify for anyone his reasons for his support. And in that case, one certainly doesn't 'assume' their conclusion is true absent any evidence except that they are members of the forum. That TOO is verecundiam.
  15. On-Topic and Off-Topic Issues

    The claim appears to be that it is 'irrelevant' to apply principles of logic in a discussion whose subject is anything other than epistemology.
  16. On-Topic and Off-Topic Issues

    So - to use a previously used example: if a member opened a new topic about the cause of this morning's volcanic eruption, and he stated:I saw a comet last night The volcano erupted this morning Therefore the comet caused the eruption It is your claim that it would be 'irrelevant' (and disruptive, etc as has been stated in other posts) to post in that thread the fact that it is a logical fallacy to claim the order of the events is the cause of the events? It would be 'irrelevant' even though it would result in having to change the premises (ie the facts which are relevant to the discussion?)
  17. On-Topic and Off-Topic Issues

    Exactly. The arbitrary has been dropped as the alternative to the non-arbitrary.
  18. On-Topic and Off-Topic Issues

    A logical fallacy identifies that some indicated relationship between the facts is invalid. Is the relationship between facts not a factual issue? Is the fact that different facts may need to be introduced - or all the facts discarded (because the conclusion was arbitrary) - etc not a 'factual' issue? If so, must reject such a view of what qualifies as 'factual'.
  19. Fundamentals of Logic

    This is verecundiam. A claim is not to be assumed true (to whatever degree) DESPITE the fact of a logical fallacy or false premise for that claim, simply because of the 'authority' of the person making the claim. Doing so is exactly what identifies such an appeal as fallacious rather than legitimate.
  20. Fundamentals of Logic

    Please identify how you logically conclude that saying one can "reconnect the conclusion to reality by providing a different argument" includes ONLY "reality-checking the conclusion" and somehow excludes "reality-checking the premises".
  21. Fundamentals of Logic

    "We Objectivists" do not believe that man is infallible. We hold that a man can be wrong about his inferences. That the claims which constitute his premises are (hopefully) ultimately based upon sense perception does not guarantee the validity of those inferences. Thus, by itself, the "lack of any facts that contradict" a given conclusion is not grounds to assume a conclusion is true. Assuming a conclusion is true because it hasn't been contradicted is a logical fallacy. It is the argument ad ignorantium. It is the claim that X is true because you have not disproved X.
  22. Fundamentals of Logic

    In the example you quote, not only does the person not present any argument (ie he presents no premises), but he also explicitly states he himself doesn't even know what his premises are for that conclusion.As such, when you claim "his argument may be invalid, but he did not present his conclusion without evidence or argument" I have no idea what example you might be referencing. I can only say it is not the one given here.
  23. Fundamentals of Logic

    I am glad we agree on the method by which one would determine whether one should (1) reconnect the conclusion to reality or (2) dismiss it.Are you suggesting that method actually provides another alternative besides the ones I have identified - ie an alternative other than supporting the conclusion differently or dismissing the conclusion? If so, I would be very eager to have you identify that other alternative.
  24. Fundamentals of Logic

    Not only that, but to even say a conclusion might be true or might be false would require reference to some other knowledge. If a question were to consider a conclusion simply by itself, then (by definition) it would be an arbitrary claim.
  25. Fundamentals of Logic

    While I disagree with your categorization, I believe you mistook the meaning of my statement because it should not be a violation of even your categories. The intent was simply to identify that the terms valid and invalid are being applied to 'argument' - and that such application is not done on the basis of whim.