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Atomic Number 42
Jun 7, 2004

by Ozma


Even though I take great joy in all forms of debate and logical arguments, I take particular interest in studying one fascinating character trait of modern human beings: "Being very poor at logical and intellectually honest debates."

I've spent much of the last few years of my life focusing less on the substance of what people are debating, but more on the structure of how they debate, and how they construct logic for use in debates.

This forum is a wonderful place to do such observing, and in general this is one of the best, if not the best, place to find above-average logical debate.

However, as we can all see, with the prevalence of partisan politics, science, religion, etc... in everyday modern life, the art of debate has become more common than ever. This is not to say it has been done well. In fact, I think we can all agree that modern "debate" is a sickening ghost of what proper and logical debate should be.

The fact is, regardless of whether or not a particular side of an argument is "wrong" or "right", the people in todays society will debate the issue without any semblance of logical thought or intellectual honesty.

If you went out on the street corner, and asked a random stranger to debate you about something entirely simple and easily defensible, they will still somehow find a way to circumvent the logical line of thought and needlessly bring up Hitler or Liberals/Conservatives.

The point is, people are smarter than we can tell, many times. The problem, however, lies in the fact that they do not, or cannot, relay their arguments or logic in any sort of reasonable fashion. Debate is the key to education, and without proper debate in society, we lose all hope of securing truth.

So, here is my proposal for you, fine people of D&D. Let us have our first round of "FLAWLESS DEBATE", in the spirit of practicing logical debate, and learning to spot logical fallacies and intellectual honesty.

We shall choose a debatable topic, probably one of a controversial nature (in order to stir the embers of argument), and once we settle upon one, we shall formally begin "THE FLAWLESS DEBATE".

At this point, you guessed it...we debate. However, the main thing I want most observers to keep notice of is NOT what is being debated, per se, but more importantly the logic that is accompanying it. If someone argues their point in a way that is logically incoherent, they shall be called out on it, and we should all understand WHY that argument was improper and incorrect, regardless of our opinions about their side of the argument. I want everyone to take time and really filter through what you are arguing before you post it, and my hope is that if you do not, then you will be reminded of your error immediately. Hopefully, by the end of the first subject, we can have a debate that is perfectly logically consistent, pertains exactly to the issue at hand, and backs up its beliefs with cold hard facts.

It is my hope that, through exercises like this, with children especially, we can teach this generation of people to be better debaters, and therefore better thinkers overall.

What do you say? What shall we debate?

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Forzan
Mar 15, 2002

by Ozmaugh


I suggest we debate whether or not debate solely exists because of poor communication.

Claverjoe
Dec 21, 2005


Forzan posted:

I suggest we debate whether or not debate solely exists because of poor communication.

Ha. At first I thought this was a joke topic, but honestly it seems fascinating.

Kanyeshna
Mar 14, 2006
Lurker Extraordinaire

Creation vs. Evolution. Go.

The Remote Viewer
Jul 9, 2001


Forzan posted:

I suggest we debate whether or not debate solely exists because of poor communication.

Personally I think it's the best way to learn about any given topic. A good debate is informative AND entertaining.

hink
Feb 19, 2006


People that argue their feelings and convictions which have no rational basis are of course not going to be able to find two feet to stand on during an honest debate so it's not surprising that they'll use any means necessary to try to 'win' the debate. This is probably one of the reasons debate is lacking along with the 'hyperinformation' age in which people think they know everything by looking it up on wikipedia, the dictionary or other online resources.

echinopsis
Apr 13, 2004



hink posted:

People that argue their feelings and convictions which have no rational basis are of course not going to be able to find two feet to stand on during an honest debate so it's not surprising that they'll use any means necessary to try to 'win' the debate. This is probably one of the reasons debate is lacking along with the 'hyperinformation' age in which people think they know everything by looking it up on wikipedia, the dictionary or other online resources.

