This paper considers non-standard analysis and a recently introduced computational methodology based on the notion of ①. The latter approach was developed with the intention to allow one to work with infinities and infinitesimals numerically in a unique computational framework and in all the situations requiring these notions. Non-standard analysis is a classical purely symbolic technique that works with ultrafilters, external and internal sets, standard and non-standard numbers, etc. In its turn, the ①-based methodology does not use any of these (...) notions and proposes a more physical treatment of mathematical objects separating the objects from tools used to study them. It both offers a possibility to create new numerical methods using infinities and infinitesimals in floating-point computations and allows one to study certain mathematical objects dealing with infinity more accurately than it is done traditionally. In these notes, we explain that even though both methodologies deal with infinities and infinitesimals, they are independent and represent two different philosophies of Mathematics that are not in a conflict. It is proved that texts :539–555, 2017; Gutman and Kutateladze in Sib Math J 49:835–841, 2008; Kutateladze in J Appl Ind Math 5:73–75, 2011) asserting that the ①-based methodology is a part of non-standard analysis unfortunately contain several logicalfallacies. Their attempt to show that the ①-based methodology can be formalized within non-standard analysis is similar to trying to show that constructivism can be reduced to the traditional Mathematics. (shrink)
The paper argues that the two best known formal logicalfallacies, namely denying the antecedent (DA) and affirming the consequent (AC) are not just basic and simple errors, which prove human irrationality, but rather informational shortcuts, which may provide a quick and dirty way of extracting useful information from the environment. DA and AC are shown to be degraded versions of Bayes’ theorem, once this is stripped of some of its probabilities. The less the probabilities count, the closer (...) these fallacies become to a reasoning that is not only informationally useful but also logically valid. (shrink)
In the last decade Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) has started to focus attention on forms of persuasive interaction where computer technologies have the goal of changing users behavior and attitudes according to a predefined direction. In this work, we hypothesize a strong connection between logicalfallacies (forms of reasoning which are logically invalid but cognitively effective) and some common persuasion strategies adopted within web technologies. With the aim of empirically evaluating our hypothesis, we carried out a pilot study on (...) a sample of 150 e-commerce websites. (shrink)
Most recent discussions of John Stuart Mill’s System of Logic (1843) neglect the fifth book concerned with logicalfallacies. Mill not only follows the revival of interest in the traditional Aristotelian doctrine of fallacies in Richard Whately and Augustus De Morgan, but he also develops new categories and an original analysis which enhance the study of fallacies within the context of what he calls ‘the philosophy of error’. After an exploration of this approach, the essay relates (...) the philosophy of error to the discussion of truth and error in chapter two of On Liberty (1859) concerned with freedom of thought and discussion. Drawing on Socratic and Baconian perspectives, Mill defends both the traditional study of logic against Jevons, Boole, De Morgan, and others, as well as the study of fallacies as the key to maintaining truth and its dissemination in numerous fields, such as science, morality, politics, and religion. In Mill’s view the study of fallacies also liberates ordinary people to explore the truth and falsity of ideas and, as such, to participate in society and politics and develop themselves as progressive beings. (shrink)
Leading invasion biologists sometimes dismiss critics and criticisms of their field by invoking “the straw man” fallacy. Critics of invasion biology are also labelled as a small group of “naysayers” or “contrarians”, who are sometimes engaging in “science denialism”. Such unfortunate labels can be seen as a way to possibly suppress legitimate debates and dismiss or minimize reasonable concerns about some aspects of invasion biology, including the uncertainties about the geographic origins and complex environmental impacts of species, and the control (...) programs against species perceived as “invasive”. In assessing the quality of the debate in this area, we examine the validity of the use of various strategies, including the “straw man” concept, and explore a range of potential logicalfallacies present in some recent prominent discussions about invasion biology and so-called “invasive” species. The goal is to add some clarity to the concepts involved, point out some problematic issues, and improve the quality of the debates as the discussions move forward. (shrink)
