Brian Smith

Fundamentals of Logic

142 posts in this topic

It is seen very clearly, in regards to Rick's objections, what the proper role of arguments is, and in what context making a valid argument is absolutely necessary.

FreeCapitalist, we finally agree on an issue. If you notice my arguments consist of stating my premises and then my conclusion. Why would I waste my time providing an argument when the truth or falsehood to that argument is irrelevant to the conclusion? Apparently, this only becomes blatantly obvious when I do the blatantly obvious.

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While I disagree with Ms. Speicher's claim that an argument cannot "correspond with or contradict reality",

"Correspond" is not a good word choice, and Betsy identifies why. An abstraction does not resemble or "correspond" to anything outside of the human mind. There is no realm of forms.

One issue I think is causing problems is the relationship of the form and object. Senses, perception and concepts are forms of apprehending reality. The form is the form of the object. Language is an easy example of form and object on the level of abstraction. English is the form of the word "keyboard". But English does not "correspond" to my keyboard, and the sounds of pronouncing the word do not resemble it.

I think in a loose sense it's acceptable to say ideas must correspond to reality, if what we mean is ideas should be grounded in experience. Experience, after all, is the source of our knowledge. However strictly speaking an argument does not correspond to reality anymore than the sensation of my fingers striking the keys corresponds to my keyboard. It's just a form of experiencing reality. Similarly, the micro-universe in your head of images and ideas does not correspond to or fail to correspond to the real reality outside. Actions of consciousness are just that, and do not exist outside of consciousness. Rather, what's in your head is an integration of experience, the form in which you understand reality.

As to the function of logic, consider the difference between the senses and reason. The senses operate deterministically, sending messages to the brain according to the nature of our organs. That's why the data of the senses is "given" and not "valid" or "invalid". The senses do not evade, they cannot choose to ignore stimuli. Reason, however, is used volitionally. This means an idea may be valid or invalid, because we are capable of being rational or irrational. We can also make mistakes by losing focus, whether intentionally or not.

Reason is a faculty similar to the senses. Like the senses, its products - in this cases, ideas - are the creations of consciousness. Also like the senses, humans require reason to survive. Unlike the senses, reason may be used consistently or inconsistently. If used inconsistently, the result is contradictory ideas that fail to capture aspects of reality necessary for dealing with it. Imagine if your eyes were able to periodically ignore stimuli, and how difficult that would make ordinary life. Dr. Binswanger once called consciousness a "difference detector". This is essentially the role on both the sensory/perceptual and conceptual level. We have to distinguish between what is a value to our life, and what will harm us. Ayn Rand said in The Romantic Manifesto:

By organizing his perceptual material into concepts, and his concepts into wider and still wider concepts, man is able to grasp and retain, to identify and integrate an unlimited amount of knowledge, a knowledge extending beyond the immediate concretes of any given, immediate moment.

So the result of contradictory or floating abstractions is, therefore, less knowledge beyond what is given immediately by the senses. We become stuck at the level of other animals, without their survival instincts.

How does this relate to logic? According to Ayn Rand, "logic is the art or skill of non-contradictory identification." In other words, the rules of logic allow us to check our abstractions for contradictions against the data of our senses and ultimately to expand our knowledge, increasing our ability to identify and pursue values to our lives.

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Why not just say 'It's a matter of semantics, it maybe logically true but it is not factually true. In other words, put less emphasis on logic and more emphasis on the facts.

If my interpretation is correct, than I think I am finally starting to understand what you and the others mean by looking at reality.

I think you are indeed getting to what I was trying to say. Brian's concern seems to be only the logical validity of an argument, absence of which for him disproves the fact of the conclusion.

FreeCapitalist, we finally agree on an issue. If you notice my arguments consist of stating my premises and then my conclusion. Why would I waste my time providing an argument when the truth or falsehood to that argument is irrelevant to the conclusion?

You need to prove the argument to make a positive case, but only for that purpose. Disproving the logic of the argument doesn't disprove the fact. Brian has consistently implied that disproving the logic of the argument disproves the final fact; that's why he spends so much effort in disproving the logic of arguments he disagrees with. Other people take a different approach: dispute the facts of the conclusion with facts to the contrary; make a positive valid argument for their case; etc.

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However, you missed one important thing, and you still continue to misunderstand it: identification of logical fallacies does, and should, lead to dismissal of arguments based upon them; but not of conclusions.
I am glad to see that someone agrees the argument should be dismissed. Now that we have this point of agreement, the question becomes: what does one then do with the conclusion which has become unsupported because its argument has been dismissed?