It doesn't help that people think the point of the debate is to "win"

Megatheory
Dec 19, 2008


Atomic Number 42 posted:

At this point, you guessed it...we debate. However, the main thing I want most observers to keep notice of is NOT what is being debated, per se, but more importantly the logic that is accompanying it. If someone argues their point in a way that is logically incoherent, they shall be called out on it, and we should all understand WHY that argument was improper and incorrect, regardless of our opinions about their side of the argument. I want everyone to take time and really filter through what you are arguing before you post it, and my hope is that if you do not, then you will be reminded of your error immediately. Hopefully, by the end of the first subject, we can have a debate that is perfectly logically consistent, pertains exactly to the issue at hand, and backs up its beliefs with cold hard facts.
We should be doing this already in every debate. Debate is most often about ego when it should be about finding the truth behind things.

Guy DeBorgore
Oct 12, 2004

Catnip is the opiate of the masses

For the vast majority of issues, there's just no way to have the sort of debate you're talking about. I do competitive university debating and picking good topics is a huge pain in the rear end, and the topics we do end up debating over aren't the big important ones like abortion or religion. Why? Because when people, even really smart logical people, debate over (e.g.) abortion, it generally ends up coming down to them debating over whether a fetus is "alive" or not, or whether there is a soul, or what exactly the definition of "life" is, etc. There is no singular "abortion debate" because the fundamental disagreements are over other, related issues. It ends up being really messy and kind of frustrating for everyone concerned, since the ground of the debate shifts all over the place.

The same thing happens with religion debates, and drug legalization debates, and IP debates. That's why university debating uses smaller, carefully contained topics where the grounds for conflict are a lot more clear-cut.

edit: it bears mentioning that these sorts of complicated, vague debates over big issues are also the most likely to end up with both parties throwing up their hands and saying "We could be having a good debate here if you would be rational and logical!"

deptstoremook
Jan 12, 2004
my mom got scared and said "you're moving with your Aunt and Uncle in Bel-Air!"


^ I think and hope the OP is talking about regular /"layperson" debate such as between two individuals or two candidates, or something like that. Competitive HS/university "debate" (in the US, at least) has a whole other slew of problems and shortcomings that make it unusable in any practical situation.

The Greeks & Romans from whom we've inherited our debate and rhetorical practices thought that eloquence and the quality of the debater's speech was at least as important as the underlying rationale for argument.

People, too, will be more likely to believe a charismatic speaker with weaker logic rather than an anti-social pedant.

Are we betraying the classical principles of debate when we turn it into, essentially, two robots finding minute flaws in the other's logic? Ought debate to be a performance art, and if not, then how can it not be?

Atomic Number 42
Jun 7, 2004

by Ozma


Megatheory posted:

We should be doing this already in every debate. Debate is most often about ego when it should be about finding the truth behind things.

Precisely, and that is why I think we need to put some real proactive effort into guiding the world back into the understanding that debate is about learning, and growing, and facts, and evidence, and REALITY. It is not a "game" that is won or lost. As someone else said, that is the main problem, that modern debate is a sport that has a winner. This causes people to formulate strategies and ways of cheating, in the hopes that the other person will not catch them, and they will then "win".

No, debate is absolutely the best form of learning and understanding. Much better than "I tell you things and then you accept them", and MUCH better than "Lets agree to disagree".

colonoscopy
Jan 29, 2004


It seems like this would amount to some combination of formal theorem proving, not the most dynamic of formats, and perfect mutual rational, Bayesian inference. At that point any disagreements are either irrational, illogical, or result from disagreements about the starting premises. This doesn't seem like the most viable of debating formats, but it would be interesting to see it work.

Salt Fish
Sep 11, 2003

fear itself


A perfect debate is an interesting idea, but don't you need perfect information about an issue to hold that debate?

I can't think of an example where both parties agree on a common set of facts, but disagree about a conclusion. If we believe that the main problem in modern debate is poor logic then shouldn't we find some examples of common facts leading to separate conclusions?

EskimoFreeState
Jul 23, 2007

I AM COMING FOR YOU,

AND YOU WILL LEAD ME TO THE DANCE FLOOR.


echinopsis posted:

It doesn't help that people think the point of the debate is to "win"

My philosophy professor and I have been emailing back and forth a written debate on the nature of the morality/ethics of abortion. After I finally got a chance to organize a full essay to counter his points, I actually thought I was going to "win," per se. As in, I thought he would email me back saying "You have some cogent points, Eskimo. I hadn't thought about it that way. I may have to rethink my positions."

