A position without a reason is fundamentally a premise, where the premise is simply much more profound than usual. Since every non-trivial argument is based on a subjectively procured premise, it follows that the validity of every argument hinges on the validity of a premise.

For example, take the axioms of mathematics. They are premises. The mathematics (the part which is not intuitive but hinges on the validity of the axioms, like, say, Banach-Tarski) hinges on the axioms. Hence, validity of the result hinges not only on the strength of the argument, but also on the validity of the axioms.

So, given that, any position, whether it is an argument from a premise (i.e., a position "with a reason"), or simply a premise itself (i.e., a position "without a reason"), is equally valid, since it hinges equally on the validity of some premise. Or, rather, perhaps they are not equally valid, since the position with a reason also hinges on the strength of the argument. This is an extra source of possible weakness. Hence, the position without a reason seems to be at least as valid as the position with a reason.

So why is it often believed that any position without a 'reason' is invalid?

I believe this statement should be modified into something like

Given all the premises which a group of people all take for given, then, within that group, any position without reason which is not identically equal to one of the given premises, is invalid.

This is of course an entirely different statement than the more general "every position without reason is invalid" since that applies across all groups and across all premises. I seem to have shown this statement to be identically idiotic.

  • Who says that "every position without reason is invalid" I can't find that quoted anywhere. You may have shown it to be idiotic, but you may have also just invented it, so I don't understand what your question is. – JeffUK Oct 9 '17 at 16:46
  • 5
    First, a position, with or without reasons, can not be invalid, only argument can be. Second, your view of "reason" is too narrow, it does not have to be a premise of an argument. My seeing the Sun in the sky is a reason for the "position" that it is there, similarly the reasons for various axioms, etc., are past experience, applications and practice of mathematics, not arguments. Third, derived position can be strengthened if it is the conclusion of multiple arguments with independent premises (multiple confirmations). – Conifold Oct 9 '17 at 19:52

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