← Wednesday, February 3, 2010 ← I. Kinds of Agreement and Disagreement - From Chapter Three (3.

2) ← Disagreement in belief: disagreement on the facts - i.e., whether an event has occurred. One person says something is blue, and another says that it is red. ← Disagreement in attitude: here Copi lumps together all other sorts of disagreement - i.e., personal preferences, aesthetic judgments, moral evaluations that have nothing to do with purely physical facts and involving approval or disapproval. General opinion. ← ← But aren’t differences in values a difference in beliefs; namely, moral beliefs? ← This is a deep philosophical question and debate: are there ‘moral facts’? How are we to think of them - i.e., as platonic forms? If there do exist such facts and moral judgments are such that they can be true or false just as judgments concerning physical facts, then this distinction becomes one of two different levels of disagreement of beliefs. ← For our purposes here, we will follow the text in preserving this distinction restricting differences in belief to facts that are physically verifiable and/or physically testable. We will not pursue the question of whether there are other types of ‘facts’ now. In our section concerning moral reasoning we will return to this question. ← Therefore, four kinds of Agreement and Disagreement ← One: both parties in pure harmony - agreement in beliefs and attitudes. Both agree that capital punishment is a deterrent, and that it should be legal. ← Two: Agreement in beliefs, disagreement in attitudes. Both agree capital punishment is a deterrent, but one says that it should be legal, the other illegal. ← Three: Agreement in attitudes, disagreement in beliefs. Both agree that capital punishment should be legal, however one thinks it is a deterrent, while the other doesn’t. ← Four: Total disharmony - disagreement in beliefs and attitudes. One states that capital punishment is a deterrent, while the other does not; and one states that it should be legal, while the other does not. ← ← Text: Example: capital punishment ← ← II. Kinds of Dispute ← (i) Obviously Genuine dispute: clear, unambiguous disagreement either in belief or in attitude. ← (ii) Merely Verbal dispute: no real disagreement, a question of language supply ← definitions to correct ambiguity and the disagreement disappears.

← (iii) Apparently Verbal but really genuine: The parties in the dispute are using terms in a different sense so it appears to be merely verbal; however, when we clarify the ambiguous use of terms through definitions we find that a real disagreement remains - i.e., ‘pornography’. Sometimes called a ‘criteria dispute’. What is pornographic and what is erotic? The dispute is whether or not something is porn. The argument is just based on the definition of the word. ← Copi’s Steps in determining disagreement: A Two Step Process ← Step one: Question: Is ambiguity present? ← Yes - clear up ambiguity ← No - Genuine dispute ← Step Two: Does clearing up the ambiguity eliminate disagreement? ← Yes: Merely Verbal Dispute ← No: Apparently verbal but really genuine. ← ← III. Fallacies ← What is a fallacy? ← Basic Idea: a specific type of error in reasoning. We classify and label these types as fallacies: an argument commits a fallacy and is that fallacy. ← Classification ← Four Major Classes: ← Fallacies of Relevance ← Fallacies of Defective Induction ← Fallacies of Presumption ← Fallacies of Ambiguity ← Note: What is important in this fallacy section is not the classes that Copi separates the fallacies into - relevance, defective induction, presumption, ambiguity which are debatable, but the actual fallacies themselves which are straightforward. ← ← Fallacies of Relevance