Of course, he's a philosophy professor and I'm a philosophy minor. He sent me my essay back, with comments interleaved. It's twice as long as my original essay, seven times longer than the essay he originally wrote which caused me to begin this. I'm composing my riposte, and thinking we're soon going to be at the point where we'll have to agree to disagree.

I'm going to fight the good fight until that point, of course. I'd like to think I'll be less cocky next time.

Megatheory
Dec 19, 2008


Molimo posted:

edit: it bears mentioning that these sorts of complicated, vague debates over big issues are also the most likely to end up with both parties throwing up their hands and saying "We could be having a good debate here if you would be rational and logical!"
IMO this happens because the debaters usually rely on talking points while totally misunderstanding the other person's point of view. This is part of the "ego vs. truth" problem.

Maggot Man posted:

A perfect debate is an interesting idea, but don't you need perfect information about an issue to hold that debate?

I can't think of an example where both parties agree on a common set of facts, but disagree about a conclusion. If we believe that the main problem in modern debate is poor logic then shouldn't we find some examples of common facts leading to separate conclusions?
Science has standards for what is evidence and what is not. Legal proceedings do as well. There is no reason I can think of why there can't be similar standards for political/philosophical debates. Of course, this would only work if each side is willing to hold itself to the appropriate standard.

Guy DeBorgore
Oct 12, 2004

Catnip is the opiate of the masses

deptstoremook posted:

^ I think and hope the OP is talking about regular /"layperson" debate such as between two individuals or two candidates, or something like that. Competitive HS/university "debate" (in the US, at least) has a whole other slew of problems and shortcomings that make it unusable in any practical situation.

Well US debate is hosed, the sooner you guys all switch to proper Parliamentary styles the better.

Seriously, you're right that competitive debate is pretty useless at actually hashing out a correct answer to a question (which is what we're trying to do in any argument, right?). But so is regular debate between two individuals, or even between multiple people on a forum. We all know how often it happens that someone actually concedes defeat in an argument over current events or politics, i.e. never. In fact, how many important issues have actually been settled by one-on-one debating? None that I can think of. I don't see how what we do at D&D is any more usable in a "practical situation" than university debate. At least university debating has judges.

There's an entire discipline devoted to arguing over these important, fundamental issues. It's called philosophy. Stereotypes aside, philosophers have answered a lot more questions than debaters on an internet forum (not that that's saying much, but still). That's because instead of arguing in brief sentences face-to-face, or even in 200-word posts, philosophers argue in essays and books, and take centuries to decide whether, say, the existence of God can be proven a priori (they decided it can't!).

Atomic Number 42
Jun 7, 2004

by Ozma


Molimo posted:

We all know how often it happens that someone actually concedes defeat in an argument over current events or politics, i.e. never. In fact, how many important issues have actually been settled by one-on-one debating?

I believe this is due to personal illogical pride and ego stemming from the concept of "winning and losing", as mentioned earlier.

I had hundreds of debates when I was growing up about the literal historical accuracy of the Bible. I believed it was accurate, they didn't, and I debated for years about it. At the time, I honestly refused their arguments and knew I was right. Until I grew older and dabbled in my philosophy of debate, I was unable to really ALLOW myself the right to accept some arguments from the other side. "Allow" is the key word here.

My thinking on the subject today is FAR different than my thinking would have been without those debates. However, it would have all been for naught had I not allowed myself the ability to truly accept and filter through their arguments, and judge them based on their factual merits, instead of what my opinion was.

It takes a lot of strife and struggle to allow yourself to do that. I think it's something that many/most people can't allow themselves to do.

I think that's the problem with modern debate, not debate in and of itself.