This critical note responds to Guiaşu and Tindale’s “Logicalfallacies and invasion biology,” from our perspective as ecologists and philosophers of science engaged in debates about invasion biology and invasive species. We agree that “the level of charges and dismissals” surrounding these debates might be “unhealthy” and that “it will be very difficult for dialogues to move forward unless genuine attempts are made to understand the positions being held and to clarify the terms involved.” Although they raise several (...) important scientific, conceptual, and ethical issues at the foundations of invasion biology, we believe Guiaşu and Tindale’s attempts to clarify the debate were unsuccessful. Like some other critics of the field, they tend to misrepresent invasion biology by cherry-picking and constructing “straw people,” inaccurately portraying invasion biology, and thus failing to elevate the dialogue. In this critique, we clarify areas in the invasion biology literature misrepresented by Guiaşu and Tindale. We attempt to provide a more balanced view of areas of reasonable debate within invasion biology, including disputes about empirical evidence, diverse risk attitudes, and other diverse ethical commitments. (shrink)
A diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder ascribes cause to developmental disability; however, there are logical issues in causation with ethical implications. This article focuses on the use of fallacious logic in FASD, focusing on the Canadian Guidelines for diagnosis, and knowledge translation issues from science to practice. The clinician’s logical fallacy is an ethical issue of veracity in the clinician–patient relationship; this then leads to issues of nonmaleficence, because the diagnosis in turn blames the mother for her (...) child’s difficulties. Suggestions for revised diagnostic practices that avoid allusions to causation and responsibility are discussed. (shrink)
This is a systematic and concise introduction to more than forty fallacies, from anthropomorphism and argumentum ad baculum, to reductionism and the slippery slope argument. With helpful definitions, relevant examples, and thought-provoking exercises, the author guides the reader through the realms of fallacious reasoning and deceptive rhetoric.
In this paper we show how some reasoning, though fallacious, can appear to be attractive and useful for beings-like-us. Although they do not provide conclusive evidence to support or reject a certain claim the way scientific statements do, they tell us something interesting about how humans build up their arguments and reasons. First of all, we will consider and investigate three main types of fallacies:argumentum ad hominem,argumentum ad verecundiam, andargumentum ad populum. These three fallacies are traditionally considered as (...) examples of a broader category calledignoratio elenchi. Secondly, we show how people who commit these fallacies rely on information about other human beings in their reasoning. That is, they do not follow certain logical procedures that eventually lead them to correct conclusions. But they simply make use of others as social characters. For example, being an authority, being an expert, being part of a class, etc., become the substitutes for more direct evidence to support a certain claim or to make an argument more appealing. (shrink)
ABSTRACTProbability judgements entail a conjunction fallacy if a conjunction is estimated to be more probable than one of its conjuncts. In the context of predication of alternative logical hypothesis, Bayesian logic provides a formalisation of pattern probabilities that renders a class of pattern-based CFs rational. BL predicts a complete system of other logical inclusion fallacies. A first test of this prediction is investigated here, using transparent tasks with clear set inclusions, varying in observed frequencies only. Experiment 1 (...) uses data where BL makes dominant predictions; Experiment 2's predictions were less clear, and we additionally investigated judgements about the second-most probable hypotheses. The results corroborated a pattern-probability account and cannot be easily explained by other theories of CFs. IFs were not limited to conjunctions, but rather occurred systematically for several logical connectives. Thus, pattern-based prob... (shrink)
I explore a distinction that is philosophically significant but rarely a cynosure. The distinction is betvveen fallacies and logical errors, and I approach it by advancing overlooked albeit deleterious logical errors that are not fallacies but that fall squarely within the purview of Critical Thinking if not also Informal Logic. One key claim to emerge is that these logical errors -- just as basic and thought-impeding as the fallacies -- demand that we take a (...) hard look at what is and what should be guiding our activity in teaching such courses. Another is that although philosophers appeal to the notion of logical error in their explications of fallacies, the former notion is anything but clear and indeed usually explained in terms of the latter. Yet another is that the distinction illustrates why the oft encountered “false premise or bad inference” account of how thinking can go bad is oversimplified. (shrink)
This chapter presents a probability logical approach to fallacies. A special interpretation of (subjective) probability is used, which is based on coherence. Coherence provides not only a foundation of probability theory, but also a normative standard of reference for distinguishing fallacious from non-fallacious arguments. The violation of coherence is sufficient for an argument to be fallacious. The inherent uncertainty of everyday life argumentation is captured by attaching degrees of belief to the premises. Probability logic analyzes the structure of (...) the argument and deduces the uncertainty of the conclusion from the premises. The approach is illustrated by prominent examples of fallacies, like the argumentum ad ignorantiam, affirming the consequent and the conjunction fallacy. (shrink)
