• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • paul wheaton
  • Devaka Cooray
stewards:
  • Burra Maluca
  • Miles Flansburg
  • Julia Winter
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Anne Miller
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Mark Tudor
  • Pearl Sutton

fallacy vs. logic and reason  RSS feed

 
                              
Posts: 144
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Joel,

Will you accept that if another can make such choices, then such choices are not automatic? 

Will you accept that if the same conditions exist, but different choices are made, that the conditions do not cause the final choice?

These are two ways which could lead to counter-examples, which logically speaking would be considered to have disproved the conclusion.

For instance, I am know without any room for doubt that I am in complete control of the choice of whom to respect. In fact, without any comment being made about any other person at all, I cannot imagine not being in such control since I choose the values which I will respect, so the choice of whom to respect is simply application of those values.

I will grant that with whom to fall in love with is a bit less clear, but even at that I would argue that it is simply a more precise application of the above. Certainly I know that I have chosen not to love someone because they opposed some values of importance. This negative example would seem to lend a great deal of weight to the existence of the choice in even this most obscured of emotional choices.

Could it be that we are differing over a mistaken perception? I am not arguing that there is some long period of internal debate at every instance of a choice. Take  certain off color jokes which as a young person we laugh at without thinking, but which as we grow as persons we stop finding amusing. The joke has not changed, the play on words or twist has not changed, but what has changed has been our decision to find such humor amusing. Other possibilities could be racist or sexist jokes as well, each  of our experiences on this may differ.

Over time we develop our reactions through practice and thought, just as we develop our skills with a hammer or our ability to do calculations. At one point in time I knew several people who appeared not to think about the solutions to mathematical problems, when in fact the shortness of the period of response was due to careful refining of skills. We can and many of us do, do this with regard to our emotional choices and skills as well. Sure we take in information from the relationships, but that no more forces the reaction than our knowledge of history forces us to give a correct answer. I no longer think about how to swing an axe, but if need be I can go back to learning how to swing an axe and go through the steps, taking in the conditions such as my footing, the type of wood, the moisture content of the wood, how high it is off the ground, and other aspects of my relationship to the  wood being chopped, all without ever denying my choice to take the actions and my control over them. Does this sound reasonable?

Taking another approach, how could we test the idea of indirect control over the emotional choices of others? How could we demonstrate that this must be true? (I ask this as an honest question, having given arguments of a similar sort which can demonstrate that it does not exist).

 
                                          
Posts: 95
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You've neglected to address the basic fact that self-determination of values and conscious decision making requires advanced brain functioning.  Half of people, statistically speaking, lack average intelligence.  A sizeable minority lack even basic critical thinking skills and certainly lack the higher brain functioning which you appear to believe are universal.

For me, it is the very universality of you claim of individual choice that undermines your entire premise. 
 
pollinator
Posts: 10282
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
349
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think it might be a matter as much of training as of "higher brain function."  I don't think it even occurs to most people to question whether their emotional reactions are appropriate, useful, and helpful.  They simply have the reaction and that's as far as it goes.  They never learn any different.  I'm neither brilliant nor stupid, but it has taken me a lot of effort to learn to control my emotional reactions to situations and to direct my thoughts in useful and helpful directions.  I'm not convinced average or below average people can't also learn to react in more beneficial ways to situations, but they are unlikely to ever consider it an option in our society in which childish behavior is often the norm (speaking as an American). 
 
                              
Posts: 144
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Failing to exercise an ability is not evidence of the failure to have the ability. Thus, appealing to the failure to exercise an ability in no way undermines the argument provided. Assume a false premise, or adopt a strawman argument, and it will never serve to refute any argument or evidence.

Well said Ludi, yes we can all (except for the most extreme cases where decision making of any sort is not possible) re-learn to make conscious choices rather than just making choices by default. Greater education on our choices might increase motivation, but it doesn't change the inherent ability.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think we have different notions of what constitutes emotion.

I see a lot of truth in what you are writing, and have also experienced the sort of reason you are presenting to be misleading and counter-productive in my own life. I am much, much less ruled by emotion now that I accept some lower-level responses (maybe calling them proto-emotions would help us to discuss this constructively?) as being beyond my direct control, and I'm able to take responsibility for what I make of these lower-level responses.

