Tag: Logic

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Geography of Reason

 

The Philosopher Aristotle divided persuasion into three parts: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. Traditionally, we have thought of them as three separate modes of persuasion, I propose we think of them as three connected parts of shaping one’s geography of reason.

First, some definitions:

Ethos (Nature) is the word from which we get Ethnicity (natural group of people) and is traditionally thought of as persuasion by credibility. For example, doctors are credible so we are persuaded to take their advice on medicine. The criticism of Ethos is that it is an “Appeal to authority” which is a logical fallacy that lends people to say it is inferior.

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Reading an editorial in the Wall Street Journal last week (How San Francisco is Killing Its Restaurants, October 17) I found myself thinking that the author seems to assume that everyone agrees that more restaurants is an inherently good thing. [The editorial may be behind a paywall.] What if a person whom the author is […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

There was a thing that my older brother would do back when we were kids playing chess. It infuriated me to no end. I’d sit there, thinking about a move for a couple minutes, then I’d make my move. He’d reach down and without taking any time to think at all he’d make his move. […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: From a Devil

 

Screwtape: Of a proposed course of action He wants men, so far as I can see, to ask very simple questions; is it righteous? is it prudent? is it possible? Now if we can keep men asking “Is it in accordance with the general movement of our time? Is it progressive or reactionary? Is this the way that History is going?” they will neglect the relevant questions. And the questions they do ask are, of course, unanswerable; for they do not know the future, and what the future will be depends very largely on just those choices which they now invoke the future to help them to make.

Screwtape (a fictional character from C.S. Lewis) is a devil, a demon, a minion of Satan, a deceiver and tempter of men. Here he’s giving some advice to a younger devil on how to deceive. The devils want us to ignore genuine reason and commit fallacies. Like ad populum fallacies–appealing to the preference of a majority when the majority lacks knowledge.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. But How Will You Pay For It?

 

This post stems out of a conversation at the work lunch table. Someone brought up that Brooklyn Bug-Eye’s economic illiteracy. “We’ve chased Amazon away! That’s three billion in tax incentives that we can spend elsewhere!” Not quite how that works. The discussion moved on to banning cow farts and air travel and so forth. I’ll spare you the details, you’ve heard ’em all before. The problem is that by the time you get to how you’re going to pay for such a thing you’ve already lost the argument.

Here, let’s have Rachael Carson tell it.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How to Build a Computer 20: Digital Watches

 

Because I’m the sort of simian who still thinks that digital watches are pretty neat, I figured I’d work through a practical example. We know how to represent binary numbers, and we know how to express logic with gates. That’s enough knowledge to be dangerous. From there I worked out how to light the lights on a digital watch face. Here, let me show you. But first a quick disclaimer. This isn’t my area of expertise; odds are there are plenty of ways to do this better or more efficiently. I can say at least that this one works.

Okay, let’s talk numbers. Recall from the discussion of binary that you can express any normal number as a series of ones and zeros. So, for example, you could draw One (that is, the presence of bread) in the 4’s place, one in the 2’s place, one in the 1’s place. 4 + 2 + 1 = 7

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How to Build a Computer 19: Logic Gates

 

Welcome back to How to Build a Computer. You recall where we’re at, right? Hah! Trick question. As if I’d stick to a rational sequence. Today we’re going over some of the details in how you go from electrical circuits doing whatever it is that electrical circuits do and turn that into logic. We’re talking Logical Gates

Logic gates! Each one more logical than the last.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How to Build a Computer 6: Simple Transistor Circuits

 

The problem with simple transistor circuits is that any circuit with a transistor in it isn’t all that simple. And frankly, I don’t know how much you know about circuits; I’m guessing it ranges from “nothing at all” to “teach your grandmother to suck eggs why don’t you.” At the risk of boring the latter crowd we’re going to give this a slow and superficial treatment. Let’s start with a circuit that’s just about as simple as I can make it. So simple it doesn’t even have a transistor in it!

I’d make this circuit more interesting but I don’t know the symbol for ‘electric chair’.

