Monday, November 14, 2011

Commenting 101

This is a logic and philosophy blog and so comments require some elementary philosophical ‘good manners’. Here is an example of a ‘bad mannered’ comment, split into its five separate sentences.
1. FOOL, n. A person who pervades the domain of intellectual speculation and diffuses himself through the channels of moral activity (Bierce knew the score on bumblers, including ones wearing prussian helmets..and a tutu)
2. Actually, Ock. the causation issue regarding "truthmakin'" which bothers the faux-platonists at is a legitimate issue, however primitive (for Armstrong as well...and holy Frege, and logicists--or, it should be).
3. The Rand-monkeys are sort of aware of it.
4. Social-economic existence ...compels people to observe facts/evidence (ie, to do science--as the saying goes, "necessity being the mother of invention"--fact-gathering leads to the development of tools, so forth), and ...there is a causal relation between the observation and its translation into syntax.
5. In brief--not quite strict determinism (and is a carny-perp a product of poor conditioning, or just evil? both probably)
This is bad-mannered and useless. (1) is a quotation from Bierce followed by an observation about tutus which I don’t follow. A tutu is a sort of ballet frock. What does a ballet frock have to do with the theory of truth? (2) says that the truthmaking issue is a serious one. Well yes, but we already know that, so it is not helpful. (3) is a pure ad hominem. (4) says that people observe facts, and that the observation causes translation into syntax. This is the closest to a relevant comment. But it is misplaced. The question is whether there are things that make true statements true, not whether there are observations that cause things to be written down or spoken. (5) is a comment about determinism whose relevance I do not understand.

Address comments to what is being argued or claimed in the post itself. Comments should engage with either the validity of the argument (do the initial assumptions imply the conclusion), or with the soundness of the argument (are the initial assumptions true?). If you are questioning the validity of an argument, give an example of where the premisses are true, and the conclusion false. If you are questioning the truth of an assumption or a claim, give reasons why it is wrong.

Another commenter wrote on the last post “I don't see anything having been sorted out. What I see is an example of terrible, upside down, epistemology”. This is also not helpful. Give an instance of what has not been sorted out, and show clearly why it has not been sorted out. And show which bit is ‘epistemology’, and show why it is terrible and upside-down.

From now on I will be deleting any comment that strays too far from these basic rules. I will also delete any comment that contains ad hominem, even if it is otherwise acceptable.


Anthony said...

"The question is whether there are things that make true statements true, not whether there are observations that cause things to be written down or spoken."

I suspect the intended meaning of the former is rather close to the latter. At least, that's the only way I can see to make sense of it, that "make true" is meant in the epistemological sense, not the metaphysical sense. (Of course, if T is "contingent", and you want to invent the notion of possible worlds, I guess then you could say it is metaphysical -- but I don't think you have to do that just to understand what is meant by "truthmaker").

"Maverick" gives four meanings of "because", and then suggests that this is a fifth one. However, I suspect it is really a special case of the second: "2. There is the semantic 'because' you mention. The surface is colored because it is red."

"The surface is red because its redness exists." is just a special case of 2, where the second proposition is "T exists" (or, in the case of events, "T happened", or probably some other small set of "T X").

Anthony said...

"Give an instance of what has not been sorted out, and show clearly why it has not been sorted out."

I tried that. I told you that you don't understand Objectivism (what has not been sorted out), because you haven't read Rand (cwhy it has not been sorted out). You responded with "Not a productive use of my time."

I can't (and no one else can) insert knowledge into your brain for you. If you want to understand things, you have to do some work yourself.

J said...
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J said...

You misread 2 completely. I said Causation is an issue--ie, which I tried to show you via Kant's point on the grounding of empirical perceptions (which you didn't get). Why not respond to that, or any of my points--say, predication (ie universals and particulars). Have you read the Wiki or any material on Armstrong's Truthmaker claims ? Im sure Ant. hasn't.

I teach logic, E. Ive yet to see any coherent arguments here--like true premises--valid conclusion-- or on Try it, Modus Ponens

Maybe just stick to Rand, Ed. with Tony-carney here.

Edward Ockham said...

Two comments deleted per ad hominem and incoherent rambling.

Edward Ockham said...

>>I teach logic, E. Ive yet to see any coherent arguments here--like true premises--valid conclusion

What do you mean by 'valid conclusion'?

Edward Ockham said...

>>If you want to understand things, you have to do some work yourself.

Two comments.

(1) I posted a comment by Larry Sanger, about Objectivism. You said that was terribly wrong without saying why. You need to say which of his claims are false. If you mean ‘all of them’ you should explicitly say ‘all of them’. And you should say briefly why. For example, Larry says “open source and by extension Wikipedia involve the free association of individuals under very loose (practically no) rules. For this reason it greatly appeals to libertarian (and thus Objectivist, i.e., Ayn Rand-ian) types”. Are you objecting to the claim about open source and Wikipedia? If so, why? The second sentence has two claims, namely (a) the appeal to libertarian/Objectivist types and (b) the claim that the features specified are the reason for the appeal.