I'd like to give a concrete example with an analogous structure: I am responsible for my the movement of my body, but not really for my reflexes or the details of how my internal organs operate. Knowing that reflexes are automatic and, in quite a few cases, determined by biological processes shaped by distant evolutionary history, I'm able to work around my reflexes. I can subtly adjust my voluntary motions so that reflexive responses don't cause problems, or are less likely to be triggered. I'm able to adjust my diet, based on an understanding of the automatic processes that control my organs. There are cases when an act of will, to suppress a particular response, is in order. There are yet more cases where some time spent in training for more-appropriate automatic responses would be wise. But none of this means that the operation of a reflex, or an organ, is my decision.

The mind has a similar structure: parts of it (attention, in particular) are under our voluntary control, but many of the subtler processes can only be influenced in the most indirect ways.
 
                              
Posts: 144
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Perhaps Joel, but all I can refer is emotion qua emotion. The experience of anger, the experience of sadness, the experience of joy,

I am trying to determine a possible situation in which critical examination and the application of reason to objectively verifiable evidence,  would result in a worse situation than random or worse yet, deliberately  misinformed basis for decision making would. Honestly I cannot imagine any situation in which this would be the case. It seems that this would be akin to asserting that using an accurate and precise map is more likely to result in going the opposite direction than closing one's eyes and just driving..

I see the intent of the reflexes metaphor, but unlike the case of emotional choices, when it comes to reflexes we can reliably test them and demonstrate without any doubt that reflexes function as they do.  With emotional choices we have no such examples. No matter how many times we see Jim (name picked at random) choose to get mad when we say "the Dallas Cowboys are a terrible team" we have no evidence that he is unable to control this as opposed to simply not choosing to do so.

I must be misunderstanding your "proto-emotions" category, as it would seem to me that the "proto-emotions" would be the best case possible for the "emotions are unchosen" position. Perhaps you could elaborate on what you have in mind as a "proto-emotion."
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10282
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
349
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Storm V Spooner wrote:No matter how many times we see Jim (name picked at random) choose to get mad when we say "the Dallas Cowboys are a terrible team" we have no evidence that he is unable to control this as opposed to simply not choosing to do so.



How do you know he is "choosing" to get mad?  Could he not simply be getting mad and then expressing that anger?

"choose
Definition
choose
[ chooz ]
To hear the pronunciation, install Silverlight
TRANSITIVE AND INTRANSITIVE VERB
1.
decide from among range of options: to decide which of a number of different things or people is best or most appropriate
"chose a partner"
2.
make a deliberate decision: to make a deliberate decision to do something"

I can understand Jim choosing to express his anger, but I'm not convinced he is choosing to feel anger or not.
 
                              
Posts: 144
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Unless we can given an account of Jim being fundamentally and physiologically different from the rest of the species, then we know from the examples of others that there is a choice being made. Yes often the person does not consider the options, but choosing by default is still making a choice.

FWIW I believe that earlier I addressed this objection in greater detail, if you are interested.

Then too we have the evidence of taking the exact same situation, putting a different person in Jim's place, and if no choice is possible, then we would expect the very same result. It is not difficult to find someone with a different result, as I am sure we all know. Thus the variable must be the person, not the situation. Causation must be internal, not external. Then too since the reaction is different, that internal reaction must not be an automatic one, but rather a chosen one, else we would still get the same result no matter the person involved.

Essentially this explanation is a shortened version of the use of critical thought to locate the causal elements, eliminating various possibilities and influences along the way until we are left with a single explanation.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10282
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
349
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Storm V Spooner wrote:
Yes often the person does not consider the options, but choosing by default is still making a choice.



That's not a definition  of "choose" that works for me.


 
                              
Posts: 144
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Okay, but regardless the person has the explicit option to control the emotional outcome (the actual feeling of the emotion).

Would "under the control of the individual" better suit your preference?

