It is well known that reductio ad absurdum arguments raise a number of interesting philosophical questions. What does it mean to assert something with the precise goal of then showing it to be false, i.e. because it leads to absurd conclusions? What kind of absurdity do we obtain? Moreover, in the mathematics education literature number of studies have shown that students find it difficult to truly comprehend the idea of reductio proofs, which indicates the cognitive complexity of these constructions. In (...) this paper, I start by discussing four philosophical issues pertaining to reductio arguments. I then briefly present a dialogical conceptualization of deductive arguments, according to which such arguments are best understood as a dialogue between two participants—Prover and Skeptic. Finally, I argue that many of the philosophical and cognitive difficulties surrounding reductio arguments are dispelled or at least further clarified once one adopts a dialogical perspective. (shrink)
An ad hominem fallacy is committed when an individual employs an irrelevant personal attack against an opponent instead of addressing that opponent’s argument. Many discussions of such fallacies discuss judgments of relevance about such personal attacks, and consider how we might distinguish those that are relevant from those that are not. This paper will argue that the literature on bias and testimony can helpfully contribute to that analysis. This will highlight ways in which biases, particularly unconscious biases, can make ad (...) hominem fallacies seem effective, even when the irrelevance is recognized. (shrink)
The AdS/CFT duality has been a source of several strong conceptual claims in the physics literature that have yet to be explored by philosophers. In this paper I focus on one of these: the extent to which spacetime geometry and locality can be said to emerge from this duality, so that neither is fundamental. I argue: that the kind of emergence in question is relatively weak, involving one kind of spacetime emerging from another kind of spacetime; inasmuch as there is (...) something conceptually interesting to say about the emergence of spacetime and locality , it is no different from that already well known to those within canonical quantum gravity; that at the core of AdS/CFT is an issue of representation and redundancy in representation. (shrink)
Most studies of No-Excuses charter schools are distributive in nature. They answer a question of distributive justice: do these schools adequately close the academic achievement gap that exists in America between white and Black or Hispanic students? When discussion of No-Excuses schools is limited to their distributive worth, critics of No-Excuses schools are trapped. Are they really against high academic achievement, supporters of No-Excuses schools might say. This analysis seeks to escape this trap by proposing and doing an analysis of (...) No-Excuses schools using relational justice. A turn to relational justice recognizes other educational goods schools might deliver to their students. By focusing on relational justice, the author moves the debate over No-Excuses schools into a register in which both their supporters and their opponents can work toward common aims. The author uses Anthony Laden’s relational justice to analyze No-Excuses discourse and practice and then offers recommendations to both No-Excuses schools and education theorists. (shrink)
Ad hoc concepts are highly-context dependent representations humans construct to deal with novel or uncommon situations and to interpret linguistic stimuli in communication. In the last decades, such concepts have been investigated both in experimental cognitive psychology and within pragmatics by proponents of so-called relevance theory. These two research lines have however proceeded in parallel, proposing two unconnected strategies to account for the construction and use of ad hoc concepts. The present work explores the relations between these two approaches and (...) the possibility of merging them into a unique account of the internal structure of ad hoc representations and of the key processes involved in their constructions. To this purpose, we first present an integrated two-level account of the construction of ad hoc representations from lexical concepts; then, we show how our account can be embedded in a conceptual space framework that allows for a natural, geometrical interpretation of the main steps in such a construction process. After discussing in detail two main examples of the construction of ad hoc concepts within conceptual spaces, we conclude with some remarks on possible extensions of our approach. (shrink)
How do multiple reasons combine to support a conclusion about what to do or believe? This question raises two challenges: How can we represent the strength of a reason? How do the strengths of multiple reasons combine? Analogous challenges about confirmation have been answered using probabilistic tools. Can reductive and nonreductive theories of reasons use these tools to answer their challenges? Yes, or more exactly: reductive theories can answer both challenges. Nonreductive theories, with the help of a result in confirmation (...) theory, can answer one, and there are grounds for optimism that they can answer the other. (shrink)
We introduce a methodology whereby an arbitrary logic system L can be enriched with temporal features to create a new system T(L). The new system is constructed by combining L with a pure propositional temporal logic T (such as linear temporal logic with Since and Until) in a special way. We refer to this method as adding a temporal dimension to L or just temporalising L. We show that the logic system T(L) preserves several properties of the original temporal logic (...) like soundness, completeness, decidability, conservativeness and separation over linear flows of time. We then focus on the temporalisation of first-order logic, and a comparison is make with other first-order approaches to the handling of time. (shrink)
Although the societal advantages of responsible advertising are self-evident, no detailed vision of responsible ads exists. Without this vision, stakeholders have no framework for identifying, preventing, and remedying non-conforming ads. To address this problem, the four basic properties of responsible ads – consistent with an everyday-language, business-oriented definition of responsibility and the assumption that ads are not inherently bad – are posited. Then, the best milieu for creating such ads is identified.
