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August 12th, 2006

Rational Arguing

Question for philosophy:

What is the most fundamental property of a rational argument?

I couldn't limit myself to one.  ;)  I think two things are unique to rational arguments:

1) the Law of (Non)Contradiction and
2) the Law of the Excluded Middle. 

Discussions here demonstrate that not abiding by either is ... well, irrational or unreasonable.

Discussion followed.
I just read an opinion on the psychological and sociological state of relativists -- people who doubt truth.  And I am floored. 

cabrutus attempted to prove Truth (at least one "necessary truth" exists) a few days ago on philosophy so I responded as a devil's advocate of objectivism.  There was the normal barrage of name calling -- "truth-haters" -- and bashing -- "warping and distorting the [relativist's] psyche".  That's fine because I have a far grander diagnosis (although its only a syndrome :(.  But apperception's defense of objectivism -- that truth is out there for us to find --  made me *gasp* and cover my mouth:

"But if you're a relativist, if you worship at the altar of "openness," there's no reason to do that. No person's perspective is better than any other's, no culture has a purchase point on reality that's any better than any other's, so what would motivate you to go beyond your own sphere? For what reason would you elevate yourself into philosophy if you didn't think philosophy had anything special to offer in terms of making you a better (not just a different) person? The very notion of "elevation" makes no sense at that point."

The long-term behavior of elevating onself above others is inevitably discriminatory.  I could say I am better than women, better than the Communists, better than everyone! and climb the steps of tyranny.  BECOME GOD! (well ... if you were a solipsist -- one who believes only their self exists).  This rhetoric is the same that journaldan used a few weeks ago to defend his "merited superiority" over the 'masses of mass ignorance'.  *ugh*  Essentially, these three people would label a group of dissident people like relativists ignorant or psychotic and report us to the Ministry of Love for "rehabilitation" or crate us off to places where fowl smoke bellows from smoke stacks.

Granted, I am prejudice.  Otherwise I could not make such criticisms, and it seems most people make comparisons between themselves and others.  But I clearly foresee that exploiting differences rather than similarities, establishing a terminal hierarchy rather than understanding an interconnectedness; eventually this comparative elevating justifies discrimination, especially when one is defending the psychology and sociology of objectivists because they know truths that determine your inferiority (your feeling of injustice would merely be ignorance of truth).  My response to this argument is that everyone is bettering himself for his own sake, not towards "better" people.  It's called different things by those infamous self-help books: self-realization, self-actualization, self-efficacy, etc.  Nonetheless, be selfish for goodness sake!

Why care?  "They're just philosophy assholes", aye Justin?!  Because this defense of objective truth swallows up democracy; it says our government should be used to codify such discrimination.

"... openness is incompatible with a democratic way of life. The idea of liberal democracy is that people are free to determine for themselves what constitutes the good life; the state remains agnostic on this question. But this is obviously different from saying that all cultures and all values and all perspectives have equal weight."

The jurisprudence of our 1st Amendement speaks volumes for the necessity of open dialogue in preventing disenfranchisement.  I find it reasonable, for example, that my freedoms are those codified by a democractic constitution (although this does not mean limited by); it is not necessary that my rights are either inalienable or innate.  You might disagree, with reasons like unbounded free will.  The Founding Fathers, as apperception later appeals to, also debated how a democracy could be abused in the manner he advocates.  The abuse is called majoritarianism and the Anti-Federalists demanded a Bill of Rights to limit the scope of our government from establishing such a cultural hegemony.  Our government persistently struggles with individual constituents over general welfare, where various cultures -- via advocacy groups -- lobby their values over the whole.  A democracy cannot merely serve the interests of an individual; that is called anarchy.  And there is a good, healthy struggle between majoritarianism and anarchy in this nation.

I think people who chastise democracy and allude to some eugenic solution to those of us who think differently should stuff their mouth with a Bible and spare me the *gasping* and *ughing*.  But that's just my opinion.  ;)

Proof that God Exists

pooperman struck again and left me holding my tummy in laughter.  Maybe he spouts alot of rhetorical nonsense, but he grabs philosophers before they can drift back into their abstract-conceptualness-ism and pulls them down for a good spanking.  Get ready:

"If there is an entailment between truth and existence, then it seems we must be platonists at least about all true propositions, and possibly about all propositions regardless of their truth value--possibly we can only rule out the existence of nonsense, like square-circles and tri-omni gods that demonstrate their nonexistence by producing some sort of contradiction.

LOL! ...

"That is, I can't seem to shake my epistemology free of cumbersome ontologies. Perhaps I should just swallow the platonist pill and be done with it?"

It's the red one Pooper!  Oh damn, I meant the non-red one!

In other news, someone on philosophy surreptitiously slipped in THE proof -- meaning the original one that others have promulgated -- that God exists.  Look at those assumptions.  Mmm.

http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/courses/re/onto-arg.htm