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Did Reason Evolve For Arguing? - Hugo Mercier
Posted: 30 August 2011 05:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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I’d like to back up Mr. Mercier’s point here with a useful data point: I once read one of Cicero’s murder defenses. It’s long and quite tedious. However, if you carefully analyze it, Cicero actually had an ironclad case, but he didn’t realize it. He could have proven (in the logical sense) that his client had not committed the murder. Yet instead he presented a long-winded defense that emphasized what a sweet, noble, kind, loving, charitable, loyal, faithful, brave, and courteous person his client was, while the deceased was a nasty, vicious, mean-spirited, ugly, hateful, degenerate, deceitful, greedy bastard.

Cicero won, but not because he used logical reasoning; he won because he presented an argument that convinced the judges.

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Posted: 01 September 2011 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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Chris Crawford - 30 August 2011 05:21 PM

I’d like to back up Mr. Mercier’s point here with a useful data point: I once read one of Cicero’s murder defenses. It’s long and quite tedious. However, if you carefully analyze it, Cicero actually had an ironclad case, but he didn’t realize it. He could have proven (in the logical sense) that his client had not committed the murder. Yet instead he presented a long-winded defense that emphasized what a sweet, noble, kind, loving, charitable, loyal, faithful, brave, and courteous person his client was, while the deceased was a nasty, vicious, mean-spirited, ugly, hateful, degenerate, deceitful, greedy bastard.

Cicero won, but not because he used logical reasoning; he won because he presented an argument that convinced the judges.

I don’t think that’s backing up Mr. Mercier’s point.  First of all it’s anecdotal evidence.  Secondly, Mr. Mercier’s point (I think) is that reason is used similar to rhetorical methods to convince people.  Cicero, didn’t use reasoning to argue his case in this instance.  He used non-rational rhetoric; emotional appeals.

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Posted: 01 September 2011 04:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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Cicero, didn’t use reasoning to argue his case in this instance.  He used non-rational rhetoric; emotional appeals.

I think that this is included in Mr. Mercier’s working definition of “reason”. It’s not my own definition, but he’s entitled to use the word however he sees fit.

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Posted: 01 September 2011 05:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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Actually, emotional appeals would not be part of reasoning. Reasoning is about arguments. But then I haven’t read that Cicero speech, so I’m not sure how much would qualify as argument (for me at least).

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Posted: 04 September 2011 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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brightfut - 29 August 2011 05:23 PM
Hugo Mercier - 29 August 2011 04:04 PM

  On the contrary, if people argued primarily to show off their intellectual skills, they should simply try to go for the best arguments, whether they support their beliefs or not.

Contradicting oneself in a heated argument in front of a social group would look foolish and weak.  The person would lose face.  It’s good to be open minded when creating one’s own beliefs, but when in an argument when it really counts when social standing is on the line, you’d better have the bugs worked out of it.  (This isn’t the way the CFI Forum should work where people calmly discuss differences of opinion, but I’m talking about a different time). Back then they didn’t have science to tell them what was objectively true.  All they had was one person’s opinion’s vs other people’s opinions.  If nobody could tell what was objectively true then the best arguer, the one with the most confidence and sophistry skills would win.  You see this in politics today - Never ever admit you are wrong.

Sophistry is not reasoning.  Ultimately it is LYING.  We have a world running on complicated bullsh#.  That is why so much is screwing up.

Physics does not give a damn about bullsh#.

What do you mean economists can pretend that cars don’t wear out?  LOL

psik

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Posted: 04 September 2011 04:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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I always thought that “planned obsolence” was an economic strategy, not a result of negligence.

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Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
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Posted: 04 September 2011 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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Hugo Mercier - 30 August 2011 04:54 PM

>The debater was right because of good reasoning skills of correctly apprehending reality which you said was not why reason evolved.

In general, no: people are right because other mechanisms besides reasoning (perception, inference) have worked properly. People can also be right because of reasoning, mostly when they have evaluated a good argument and accepted its conclusion.

In science, this is often what happens. Scientists come up with an idea mostly through intuition and then try to find a way to show that they’re right through reasoning.

Does cognition (recognition) not come before reason? Intuition is often the subconscious recognition of an underlying principle. Reason is then applied to discover and present this observation.
Reason and debating skills are different things. Often they are in opposition. As Occam says, “succinctness, clarity’s core”. One can weave a long story pro and con about those three words, but it will do nothing to change the truth of that simple statement.

