Questions tagged [argumentation]

The construction, deconstruction and presentation of arguments for a position;

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Is 'guns don't kill people, people kill people' a good argument?

I'm hearing the argument X doesn't do Y people do Y in quite a few guises. For instance in it's original form guns don't kill people; people kill people Presumably, therefore guns are OK cars ...
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What fallacy in Pascal's Wager allows replacing God with the devil?

I wanted to know the name of the fallacy or fallacies the Pascal's Wager in the sense that it can be applied to motivate one's belief in many things. A similar argument to the original Wager can be ...
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Why does Dawkins think it is wrong to posit that a paragon of 100% morals could theoretically exist?

Let’s move on down Aquinas’s list. 4. The Argument from Degree We notice that things in the world differ. There are degrees of, say, goodness or perfection. But we judge these degrees ...
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Does hypocrisy invalidate an argument?

I was listening to a political podcast and David Poltz (one of the presenters) said of an argument that he was unconcerned whether the argument was hypocritical. I found that attitude jarring, counter-...
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How is gun violence comparable to drunk driving?

I just read "Is 'guns don't kill people people kill people' a good argument?" and it reminds me of another argument. I would like your opinion on whether or not it is a good argument. Gun Control ...
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Is it a fallacy to say that a sane person cannot apply rational thought to the motivations of the insane?

A common argument in today's news is that: Someone commits a heinous crime by shooting a bunch of people. Anyone who commits a heinous crime must be insane. Sane people cannot apply rational thought ...
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What fallacy dismisses problems by presenting “bigger” problems?

Wasn't really sure how to phrase this, but I'm thinking of an instance in which someone diminishes a problem by presenting one of larger scope - as a rather shoddy example, "x political problem in ...
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What fallacy is assuming something is the case because of past events

I'm sure this is a simple question. What I am referring to is disbelieving someone on Day 20 because they have lied every day previous to Day 20. Another example is the boy who cried wolf. The 50th ...
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Is using analogies a bad logic reasoning?

When discussing with someone, I like to take the argument they use and put it in another context, to see if it works, and if it doesn't, ask why the argument should be valid in one context but not in ...
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Is rejecting A not equivalent to accepting ~A?

A fundamental misconception that many laymen hold is that rejecting claim A is equivalent to accepting its inverse, namely ~A. How can we formally differentiate these claims, which I believe are all ...
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Is formal logic unsuitable for philosophical reasoning?

I'm taking a course at university about philosophical reasoning / argumentation. The professor came up with an example where formal logic was wrong: If Dave is in London, then he is in England. (...
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Is there a point to arguing about the meaning of words?

Firstly, I should mention that I am not sure, whether this the right place to ask such a question, but I am trying it anyway. Furthermore, one could say I come from a mathematics background and I am ...
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What practical methods can be used to prove a negative claim?

I realize that the burden of proof falls squarely on the shoulders of the person making the claim, but they often seem unwilling to do the footwork. It is difficult to prove a negative case except by ...
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Why do people who subscribe to self-refuting skeptical philosophies still argue with others?

The belief that everything is relative is obviously self-refuting, because it holds to an absolute. However, in my experience, people who believe this (or some form of it) such as some Buddhists and ...
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Is there a flaw in Spinoza's argument about gender inequality?

Spinoza, the 17th century philosopher wrote in his Political Treatise (Chapter XI): "If by nature women were equal to men, and were equally distinguished by force of character and ability, in which ...
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Why is Modus Ponens valid?

I am having trouble understanding what defines Entailment operator. On Mathoverflow I posted this question on what I perceive to be paradox of entailment. Consider: Modus Ponens: P therefore Q P ...
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Is the argument that a claim is “too strange to be made up” an appeal to logos or pathos?

When someone tries to persuade you of the truth of something they said and they use the argument that it is too strange to be made up (or any variations of this, such as "too complicated to be fiction"...
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Why are French postmodern philosophers (like Baudrillard) so hard to read/understand?

I've read my fair share of philosophers. Now I won't say that proper philosophical texts are ever easy to understand, but it seems that French postmodern philosophers like Baudrillard are extremely ...
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Is there (or does something exist that is close to) a theory of arguments?

I'm looking for any extensive work on a framework for "arguments", that works something along these lines: When two parties are debating, they are making assertions on a particular domain, D. Those ...
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Computational counter-argument for solipsism [closed]

First let me elaborate the argument. Take a calculator (wolframalpha, google or other software tools may serve as well). Perform some very complex operation. Write down the operation and the result ...
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What are some arguments for the golden ratio making things more aesthetically pleasing?

What are some (not necessarily good) arguments that painters, architects, designers, musicians, etc. basing their work on the golden ratio φ makes their work more aesthetically pleasing? I think ...
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Is “Don't blame me; I voted for ___” a bad argument?

Is there a fallacy in the argument, "Don't blame me; I voted for ..."? Or is a voter's entire responsibility for their contribution to whatever current state of political affairs they experience ...
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What does Dawkins suggest is the main flaw in these three arguments from Aquinas?

Source: p 100-101, The God Delusion, By Richard Dawkins 1. The Unmoved Mover. Nothing moves without a prior mover. This leads us to an infinite regress, from which the only escape is God. ...
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The relationship of women's right to abortion and men's duty of child support

There is a quote from Karen DeCrow, which you can find below. The courts have properly determined that a man should neither be able to force a woman to have an abortion nor to prevent her from ...
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Why is the darapti syllogism invalid?

I found the following exposition of darapti on wikipedia: All squares are rectangles. (MaP) All squares are rhombuses. (MaS) ∴ Some rhombuses are rectangles. (SiP) As far as I can see, this is ...
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What is the difference between mathematical reasoning and philosophical reasoning?