Guy DeBorgore
Oct 12, 2004

Catnip is the opiate of the masses

Megatheory posted:

IMO this happens because the debaters usually rely on talking points while totally misunderstanding the other person's point of view. This is part of the "ego vs. truth" problem.

you're right, but debating really lends itself to those sorts of misunderstandings. Two people arguing in person aren't going to spend hours beforehand working out what exactly the grounds of debate are, what their precise stances are, what premises they both agree on, etc. Online it's a little better but not much. That's why misunderstandings and confusion arise so easily, because people go into it with the attitude that "we're going to argue over abortion!" instead of "we're going to come to a decision about which criteria an organism has to meet for it to be sufficiently alive to warrant our protection."

s0meb0dy0
Feb 27, 2004

The death of a child is always a tragedy, but let's put this in perspective, shall we? I mean they WERE palestinian.

Molimo posted:

you're right, but debating really lends itself to those sorts of misunderstandings. Two people arguing in person aren't going to spend hours beforehand working out what exactly the grounds of debate are, what their precise stances are, what premises they both agree on, etc. Online it's a little better but not much. That's why misunderstandings and confusion arise so easily, because people go into it with the attitude that "we're going to argue over abortion!" instead of "we're going to come to a decision about which criteria an organism has to meet for it to be sufficiently alive to warrant our protection."
And you can only agree to arrive at a decision if there is mutual respect and someone who is willing to unofficially lead the discussion more like a meeting.

flavor
Sep 15, 2003

Yeah boyeeeeeee, cold chillin in effect y'all!

I reject the concepts of "truth", flawlessness of debates or provable logic in reasoning pertaining to worldly affairs. Even math has inconsistencies and is based on unprovable axioms.

That is not to say that there aren't debating styles I like better than others. I see debates here and elsewhere more or less as a beauty contest of ideas that I either accept or reject to a degree. There are extraneous factors that influence the reception of an idea like how early it has been put forth, whether adherents take the time to address all counterpoints etcetera that shouldn't necessarily have an influence but do.
In many threads here, for example, there are one or two posters who vehemently put forth their viewpoint and who after a few pages fill 50% of the thread with their longish answers to every little point made against them, until the other side gives up for lack of time or nerves. That does not make one side better than the other but I'm afraid it often feels like the people with the longest breath have "won" the discussion.
I don't think it's possible to rid debates of these factors.

rawstorm
May 10, 2008

by Ozma


If two people are arguing, it is because they misunderstand each other, or they disagree at a fundamental level. Or they are just arguing for fun.

Atomic Number 42
Jun 7, 2004

by Ozma


rawstorm posted:

If two people are arguing, it is because they misunderstand each other, or they disagree at a fundamental level. Or they are just arguing for fun.

I think the basic function of what I call "Flawless Debate" is not to necessarily come to a solution or finishing point, despite our natural tendency to want to finalize a debate in some form or another.

I think flawless debate's main purpose is to minimize exactly what you said, misunderstandings. These are caused by the debaters lack of discipline in staying on topic, staying intellectually honest, and staying humble.

Many times, when faced with a solid rebuttal to ones claim, one will spin their initial statement slightly, just enough to get around the new rebuttal, due to lack of easy counterpoint. This leads to the "misunderstanding" of ones viewpoint, due to the fact that it is easily misconstrued by the very person proclaiming it, in the efforts to not cede ground to the opposing side.

Again, with perfect debate, these spins and twists would be minimized through a simple acknowledgment of the solid rebuttal, and the search for a solid rebuttal to the rebuttal. If none can be found, there you go.

Keeping the "Yeah, but, I meant..." to a minimum is key, through discipline.

flavor
Sep 15, 2003

Yeah boyeeeeeee, cold chillin in effect y'all!

Atomic Number 42 posted:

Keeping the "Yeah, but, I meant..." to a minimum is key, through discipline.
That has two sides, like all things. It can be legitimate if someone's words had been misconstrued to mean something else or it can be moving the goalposts.

Atomic Number 42
Jun 7, 2004

by Ozma


flavor posted:

That has two sides, like all things. It can be legitimate if someone's words had been misconstrued to mean something else or it can be moving the goalposts.

Again, those would be personal debate flaws that need to be acknowledged and called out. That kind of focus will keep the dodging and spinning to a minimum, regardless of the originating source.

flavor
Sep 15, 2003

Yeah boyeeeeeee, cold chillin in effect y'all!