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Posted: 04 September 2011 06:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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Write4U - 04 September 2011 04:37 PM

I always thought that “planned obsolence” was an economic strategy, not a result of negligence.

If planned obsolescence is going on then that means the so called durable consumer goods depreciate more rapidly than necessary.  It is not the fault of the manufacturers that economists say nothing about all of that depreciation.  I have only found one economist who pointed it out.  Raymond Goldsmith PhD and he did that back in 1952.

http://www.roiw.org/4/11.pdf

http://www.nytimes.com/1988/07/15/obituaries/raymond-goldsmith-noted-economist-dies-at-83.html

I have no explanation for why the economics profession has said nothing since then.

Of course some economist at the University of Calgary called me a Loony for bringing it up.  But another economist said I was correct and that the textbooks were wrong.  It is just grade school algebra.  But how can thousands of economists from dozens of countries explain doing algebra incorrectly for decades?  The Laws of Physics do not care.  The junk depreciates regardless.  But no one can pretend that banks and used car dealers don’t know about the depreciation of automobiles regardless of whether or not they are capital or consumer goods.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5DCwN28y8o

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Posted: 04 September 2011 07:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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psikeyhackr - 04 September 2011 06:29 PM
Write4U - 04 September 2011 04:37 PM

I always thought that “planned obsolence” was an economic strategy, not a result of negligence.

If planned obsolescence is going on then that means the so called durable consumer goods depreciate more rapidly than necessary.  It is not the fault of the manufacturers that economists say nothing about all of that depreciation.  I have only found one economist who pointed it out.  Raymond Goldsmith PhD and he did that back in 1952.

http://www.roiw.org/4/11.pdf

http://www.nytimes.com/1988/07/15/obituaries/raymond-goldsmith-noted-economist-dies-at-83.html

I have no explanation for why the economics profession has said nothing since then.

Of course some economist at the University of Calgary called me a Loony for bringing it up.  But another economist said I was correct and that the textbooks were wrong.  It is just grade school algebra.  But how can thousands of economists from dozens of countries explain doing algebra incorrectly for decades?  The Laws of Physics do not care.  The junk depreciates regardless.  But no one can pretend that banks and used car dealers don’t know about the depreciation of automobiles regardless of whether or not they are capital or consumer goods.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5DCwN28y8o

psik

I agree, but IMO some economists may argue that planned obsolesence is good for the economy. It provides jobs for more people making junk, banks making loans, and repair shops fixing “worn” parts. It is all part of a consumer driven economy. But eventually there is a price to pay for all that waste. Witness the junk yards filled with millions of car hulks and the endless stream of pollutants entering our biosphere.
Humans are the only species that produce waste which is not only unusable by other species, but detrimental to life in general.

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Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
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Posted: 05 September 2011 05:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Write4U, just FYI obsolescence is one of Psik’s two obsessions, along with 9/11 conspiracies. He brings them up time after time in unrelated discussions, and in neither case has been the least bit convincing to anyone.

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Posted: 05 September 2011 11:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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dougsmith - 05 September 2011 05:05 AM

Write4U, just FYI obsolescence is one of Psik’s two obsessions, along with 9/11 conspiracies. He brings them up time after time in unrelated discussions, and in neither case has been the least bit convincing to anyone.

I don’t talk about or give a damn about conspiracy theories and have NEVER proposed any.

But the destruction of skyscrapers and design of automobiles relate to physics. 

So it is extremely interesting that atheists who portray themselves as intelligent, rational and scientific haven’t settled such simple physics problems long ago.  LOL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdTOY-giMy4

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Posted: 05 September 2011 03:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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dougsmith - 05 September 2011 05:05 AM

Write4U, just FYI obsolescence is one of Psik’s two obsessions, along with 9/11 conspiracies. He brings them up time after time in unrelated discussions, and in neither case has been the least bit convincing to anyone.

I am not proposing that planned obsolesence is actually planned, IMO it is greed to save that extra dollar in manufacturing. Moreover most parts in a car are from other sources, china, japan, etc. so as long as they pass inspection at time of assembly, they are ‘good enough”.