The concept of burden of proof is used in a wide range of discourses, from philosophy to law, science, skepticism, and even in everyday reasoning. This paper provides an analysis of the proper deployment of burden of proof, focusing in particular on skeptical discussions of pseudoscience and the paranormal, where burden of proof assignments are most poignant and relatively clear-cut. We argue that burden of proof is often misapplied or used as a mere rhetorical gambit, with little appreciation of the (...) underlying principles. The paper elaborates on an important distinction between evidential and prudential varieties of burdens of proof, which is cashed out in terms of Bayesian probabilities and error management theory. Finally, we explore the relationship between burden of proof and several (alleged) informal logicalfallacies. This allows us to get a firmer grip on the concept and its applications in different domains, and also to clear up some confusions with regard to when exactly some fallacies (ad hominem, ad ignorantiam, and petitio principii) may or may not occur. (shrink)
We have witnessed the athleticization of political discourse, whereby debate is treated like an athletic contest in which the aim is to vanquish one's opponents. When political discourse becomes a zero-sum game, it is characterized by suspicions, accusations, belief polarization, and ideological entrenchment. Unfortunately, athleticization is ailing the classroom as well, making it difficult for educators to prepare students to make valuable contributions to healthy civic discourse. Such preparation requires an educational environment that fosters the intellectual virtues that characterize an (...) examined life. This, in turn, requires an amicable and hospitable atmosphere in which a student enjoys the freedom to discover and articulate what she believes, how well her beliefs hang together, and what underlying assumptions or biases might be at work—without the fear that her self-disclosure will trigger immediate accusations and pigeonholing from fellow students. Educating for intellectual virtue is crucial for meeting these challenges and in this chapter we contribute to this strategy by offering some tools and guidance for promoting productive discussion of controversial issues. In the first two sections, we identify and explain two fallacious patterns of thought that often encumber discussion of controversial issues: assailment-by-entailment and the attitude-to-agent fallacy. In effect, these sections diagnose two diseases of discourse. We conclude each section with practical suggestions—in the form of thinking routines—for curing these ills. We will argue that part of the cure is to be found in the intellectual virtues. In particular, we will discuss how the virtues of intellectual charity, humility and carefulness can inoculate the mind against the fallacies we identify. (shrink)
The research in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) has nowadays extended its attention to the study of persuasive technologies. Following this line of research, in this paper we focus on websites and mobile applications in the e-commerce domain. In particular, we take them as an evident example of persuasive technologies. Starting from the hypothesis that there is a strong connection between logicalfallacies, i.e., forms of reasoning which are logically invalid but psychologically persuasive, and some common persuasion strategies adopted (...) within these technological artifacts, we carried out a survey on a sample of 175 websites and 101 mobile applications. This survey was aimed at empirically evaluating the significance of this connection by detecting the use of persuasion techniques, based on logicalfallacies, in existing websites and mobile apps. In addition, with the goal of assessing the effectiveness of different fallacy-based persuasion techniques, we performed an empirical evaluation where participants interacted with a persuasive (fallacy-based) and with a non-persuasive version of an e-commerce website. Our results show that fallacy-based persuasion strategies are extensively used in existing digital artifacts, and that they are actually effective in influencing users’ behavior, with strategies based on visual salience manipulation (accent fallacy) being both the most popular and the most effective ones. (shrink)
Contemporary discourse is littered with nasty and derailed disagreements. In this paper we hope to help clean things up. We diagnose two patterns of thought that often plague and exacerbate controversy. We illustrate these patterns and show that each involves both a logical mistake and a failure of intellectual charity. We also draw upon recent work in social psychology to shed light on why we tend to fall into these patterns of thought. We conclude by suggesting how the intellectual (...) virtues can militate against these fallacies, focusing on the virtues of charity and humility. (shrink)
Bayesian reasoning has been applied formally to statistical inference, machine learning and analysing scientific method. Here I apply it informally to more common forms of inference, namely natural language arguments. I analyse a variety of traditional fallacies, deductive, inductive and causal, and find more merit in them than is generally acknowledged. Bayesian principles provide a framework for understanding ordinary arguments which is well worth developing.