It is claimed that my answer is somehow a "mistake". It is claimed I have "missed" and "continue to misunderstand" one important thing: the identification of a logical fallacy should not lead to the dismissal of conclusions.

The claim that I have made a mistake on this "count" is an error.

If one were to carefully review my statements on this issue, one would note that I have consistently stated there is not just ONE option a person has when an argument is dismissed. There are TWO options. The person can either present a different argument - or - dismiss the conclusion. And, naturally, as I have also stated numerous times, if a different argument is presented, then the conclusion may of course again be considered. In other words, the process of rational analysis may begin on that argument. It is on that basis - and on that basis alone - that any discussion about the conclusion may rationally continue.

However, if as I also said, NO other argument is presented, then the conclusion remains unsupported. It is arbitrary. And the arbitrary is properly dismissed.

Is it your claim that the arbitrary is not properly dismissed?

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While I disagree with Ms. Speicher's claim that an argument cannot "correspond with or contradict reality",
"Correspond" is not a good word choice, and Betsy identifies why. An abstraction does not resemble or "correspond" to anything outside of the human mind. There is no realm of forms.
That is not the claim. As such, my disagreement still stands. However, I have no interest in debating that issue (or any others) until the issue of logical fallacies and conclusions is resolved (at which time I will be happy and eager to discuss all these other issues).

Rational debate on particular issues is not possible when the principles of logic themselves are disputed.

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Premises and conclusions, because they are about reality can possibly fail to correspond with, or contradict, something else in reality. Arguments, because they are a method of consciousness, do not themselves correspond with or contradict reality. Instead, a valid argument using true premises proves that the conclusion is true. (An invalid argument proves nothing about the conclusion one way or another.)
While I disagree with Ms. Speicher's claim that an argument cannot "correspond with or contradict reality", I agree that an invalid argument proves nothing about the conclusion one way or the other - ie it proves neither the conclusion's truth nor it's falsehood. An invalid argument is properly rejected. It is dismissed. As such, it cannot say anything about a conclusion at all.

So, to repeat, what is the status of the conclusion at that point? As previously stated, absent its supporting argument, the conclusion is now unsupported. And, what must one do with an idea which is unsupported? Also as previously stated, either one must provide it a different argument - or one must dismiss it.

The status of the conclusion is exactly what it has been identified as: unsupported by proper argumentation.

I think that what should be done is what is done in most posts that people are intested in: keep discussing it and trying to flush out what the conclusion really means. If one is engaged in a discussion, and if an argument is shown to consist of a logical fallacy, the next question to ask is, "What evidence do you have that indicates your conclusion is true now that your argument has been shown to be faulty?" One focusses on the evidence that was offered to support the conclusion. Argumentation is not the only method of supporting a conclusion (although it is certainly important). Can one point to something in reality that demonstrates the conclusion has a factual basis? (Freedom is good; just look at the prosperity in the USA.) If there is no evidence for a conclusion's truth, then one can say it is arbitrary. If the only evidence in support of a conclusion is the faulty argument, then one can say that the argument is exhibits rationalism. It is very rare that both of these conditions will be pursued by someone.

Thus, while it is true that identifying a logical fallacy does not identify whether a conclusion is true or false, it does identify that one may no longer rationally consider the conclusion on the previously given basis. In order to validly continue considering the conclusion - ie to continue rationally discussing it any further - one must either give a different argument or dismiss the conclusion as arbitrary.

I would say that it is arbitrary if there is no evidence to support it. (God is good.) Since a faulty argument does not indicate that a conclusion is or is not true, I don't think any statement as to whether it is arbtrary can be inferred. Arbitrary means 'no evidence, no proof' not 'no error'.

In other words, "finding a fallacy in an opponent's argument" is incredibly 'relevant' to one's discussion - because it identifies the conditions necessary to rationally continue the discussion. Without either a different argument or the dismissal of the conclusion, any continued 'discussion' of the conclusion is the cognitive equivalent of a parrot squawking.

