Re: MD Begging the Question, Moral Intuitions, and Answering the Nazi, Part III

From: Platt Holden (
Date: Thu Oct 16 2003 - 15:51:58 BST

  • Next message: Platt Holden: "Re: MD Begging the Question, Moral Intuitions, and Answering the Nazi, Part III"


    > Platt said:
    > Your first lengthy argument in your 3-part series makes a big deal about
    > the role of assumptions in logic argument but fails to acknowledge that
    > Rorty's views are also based on assumptions such as "Our final
    > vocabulary corresponds to our assumptions." In fact, Rorty's whole big
    > deal about "vocabularies" is one elephantine assumption that begs the
    > question over the MOQ.
    > Matt:
    > Platt, if I say, "we are both ... begging the question over each other"
    > that means we are both, myself and Rorty and Pirsig and you, begging the
    > question over each other (if and only if that happens to be the case).
    > It is completely asanine to think that somehow I'm saying Rorty escapes
    > the circularity of justificatory practices. If we take Pirsig as doing
    > Platonic metaphysics, then yes, Rorty is begging the question, just as
    > Pirsig is begging the question. However, I'm not sure that Pirsig
    > doesn't agree with Rorty's "big deal," his "one elephantine assumption"
    > about different vocabularies. In fact, most of what was in this series,
    > I think, is evidence to the contrary.
    > To think that I was somehow out to show that Pirsig begs the question
    > and Rorty doesn't was to do a poor job of reading. I'm sorry, but my
    > posts were mainly about Pirsig this time, not Rorty.

    Well, it's nice to know that your hero Rorty begs the question just
    like everybody else who uses reason to argue. Of course, most of us
    rely on our senses (empiricism), in addition to our rational faculties,
    to establish the validity of premises and conclusions. In other words
    in the real, pragmatic world, we don't sit around figuring things out
    using symbolic logic.

    Comparing Pirsig and Rorty on how much empirical data they use to
    support their arguments, I'd say Pirsig scores 10 to Rorty's 0. That
    alone makes Pirsig the better debater if that's what you think is
    really important. There's another factor, too. As I mentioned briefly
    in my last post on evolution, empiricism (according to Pirsig) includes
    a "sense of value." If I were to ask a dozen people (off campus) which
    of the two "arguments," Rorty's or Pirsig's, had the most value, I'd
    bet 11 out of 12 would vote for Pirsig's. Pirsig's theories you can
    take to the bank, as some on this site have testified. Rorty's
    theories? Good for what?

    > Platt said:
    > That assumptions are vital in logical argument comes as no great
    > revelation. Years ago Ayn Rand warned people to "check your premises."
    > So I don't think you need to spend a lot of time arguing that argument
    > depends on beginning assumptions by assuming your audience doesn't know
    > any better.
    > Matt:
    > To assume that I was out to belittle my audience is not as good an
    > assumption as assuming that I was making sure that we would all be on
    > the same page when I say certain words and phrases like "final
    > vocabulary" and "begging the question". People wanted to know what in
    > the world I was talking about, so I tried in some small way to explicate
    > what I talk about. Remember, explication? The only thing I can do when
    > my interlocuter's vocabulary differs to a significant degree? The
    > evidence for what I was up to is in the post, if only you wanted to read
    > it.

    I notice that not only have you chastised me for being negligent in
    "reading" your posts, but others as well. (Steve, DMB). Could it be
    that your writing might be at fault?

    > Damn it, I told myself I wasn't going to get bogged down by this crap.

    Seems whenever you're challenged you resort to name calling. Talk about
    begging the question!


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