The paper critically investigates the pragma-dialectics of van Eemeren and Grootendorst, particularly the treatment of fallacies. While the pragma-dialectieians claim that dialectics combines the logical and rhetorical approaches to argumentation, it is argued here that the perspective relies heavily on rhetorical features that have been suppressed in the account and that overlooking these features leads to significant problems in the pragma-dialectical perspective. In light of these problems, the author advocates turning attention to a rhetorical account which subsumes the (...)logical and dialectical. (shrink)
I propose to examine the issue of whether the ancient tradition in logic continued to be developed in the later medieval period from the vantage point of the relations between two specific groups of theories, namely the medieval theories of supposition and the (originally) ancient theories of fallacies. More specifically, I examine whether supposition theories absorbed and replaced theories of fallacies, or whether the latter continued to exist, with respect to one particular author, William of Ockham. I compare (...) different parts of Ockham's Summa Logicae, namely III-4 (on fallacies), and the final chapters of part I and first chapters of part II (on supposition). I conclude that there is overlap of conceptual apparatus and of goals (concerning propositions that must be distinguished) in Ockham's theories of supposition and of fallacies, but that the respective conceptual apparatuses also present substantial dissimilarities. Hence, theories of supposition are better seen as an addition to the general logical framework that medieval authors had inherited from ancient times, rather than the replacement of an ancient tradition by a medieval one. Indeed, supposition theories and fallacy theories had different tasks to fulfil, and in this sense both had their place in fourteenth century logic. (shrink)
Milton Friedman's article, The Social Responsibility of Business Is To Increase Its Profits, owes its appeal to the rhetorical devices of simplicity, authority, and finality. More careful consideration reveals oversimplification and ambiguity that conceals empirical errors and logicalfallacies. It is false that business does, or would, operate exclusively in economic terms, that managers concentrate obsessively on profitability, and that ethics can be marginalized. These errors reflect basic contradictions: an apolitical political base, altruistic agents of selfishness, and good (...) deriving from greed. (shrink)
Michael V. Wedin presents a rigorous reconstruction of the deductions in Parmenides' Way of Truth: the most important philosophical treatise before Plato and Aristotle. He answers criticisms which claim that Parmenides' arguments are shot through with logicalfallacies, and argues against natural explanations of Parmenides in the Ionian tradition.
discussions of risk contain logical and argumentative fallacies that are specific to the subject-matter. Ten such fallacies are identified, that can commonly be found in public debates on risk. They are named as follows: the sheer size fallacy, the converse sheer size fallacy, the fallacy of naturalness, the ostrich's fallacy, the proof-seeking fallacy, the delay fallacy, the technocratic fallacy, the consensus fallacy, the fallacy of pricing, and the infallability fallacy.