In this article I review attempts to define the term “ad hoc hypothesis,” focusing on the efforts of, among others, Karl Popper, Jarrett Leplin, and Gerald Holton. I conclude that the term is unhelpful; what is “ad hoc” seems to be a judgment made by particular scientists not on the basis of any well-established definition but rather on their individual aesthetic senses. Further, a hypothesis considered ad hoc can apparently be retroactively declared non–ad hoc on the basis of subsequent data, (...) rendering the term meaningless. (shrink)
In his influential work on critical argumentation, Douglas Walton explains how to judge whether an argumentum ad verecundiam is fallacious or legitimate. He provides six critical questions and a number of ancillary sub-questions to guide the identification of reasonable appeals to authority. While it is common for informal logicians to acknowledge the role of bias in sampling procedures and hypothesis confirmation , there is a conspicuous lack of discourse on the effect of identity prejudice on judgments of authority, even though (...) this is a well-documented factor in attributing credibility, expertise, trustworthiness, and professional competence to oppressed groups. This could result in faulty judgments of ad verecundiam fallacy. Focusing on gender bias, I review recent works in feminist epistemology—particularly those of Miranda Fricker and Helen Longino —to develop three gender-based critical questions to supplement Walton’s original list of six. This addition will help us to identify erroneous dismissals of appeals to authority based on epistemic injustice and epistemic irresponsibility on the part of the speaker or knowledge community. This project promotes the overlapping aims of feminist epistemology and informal logic. (shrink)
Two constructions for adding an involution operator to residuated ordered monoids are investigated. One preserves integrality and the mingle axiom x 2x but fails to preserve the contraction property xx 2. The other has the opposite preservation properties. Both constructions preserve commutativity as well as existent nonempty meets and joins and self-dual order properties. Used in conjunction with either construction, a result of R.T. Brady can be seen to show that the equational theory of commutative distributive residuated lattices (without involution) (...) is decidable, settling a question implicitly posed by P. Jipsen and C. Tsinakis. The corresponding logical result is the (theorem-) decidability of the negation-free axioms and rules of the logic RW, formulated with fusion and the Ackermann constant t. This completes a result of S. Giambrone whose proof relied on the absence of t. (shrink)
In this paper, I contend that evidence-focused strategies of science communication may be complemented by possibly more effective rhetorical arguments in current public debates on vaccines. I analyse the case of direct science communication - that is, communication of evidence - and show that it is difficult to effectively communicate evidential standards of science in the presence of well-equipped anti-science movements. Instead, I argue that effective rhetorical tools involve ad hominem strategies, that is, arguments involving claims of expertise. I provide (...) a rationale, and sketch a methodology, for using ad hominem arguments in science communication. (shrink)
In several recent articles, Michael Wreen has given a plausible account of the structure of ad baculum argument and argued that it is neither inherently fallacious nor even commonly so. He has also, arguing mainly in terms of examples, attempted to show that a number of common assumptions about the ad baculum are incorrect. Most controversially, he argues that the ad baculum is not essentially dialectical and that it does not essentially involve threatening. I argue that the genuineness of his (...) examples as cases of ad baculum is doubtful, except insofar as they do at least implicitly have these features. I argue further that the stock cases used by Copi and other textbook writers extensionally define the ad baculum, which is a strategy already familiar to students from ordinary life, which is essentially first personlsecondperson, and which does essentially involve a threat. (shrink)
This article outlines criteria for the evaluation of the argumentum ad hominem (argument against the person, or personal attack in argument) that is traditionally a part of the curriculum in informal logic. The argument is shown to be a kind of criticism which works by shifting the burden of proof in dialogue through citing a pragmatic inconsistency in an arguer's position. Several specific cases of ad hominem argumentation which pose interesting problems in analyzing this type of criticism are studied.