← Better - fallacies of irrelevance. ← Basic Idea: the premises are not related to the conclusion; hence, they are not relevant. They basically serve as smokescreens designed to either (a) divert your attention from the merits or demerits of an argument or conclusion or (b) to be a substitute for an argument itself. ← ← R1. The appeal to emotion ( argument ad populum) ← When an argument relies on emotion rather than reason to establish a conclusion. ← Straightforward. Most frequent uses: ← (1) Advertising - be with the ‘in crowd’ or don’t be with the ‘in crowd’ ← (2) Political debates - ‘I love Canada, you love Canada, therefore my party deserves your vote.’ ← (3) Public polling - ‘affirmative action’ verses ‘racial preferences’ polls in radically different directions: emotionally charged terms often obscures the debate. ← A Qualification: think of Winston Churchill’s ‘we will never surrender’ speech during WWII. Definitely an appeal to emotion but does it thereby commit a fallacy? Not at all. The appeal to emotion was not to establish a factual claim or a social policy decision - i.e., we should fight the Nazis. It was to motivate what was already considered to be the right course of action; hence, no fallacy. ← Variants of ad populum ← The Appeal to Pity ( argument ad misericordian) ← - a version of appeal to emotion where the specific emotion is pity ← - example of malpractice cases: how terrible the outcome of an operation does not in itself prove or establish that the doctor make a mistake or was negligent, yet often in court cases through pity that carries, wrongly, the argument. ← The Appeal to Envy (ad invidian) : think of the ‘you too can be a millionaire’ infomercials that use to run on late night television. You are shown ‘Donald Trump’ type living arrangements so obviously their course is the one to take. ← The Appeal to Fear (ad metum) : think of the tactics used by some members of the political right in the lead up to the Iraq War and the prosecution of the ‘war on terror.’ ← The Appeal to Hatred (ad odium) ← ← R2 The Red Herring Fallacy ← Basic Idea: a component of the argument presented or an issue related to the presented argument is seized upon and erroneously made into the issue of debate or dispute. A distraction has been created; hence, a red herring. ← Example.

← Issue: to draft legislation obligating corporations to protect pension funds preventing them from squandering them. ← Objection/Rebuttal: What retired people really need is good financial counseling and advice. ← Yes, that’s true. So? A red herring here. ← ← Example. ← The issue under debate and discussion: whether a certain economic system produces great prosperity and efficiency. ← Objection/Rebuttal : the economic inequalities of that economic system. ← This objection is worthy of discussion but irrelevant to what is the issue at hand. The objector would have served herself better by conceding the point concerning the prosperity of an economic system and then go on to argue that due to economic inequalities, it may not be the best system for all concerned. ← ← R3. The Straw Man ← Basic Idea. A misrepresentation of an opponent’s argument. Such a misrepresentation can succeed due to the fact that often elements of an opponent’s argument are correctly represented. However, the argument is either vastly oversimplified to the point where it does look silly or it is presented in an extremist form not intended by the argument’s author. And the ‘success’ is most often short lived and usually backfires; that is, a neutral person who may have been duped by such a straw man argument, in resentment may start to support the opponent’s position. ← Point of Practice: when arguing against a position, always try and present that position in its strongest possible form. ← Example (Rush Limbaugh) ← Supporters of national government health insurance are advocating socialism and communism...and then proceeds to argue against the evils of communism. ← While there is a similarity with socialism because such a system would be state-run, it is still a far cry from what socialism and/or communism is: it is called mixed capitalism. Even in the United States, the courts, military, police force and education are state run and yet nobody would think of this as ‘socialism’. Hence, a straw man has been created to argue against. ← ← Example (Richard Dawkins) ← Claims for the existence of God are like someone claiming that a teapot is orbiting the sun, we can’t prove them wrong but it is foolish and vastly improbable. ← Anyone who has read the ontological, cosmological, teleological, ‘fine tuning’ design, experiential, moral, argument from the ‘best explanation’ etc. arguments for the existence of God and the fascinating and complex debates such arguments have generated will find this analogy to a bogus, trumped up, empirical claim a straw man. If you are an atheist, do yourself a favour and read Mackie or Rowe instead. ← ← R4. The Argument against the person ( argument ad hominem)

