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June 09, 2010

Comments

Daron,

"It doesn't look like you actually have a ground for your belief about right and wrong with your appeals here to consesus,"

To clarify, the appeal to consensus was preceded with "in practice". I mean that when two or more people are disagreeing about something, they only need to go back to the point where they agree. From there they can work forward to determine the point of disagreement, and hopefully figure out where mistakes have been made in someone's line of reasoning.

If you and I disagree about some conclusion, we don't always have to go back to A is A as a starting point for our discussion. We only need to go back until we agree. I am not saying that the thing we are agreeing on is true because we agree on it. I am saying there is no practical reason, in routine discussion, to go farther back than that point of agreement. In principle, we should always be able to go back to necessary truths or axioms.

I hope that helps clarify my position.

Hi Eric,
Indeed.
As I said in the first:

Hi Eric,
You seem to be criticizing Amy but you are merely agreeing with her. Like you, she is pointing out that Singer's conclusions are the logical end of his assumptions. She is highlighting that fact, not arguing against his reasoning.
Not every post is a complete treatise in and of itself but often has a stated point which is apart from what you claim Amy has to establish.
In this case, she was highlighting the horrors of where such ideas are taking us, and pointing out that these ideas are not unique to Singer.

I am saying if you are going to set yourself up as an intellectual critic of this blog, tell people how they ought to argue if they want to make their points, and critique them for their language you ought to have the finger pointed back at you to read both yourself and your opponent clearly.
Where did you do that?
In your opening sentence.

What I see in this post is a poisoning the well, by applying the emotionally charged titles, followed by an argument from undesirable consequences.
Poisoning the well is a deliberate and deceptive tactic to create bias.
And the charge of using "emotionally charged" language is, itself, emotionally charged. It implies a deceitful rhetorical attempt was made.
You admitted, in fact, that you were writing under heightened emotions when you composed that comment.

Daron,

"It implies a deceitful rhetorical attempt was made."

Perhaps you are committing the same error with which you have been charging me: reading implication where there is none.

One can use poor argumentation without malicious intent. I try to to give the benefit of the doubt when assessing malice. Most fallacious arguments could just as easily be the result of laziness as of malice, and I tend to think that laziness is usually the more likely explanation. People don't put in the effort to construct a sound argument, because it is easier (and sometimes as effective, or even more effective) to construct a fallacious argument. Poisoning the well and appeals to emotion are easy, and often effective, and don't require malicious intent. I don't think that most people think, "Rather than present a sound argument, I will be deceptive and cloud the issue with emotional language". I think that they themselves tend to be more concerned with the emotional aspects, so that is naturally what they present to others.

I have not accused Amy of being intentionally deceitful. I will go farther and say that I do not see enough evidence to suspect that she is being dishonest or deceitful. I can think someone is mistaken, and I can point out where I think they are mistaken, without impugning their integrity. I have a high bar before I begin to think someone is being intentionally deceitful.

"You admitted, in fact, that you were writing under heightened emotions when you composed that comment."
This is a minor point, but I did not admit that, and that was not the case. What I said was that the emotional content of post had distracted me sufficiently that I overlooked part of what the post said. That does not mean I went off in a huff to write an response.

As a meta point, please consider that someone acknowledging an error in an online discussion is quite rare, and part of the reason for this is that such acknowledgments are susceptible to being used against them later on. When this happens, it discourages future acknowledgements of errors, which results in a lower level of discussion.

Hi Eric,
I enjoy these discussions with you and your willingness to work on issues. I apologize if the fact that I can't find anything much to agree with you on makes it appear picayune, but it seems every explanation merely provides another layer of disagreement.

Perhaps you are committing the same error with which you have been charging me: reading implication where there is none.
Perhaps I am. But the situations are not really parallel as the your statement itself (poisoning the well) connotes the very thing that you are saying I've erroneously inferred. Poisoning the well is not even applicable in this case because Amy was not providing information (irrelevant or not) or comments against the man, but rather provided the very evidence she was discussing and discussed it on its own merits. What it is is a disingenuous, preemptive ad hominem meant to gull an audience. I accept your word that you didn't intend on calling Amy disingenuous or dishonest, (lazy is the more likely?) but that's what you did, since that's what poisoning the well is.
http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/#Poisoning%20the%20Well Poisoning the well is a preemptive attack on a person in order to discredit their testimony or argument in advance of their giving it. A person who thereby becomes unreceptive to the testimony reasons fallaciously and has become a victim of the poisoner.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_the_well

Poisoning the well (or attempting to poison the well) is a logical fallacy where adverse information about a target is pre-emptively presented to an audience, with the intention of discrediting or ridiculing everything that the target person is about to say.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/poisoning-the-well.html

This sort of "reasoning" involves trying to discredit what a person might later claim by presenting unfavorable information (be it true or false) about the person. This "argument" has the following form:
...
The person making such an attack is hoping that the unfavorable information will bias listeners against the person in question and hence that they will reject any claims he might make.

http://www.fallacyfiles.org/poiswell.html
To poison the well is to commit a pre-emptive ad hominem strike against an argumentative opponent.
...
Rather, it is a logical boobytrap set by the poisoner to tempt the unwary audience into committing an ad hominem fallacy.

http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/skepticism/blfaq_fall_poisoningwell.htm

Instead of responding to their arguments by questioning their character, a person committing this fallacy "poisons the well" by making them appear bad before they even have a chance to say anything.

=====

As a meta point, please consider that someone acknowledging an error in an online discussion is quite rare, and part of the reason for this is that such acknowledgments are susceptible to being used against them later on. When this happens, it discourages future acknowledgements of errors, which results in a lower level of discussion.
It is rare and very impressive. It says a great deal about you and I appreciate the acknowledgment.
But I didn't use your admission against you. I inferred from the rationale you provided (being distracted by the emotional content) that you were emotionally affected. Since you say that was not the case I withdraw it and apologize. I'm left not knowing how emotional content affects one if not emotionally, however.

"I suppose that a necessary condition for the Identification Problem is that the creature can conceptualize the Identification Problem. Such as being able to identify something as yourself.

Then I suppose the severely mentally handicapped and infants aren't going to cut it. "


I think this serves to illustrate that the clear ability to distinguish moral categories(i.e. being able to tell right from wrong) would be the proper measure of human moral superiority. That takes care of the mentally handicapped as they show no trouble in distinguishing those things. As to infants, they are not capable of expressing what they already possess. The ability is there, but has not yet been developed sufficiently for expression.

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