It is your prerogative to determine the conditions under which you will continue a discussion. But are you implying that you'd say to someone, "I have identified a fallacy in your argument. I will cease discussion with you if you don't agree with me?" There are many conditions involved in continuing a discussion in a thread, and identifying someone's faulty reasoning may be one of them. But it is certainly not the only one. Wouldn't it be important to identify if the faulty argument is based upon a misinterpretation of the facts in the premises? Wouldn't it be important to know the extent of a person's knowledge of the subject as well as his understanding the consequences of making faulty arguments? Wouldn't it be important to know if the person commiting the fallacy could think of another argument? Most importantly, would it be interesting to find out if the conclusion were true? Isn't it important to learn about how other people formulate issues and grasp connections, even if they make logical errors? Isn't it important to try to convince people? Isn't it important to learn to express oneself to others to learn for oneself the proper methods of argumentation?

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If one is engaged in a discussion, and if an argument is shown to consist of a logical fallacy...
Ah - but the claim is that "Finding a fallacy in an opponent's argument is irrelevant to anything under discussion. Therefore, it is off-topic for that discussion."
...the next question to ask is, "What evidence do you have that indicates your conclusion is true now that your argument has been shown to be faulty?"
I have said nothing different. I have repeatedly said (to the point of numbness) that if a different argument can be offered, then that one should be considered. And I have said if no other argument is offered, then the conclusion is arbitrary and is properly dismissed.
Since a faulty argument does not indicate that a conclusion is or is not true...
A faulty argument is properly dismissed. Thus it indeed cannot indicate anything about a conclusion.
Arbitrary means 'no evidence, no proof' not 'no error'.
That is correct. And since its argument has been dismissed, the conclusion no longer has its proof. It no longer has its evidence. As I have repeated countless times now, unless another argument is presented, it is properly identified as arbitrary - and dismissed.

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If one is engaged in a discussion, and if an argument is shown to consist of a logical fallacy...
Ah - but the claim is that "Finding a fallacy in an opponent's argument is irrelevant to anything under discussion. Therefore, it is off-topic for that discussion."

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I'm not aware of anyone saying that anything under discussion is irrelevant. Can you cite evidence for that? I believe the claim was that diverting the discussion from the subject to the logical fallacy was off topic.

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Arbitrary means 'no evidence, no proof' not 'no error'.
That is correct. And since its argument has been dismissed, the conclusion no longer has its proof. It no longer has its evidence. As I have repeated countless times now, unless another argument is presented, it is properly identified as arbitrary - and dismissed.

And I (an others) have repeated countless times now that an invalid argument does not count as evidence and is no basis for dismissing it as arbitrary. If I state, "the sun provides heat" you may not regard that as arbitrary if I don't give an argument because there is plenty of observational evidence. You still conflate evidence with argument. Invalid arguments are errors in logic, not evidence of truth or lack of truth or lack of evidence.

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If one is engaged in a discussion, and if an argument is shown to consist of a logical fallacy...
Ah - but the claim is that "Finding a fallacy in an opponent's argument is irrelevant to anything under discussion. Therefore, it is off-topic for that discussion."
I'm not aware of anyone saying that anything under discussion is irrelevant. Can you cite evidence for that?
Thus, in the course of debating any subject, finding a fallacy in an opponent's argument proves nothing about the subject. Finding a fallacy in an opponent's argument is irrelevant to anything under discussion. Therefore, it is off-topic for that discussion.
Of course, I will simply repeat: "I have no interest in debating this issue (or any others) until the issue of logical fallacies and conclusions is resolved (at which time I will be happy and eager to discuss all these other issues)" because, so long as the principles of logic are in dispute, rational debate on any particular issue is impossible.

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it misrepresents a great thinker whose ideas have world-changing potential. I know that sounds harsh, but I'm sure you'll appreciate my speaking plainly.

I do. It was no part of my intention to misrepresent Ayn Rand (or Aristotle, for that matter). I think we understand very different things by the word 'art' and 'science', and I'll open up a new thread to deal with that subject. This distinction between those two words is no longer properly made today, but it existed, and I am sure it was still conceptually available 40-50 years ago; when we get into discussing it and when you see what I meant, I'm confident sure you'll find agreement with my point.

I'll see you on the other thread.

By the way, if science is "a body of systematized knowledge acquired by systematic study", then the making of sculpture is a science too, right? So everything's a science, isn't it?

The art of sculpting has a large body of subject matter which is covered by at least two sciences: Esthetics and Materials Science.

The science that covers man's widest abstractions is philosophy. In a certain respect, all systematized knowledge is science.

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The art of sculpting has a large body of subject matter which is covered by at least two sciences: Esthetics and Materials Science.

