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October 4th, 2006

Trivial Grammar: Deducing -ism's

jeffrock's recent entry reminded me to ask a trivial question about grammar and semantic: if logic is a(n important) branch of philosophy, then why do the philosophical -ism's not follow logically from their roots? 

I give some examples that reveal why I believe some "lovers of wisdom" find the vocabulary used in the formal study of philosophy an insuperable and frivolous barrier to their sincere, philosophic interest.  In philosophy of education circles, for example, my identification of this hurdle is called "illteracy" and students cannot always overcome it be memorizing the unique definition of every word.  I offer logical deduction as a consistent alternative to memorization, despite the semantic inertia of the English language bent against this alternative.  The vocabulary of philosophy has a decent set of words to exemplify.

Note: originally posted to philosophy where a discussion follows.

Critical Thinking and Informal Logic

1. Logical Fallacies
1. (a) Argumentum cum hoc ergo propter hoc -- Argument confuses correlation with causation.
1. (b) Argumentum ad ignorantiam -- Argument claims that a premise is true because it has not been proven true, or that a premise is false because it has not been proven true.
1. (c) Argumentum ad antiquitatem -- Argument rests on a premise, or draws a conclusion, based only on an appeal to tradition.
1. (d) Argumentum petitio principii -- Argument affirms the consequent.
1. (e) Argumentum ad populum -- Argument is only an appeal to majority opinion.
1. (f) Argumentum ad verecundiam -- Argument is only an appeal to authority.
1. (g) Denial of Antecedent -- Argument attempts to deny the consequent simply by denying the antecedent.
1. (h) Argumentum ignoratio elenchi -- Argument deals with a red herring that is unrelated to the position being evaluated.
1. (i) False Dilemma -- Argument relies on an arbitrary disjunction.
1. (j) Argumentum ad hominem -- Argument relies on an attack on the speaker as opposed to the argument being made.
1. (k) Strawman Argument -- Argument is only a critique of an exaggeration of the one actually being made, or on argument that was never made at all.

2. Deficient Interest. -- It is the opinion that the discussion has become insufficiently interesting to pursue further.

3. Judgment of Incompetence.
3. (a) Lack of Knowledge -- You have exhibited a lack of knowledge on the topic being discussed, making further communication insufficiently profitable to Mr. Chillingsworth.
3. (b) Irrational Thought -- Your thinking is not sufficiently rational to warrant further communication.
3. (c) Raw Stupidity -- While you might be a decent person, your online intelligence is below the minimum amount required for a worthwhile conversation. Note that this is simply a description of Mr. Chillingsworth's personal motivations, and is not meant to be insulting in any way.

4. Deficient Time -- Mr. Chillingsworth doesn't have time to respond right now.