In this article I will suggest ways in which adding the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze to the mix can complement and extend the 4EA approach to cognitive science. In the first part of the paper, I will show how the Deleuzean tripartite ontological difference (virtual/intensive/actual) can provide an explicit ontology for dynamical systems theory. The second part will take these ontological notions and apply them to three areas of concern to the 4EA approaches: (a) the Deleuzean concept of the virtual (...) will clarify the ontological status of perceptual capacity as sensorimotor skill; (b) the Deleuzean concept of “intensive individuation” will clarify the ontological status of the genesis of perceptually guided behavior; (c) the Deleuzean critique of confusing the actual and the virtual will enable us to intervene in the realism/idealism debate. These aspects will not be addressed sequentially but will be interwoven into an unfolding argument. (shrink)
We examine physicists’ charge of ad hocness against the Higgs mechanism in the standard model of elementary particle physics. We argue that even though this charge never rested on a clear-cut and well-entrenched definition of “ad hoc”, it is based on conceptual and methodological assumptions and principles that are well-founded elements of the scientific practice of high-energy particle physics. We further evaluate the implications of the recent discovery of a Higgs-like particle at the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider for the charge (...) of ad hocness against the Higgs mechanism. (shrink)
The recent literature on ad hominem argument contends that the speaker’s character is sometimes relevant to evaluating what she says. This effort to redeem ad hominems requires an analysis of character that explains why and how character is relevant. I argue that virtue epistemology supplies this analysis. Three sorts of ad hominems that attack the speaker’s intellectual character are legitimate. They attack a speaker’s: (1) possession of reliabilist vices; or (2) possession of responsibilist vices; or (3) failure to perform intellectually (...) virtuous acts. Legitimate ad hominems conclude that we should not believe what a speaker says solely on her say-so. (shrink)
Since philosophy is a notoriously difficult subject, one may think that the concept of adding rigor to a philosophy course is misguided. Isn’t reading difficult texts by Immanuel Kant or Friedrich Nietzsche enough to categorize a class as academically rigorous? This question is based on the misguided assumption that academic rigor has only to do with course content. While course content is a component of academic rigor, other aspects such as higher-order thinking, as well as how an instructor designs and (...) grades assignments, contribute to the level of academic rigor in a course. The author provides several ways to increase the level of academic rigor in a philosophy course based upon Bloom’s Taxonomy using examples from an introductory ethics course and then provides recommendations as to how to grade to promote academic rigor. (shrink)
Ontic Structural Realism (OSR) gives ontic priority to structures over objects. In its perhaps most extreme form (captured, admittedly, by a slogan) it states that “all that there is, is structure” (da Costa and French 2003, 189). If this is true, if there is nothing but structure(s) in the world, the very idea of contrasting structure to nonstructure loses any force it might have. Actually, if the slogan is right, the very idea of characterising what there is as structure—as opposed (...) to anything else—becomes incoherent. Traditionally, characterising something as a structure has made full sense —and has served excellent scientific and philosophical purposes—precisely because structure was understood as an entity with slots, which could be occupied by objects and whose individuation-conditions involved objects only qua slot-fillers. If objects altogether go, whatever remains can be called ‘structure’ only if we take ‘structure’ to be a term of art. Well, Ontic Structuralists are happy to ‘mimic’ talk of non-structure, or objects in particular, but they hasten to add that this mimicking does not imply any serious metaphysical commitment to them. Here are a couple of characteristic passages. (shrink)
