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The Lengths That Some People Will Go

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Posted by Harvey on September 4, 2002 21:57:55 UTC

Hello Luis,

***"I find it almost humorous how you provide almost no defense to your arguments. . . I assume that the reason you don't defend your views is because. . ." * WHAT???!!! You've got to be kidding me. Are you an amnesiac? In case you need to be reminded of my defense, I've placed a few excerpts under my sign off below.***

This is a tit for tat discussion. I give you some responses to your objections to my position, and out of courtesy you give my your responses to your objections. I've noticed a tendency for you not to respond. In your last post, you completely ignored all of my last questions and objections, and just proceeded with your objections. I don't think any reply should be without this courtesy.

***What you might be objecting to is my inability to meet your standards of a proper "defense." But it's not like I haven't tried. In fact, I recognize that either (a) I haven't explained my position well enough, and thus after so much time it appears I'm probably not able to explain my position well enough, or (b) you haven't gotten my position, and thus after so much time it appears you are probably not able to get my position (indeed, I brought the Putnam papers to the discussion to verify which is more likely to be the case).***

I have a basic feel for your position (although I don't think it is fully defined without giving a carefully drafted point by point logical argument). The problem is that you won't provide this point by point construction, and this is due to (I assume) your own words "[your] inability to meet [my logical] standards of a proper [logical] 'defense'." Is this a clue that you are admitting that you cannot construct such a logical argument? If so, be clear about it. If not, the provide the logical argument. I can't think of a position which cannot be logically laid out unless it is an invalid argument.

***(a) I haven't explained my position well enough, and thus after so much time it appears I'm probably not able to explain my position well enough,***

Just give us the logical construction of your argument starting from scratch. Include all your premises. If you can't do it, then obviously something is terribly wrong with your argument. I can't go any further with you then ask for this simple request. Otherwise, all we can do is discuss my position, but like I said, this would not be tit for tat.

***On the other hand, it seems to me that your own explanation of this protracted disagreement is (a) Luis cannot see the depth of his errors, or (b) . . . it doesn't seem to me that you'll consider an alternative to (a).***

If you provide a reasonable logical support for your position in this logical layout as I am requesting (after we exchange a number of responses with each other), then I don't see any reason why I couldn't at least consider your position viable. Until then, I'll I have to go on is that you are too brilliant to be understood and that I am an idiot for not seeing your brilliance (jeez, where have I heard that one before?).

***H: "So what gives you the assurance that you are even partially correct?" L: Listen to how you phrase your thoughts: one must be "assured" before one makes an assertion. You can't even formulate a simple portrayal of self-confidence without referring to an "assurance." Why not 'self-assurance'? Whence this assurance, if it is not a personal initiative?***

Self-assurance is a psychological state, and I can see that you have tons of that. What I am interested is whence comes your assurance (i.e., sureness, certitude, conviction, etc) that you are correct. Usually this comes from scientific evidence, or logical argument, or mathematical support, etc. But, where does your assurance come from? If by logic and well-chosen premises, then show it to me. If it is some psychologistic philosophy (as you alluded to more than once), then how do you know this philosophy is correct?

***H: "I want to show everyone else that you cannot construct a non-metaphysical argument that supports your position (he he)." L: Another instance of you betraying your singular, unaccommodating viewpoint. It seems clear to me that you're saying, "there is no such thing as a non-metaphysical argument". Indeed, unless by this sentence you mean to criticize me personally, and nothing else, then the burden of proof lies in your court, as "metaphysical arguments" are the point of contention in this particular debate.***

So, in other words, believe everything that Luis says in his philosophy because Luis rejects metaphysical premises and to ask to see his premises and logic by which he makes these conclusions is heresy? Hmmm... I opt for option (b). Show me your premises and logic, and I'll decide for myself if you are using premises that are consistent with your philosophical stance. If they are consistent, then you obviously have a well-developed philosophy that deserves the pride that you place in your views. However, if they are contradictory, then obviously you need to go back to the drawing board.

***You seem to be demanding that I prove your definition of 'argument' wrong by means of an argument. If you tell yourself certain concepts are givens, and one example of such a given is your personal understanding of 'argument' as intrinsically 'metaphysical', then how in the world can you expect to strive for impartiality when scrutinizing an argument that refutes your version of 'argument' as intrinsically 'metaphysical', without detaching, at least for a moment either your sense of 'metaphysics' or 'argument'? I think, as I've seen these past couple of months, that you will find the argument against your unswayable account of 'argument' to be either logically inconsistent, or not an argument at all.***

Nothing as complicated as that. Just cite your premises that you use to construct your view on these issues (A1 thru A6, if you will). The premises you choose must be within your grasp to know. That is, don't cite premises such as "stuff exists" unless you can show me how you really know that stuff exists. Show me with proof. For example, I can accept as a premise that we experience passive mental activities which we define as perceptions and that we experience active mental activities which we define as interpretations. Nothing here I can think restricts you as you suggest. I think the restriction you fear is that you cannot prove the premises which you need in order to construct your philosophical views. If that is the case, then just admit it and our discussion is finished. You can't support your view. Regardless if your view is correct or not, you are asking for people to accept on faith that you are correct. If that is your request from me and others, then come out with it. Otherwise, put forth the argument in support of your position. It is really quite that simple.

***I think, as I've seen these past couple of months, that you will find the argument against your unswayable account of 'argument' to be either logically inconsistent, or not an argument at all.***

Contrary to what you say, I am not proposing any new definition of an argument. Roughly, an argument is a construction of reasonable premises that can be justified, logical construction without the use of logical fallacies, and a conclusion that follows from these premises and the logical construction that follows. Since the conclusion of your argument is that we shouldn't accept metaphysical premises, I would hope that you wouldn't ask us to accept a metaphysical premise (otherwise you would be contradicting yourself).

***If, on the other hand, you are criticizing my personal skills, and nothing else, then at least I feel justified in presenting an outside argument to the table (Putnam's).***

You must have failed to read Putnam's explanation that I posted yesterday. It explained that Putnam was referencing ontological commitments in language as it pertains to objects. That's not the point of our discussion since I've not once insist that we commit to a particular object ontology. I'm beginning to think that you just searched the internet for anything you could find on ontological commitments, and simply posted whatever came up on your search engine. You need to be fair to Putnam. Btw, you never did answer the question about how Putnam could be a theist and reject ontology altogether (which is becoming typical).

***The assertion "you don't defend your views" is a damned LIE. Shame on you, Harvey.***

I didn't mean to suggest that you never defend your views, but rather you are making a habit of being evasive. I apologize if you took my remarks on your plagiarizing the wrong way. I just take offense when I am not given a response after making frequent requests. Also, I don't like plagiarizing, it is a serious issue. We're all human, but let's all try to avoid it.

Warm regards, Harv

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