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View Poll Results: Is the source or the argument more important to discerning the truth?

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  • The source is paramount.

    1 2.78%
  • The source is a bit more important than the argument.

    2 5.56%
  • The source and the argument are equally important.

    10 27.78%
  • The argument is more important than the source.

    14 38.89%
  • The argument is paramount.

    9 25.00%
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  1. #91
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Yes, deductive logic is strictly analytic. It only finds things that guaranteed to correct by the premises it lays out before itself. The things we observe in day-to-day life cannot be completely reduced to a deductive conclusion, so we turn to induction. Regarding induction, empiricism, and the scientific method, we don't have proofs, so we don't have The Truth, we just have what heretofore the strongest determined arguments. But how much does even that depend on the source of the argument? Again, all the stuff about looking for credibility and peer reviewing and so forth is just based on sheer logistics. It is necessary and advantageous for logistical reasons. When you're actually bothering to take an argument to task yourself, however, that becomes much less relevant. It's really quite important because those moments where you are confront one line of argument is exactly the time to catch what standards of credibility don't. That's the time to see if the village idiot actually made a profound point or if the esteemed emeritus is just bullshitting this time.

    I'm trying to follow you here, but it keeps looking to me like your premises and your conclusion are going along parallel lines, never touching.
    I think we're misunderstanding each other on a fundamental level, here. I'm operating on the assumption that an argument is never separate from an arguer; the motivations and assumptions of the arguer go into creating the argument, and the argument reconstructs the arguer to the audience. So as the audience, when we encounter an argument, we are automatically thrust into an argumentative situation in which we are in a kind of dialogue with the arguer, and the arguer has already put forth ethotic arguments that must be evaluated ethotically. What are ethotic arguments? Everything from statements of credentials and good character, direct and indirect, to the style of the writing and the type of authority it tries to portray. It's like a sly argument that ends up being what we'd normally suspect to be an appeal from authority if it were made explicit, and it requires consideration of the arguer's character to determine if it is in fact a kind of argumentative fallacy.

    Restricting one's self to the evaluation of logos thus requires that you pretend that the others are not there and that the argument is somehow separable from the arguer. Moreover, you are required to pretend that you yourself are somehow separable from the argumentative situation and can judge as if from above whether the argument is a good one or bad one, when it's more like you're just another arguer engaged in argument with the arguments you've been presented with (phew, that was a mouthful in my mind's ear.) Thus the calling out of fallacies and critiquing of logic/facts is a type of counterargument, and in order to make the best counterargument one must not neglect to address all kinds of arguments, including ethotic and pathotic ones.
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  2. #92

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    @Magic Poriferan, @Orangey

    I think the difference in perspectives you are espousing have to do more with an ideal vs. practical situation.

    Magic seems to be saying that, given the time and resources (including the ability to accurately judge arguments), only the repeatable, arguer separate, components of the of the points being made should be considered when accepting or rejecting an argument.

    Orangey seems to be saying that no such situation exists.

    Does that sound right?

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  3. #93
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    @Magic Poriferan, @Orangey

    I think the difference in perspectives you are espousing have to do more with an ideal vs. practical situation.

    Magic seems to be saying that, given the time and resources (including the ability to accurately judge arguments), only the repeatable, arguer separate, components of the of the points being made should be considered when accepting or rejecting an argument.

    Orangey seems to be saying that no such situation exists.

    Does that sound right?
    Yes.
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  4. #94
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    @Magic Poriferan, @Orangey

    I think the difference in perspectives you are espousing have to do more with an ideal vs. practical situation.

    Magic seems to be saying that, given the time and resources (including the ability to accurately judge arguments), only the repeatable, arguer separate, components of the of the points being made should be considered when accepting or rejecting an argument.

    Orangey seems to be saying that no such situation exists.

    Does that sound right?
    Perhaps. My position can sound impractically academic but I think it is important to remember the distinction between what actually relates to the truth and all of those other elements. It seems to me that every appeal and the entirety of the rhetorical situation can be brought to bear in asserting that an argument is accurate and have not one iota of relevance to how accurate the argument actually is (I would like to say logos counts, but logos only counts some of the time when it isn't fallacious). It is important to understand the difference between the power of an argument to convince and the accuracy of an argument.

    This makes me wonder, does @Orangey subscribe to the notion that there is a reality outside of belief? Is there truth outside of belief?
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  5. #95
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    As a practical matter, its impossible to thoroughly scrutinize and independently investigate every arguement; for that reason, routinely discriminating on the basis of credible sources is necessary, and given the range of reasonable disagreement on just about every issue in existence, is unlikely to greatly restrict philosophical or scientiific progress. That said, the arguement is the only thing of inherent importance, and the determinator of what one percieves to be true after filtering out the noise of uncredible sources, so it is more important than the source.

    Edit: basically what Magic Poriferan said, though I'm probably much more likely to view 'truth' as a matter of social construction; its just that I think competing visions of truth revolve around the arguement, and I agree that its important to distinguish between what is convincing versus what is accurate, even if only theoretically.

    Edit2: Also, I think that multiple and simultaneously interacting variables tends to change what is true in relation to isolated arguements, which restricts one's capacity to percieve truth. In other words, what is true in isolation may be....less so in context, and that context may even be beyond human perception at the time an arguement is given. I hope that makes sense, as its a difficult concept for me to put into words.

  6. #96
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Perhaps. My position can sound impractically academic but I think it is important to remember the distinction between what actually relates to the truth and all of those other elements. It seems to me that every appeal and the entirety of the rhetorical situation can be brought to bear in asserting that an argument is accurate and have not one iota of relevance to how accurate the argument actually is (I would like to say logos counts, but logos only counts some of the time when it isn't fallacious). It is important to understand the difference between the power of an argument to convince and the accuracy of an argument.

    This makes me wonder, does @Orangey subscribe to the notion that there is a reality outside of belief? Is there truth outside of belief?
    To your last question, yes. I just don't think that dialogical methods are very reliable at determining "truth" about the world, nor do I think they have much importance to the enterprise of determining such truth outside of their specific rhetorical situations. In a legal case, for instance, what is considered truth is often nothing more than what was convincing...truth just being a function of audience agreement. Moreover, argument is not always employed in the pursuit of truth about the world, but rather as a means of manipulating an audience, to recommend a certain course of action (which is never a matter of truth - how could one course of action be more true than another? - though blatant untruths in the process of arguing for a certain course of action may decrease a person's ethos...but even then "truth" has been reduced to ethotic argumentation), etc.,.

    I guess a simple way of putting it would be to say that, in real, embodied argumentation (not 1+2=3), it is possible for bad arguments to be made in favor of true conclusions, and for good arguments to be made in favor of false conclusions. That's why, in order to regulate this problem of indeterminacy, institutions implement argumentative rules that must be followed in order to try and weed out, as much as possible, the rhetorical-ness of the whole process. They never can accomplish this totally, of course, so the person who is the better rhetorician (had the right kind of ethos, pathos, and logos arguments) often wins, and winning often determines what we consider to be true.

    Again, though, I'm not a thoroughgoing relativist. I take more of a Larry Lauden view on such matters.
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