FWIW this use of "choice" is quite common in discussions of philosophy of mind, causation, and epistemology where the finest of details of such issues are hashed out.. just informational purposes not itself an appeal to "authority." I am not tied to the word myself, as long as we can keep the responsibility and ability firmly in mind.

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10282
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
349
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
No, in my opinion, the experience of emotion is not always under the control of the individual, though it may sometimes be.  Different people may have different degrees of control of their emotions, in my opinion.

 
Posts: 54
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
I have very little control over whom I respect, or feel attracted to, although I'm able to behave more-or-less appropriately on both counts. I have virtually no control over what experiences inspire fear in me, although I make an effort to work through any unreasonable fight-or-flight responses over time, ideally by repeatedly experiencing them in ways that don't reinforce a sense of danger. I don't decide that a joke is funny and then find myself laughing at it: the best I can do to control my sense of humor would be to stifle laughter, or fake it.



I think that's all true, as far as immediate reaction goes, but at the same time your sense of humor is not identical to what it was a year or a decade ago, and neither are the things that you feel fear in response to.  Likewise you may find totally different things attractive now than you did in the past.  While these cannot be consciously controlled ad-hoc, they can be consciously controlled through deliberate choices that train the mind (e.g. confronting things we are afraid of to eliminate or lessen the reaction of fear), contemplating the non-surface values of things that we may not initially find attractive (e.g. coming to appreciate permaculture after years of preferring more mainstream things that seem more convenient on the surface, or coming to not be humored by things after realizing the stereotypes, objectification, etc. that undermines a lot of jokes), etc.  As you say above, you can make effort to work through unreasonable fight-or-flight responses, but I think that with adequate time and focus, there's no emotion that is immune to conscious change.
 
master steward
Posts: 25668
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
http://www.groovymatter.com/2012/05/popular-logical-fallacies-to-avoid.html
 
Posts: 221
Location: Zone 6a, Wahkiacus, WA
22
forest garden goat hugelkultur purity trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi all,

this is a beautiful thread. Thank you for all the perspectives on this subtle and pervasive issue in consensus.

In my experience in a cooperative community, I see a few basic patterns which I think underlie the pervasiveness of poor decision making processes:

1.) people believe and act as is their emotional desires constitute a right. Example: I am emotionally insecure (in a way that has nothing to do with the problem at hand) and I am afraid to move forward with a decision, that means everyone else has to stop, and wait for me to be secure.

People most often throw a wrench in the gears of consensus (either by making fallacious arguments or some other way) when they have an emotional need to be heard and validated. If people in the community (at least some people) are aware of this dynamic, and ensure people feel validate

That being said, some people display attention seeking behaviour, and there is no amount of validation that is ever enough. Often this is because of deep seeded, unreconciled emotional trauma. If a person is unable or unwilling to heal this trauma, they may never be able to effectively contribute to the consensus process. The rest of the group needs a way to recognize that reality and keep the emotionally immature from killing consensus, and wasting the consensus building energy of the group.

another common dynamic is for one person to assert dominance over another through not validating there input. even if the input is important to making a good decision. I have found very few ways other than direct communication that can diffuse a dominance display once it has started.

2.) People confuse "logic" with "reasoning". and think all logics are the same.

My understanding (I studied philosophy in school, so that is my slant) a logic is a coherent system of rules or procedures which can be followed (usually in a narrow window of circumstances) to a "true" result. use quotes because the statement is true by definition. true in this case does not mean it corresponds to objective reality.

Reasoning is the mental process of exercising a logic. Not all logics are the same. different people using different logics get different answers. This is not fallacy, but a wrong-view that people are operating from a similar logic.

Logic conclusions do not necessary need to be objectively correct, or empirically verifiable/falsifiable. If someone demands that they are "being logical" that in no way implies that what they are saying has any correlation to the objective situation.

3.) People have different goals, different definitions, and different levels of information. Some people may have narrow perspective. some bigger. some people have more experience or information. or different goals.

laying the goals on the table to begin with helps to understand the types of reasoning people are employing. And as a group, talking down those goals so that the group is on the same page as to what they are looking to accomplish with a decision. Often, the clarification of goals and definitions resolve otherwise difficult semantic issues.