In this paper we show how some reasoning, though fallacious, can appear to be attractive and useful for beings-like-us. Although they do not provide conclusive evidence to support or reject a certain claim the way scientific statements do, they tell us something interesting about how humans build up their arguments and reasons. First of all, we will consider and investigate three main types of fallacies: argumentum ad hominem , argumentum ad verecundiam , and argumentum ad populum . These three (...)fallacies are traditionally considered as examples of a broader category called ignoratio elenchi. Secondly, we show how people who commit these fallacies rely on information about other human beings in their reasoning. That is, they do not follow certain logical procedures that eventually lead them to correct conclusions. But they simply make use of others as social characters. For example, being an authority, being an expert, being part of a class, etc., become the substitutes for more direct evidence to support a certain claim or to make an argument more appealing. (shrink)
The premise-fact confusion in Aristotle’s PRIOR ANALYTICS. -/- The premise-fact fallacy is talking about premises when the facts are what matters or talking about facts when the premises are what matters. It is not useful to put too fine a point on this pencil. -/- In one form it is thinking that the truth-values of premises are relevant to what their consequences in fact are, or relevant to determining what their consequences are. Thus, e.g., someone commits the premise-fact fallacy if (...) they think that a proposition has different consequences were it true than it would have if false. C. I. Lewis said that confusing logical consequence with material consequence leads to this fallacy. See Corcoran’s 1973 “Meanings of implication” [available on Academia. edu]. -/- The premise-fact confusion occurs in a written passage that implies the premise-fact fallacy or that suggests that the writer isn’t clear about the issues involved in the premise-fact fallacy. Here are some examples. -/- E1: If Abe is Ben and Ben swims, then it would follow that Abe swims. -/- Comment: The truth is that from “Abe is Ben and Ben swims”, the proposition “Abe swims” follows. Whether in fact Abe is Ben and Ben swims is irrelevant to whether “Abe swims” follows from “Abe is Ben and Ben swims”. -/- E1 suggests that maybe “Abe swims” wouldn’t follow from “Abe is Ben and Ben swims” if the latter were false. -/- E2: The truth of “Abe is Ben and Ben swims” implies that Abe swims. -/- E3: Indirect deduction requires assuming something false. -/- Comment: If the premises of an indirect deduction are true the conclusion is true and thus the “reductio” assumption is false. But deduction, whether direct or indirect, does not require true premises. In fact, indirect deduction is often used to determine that the premises are not all true. -/- Anyway, the one-page paper accompanying this abstract reports one of dozens of premise-fact errors in PRIOR ANALYTICS. In the session, people can add their own examples and comment on them. For example, is the one at 25b32 the first? What is the next premise-fact error after 25b32? Which translators or commentators discuss this? -/- . (shrink)
This volume of the Thinker’s Guide Library introduces the concept of fallacies and shows readers how to discern and see through forty-four types. Focusing on how human self-deception, mental trickery, and manipulation lie behind fallacies, this guide builds reasoning skills and promotes fairminded, logical thought, discussions, and debate.