Atomic Number 42 posted:

Again, with perfect debate, these spins and twists would be minimized
I had missed that: In a perfect debate, problems would not exist. Otherwise it'd just be a very good debate by your standards.

Atomic Number 42 posted:

Again, those would be personal debate flaws that need to be acknowledged and called out.
How do you objectively determine dodging and spinning?

I guess our concepts of logic are too different.

Atomic Number 42
Jun 7, 2004

by Ozma


flavor posted:

How do you objectively determine dodging and spinning?

It needs to be acknowledged by the one doing the spinning and dodging, or else you are correct, it is something that we cannot see from the outside.

But, honestly, deep down you know when you alter your own argument in order to circumvent a solid problem with it. You don't actually BELIEVE your new altered argument, you have just used it to circumvent this one instance of the problem, and you still retain your base beliefs. This leads to the confusion of your true stance by the other side, since your argument is no longer internally consistent.

It is THIS that needs to be acknowledged and ceased by the debater, in the pursuit of intellectual honesty.

Atomic Number 42 fucked around with this message at Dec 20, 2008 around 01:45

Temporary Overload
Jan 26, 2005
meh

rawstorm posted:

If two people are arguing, it is because they misunderstand each other, or they disagree at a fundamental level. Or they are just arguing for fun.

This is the most intelligent thing I've read all week, and I just finished an article on the theory behind triaxial induction logging of resistivity in oil well formations. This fact is what ultimately burned me out on competitive debate after 4 years on the high school circuit back in the day. After a certain level of intellectual and technical competency on the parts of the debaters, the decision lies entirely in the hands of the judge's preconceived preferences on style and philosophy. That's a clusterfuck, and real-life debates don't even have such an arbitrary judge. How can you expect them to be "perfect," let alone useful for the participants?

Two rational people can take the same set of facts and use similar lines of logic to come to radically different conclusions, which should not be possible in a coherent system. The disagreement arises because all people start with fundamental assumptions about values which are either too vague or too intangible to be rationally debatable. "Freedom vs Safety" is a pretty classic example of an argument in which both sides can be equally honest, informed, and rational, and have there be no clear way to come to any sort of agreement aside from "well, it depends on the situation." What topic can we find that has no arbitrary value-based component, yet is subject to debate, i.e. considerations aside from basic facts and figures?

I assert that there are few or no topics which are both devoid of inarguable value-based statements, and also subject to more than formal/axiomatic logic.

I think what A.N.42 is really suggesting is that we have a dispassionate debate over an issue about which no one involved is emotionally invested. I think that's the necessary condition for an intellectually-honest, "perfect" debate. And that, my friends, is an extremely uninteresting debate.

flavor
Sep 15, 2003

Yeah boyeeeeeee, cold chillin in effect y'all!

Atomic Number 42 posted:

But, honestly, deep down you know when you alter your own argument in order to circumvent a solid problem with it. You don't actually BELIEVE your new altered argument, you have just used it to circumvent this one instance of the problem, and you still retain your base beliefs.
Right, but I can honestly also tell you that I've had many instances in which I had to explain myself better because language barriers or definitions came into play. The problem is that all communications are imperfect and won't always (if ever) convey 100% of any mental concept.

Atomic Number 42
Jun 7, 2004

by Ozma


flavor posted:

Right, but I can honestly also tell you that I've had many instances in which I had to explain myself better because language barriers or definitions came into play. The problem is that all communications are imperfect and won't always (if ever) convey 100% of any mental concept.

I understand that, and honestly there's nothing wrong with that. I'll even use it in this post. Look, what I meant was...that through discipline we can keep ourselves on a pattern of "claim, rebuttal, rebuttal, rebuttal" as opposed to the more popular "claim, rebuttal, no wait you don't get it, confusion" based around avoiding having to give a rebuttal, because they don't have one.

Obviously restating your position out of honest communication is good. Restating your position just to avoid acknowledging a solid rebuttal is more what I was concerned with. I completely understand and agree with what you said.