← Basic Idea: ‘don’t shoot the messenger’ ← Two related types ← Argument ad hominem abusive ← -direct attack on the character of the individual - i.e., she is untrustworthy, an ‘atheist’, a ‘Papist’ or a member of the ‘looney left’ or the ‘scary right’ ← Argument ad hominem circumstantial ← - not so much a direct attack on the individual but rather an attack on a person indirectly via their nationality, political affiliation, race, gender, any type of group membership or such circumstances. ← -to suggest to an opponent that consistency demands of them a certain conclusion due to such group memberships or that a person’s arguments need not be taken seriously because of such affiliations. ← Two Easy Examples ← ‘Of course he is opposed to affirmative action, he is a white male.’ ← ‘Of course she is in favour of affirmative action, she is a woman (and/or minority).’ ← Conclusion: the only people entitled to put forward arguments on this issue are white males in favour of affirmative action and women/minorities opposed to it? Is that fair? ← ‘Of course he is opposed to abortion, he is a Catholic Priest’ ← ‘Of course she is in favour of abortion, she is a feminist.’ ← So? Let’s get to the arguments and focus our attention there. ← Qualification/Exception: when the nature of the evidence and the credentials of the argument are predicated upon the trustworthiness of the individual - i.e., eyewitness testimony, conflicting witnesses. No fallacy to question and dispute the messenger here. ← ← R5. Appeal to Force ( argument ad baculum) ← Straightforward, but be aware of its more subtle forms - i.e., the power of social pressures and labels to make you feel threatened and fearful in voicing your views. Here, we have an interlacing of appeal to force - the feeling of fear - and ad hominem - the attaching of a negative label to smear an individual. ← ← R6. Missing the Point (ignoration Elenchi) ← Basic Idea: all other instances of irrelevance that doesn’t fit neatly into our previous categorizations. But be careful. For example, an example the text gives on p.133 can easily be read, and should be read, as an example of red herring.

← Refers generally to a non sequiter. ← Example: arguing for the importance of national defence in favour of a particular weapon system. The importance of national defence is one issue, whether this weapon system actually enhances it is quite another. ← Example? The need for safe streets and a gun registry? Only if all that is being argued for is our need for safe streets with no argument given that such a registry will get us there or that it is the best use of our economic resources to make our streets safer. I will leave it to you to judge this one. ← Exercises: p.135, A #2,4,7,10,11; B, 2,7,9,10 ← ← Fallacies of Defective Induction ← Premises are relevant to the conclusion but are too weak or ineffective to support the conclusion. Hence, it is a ‘defective induction’ in the sense that evidence is given and in induction we go from evidence to the best conclusion, but the evidence is at best only weakly connected to the conclusion. ← Four Such Fallacies ← ← D1 Argument from Ignorance (argument ad ingorantium) ← True because we have not proven it to be false or false because we have not proven it to be true. ← That we haven’t proven it false gives us some evidence to think it may be true; however, such evidence is weak and hardly worthy of concluding that it is true. ← Examples, God, psychic phenomena ← Exemptions: (1) Testing for new drugs ← -no conclusive evidence, not proven safe but we assume safe ( Is this really an example of the fallacy at play that we grant an exemption?) ← (2) Innocent till proven guilty. Technically, all that we are allowed to conclude is that a person has not been proven guilty, not that they are innocent. However, a principle of fundamental justice suggests to us that this is so manifestly unfair - all manners of false accusations would fall into its net destroying people’s lives - that we ought to presume innocence. ← (3) Related to (2). We conduct a thorough investigation on whether a person has engaged in improper conduct. We find no such evidence of improper conduct. It would be a mistake to say that we are still ignorant after such an investigation. However, it is still the case that even if there exists no evidence for something, that something may still exist. In this case, even if we found no evidence of improper conduct, it is still possible for such conduct to have occurred. Thus, it seems that we cannot draw a firm conclusion here. But it would be unconscionable to stigmatize a person with such a remote possibility - sometimes not drawing a conclusion is a fallacy. Thus, the person is ‘cleared’ of any wrong doing as they should be. ← ← D2. Appeal to Inappropriate Authority (argument ad verecundiam) ← Straightforward but remember it is an appeal to inappropriate authority. ← Example: a brilliant physicist advocating social policy. Easy to do - we often assume that brilliance in one area translates into brilliance in all areas. This is not necessarily so.