The thesis of the paper holds that some future developments of argumentation theory may be inspired by the rich logico-methodological legacy of the Lvov–Warsaw School (LWS), the Polish research movement that was most active from 1895 to 1939. As a selection of ideas of the LWS which exploit both formal and pragmatic aspects of the force of argument, we present: Ajdukiewicz’s account of reasoning and inference, Bocheński’s analyses of superstitions or dogmas, and Frydman’s constructive approach to legal interpretation. This paper (...) does not aim at exhaustive elaboration of any of these topics or their usefulness in current discussions within argumentation theory. Rather, we intend to indicate chosen directions of a potentially fruitful research program for the emerging Polish School of Argumentation which would consist in application of methods and conceptions elaborated by the LWS to selected open problems of contemporary research on argumentation. (shrink)
This essay proposes and defends a general thesis concerning the nature of fallacies of reasoning. These in distinctive ways are all said to be deductively invalid. More importantly, the most accurate, complete and charitable reconstructions of these species and specimens of the informal fallacies are instructive with respect to the individual character of each distinct informal fallacy. Reconstructions of the fallacies as deductive invalidities are possible in every case, if deductivism is true, which means that in every (...) case they should be formalizable in an expressively comprehensive formal symbolic deductive logic. The general thesis is illustrated by a detailed examination of Walter Burleigh's paradox in his c. 1323 work, De Puritate Artis Logicae Tractatus Longior (Longer Treatise on the Purity of Logic), as a challenge to the deductive validity of hypothetical syllogism. The paradox has the form, ‹If I call you a swine, then I call you an animal; if I call you an animal, then I speak truly; therefore, if I call you a swine, then I speak truly'. Several solutions to the problem are considered, and the inference is exposed as an instance of the common deductive fallacy of equivocation. (shrink)
A dialogue-based analysis of informal fallacies does not provide a fully adequate explanation of our intuitions about what is wrong with ad baculum and of when it is admissible and when it is not. The dialogue-based analysis explains well why mild, benign threats can be legitimate in some situations, such as cooperative bargaining and negotiation, but does not satisfactorily account for what is objectionable about more malicious uses of threats to coerce and to intimidate. I propose an alternative deriving (...) partly from virtue theory in ethics and epistemology and partly from Kantian principles of respect for persons as ends-in-themselves. I examine some specific kinds of social relations, e.g., parent-child and partner relationships, and ask what kinds of threats are permissible in these relationships and especially what is wrong with the objectionable threats. My explanation is framed in terms of the good character and contributing virtues of the ideal parent or partner on the one hand, and the bad character and contributing vices of the abusive parent or violent partner on the other. This analysis puts the discussion of theats in the context of virtue theory, of human flourishing, and of the kind of social relations it is best to have. In general, what's wrong with argumentum ad baculum should be explained in terms of the intentions, purposes, and character of threateners, and the differences in intentions and purposes for which threats are made. The characters of those who make the threats will provide the criteria for distinguishing benign and malicious threats. (shrink)
In a recent article, D. A. Truncellito (2004, ‘Running in Circles about Begging the Question’, Argumentation 18, 325–329) argues that the discussion between Robinson (1971, ‘Begging the Question’, Analysis 31, 113–117), Sorensen (1996, ‘Unbeggable Questions’, Analysis 56, 51–55) and Teng (1997, ‘Sorensen on Begging the Question’, Analysis 57, 220–222) shows that we need to distinguish between logicalfallacies, which are mistakes in the form of the argument, and rhetorical fallacies, which are mistakes committed by the arguer. While (...) I basically agree with Truncellito’s line of thinking, I believe this distinction is not tenable and offer a different view. In addition, I will argue that the conclusion to draw from the abovementioned discussion is that validity is not a sufficient criterion of begging the question, and that we should be wary of the containment-metaphor of a deductive argument. (shrink)
The Appeal to Tradition, often considered to be unsound, frequently reflects sophisticated adaptations to the environment. Once developed, these adaptations are often transmitted culturally rather than as reasoned argument, so that people mayor may not be aware of why their traditions are wise. Tradition is more likely to be valid in a stable environment in which a wide range of variations have been available for past testing; however, traditions tend to become obsolete in a rapidly changing environment.