(2) If I want to understand things I will do some work myself. I don’t particularly want to understand Ayn Rand, unless it is necessary. That is because everything I have read about her, written by competent philosophers, suggests she was not a competent philosopher. I’m happy to rely on secondary sources like Sanger, who is obviously a competent philosopher.

J said...

Incoherent--specifying Rand's naive empiricism? No. You just have this sort of British ultra-civility--actually sounds rather Toryish--not philosophical.

Again, Im wondering if you have read anything on Armstrong's"Truthmaker" claim . (or has Vallicella). Wiki has an alright run-down (superficial).

Frege's "Thought" essay has nothing to do with it (since he's a cartesian more or less and actually skeptical ofany knowledge from the senses)

J said...

What do you mean by 'valid conclusion'?

With a valid deductive argument, the conclusion follows necessarily from the premises--per a valid form (eg. modus ponens)--and that can be proven (via reductio, or the older Carnapian proofs). Not real profound but in MPL "validity" is used, not "truth" (which applies to the premises). And an argument can be valid, but..unsound (premises are not true, or probable, or whimsical--my point on Lewis Carroll-logic which you ignored).

Then one might say, some axioms (say the tautological truth of the Law of the excluded middle) are true but finding a Truthmaker would be rather difficult.

Edward Ockham said...

>>With a valid deductive argument

Yes. Not 'valid conclusion'.

J said...
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J said...

No--a valid argument form-- P -> Q, P, therefore,Q-- implies that a valid conclusion follows from the premises (tho you might not know that if given a complex/lengthy series of premises--so you attempt to prove the validity of the conclusion). Not "true", except in colloquial sense

J said...

The point is argument may be valid (the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises)....but not true::

All hummingbirds are paisley-colored.
Socrates is a hummingbird.
Therefore, Socrates is paisley-colored.

Valid (tho'..unsound, ie false premises..there are green and red hummingbirds for one. And don't think any are named "Socrates" (tho maybe a few)). Pretty obvious to anyone who ever worked through a few syllogisms but...many who fancy themselves philosophers don't seem to get it.

Anthony said...

"I don’t particularly want to understand Ayn Rand, unless it is necessary."

Then I don't see any reason to get into Sanger's comments.

"You need to say which of his claims are false."

Well, no, I don't. However, I may be willing to, to some extent.

"Are you objecting to the claim about open source and Wikipedia?"

Not really. I agree that open source advocates do tend to be rather "libertarian", as in almost-anarchist. But I am objecting to the claim about "libertarianism" and Ayn Rand. Rand was very much opposed to anarchism, and she was only really "libertarian" in the literal sense of "pro liberty", which I think is a fairly vacuous description. Rand was strongly opposed to the Libertarian Party, largely because it attracted many of the very type of people who now inhabit Wikipedia.

So, well, while Larry's description of Rand's views as "libertarian" is perhaps slightly better than your description of them as "republican", it's not a very good one. When Rand gave a one word description of her political philosophy she chose "capitalism", not "libertarianism". Part of that capitalism is strong intellectual property protections. In fact, a belief attributed to her, if not an actual quote from her (I'm not sure), is that "all property [at its root] is intellectual property".

Anthony said...

[quote]All kinds of people today call themselves “libertarians,” especially something calling itself the New Right, which consists of hippies, except that they’re anarchists instead of collectivists. But of course, anarchists are collectivists. Capitalism is the one system that requires absolute objective law, yet they want to combine capitalism and anarchism. That is worse than anything the New Left has proposed. It’s a mockery of philosophy and ideology. They sling slogans and try to ride on two bandwagons. They want to be hippies, but don’t want to preach collectivism, because those jobs are already taken. But anarchism is a logical outgrowth of the anti-intellectual side of collectivism. I could deal with a Marxist with a greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect. The anarchist is the scum of the intellectual world of the left, which has given them up. So the right picks up another leftist discard. That’s the Libertarian movement.[/quote] - Ayn Rand

[quote]Because Libertarians are a monstrous, disgusting bunch of people: they plagiarize my ideas when that fits their purpose, and they denounce me in a more vicious manner than any communist publication, when that fits their purpose. They are lower than any pragmatists, and what they hold against Objectivism is morality. They’d like to have an amoral political program. [/quote] - ayn Rand

J said...

At times Rand's property-rights justification seems a bit Lockean--Locke-lite (or was it..Locke-tight, per Nate Branden. Heh heh).

AS in....our forefathers seized this property decades ago (and booted off/killed/abducted the natives,etc), and that was fair and square since we are --at least the non-collectivists-- the Hyperboreans and we deserve the property. And those rights shall not be abrogated! Nozick in that tradition as well.