The science that covers man's widest abstractions is philosophy. In a certain respect, all systematized knowledge is science.

If all systematized knowledge is science, then there is no need to make any distinctions between different approaches. Then everything that humans endeavor to know or practice is just "systematized knowledge acquired by systematic study", and then there's no room for distinction between science and something else. I maintain that this distinction exists, and historically has been crucially important in the Western mind, until the most recent times. Thus Ayn Rand did not find it sufficient to define logic as a method, or any of its synonyms. That's key. She didn't replace one synonym with another, she made a conceptual difference between one sort of human process, and another. Keep this in mind, along with my contention that two valid processes of the human mind exist, not one, when you begin responding to the other thread.

PS. Notice, you still said "art" of sculpting. To be consistent you should've called it the science of sculpting. Anyway, see you in that thread.

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And I (an others) have repeated countless times now that an invalid argument does not count as evidence and is no basis for dismissing it as arbitrary.
Since the disagreement here appears to be over what qualifies a statement as arbitrary, please provide an example of what you identify as an arbitrary statement (please make it an example which is entirely about real things, not about mystical things like god or unicorns or atlantis. For instance, provide an example like: "Right now President Bush is running a triathlon in Greece against Tom Cruise." In fact, if you like you can use that example.) Then please explain why you claim the example is an arbitrary statement.

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If one is engaged in a discussion, and if an argument is shown to consist of a logical fallacy...
Ah - but the claim is that "Finding a fallacy in an opponent's argument is irrelevant to anything under discussion. Therefore, it is off-topic for that discussion."
I'm not aware of anyone saying that anything under discussion is irrelevant. Can you cite evidence for that?
Thus, in the course of debating any subject, finding a fallacy in an opponent's argument proves nothing about the subject. Finding a fallacy in an opponent's argument is irrelevant to anything under discussion. Therefore, it is off-topic for that discussion.

Your argument is quite a cute technique of context dropping. Betsy's "anything under discussion" is referring to the logical fallacy involved when you were maintaining that it was proper to change the focus of a thread from the subject under discussion to the truth of the argument based upon the logical fallacy that you claimed was found. My statement was "if an argument is shown to consist of a logical fallacy, the next question to ask is, "What evidence do you have that indicates your conclusion is true now that your argument has been shown to be faulty?" " I am not denying the antecedent; I am focusing on the argument. I am not saying that "the next question is..." because of the logical fallacy. This does not change the focus of the thread but continues, on topic, by focussing on the evidence presented. My statement does not depend upon changing the subject based upon the invalid logical argument.

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It is seen very clearly, in regards to Rick's objections, what the proper role of arguments is, and in what context making a valid argument is absolutely necessary.

FreeCapitalist, we finally agree on an issue. If you notice my arguments consist of stating my premises and then my conclusion. Why would I waste my time providing an argument when the truth or falsehood to that argument is irrelevant to the conclusion? Apparently, this only becomes blatantly obvious when I do the blatantly obvious.

Can you please refer me to the link where you state your premises and conclusion?

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Your argument is quite a cute technique of context dropping.
I disagree with your "cute" accusation. However, since I stated I've no interest in debating it, I look forward instead to your example of an arbitrary assertion and your explanation of exactly why it is an arbitrary assertion.

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And I (an others) have repeated countless times now that an invalid argument does not count as evidence and is no basis for dismissing it as arbitrary.
Since the disagreement here appears to be over what qualifies a statement as arbitrary, please provide an example of what you identify as an arbitrary statement (please make it an example which is entirely about real things, not about mystical things like god or unicorns or atlantis. For instance, provide an example like: "Right now President Bush is running a triathlon in Greece against Tom Cruise." In fact, if you like you can use that example.) Then please explain why you claim the example is an arbitrary statement.

Let's begin with clear definitions so we understand what we are talking about.

From Dr. Peikoff's Logic course, quoted from my notes. "Proof is the process of deriving conclusions from antecedently known truths by reference to logical inferences." The arbitrary is "that which is put forth without proof. It is the opposite of proof." Thus, if something is to be classified as arbitrary, one must show that no process of deriving the conclusion from antecedently known truths was made. If the process of deriving the conclusion was made, then it is not arbitrary (even if an error was made). If the antecedently "known truths" were actually known falsities, then the conclusion is arbitrary. If something is based upon observed data, it is not arbitrary.