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My daughter will soon turn five and I haven’t read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? to her in a while. A few months ago she saw it in the book basket at her ballet class and it triggered the trouble I had with it. For those unfamiliar with it, it starts out […]

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Considering the number of people I’ve seen on social media seriously questioning why our president didn’t publicly call for the same justice for the Las Vegas concert shooter as he did for the terrorist who mowed down bicyclists in NYC, as in his recent tweet suggesting the latter get the death penalty, I’d propose that […]

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When arguing against a post or comment denigrating Trump, those who plan to vote for him often criticize the post as helping Hillary. One of the most common refutations of this criticisms is as follows (I paraphrase): Everybody on Ricochet already knows how awful Hillary is so there’s no point in wasting more pixels criticizing […]

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Ricochetti love to argue. Lawyers love to argue. Therefore, it’s no surprise that many Ricochetti are lawyers. That makes total sense, right? Or maybe it doesn’t. It’s an example of faulty logic, even if it’s factually true. Very few of us are ever taught logic; most of what I knew before I started studying for the law […]

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I am not a lawyer. So perhaps it is only apocryphal wisdom that says a strong contract is a concise one. But the principle is sound in regard to political arguments. The more passionately opposed to your position your audience is, the less likely that person is to consider everything you say in fairness and […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Lousy Arguments for Abortion

 

shutterstock_235463509Some arguments for the moral permissibility of abortion are pretty lousy. I’m talking about the interesting arguments from analogy that purport to establish the moral permissibility of all abortions even if an unborn baby really is a human being. Arguments from analogy employ a certain form, or pattern of reasoning along the following lines:

  1. A is like B in that both have property X;
  2. A has property Y; so
  3. B also has property Y.

There are various ways to evaluate an argument from analogy, but here are the three big ones:

  1. What are the relevant known similarities (i.e., X) of A and B?
  2. How relevant are the similarities?
  3. What are the relevant dissimilarities?

(For more on this, I recommend you consult my own sources: The Power of Logic and Introduction to Logic. Hint: You can buy older editions on Amazon for a zillionth of the price, and the older editions are about 99% as good.)

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Rubio’s Substantive and Moving Argument Against Abortion

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqUNZ-qwBsA
I think it’s a given that Sen. Marco Rubio is an intelligent and articulate speaker. In this video from a few years back, he lays out a very detailed argument against abortion. I’m posting this not because I simply agree with Rubio on this issue but to give you a glimpse of how the man logically frames an argument and presents it in public. Note especially how infrequently he glances at his notes. He doesn’t speak as though he’s memorized a canned speech in front of a mirror. He’s not lecturing or condescending to his audience. The speech is at times humorous, profound, and — towards the end — very moving.

Now, imagine how challenging it would be for some of the other candidates to make the same argument in the same detailed way. Can you imagine, for example, Donald Trump speaking so coherently and comprehensively on this or any other topic?

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Marriage, Schmarriage, and Blarriage

 

Earlier this year, I signed on to one of the amicus briefs arguing against judicial imposition of nationally recognized same-sex marriage and I am not changing my position here. However, I have gradually come to understand — largely thanks to the tireless efforts of SSM-supporting Ricochetti over on the SSM PIT — a pretty good argument for it. This argument deserves a fair hearing, and traditionalists like myself deserve the chance to confront it directly. Hopefully the result will be that some of us understand each other a little better, even if no one is actually convinced of anything.[1]

I say the argument is good because its premises support its conclusion and all of the premises — if not unquestionably true — at least have something going for them. Now, arguments have forms (as I explained here) and it’s probably best to not jump right into the argument itself, but its form, which is as follows:

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It’s one of the baser traits of humanity that we sometimes oppose something we don’t like for the same reasons we appeal to in defense of something we do like. A good example of this illogic is a Catholic politician who says both: “I’m pro-life, but I don’t want to impose my religious views on others; we […]

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We need to keep talking about education around here, right? A lack of good education is one of the root problems with the country, isn’t it? Critical thinking has long been a buzzword in education, but there are some questions we might ask about it. Questions like: What is critical thinking exactly? Is more critical thinking […]

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SoCons (and perhaps some Libertarians wary of huge social changes taking place very quickly at the federal–nay, civilizational–level): Have you ever been talking (perhaps on Facebook) about some potential negative effects of same-sex marriage and been accused of committing the slippery slope fallacy? Then read on! The slippery slope argument form is not always fallacious. Preview Open

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