Hope people find value in these perspectives.
-andrew

 
pollinator
Posts: 356
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
13
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

paul wheaton wrote:I wrote a quick article on fallacy about ten years ago. 

It seems to me that at the root of most communities is consensus.  And at the root getting consensus to work is being able to discuss stuff.  And if one person uses one fallacy, it can take an hour for the group to unravel it.  But communication today is loaded to the gills with fallacy - it is considered the normal way we speak.  So decision can either be based on fallacy (as opposed to logic and reason) or discussions can be mired forever in fallacy presented by a few. 

And yet, I've never heard of an exploration of fallacy to be used to help a community resolve their stuff.

Perhaps fallacy has been relabeled in some way?




Excellent question Paul. Unfortunately I personally don't see a solution for it, yet.

Most people adopt the same pattern of thinking and communication as the status quo, because they do not want to be left out. Life is not 100% objective as there are emotions, contradictions, differences, duality. So when one point of view contradicts another, how do you deal with that? Who is "right"?

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 25668
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here, fallacy is relabeled as "doublespeak"

 
Posts: 1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

paul wheaton wrote:Here, fallacy is relabeled as "doublespeak"


Most certainly doublespeak is a type of fallacy. In my experience doublespeak is more the weakening of the underlying grammar in a statement while fallacies are defects which can weaken or change an argument in a statement. I've not heard of other names for fallacy, except perhaps in its use in the Trivium. In this case, learning to recognize fallacies are one part of logical reasoning, which is itself the middle part of the grammar, logic, rhetoric method of critical thinking.

Logical Fallacies and Intellectual Self Defense
Discovering Doublespeak
Informal Fallacies
Trivium
 
Posts: 63
Location: NW South Dakota - Zone 4b
9
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Scipio Johnson wrote:In this case, learning to recognize fallacies are one part of logical reasoning, which is itself the middle part of the grammar, logic, rhetoric method of critical thinking.

Trivium



Thank you for sharing the link to the Trivium Education website. It's encouraging to see people taking advantage of that great resource.

Jan Irvin runs that website and has put a wealth of knowledge out onto the internet for free. Recently, he and Bill Joslin had an excellent podcast together where they expose the faults of nonviolent communication Is NVC consistent with the trivium method?. In previous podcasts Paul has expressed concerns about NVC and I believe his concerns are well-founded.
 
Posts: 38
Location: Denver, 6a / BSk, apartment dweller, looking to Woof near Denver
14
bike books forest garden hugelkultur cooking wofati
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's another resource for logical/rhetorical fallacies which I personally enjoy; it's not as exhaustive as Paul's article or the Groovy matter one, but it has pictures!



They come in share-able fallacies and as printable posters: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/poster

Lastly, a bonus laugh for a Plato-face-palm.
 
Posts: 1989
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
95
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have just downloaded that poster for my debate coaching.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2056
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
79
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Curious question. People who respect this system of logic and reason can be persuaded by it.
For example,Ican be moved in my position by someone question my premise.
If you are trying to impart knowledge to ,or have a conversation with me,you would do well to employ these tactics.
But the prevalence of fallacy and the effectiveness of it are hard to deny.
I have people I love and share values with who have come to the same moral conclusions as myself by way of fallacy.
Ive had opponents who skillfully point out my own fallacies in argument with me,knowing my own values require I concede the point.
They don't actually hold these same values, so pointing out their own fallacies have no impact.

I am try  to get at the idea that logic and reason are not going to affect everyone,or even most people.

Fallacy actually might work better. Is it then logical to resort to fallacy to change minds?
Is it reasonable?
Is it ethical?

 
Ash Jackson
Posts: 38
Location: Denver, 6a / BSk, apartment dweller, looking to Woof near Denver
14
bike books forest garden hugelkultur cooking wofati
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Michael, a wonderful place for it. I'll be interested to hear your student's reaction.

William, I don't have any answers for you, but I do have this TED talk that says much of what you do, regarding the observed ineffectiveness of logic:

 
Posts: 74
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Is it then logical to resort to fallacy to change minds?  