To review what 'truth' means:

The concept of "truth" identifies a type of relationship between a proposition and the facts of reality. "Truth," in Ayn Rand's definition, is "the recognition of reality."(8) In essence, this is the traditional correspondence theory of truth: there is a reality independent of man, and there are certain conceptual products, propositions, formulated by human consciousness. When one of these products corresponds to reality, when it constitutes a recognition of fact, then it is true. Conversely, when the mental content does not thus correspond, when it constitutes not a recognition of reality but a contradiction of it, then it is false.

A relationship between conceptual content and reality is a relationship between man's consciousness and reality.

Truth is the relationship between a proposition and the facts; proof is process of logically deriving conclusions from true premises. If something is shown not to be true and/or the process is shown to be faulty, the conclusion is not arbitrary. In that case, the conclusion is in error. To maintain that a conclusion is arbitrary because an argument has been refuted or the alleged facts are shown to be false is to view man's consciousness from the perspective of omniscience.

Now, let's consider an example, the one you gave.

"Right now President Bush is running a triathlon in Greece against Tom Cruise."

If the person who makes this statement knows that Bush and Cruise are not in Greece right now, that the triathlon never occurred then it is arbitrary: No proof, known false premises. However, suppose the person knows a contest took place but thought that they were in Greece and simply made an error. The race really took place in Italy. It is no longer an arbitrary statement.

Let's suppose that no one knows if either man was ever in Greece. I come along and say, "I read an article yesterday that Bush and Cruise were in Greece last year. While there, Bush bet Cruise that he could beat him in a 10-mile walking race. The article said that Cruise won the race by 2 miles." I have no known evidence that the writer of the article is lying. I know that Bush likes to walk (or run) and Cruise is in good shape, so he must do some exercise. So a walking race is possible for them to be involved in. No arbitrary statement.

Dr. Peikoff offers this example with his reasoning as to what constitutes the arbitrary.

A simple example from the field of deductive reasoning is the Socrates syllogism: "All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal." The conclusion follows, because to deny it would be to contradict the premises; to deny Socrates' mortality would be tantamount to saying: "All men are mortal—and here's one who isn't." Although it is expressed in a variety of different applications, the same methodology—the avoidance of contradiction—is at the heart of every process of logic, whether deductive or inductive. In essence, logic is the method of observing facts (the premises), then consulting the law of contradiction, then drawing the conclusion that this law warrants. Logic, in other words, is "the art of non-contradictory identification."

It is important to note that the process must be grounded in observed fact. To derive a conclusion from arbitrary premises, which represent subjective whims, is not a process of logic. If I declare: "Apples are razors and oranges are blades; therefore, one can shave with fruit salad," this is not a process of cognition at all; it is merely an imitation of the form of logic while dropping its essence. If logic is to be the means of objectivity, a logical conclusion must be derived from reality; it must be warranted by antecedent knowledge, which itself may rest on earlier knowledge, and so on back, until one reaches the self-evident, the data of sense. This kind of chain and nothing less is what Objectivism requires as "proof" of an idea.

"Proof" is the process of establishing truth by reducing a proposition to axioms, i.e., ultimately, to sensory evidence. Such reduction is the only means man has of discovering the relationship between nonaxiomatic propositions and the facts of reality.

You asked for "an example which is entirely about real things, not about mystical things like god or unicorns or atlantis." Well, it is hard to find an arbitrary assertion about real things, because most people have some semblance of reason about "real things." The concept 'arbitrary' enters principally when whim is introduced, such as in religion or mythology. Virtually any argument by a fairly reasonable person cannot be classified as arbitrary, even when it is shown that the argument is in error.

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If the antecedently "known truths" were actually known falsities, then the conclusion is arbitrary.

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I should also state that if the premises ("known truths") are known to be false, then the premise is arbitrary also even if an alleged "process" of proof was performed.

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I found this interesting comment about the arbitrary in OPAR.

Now let us note that some arbitrary claims (though by no means all) can be transferred to a cognitive context and converted thereby into true or false statements, which demonstrably correspond to or contradict established fact. It is not mere words that determine epistemological status, but their relation to evidence. A savage's memorized recital of an arithmetical sum, for example, would be like the parrot's; but the same utterance by a man who understands the reason behind it would constitute a truth. Or consider the claim that there is an infinite, omnipotent creator of the universe. If this claim is viewed as a product of faith or fantasy, apart from any relation to evidence, it has no cognitive standing. If one wishes, however, one can relate this claim to an established context, as I did in the opening chapter: one can demonstrate that the idea of God contradicts all the fundamentals of a rational philosophy. Thanks to such a process of integration, what was initially arbitrary attains cognitive status—in this instance, as a falsehood.