Thee Uber Gnat
Jun 1, 2000

Retired.

Temporary Overload posted:

Two rational people can take the same set of facts and use similar lines of logic to come to radically different conclusions, which should not be possible in a coherent system. The disagreement arises because all people start with fundamental assumptions about values which are either too vague or too intangible to be rationally debatable. "Freedom vs Safety" is a pretty classic example of an argument in which both sides can be equally honest, informed, and rational, and have there be no clear way to come to any sort of agreement aside from "well, it depends on the situation." What topic can we find that has no arbitrary value-based component, yet is subject to debate, i.e. considerations aside from basic facts and figures?

I think what you mean here is simply that most people begin debates with different premises, spend a while figuring that out, and then agree to disagree because premises proceed logic and reason.

Yawgmoft
Nov 15, 2004

Hello darkness my old friend


Atomic Number 42 posted:

Even though I take great joy in all forms of debate and logical arguments, I take particular interest in studying one fascinating character trait of modern human beings: "Being very poor at logical and intellectually honest debates."

This is in no way confined to the modern era. People debate now as they always have. Even Cicero, regarded as one of the best debaters and speech writers in history, has his own intellectually dishonest tactics. For example, he would accuse people of being rapist, murderers, and incestuous deadbeats without abandoning the moral high ground by stating "Now, there are some who say that my opponent raped his own mother, but..."

Stevie D
Mar 2, 2008

by Ozma


What about Nietzsche's idea, that whatever he may believe to be true has taken him years of understanding created by minute points all strung together, and that it would be unreasonable for anyone to ask him to defend/explain his position, 1) simply because of the effort and time required for him to do so, and 2) because he may miss a step, and that would be embarrassing for no reason since he knows that his logic earlier was correct and therefore so was his conclusion, to which he now holds fast.

Or is it better for debate to only occur between parties that honestly enter into it believing they don't have any semblance of a clue as to what the correct answer might be? Or is this "nicer" kind of debate more useful for the participants, and the less cooperative/more combative debate more useful for (and implies) an audience? Is the answer already in Plato's "Euthydemus"?

Atomic Number 42
Jun 7, 2004

by Ozma


I think we need to make clear the borders between different types of debate.

One would be a debate where the topic being discussed is primarily of an opinionated or "decision making" nature. Examples: Banning abortion, lowering the drinking age, raising the speed limit, etc...

These debates, by nature, will end without a conclusion, due to the fact that the disagreement arises, necessarily, from a fundamental difference in how one perceives the world, and their wishes for it.

In any case, these debates do not, or rarely, involve facts. When they do, the facts are irrelevant. It all depends on where the debaters "draw the line" on the subject. Where do you draw the line on when a fetus in a human (A non-answerable question)? Where do you draw the line on how many teenagers can die from alcohol related deaths (non-answerable question), etc...

These type of debates, by nature, are unable to be debated flawlessly. Due to the fact that rhetorical appeals are the major weaponry in this type of argument, it is silly to assume that we can smoke it out. An abortion debate without emotion is no debate at all.

These type of debates are "debates of art" and are outside the scope of this thread.

However, the main type of debate I began this thread in reference to is "Factual Debates", mainly revolving around questions that have a definite factual answer in the universe. Examples such as: Did we land on the moon? Is the theory of evolution accurate? Did John Doe shoot his wife last night? Etc...

These type of debates DO have an answer, and the point of the debate is to weed out that correct and factual answer, regardless of ones wishes for the answer. Generally these answers are in the form of "yes" and "no". As opposed to a "Debate of art", these are "Debates of Science".

THESE are the types of debates that necessitate a flawless debate.

UBERGOD
Mar 21, 2008

by Tiny Fistpump


The problem with debating abortion is that virtually every anti-abortion advocate is really motivated by religion, and throughout the debate they conceal that by bringing up arguments about whether or not a fetus is alive, etc etc, pretending that their opinion has a secular basis. I have never once in my life met a secular/non practicing religious person who is against abortion.