If a refrigerator door outlasts the life of the refrigerator, why can we not design a car door that outlasts the car? I have a 2000 blazer and had to replace the hinge pins on both sides twice, the automatic window motor twice and the drivers side lock once. FYI, to replace a hardened pin in the door hinge costs 160.00. Why does the door sealing tapes start sticking and tearing until the rain finds a way inside the car? We are talking about a 30,000.00 car!!!  If they can make a refrigerator door (very much like a car door) that lasts 25-30 years why can they not design a frigging car door that lasts?  The plastic locking gas cap broke twice and I had to buy new caps. Mirrors fall off during hot weather. $30,000.00 worth???
Is it wonder that I have often wished for a Subaru, which is twice the car at the same price.

The same thing happens with prescription drugs. Some may be effective but all have side effects which may be as troublesome as the original condition. What about the cigarette manufacturers insisting that nicotine is not addictive and smoking is safe. These CEOs knew, but did not care.

I hate this term “acceptable risk” (the people who will die from using the drug are just a small percentage, so that’s ok). If we get sued the pay off will be less than the profits we make, so lets just go ahead, it’ll be a long time before they discover the dangers.

How many times have tens of thousands cars been recalled for a life threatening defect? Been following the Zoloft lawsuit lately? How about oil rig valves failing causing untold damage to the environment?  As I understand it, there were better systems available, but alas, they were just too expensive and would cut into the billion dollar profits.

And of course, now we are lifting ever more control and oversight on imports, manufacturing and financial institutions. 

All this may not be “planned” but it is certainly looked at as acceptable risk vs maximum profit.

Back OT,  it is obvious that concerns (cognition) are the prime causality for argument for and against, reasonable or not.

[ Edited: 05 September 2011 06:31 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 05 September 2011 06:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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Write4U - 05 September 2011 03:46 PM

I am not proposing that planned obsolesence is actually planned, IMO it is greed to save that extra dollar in manufacturing. Moreover most parts in a car are from other sources, china, japan, etc. so as long as they pass inspection at time of assembly, they are ‘good enough”.

Did you watch the link?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5DCwN28y8o

Physics does not change year to year and human beings do not change shape.  Stop redesigning the cars and put the savings into quality materials.  The price of the Model-T went from $850 in 1908 to $300.  We have wasted trillions on crapmobiles.

Reason must have evolved for problem solving.  But what did lying evolve for?  Reason must have evolved before the creation of language.  So what does the misuse of language do to the mind?  How much more complex has reality become in the last 10,000 years?  Far more to know and be lied to about.

How many arguments are based on lies?

psik

[ Edited: 05 September 2011 06:38 PM by psikeyhackr ]
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Posted: 05 September 2011 07:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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Ok…I revise my statement to include “planned” obsolesence. Not surprising. It is the most nefarious form of capitalism.
I browsed through a book named, Business as a Game, where the underlying message was that cheating is ok as long as you don’t get caught.

How is that for a morality message?

[ Edited: 05 September 2011 07:46 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 06 September 2011 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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Does cognition (recognition) not come before reason? Intuition is often the subconscious recognition of an underlying principle. Reason is then applied to discover and present this observation.

Most of our problem here lies in our definitions of terms. Mr. Mercier uses the term “reason” in a way very much at odds with my own understanding of the term; I suspect that it deviates somewhat from the notions of all but Mr. Mercier’s colleagues’. However, this is not to criticize Mr. Mercier’s work; many times when dealing with complex subjects we must narrow our definitions to make progress. Here’s how I slice the semantic pie:

“pattern-based”, “holistic”, or “parallel” neural processing: the basic form of processing in the brain. Easy to do, unconscious, “natural” in feel. Always gives an answer, but never rigorous and sometimes wrong.

“Serial” or “sequential” processing: a form of processing achieved through a mammoth neural hack requiring lots of neurons. Most evident in mammals and birds; all but absent in fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Permits understanding of serial processes such as birdsong, path planning, and, in its most complicated form, language.

“rationalism”: the classical attitude that we must subordinate our passions to “reason”, which is loosely defined as processing that can be explained by means of language and meets subjective standards of validity. Socrates was usually rational, but sometimes his reasoning falls apart under close examination.

“logic”: the rigorous form of reason, pretty much invented by Aristotle but developed over two millenia into something pretty powerful. The soul and spirit of Western Civilization.

I just threw these explanations together, so I can’t call them rigorous.

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