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Let's suppose that no one knows if either man was ever in Greece. I come along and say, "I read an article yesterday that Bush and Cruise were in Greece last year. While there, Bush bet Cruise that he could beat him in a 10-mile walking race. The article said that Cruise won the race by 2 miles." I have no known evidence that the writer of the article is lying. I know that Bush likes to walk (or run) and Cruise is in good shape, so he must do some exercise. So a walking race is possible for them to be involved in. No arbitrary statement.
As D. P points out, even if a conclusion later turns out to be truthful does not change the fact that at the time it was made, it was arbitrary.
If the person who makes this statement knows that Bush and Cruise are not in Greece right now, that the triathlon never occurred then it is arbitrary
If the contradiction of that statement is not painfully obvious, then there is nothing I can do to help clear things up. The distinction between false and arbitrary is simply not being grasped.

At this point there is no logical basis on which we can have a rational discussion.

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At this point I must ask, besides Paul, is there anyone who disagrees with the following:

If an argument is invalid, the argument is properly dismissed.

When the argument is dismissed, one has two options in regards to the conclusion:

1 - reconnect the conclusion to reality by providing a different argument

2 - absent a different argument, dismiss the conclusion because it remains unsupported - ie it is arbitrary

If there is no one else who disagrees, then I will proceed to my answer to Ms. Speicher's three questions and why the answers she gave are in error.

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If the person who makes this statement knows that Bush and Cruise are not in Greece right now, that the triathlon never occurred then it is arbitrary
If the contradiction of that statement is not painfully obvious, then there is nothing I can do to help clear things up.

I must have a high pain tolerance then, because I can't see the contradiction! Where is it?

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At this point I must ask, besides Paul, is there anyone who disagrees with the following:

If an argument is invalid, the argument is properly dismissed.

I would say that that line of reasoning in the argument doesn't work, however, the argument itself may be good.

For example:The argument, Capitalism is good. Justification: because it pleases God to see man productive.

The basic argument that Capitalism is good, still holds (he is arguing that Capilism is good), but I would politely point out that his line of reasoning to justify it has no basis, it cannot be verified. This does not kill his argument, only his proof of it.

When the argument is dismissed, one has two options in regards to the conclusion:

1 - reconnect the conclusion to reality by providing a different argument

2 - absent a different argument, dismiss the conclusion because it remains unsupported - ie it is arbitrary

The conclusion is correct, the justification is at fault. Ask for a new justification, while not dismissing the conclusion.

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At this point I must ask, besides Paul, is there anyone who disagrees with the following:

If an argument is invalid, the argument is properly dismissed.

I would say that that line of reasoning in the argument doesn't work, however, the argument itself may be good.

I agree, to take the position of "if an argument is invalid the, the argument is properly dismissed." seems to be way to acontextually sweeping, because there are many cases where an argument may be invalid but it shouldn't be dismissed because it may still be raising a thought provoking or correct point.

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If an argument is invalid, the argument is properly dismissed.
I would say that that line of reasoning in the argument doesn't work, however, the argument itself may be good.
I will explain this a bit, but I will also point out that my question is really for those who are somewhat more familiar with some of these basics of logic.

In logic, what you identifed as the "argument" is actually identified as the conclusion. And what you identifed as the "justification" is a premise. When one states an argument is invalid, one is saying that the reasoning used to get from the premises to the conclusion is not acceptable. The premises do not necessitate the conclusion. In other words, the argument doesn't "hold" as you put it. As such, the argument must be rejected.

Now, saying an argument must be rejected doesn't mean the conclusion can never be accepted as true. It simply means it cannot be accepted as true for the particular reason that had been given. If the person who presented the argument believes he has other arguments for the conclusion, he may certainly present those in place of the argument which has been dismissed. And, of course, if you believe you have arguments for the conclusion, you too may present those arguments. If I understand your post correctly, I think we agree on this part.

What I am saying in addition is: if neither of you can present arguments to support that conclusion (or refute it), then neither of you have a basis for continuing to consider the conclusion. In that case, the conclusion must therefore be dismissed. Otherwise you are accepting the conclusion arbitrarily.

Does that sound rational to you?

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