Kripke’s theory of truth, 690–716; 1975) has been very successful but shows well-known expressive difficulties; recently, Field has proposed to overcome them by adding a new conditional connective to it. In Field’s theories, desirable conditional and truth-theoretic principles are validated that Kripke’s theory does not yield. Some authors, however, are dissatisfied with certain aspects of Field’s theories, in particular the high complexity. I analyze Field’s models and pin down some reasons for discontent with them, focusing on the meaning of the (...) new conditional and on the status of the principles so successfully recovered. Subsequently, I develop a semantics that improves on Kripke’s theory following Field’s program of adding a conditional to it, using some inductive constructions that include Kripke’s one and feature a strong evaluation for conditionals. The new theory overcomes several problems of Kripke’s one and, although weaker than Field’s proposals, it avoids the difficulties that affect them; at the same time, the new theory turns out to be quite simple. Moreover, the new construction can be used to model various conceptions of what a conditional connective is, in ways that are precluded to both Kripke’s and Field’s theories. (shrink)
Abstract Jeffrey Koperski claims in Zygon (2008) that critics of Intelligent Design engage in fallacious ad hominem attacks on ID proponents and that this is a “bad way” to engage them. I show that Koperski has made several errors in his evaluation of the ID critics. He does not distinguish legitimate, relevant ad hominem arguments from fallacious ad hominem attacks. He conflates (or equates) the logical use of valid with the colloquial use of valid. Moreover, Koperski doesn't take seriously the (...) legitimate concerns of the ID critics, and in doing so, commits the straw man fallacy. In the end, I show that no one disagrees with the criticism of improper use of fallacies as methods of evaluation. But what constitutes proper, relevant evaluation of the ID theorists and their motivation is a matter of dispute. And sometimes attacking a person as a method of evaluation is justified, and thus is not fallacious. The definition of ad hominem arguments as either a “good way” or a “bad way” rests on justification, which I argue ID opponents have. The basis for these good objections relies on the motivation many Christians have to share their faith with non-Christians, which they call the “great commission.”. (shrink)
Recent work in relevance-theoretic pragmatics develops the idea that understanding verbal utterances involves processes of ad hoc concept construction. The resulting concepts may be narrower or looser than the lexical concepts which provide the input to the process. Two of the many issues that arise are considered in this paper: (a) the applicability of the idea to the understanding of metaphor, and (b) the extent to which lexical forms are appropriately thought of as encoding concepts.
This volume presents new work on infinitism, the view that there are no foundational reasons for beliefs--an ancient view in epistemology, now growing again in popularity. Leading epistemologists illuminate its strengths and weaknesses, and address questions new and old about justification, reasoning, responsibility, disagreement, and trust.
ABSTRACTIn a recent paper in this journal, entitled ‘Scientific Progress: Why Getting Closer to Truth is Not Enough’, Moti Mizrahi argues that the view of progress as approximation to the truth or increasing verisimilitude is plainly false. The key premise of his argument is that on such a view of progress, in order to get closer to the truth one only needs to arbitrarily add a true disjunct to a hypothesis or theory. Since quite clearly scientific progress is not a (...) matter of adding true disjuncts to theories, the argument goes, the view of progress as approximation to the truth is untenable. We show that the key premise of Mizrahi’s argument is false: according to verisimilitude-based accounts of progress, adding arbitrary true disjuncts to existing theories is just not enough to get closer to the truth. (shrink)