← Caveat: Even with an appropriate authority/expert, given that experts can conflict, it is wise and prudent to go for the consensus opinion in a field of study if it is not your area of research. ← ← D3. False Cause (non causa pro causa) ← -presuming the reality of a causal connection ← Two Types ← (1) - post hoc ergo propter hoc ← -“After the thing, therefore, because of the thing” ← A common problem in the social sciences: we can correlate social phenomenon - i.e, crime rate/ violence on television, sexual assaults / spread of pornography, crime rate / poverty, crime rate / single parents etc., - but the further question remains whether there exists a causal relationship. Correlation is itself not causation: we can positively correlate umbrellas with rain but that doesn’t mean that umbrellas causes rain. And remember Mark Twain’s statement, to paraphrase, “There are white lies, damn lies and then there are statistics” ← (2) The Slippery Slope ← -p.147-8 in Copi ← Examples: ‘If we start executing people via the death penalty, we will then start executing them for shoplifting’ ← ‘If we allow for assisted suicide then doctors and society at large will start to kill burdensome elderly people.’ ← Slippery slope arguments are notoriously difficult to assess - it appears to be an empirical question, not logical, whether the direction claimed will actually happen. ← A Complication here: ← Copi’s Example - p.148. ← Copi writes: ← “Some arguments of this kind have merit, because precedent can affect subsequent decision-making. The slippery slope is indeed a fallacy - but the mere allegation that that fallacy has been committed does not prove the argument in question is faulty.”(p.148) ← The manner in which this is written is itself rather slippery. It can appear to suggest that the ‘slippery slope is indeed a fallacy’ though some arguments that possess them may have merit and not be ‘faulty’. Given that a fallacy is defined as an error in reasoning, to suggest that an argument may contain such an error and yet not be faulty is unwise. To remedy the situation and what I think the text is really saying here, we need to adopt a distinction: a distinction between when an argument contains a slippery slope and when it commits the fallacy of a slippery slope. ← When does an argument contain a slippery slope? ← Whenever it is claimed of a position A that it will lead to B and since B is unacceptable we ought to reject A. ← When does an argument commit the fallacy of slippery slope?

← When no or little support is given for why A will lead to B - i.e., when it is claimed that it is ‘intuitively obvious’ that A will lead to B with no data and/or a weak argument for why that is so. ← Precisely for the purpose of being controversial, allow me to present a couple of examples from the same sex marriage debate a few years ago: ← “If we allow same sex marriage, polygamy is around the corner, people will also be allowed to marry their brothers or sisters, their dogs or cats or fish, and eventually the end of the Western civilization will result.” ← But contrast with this example: ← “If we allow same sex marriage on the grounds that they are consenting adults in a committed relationship and therefore cannot be discriminated against, then logical consistency demands of us that we allow polygamy since they too are consenting adults in a committed relationship and therefore cannot be discriminated against. And indeed British Colombia refuses to prosecute certain sects practicing polygamy under fear that such prosecutions will not survive a Charter challenge based on similar reasoning that allows for same sex marriage.” ← Does this argument contain a slippery slope? Yes. ← Does it commit the fallacy of slippery slope? ← Note: keep in mind that even if we concede, as the text does, that such arguments can possess merit they (a) are definitely not conclusive: it is still an empirical question and even with the best of such arguments, empirically we often do not behave logically - i.e., even if logical consistency demands that we allow for polygamy, courts are not moved solely by considerations of logical consistency; (b) they are notoriously difficult to assess and are thus rather weak. ← ← D4. Hasty Generalization/Converse Accident ← -Sample size too small for an accurate generalization; hence, a hasty generalization. ← ‘This Gm is a lemon; therefore, all Gm’s are lemons’ ← -Stereotypes, - Smokers- cancer: we all have heard of that person smoking a pack a day and yet living till

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