A widely accepted claim about counterfactuals is that they differ from strict conditionals, that is, there is no adequate representation of them as sentences of the form . To justify this claim, Stalnaker and Lewis have argued that some fallacious inferences would turn out valid if counterfactuals were so represented. However, their argument has a flaw, as it rests on a questionable assumption about the relation between surface grammar and logical form. Without that assumption, no consequence of (...) the alleged kind is obtained, hence the claim may be rejected. (shrink)
Keyt's analysis of the argument for the imperishability of the soul at _Phaedo (102a-107b10) as well as the author's Plato relies on a causal likeness inference, 'Because of x, F's are F; so x is F'. However, for Keyt the inference occurs at the metaphysical level, so to speak: 'because of some immanent character x, living things are alive so x is alive'. Here x is of the wrong logical type to be predicatively alive. On the author's view, however, (...) the inference occurs at a lower level: 'because of souls, first level individuals that are the subjects of psychological states, living things are alive; so souls are alive'. Here it is still logically possible that souls are predicatively alive. But Plato has not shown that they are. At most he has shown that souls, being predicatively whatever they are, are also by nature eminently alive in Descartes's sense, i.e., are predicatively whatever it takes for them to make living things live. (shrink)
Many historians of the calculus deny significant continuity between infinitesimal calculus of the seventeenth century and twentieth century developments such as Robinson’s theory. Robinson’s hyperreals, while providing a consistent theory of infinitesimals, require the resources of modern logic; thus many commentators are comfortable denying a historical continuity. A notable exception is Robinson himself, whose identification with the Leibnizian tradition inspired Lakatos, Laugwitz, and others to consider the history of the infinitesimal in a more favorable light. Inspite of his Leibnizian sympathies, (...) Robinson regards Berkeley’s criticisms of the infinitesimal calculus as aptly demonstrating the inconsistency of reasoning with historical infinitesimal magnitudes. We argue that Robinson, among others, overestimates the force of Berkeley’s criticisms, by underestimating the mathematical and philosophical resources available to Leibniz. Leibniz’s infinitesimals are fictions, not logical fictions, as Ishiguro proposed, but rather pure fictions, like imaginaries, which are not eliminable by some syncategorematic paraphrase. We argue that Leibniz’s defense of infinitesimals is more firmly grounded than Berkeley’s criticism thereof. We show, moreover, that Leibniz’s system for differential calculus was free of logicalfallacies. Our argument strengthens the conception of modern infinitesimals as a development of Leibniz’s strategy of relating inassignable to assignable quantities by means of his transcendental law of homogeneity. (shrink)
Nanotechnologies that have been linked to the possibility of enhancing cognitive capabilities of human beings might also be deployed to reduce or eliminate such capabilities in non-human vertebrate animals. A surprisingly large literature on the ethics of such disenhancement has been developed in response to the suggestion that it would be an ethically defensible response to animal suffering both in medical experimentation and in industrial livestock production. However, review of this literature illustrates the difficulty of formulating a coherent ethical debate. (...) Well structured arguments for disenhancement can be made on the basis of mainstream views on the basis of ethical obligations to animals, but these arguments have not been persuasive against the moral intuition that disenhancements are unethical. At the same time, attempts to ground these intuitions in a coherent philosophical doctrine have been plagued by logicalfallacies and question begging assertions. As such, the debate over animal disenhancement forecasts an enduring conundrum with respect to the core question of transforming the nature of sentient beings, and this conundrum is logically independent of claims that relate either to the distinctive of human beings or to issues deriving from the emphasis on enhancement. (shrink)
Many Western intellectuals, especially those in humanities and social sciences, think that it can be easily shown that the persistent and massive opposition to same-sex marriage is rationally indefensible and that it is merely a result of prejudice or religious fanaticism. But a more detailed analysis of some of these widely accepted arguments against the conservative position reveals that these arguments are in fact based on logicalfallacies and serious distortions of conservative criticisms of homosexual marriage. It is (...) concluded that philosophers ought to resist the pressure of political correctness and that they should approach the debate with a more open mind than before. (shrink)
