05 12 11 - 06:49When I look back over the kids who went into higher education, the ones who went to top schools never bothered memorizing logical fallacies.
The ones who went to second-tier state schools seemed to spend a lot of their time doing it.
In general, the smarter the organism, the fewer rules you have to teach it -- you teach it goals and a vocabulary of argument.
If it's dummyland, you teach lots of rules -- it's a compensatory behavior.
Suppose Fred glances out the window and says: âThe groundâs wet outside. It must have rained.â Heâs given an argument. What should we think of it? We could say:
Oh dear, what a mediocrity poor Fred is. He is evidently arguing as follows: If it rains, the ground gets wet; the ground is wet; therefore it has rained. If heâd ever taken a logic class heâd know that heâs just committed the fallacy of affirming the consequent!
Yes, we could say that, but (to paraphrase Haldeman paraphrasing Nixon) it would be wrong. It is simply unreasonable and, indeed, unjust to accuse Fred of committing so blatant a fallacy when an alternative construal of his argument is easily available. For while Fred could have been reasoning deductively and committing the fallacy in question, it is more likely that he was reasoning inductively, along something like the following lines:
When the ground is wet outside, rain is the usual reason, though occasionally there are other reasons, such as flooding. The ground is wet outside right now and there is no reason to think these other causes are operative, and good reason to think they are not. So it is very likely that it has rained.
Obviously this is a perfectly respectable piece of probabilistic reasoning, and what logicians call the âprinciple of charityâ requires that we assume that Fred had something like this in mind rather than the fallacious alternative interpretation, unless we have strong evidence to the contrary. If we fail to do so, we are guilty of the sort of illogicality of which we would accuse Fred. - Edward Feser
Logic does not exist outside of context, nor does anything in this universe. It's all connected. Deconstruction is the hobgoblin of little minds.