Only for the logical, assuming the individual is also objective in thinking.
 
pollinator
Posts: 196
Location: Sask, Canada - Zone 3b
44
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

William Bronson wrote:
Ive had opponents who skillfully point out my own fallacies in argument with me,knowing my own values require I concede the point.
They don't actually hold these same values, so pointing out their own fallacies have no impact.

I am try  to get at the idea that logic and reason are not going to affect everyone,or even most people.

Fallacy actually might work better. Is it then logical to resort to fallacy to change minds?
Is it reasonable?
Is it ethical?



If the opponents aren't recognizing or not caring about their own fallacies when pointed out, they are certainly not skillful and I'm tempted to say that they aren't actually logical either - more of loophole-finders at best. Applying the rules of logic to everyone else but not to yourself isn't good reasoning, I'd say it's actually one of the fallacies like Appeal to Stupidity or Argument from Fallacy. I think your idea to remove logic and reason in discussions isn't going to help your cause. Example: Any U.S or Canadian "debates" during elections I've seen are mostly based on pointing out each other's fallacies and the public seems to follow suite these days by pointing out fallacies more as a way to feel superior than to figure out what is factually true.  

The TED Talk Ash linked explains about marketing/consumer decisions, and this does explain why people are so easily fooled into believing something and sticking to it even when proven wrong. The speaker was right when he mentioned biology, as it's theorized to be a sort of primitive/tribal mechanism as I recall. Believing the same things as the group in order to increase the chances of survival, and this mechanism is still in the deeper parts of our mind today - which good marketing companies(like Apple or any Sports Team) know exactly how to exploit.

Wikipedia: Tribalism

Tribalism and social bonding help to keep individuals committed to the group, even when personal relations may fray. That keeps individuals from wandering off or joining other groups. It also leads to bullying when a tribal member is unwilling to conform to the politics of the collective.



The next step would be to ask why do your opponents shut the door when it comes to a logical argument? There was a good facebook post I saw awhile back to explain the problem with trying to change someone's paradigm. If I believed in something for 20 years and I built my identity around that idea, when faced with conflicting information, my subconscious would react in a way to defend my current identity which would otherwise be harmed/destroyed. (I'd consider this like the ID in Freudian terminology)

There is also a good TED Talk which talks about the "default position" which I think somewhat resonates with your question. How if someone is not convinced enough, they will stay with the safest option. It's much easier to deny a new idea than to challenge a belief while trying to comprehend new information.

As far as I know, there is no sure-fire way to change someone's thinking when they are not wanting to change. Think of a smoker who knows the results of their actions but until they actually get cancer or COPD they do not accept or care about the evidence. I'm reminded of this image
 when how to deal with change and I couple it with the idea that "seeing is believing". I can't convince my neighbour that hugelkulturs are better than traditional gardening techniques no matter how many statistics I provide because they've been doing traditional gardening for decades. Once I build a hugel though, and they can make real, direct comparisons between how it functions and how their own garden does, this can begin to open the door at least. It takes so much energy to start to change people, that the only worthwhile effort is to show people a different perspective and let them figure things out for themselves.

I consider myself a novice in psychology and social science, so take that into consideration with the above. Hope it helped though
 
Posts: 146
33
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I do enjoy this topic very much....
and I don't want to argue about arguing...
and no disrespect to Dr. Novella, but....

I have read (and reread and reread) Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends and Influence People.

That book could be written by almost any well-meant grandpa who wanted you to be happy in life. It's just chock-full of good, solid observations about human behavior, feelings, needs, wants, shame, anger, lashing, loving--just an all you can eat buffet of human emotion, observed from arm's length as a casual bystander.

And one of the things he said that will always stick with me (and there are a LOT of them) was:

                    "You can never win an argument."

...because when you lose, you lose--and when you win, you lose. Because you can never beat someone out of their good will.
 
What's wrong? Where are you going? Stop! Read this tiny ad:
177 hours of video: the 2017 Permaculture Design Course and Appropriate Technology Course
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/hours-video-Permaculture-Design-Technology
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!