Please see question in title. Why isn't philosophy considered to be a branch of mathematics? Is study of anything not a branch of mathematics, vague and imprecise?
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Is it a logical flaw to blame someone for an event if they were simply its causal factor?

I would ask if this is a logical fallacy, but I don't think you can consider wrongful attribution of blame to be a logical fallacy, because attributing blame is a normative claim, not a descriptive ...
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How can I solve my contradictory thoughts about the relevance of human knowledge?

I have been thinking about how much we can know and more importantly: which knowledge should be relevant to us? First I will explain my thoughts to you. They will end in a questionable conclusion for ...
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Physicalism versus dualism: is it reasonable to assign a burden of proof to one party?

I've been watching some video lectures online, and in some of the videos, the professor argues essentially as follows: Both the dualist and the physicalist believe in the body. This is status quo....
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What is the logical structure of this argument by a Hindu philosopher about causation?

The Khandana Khanda Khadya is a work by the 12th century Hindu philosopher Sri Harsha which in some sense sets out to disprove epistemology - it seeks to show that all putative means of knowledge, ...
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If a claim is supported by a valid authority does the burden of proof shift?

Say person 1 believes x because a valid authority said so. Person 2 is skeptical of said claim and asks person 1 to present the evidence that supports the claim. Person 1 says he doesn't have to and ...
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Is this a fallacy: no argument against X, therefore X?

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine, a vegan. Here's what she said: "I was talking to a vegan philosopher once, and he said that he is a vegan because there is no good argument against veganism"...
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Why is infinite regress a problem for ontological explanations?

Suppose some ontological theory creates an infinite regress. Take, for example, Platon's concept of ideas, and then there must be some connection between idea and its actualisation, and then this ...
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Is one commiting the “argument from authority” fallacy and/or the “consensus fallacy” when one refers to a scientific consensus when asserting truth?

Bob and Alice disagree regarding subject X. Alice holds view A regarding subject X. Bob holds view B regarding subject X. View A and view B are quite contradictory views. Both can not be true at ...
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Have any philosophers argued that ad hominems are sometimes valid?

As far as I can tell, the position that ad hominem attacks are always invalid seems to be widespread within the philosophical community. I'm not entirely convinced that this is a reasonable position, ...
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What fallacy dismisses a conclusion because supporters give invalid arguments for it?

A person dismisses an otherwise valid argument, because some of its proponents support it for the wrong reason. How is this fallacy called? EDIT: Here is an example. A person defends the idea that ...
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Why is an appeal to authority sometimes valid?

I have an idea as to why it might be valid, but I would like confirmation, rebuttals, or maybe just better answers.
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Is it possible to appeal to emotion without commiting a fallacy?

People often make arguments from authority, and not all of them are fallacious. If the given authority is an expert on the discussed field, if there is a consensus among the experts of that field, and ...
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The difference between argument, inference, deduction and proof?

I am trying to distinguish argument, inference, deduction and proof. First, let's look at the distinction between argument and inference (if there is one). This online source states: An argument ...
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Are there terms for being “inside” vs “outside” an argument?

Say that Jim successfully argues that A implies B. He then establishes that A is true, and therefore B is true. Then say that Bob comes along and says, "Well, what about K?" Meaning, that he believes ...
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Is there an onus on the critic to povide an alternative solution?

In many situations, when someone criticises a procedure, or a policy, a common response is something like "yeah, we know it's crap, but you're not presenting an alternative solution, so shut up". ...
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Is “group X is responsible for the action (or inaction) of politician Y because they are the majority of voters” a fallacious argument?

I have read this very useful answer which suggests that the moral responsibility of an individual voter for the actions of a politician they voted for, is limited. However, the comments on that ...
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What is the name of the fallacy where one implies something is false simply because someone evil supported it?

Creationists sometimes argue that Darwinism is wrong because the Nazis used it as a rationale for their eugenics program. We call it a "genetic fallacy" if we try to claim that a theory is wrong ...
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How have philosophers tried to argue for qualia?

What is the difference between the intuition that there is something it is like, qualitative experience, and faith in it? Is it possible to convince someone who doesn't believe there is something it ...
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Is it possible to make non-fallacious arguments outside of mathematics?

Here is Wikipedia's list of fallacies. Looking at this list, I can't imagine any non-trivial, non-mathematical (i.e., not a mathematical proof) argument that wouldn't fall afoul of at least one of ...
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Hume's argument for the subjectivity of morality

I am trying to analyze the following argument by Hume in his Treatise of Human Nature: But can there be any difficulty in proving, that vice and virtue are not matters of fact, whose existence we ...
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What is wrong with blaming your actions on your parents (since if had you not been born, you would not have done X)?

What is wrong with the argument: Had I not been born, I would not have done X, thus it is my mother's/father's fault If you excuse the fact that I don't know how to phrase this better or in a more ...
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Rebuttal for modus ponens

Saw this (WP:"What the Tortoise said to Achilles") on the internet. A summary is as follows. The common argument is: A: If p then q B: p C: Therefore q. This raises the following question: what if ...
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Why is argument by analogy invalid?

There is a well known fallacy called the "argument by analogy" fallacy. As I understand it, the fallacy occurs in a situation where someone makes a reasonable comparison between two situations and ...
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Logical fallacy: when you know the outcome, so you cannot see any other possible ex ante prediction

Is there a term for this type of logical fallacy? One person asserts that theory A would predict outcome X. We have observed, however, that outcome Y occurred and not outcome X. The first person ...