Public discussions of science are often marred by two pernicious phenomena: a widespread rejection of scientific findings (e.g., the reality of anthropogenic climate change, the conclusion that vaccines do not cause autism, or the validity of evolutionary theory), coupled with an equally common acceptance of pseudoscientific notions (e.g., homeopathy, psychic readings, telepathy, tall tales about alien abductions, and so forth). The typical reaction by scientists and science educators is to decry the sorry state of science literacy among the general public, (...) and to call for more science education as the answer to both problems. But the empirical evidence concerning the relationship between science literacy, rejection of science and acceptance of pseudoscience is mixed at best. In this chapter I argue that—while certainly important—efforts at increasing public knowledge of science (science education) need to be complemented by attention to common logicalfallacies (philosophy), cognitive biases and dissonance (psychology), and the role of ideological commitments (sociology). Even this complex, multi-disciplinary approach to science education will likely only yield measurable results in the very long term. Meanwhile science remains, as Carl Sagan famously put it, a candle in the dark, delicate and in need of much nurturing. (shrink)
The Idea of the World offers a grounded alternative to the frenzy of unrestrained abstractions and unexamined assumptions in philosophy and science today. This book examines what can be learned about the nature of reality based on conceptual parsimony, straightforward logic and empirical evidence from fields as diverse as physics and neuroscience. It compiles an overarching case for idealism - the notion that reality is essentially mental - from ten original articles the author has previously published in leading academic journals. (...) The case begins with an exposition of the logicalfallacies and internal contradictions of the reigning physicalist ontology and its popular alternatives, such as bottom-up panpsychism. It then advances a compelling formulation of idealism that elegantly makes sense of - and reconciles - classical and quantum worlds. The main objections to idealism are systematically refuted and empirical evidence is reviewed that corroborates the formulation presented here. The book closes with an analysis of the hidden psychological motivations behind mainstream physicalism and the implications of idealism for the way we relate to the world. (shrink)
In this essay I propose to examine Hegel’s account of necessity and contingency in the Science of Logic. Anyone who dares to take Hegel’s Logic seriously in public risks being accused by legions of formal logicians of “elementary logicalfallacies”. Nevertheless, John Burbidge, Dieter Henrich, and others have demonstrated that it is possible to discuss the Logic with clarity and intelligibility, and I shall endeavor to emulate their example as best as I can. One should take heed, however; (...) even Hegel admits that “the concept of necessity is very difficult,” and rendering the concept of necessity intelligible will not eliminate that difficulty. All I can hope to do, therefore, is take us from the point at which we are not even sure what the difficulty is supposed to be to the point at which the nature of the difficulty itself becomes clear. (shrink)
Develops a logical analysis of dialogue in which two or more parties attempt to advance their own interests. It includes a classification of the major types of dialogues and a discussion of several important informal fallacies.
In recent years, a series of bestselling atheist manifestos by Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens has thrust the topic of the rationality of religion into the public discourse. Christian moderates of an intellectual bent and even some agnostics and atheists have taken umbrage and lashed back. In this paper I defend the New Atheists against three common charges: that their critiques of religion commit basic logicalfallacies (such as straw man, false dichotomy, or hasty generalization), that (...) their own atheism is just as “faith-based” as the religious beliefs they criticize, and that their expressed disrespect for religious belief is immoral. (shrink)
This paper explores applications of concepts from argumentation theory to mathematical proofs. Note is taken of the various contexts in which proofs occur and of the various objectives they may serve. Examples of strategic maneuvering are discussed when surveying, in proofs, the four stages of argumentation distinguished by pragma-dialectics. Derailments of strategies are seen to encompass more than logicalfallacies and to occur both in alleged proofs that are completely out of bounds and in alleged proofs that are (...) at least mathematical arguments. These considerations lead to a dialectical and rhetorical view of proofs. (shrink)
This paper examines the problems that various contemporary human rights discourses face with relativism, with special reference to the global protection of women’s rights. These problems are set within the theoretical debate between the Western liberal individualism on the one hand, and African, Asian and Islamic collectivist communitarianism on the other. Instead of trying to prove the superiority of one theoretical approach over the other, the purpose here is to point out some of the most common logicalfallacies (...) and cultural biases that have led to false polarizations between the various theoretical foundations of human rights discourse. The paper highlights these errors and inaccuracies with a view to diminishing the dichotomies between the various philosophical foundations of human rights, particularly in connection to the promotion of women’s rights. This is done in order to pave the way for more open and impartial political, cultural and gender dialogue in the promotion of human rights both in theory and in practice. (shrink)