UBERGOD fucked around with this message at Dec 20, 2008 around 19:44

dealing with naruto
Feb 24, 2007

that is my ninja way

Atomic Number 42 posted:

However, the main type of debate I began this thread in reference to is "Factual Debates", mainly revolving around questions that have a definite factual answer in the universe. Examples such as: Did we land on the moon? Is the theory of evolution accurate? Did John Doe shoot his wife last night? Etc...

These type of debates DO have an answer, and the point of the debate is to weed out that correct and factual answer, regardless of ones wishes for the answer. Generally these answers are in the form of "yes" and "no". As opposed to a "Debate of art", these are "Debates of Science".

THESE are the types of debates that necessitate a flawless debate.
I think it is just as important to see, not only that such debates have definite yes or no answers, but how they come about having yes or no answers. A flawless debate might settle upon a yes or no, but it cannot do so without some sort of justification.

You suggest that these questions are resolveable in this way because there is "a definite factual answer in the universe". As such, part of your justification rests upon commitments to facts and the universe. I do not believe your view of factual statements is fully unreconcilable with views that limit the fact simply to discourse, or remove the fact entirely, as is done in neo-pragmatism and postmodernism, respectively.

However, it is important to be aware that some views of facticity are less lenient toward what exists; it would probably be better to limit yourself to saying that these factual claims are factual because they are justified, and leave the universe out of it.

Atomic Number 42
Jun 7, 2004

by Ozma


TrevorS posted:

it would probably be better to limit yourself to saying that these factual claims are factual because they are justified, and leave the universe out of it.

I agree. My purpose for using "the universe" the way that I did was simply to make clear the idea that certain events did occur as far as physicality is concerned.

Take for instance the moon landing. In July of 1969, the atoms of a US built lunar lander did indeed touch the atoms of lunar soil upon the moon. This is generally the physical definition of the moon landing. My point was simply that, in the physical record of the universe, these conditions were met, and that certain arguments are formed around this sort of definition. If we were going to debate whether or not the moon landing occurred, this is the core debate that is taking place, the physical record of the event, and has zero room for elasticity on the matter. (Until the definition of the event is changed)

As far as WE are concerned, factuality and truth is harder to come by, through the gates of definitions and connotations and understanding. But, I simply invoked "The Universe" to order to show the linkage between physical universal occurrences, and how we define them.

Canasta_Nasty
Aug 23, 2005

We're all equally ineffective


flavor posted:

I reject the concepts of "truth", flawlessness of debates or provable logic in reasoning pertaining to worldly affairs. Even math has inconsistencies and is based on unprovable axioms.

Some may not see it as a big deal, but math does not have inconsistencies. One inconsistency in a formal system allows you to prove anything from that system. Following Godel's proof, which is the only thing close to this claim, we arrive at the conclusion that mathematics is incompletable. This means that there exists a non-empty set of theorems that are undecidable in a given system. This is very different from being inconsistent.

dealing with naruto
Feb 24, 2007

that is my ninja way

Atomic Number 42 posted:

If we were going to debate whether or not the moon landing occurred, this is the core debate that is taking place, the physical record of the event, and has zero room for elasticity on the matter.
Precisely. There is no value in going into more depth than this. It's important to restrict metaphysical speculation, or else the argument loses relevance.

quote:

As far as WE are concerned, factuality and truth is harder to come by, through the gates of definitions and connotations and understanding. But, I simply invoked "The Universe" to order to show the linkage between physical universal occurrences, and how we define them.
I've taken a liking to removing truth from discourse as much as possible. I notice and appreciate how you restricted factuality to yes/no, rather than to true/false. I would have found more to criticize had you done the opposite.

Doctor J
Dec 31, 2006
MD

Oh man, I love this idea. Though, for the sake of the cause, I would suggest staying away from political/religious topics. Instead, for a more philosophical effect, I think thought experiment questions would be more fitting.

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Jack Fool
Feb 16, 2003



Doing this here is a problem because anyone can post in any thread. There's a forum over here where they limit each thread to two people and they square off and then have a parallel peanut gallery thread in a different forum.

It's not a terrible idea I guess if you were going to have them here or have a forum like that, but I think you'd have a hard time keeping it to two people unless you had mods involved.

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