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Did Reason Evolve For Arguing? - Hugo Mercier
Posted: 06 September 2011 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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Rereading the TT.

IMO, the question is misleading.

Chris has clearly laid out the tenets of reason, but that does not address the meaning of arguing.
One can argue from and with reason on a variety of subjects, but one can also argue from passion but without reason. The Tea Party comes to mind.

Thus reason and argument are not necessarily connected and the question if reason evolved for purposes of argument is a misleading question itself. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

However, from an evolutionary standpoint, it seems self evident that anlyzing an observation (cognition) is a function of reason (be it true or false).
Thus reason (analysis) must have preceeded argument if a specific observation is indeed true or false. Argument is a natural development where there are confliction cognitive interpretations of the same observation.

My take is that Reason evolved spontaneously, where Argument is the method by which the truth of a reasoned proposition may be revealed

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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: 06 September 2011 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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At the risk of appearing to be engaging in self-promotion, I would like to once again refer you to a long hyperdocument I’ve been working on for years now:

The History of Thinking

and I apologize to everybody else for posting this a second (or third?) time.

I think that this presents a carefully-thought out line of thinking regarding how all these things fit together.

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Posted: 06 September 2011 10:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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Chris Crawford - 06 September 2011 10:24 AM

At the risk of appearing to be engaging in self-promotion, I would like to once again refer you to a long hyperdocument I’ve been working on for years now:

The History of Thinking.

I got Page not Found when I clicked that.

psik

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Posted: 06 September 2011 11:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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psikeyhackr - 06 September 2011 10:48 AM
Chris Crawford - 06 September 2011 10:24 AM

At the risk of appearing to be engaging in self-promotion, I would like to once again refer you to a long hyperdocument I’ve been working on for years now:

The History of Thinking.

I got Page not Found when I clicked that.

psik

edit the url to show only the basic addy without the library and topic.

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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: 06 September 2011 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
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Damn! Sorry I forgot about that. Here’s an algorithm to get there:

1. go to http://www.erasmatazz.com/TheLibrary/Library2.html

2. Click on “The Mind”

3. Click on “A History of Thinking”

I’ve GOT to fix that damn spaced URL!!!!! shut eye

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Posted: 05 November 2011 12:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
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You ask, “Why are human beings simultaneously capable of reasoning, and yet so bad at it? Why do we have such faulty mechanisms as the “confirmation bias” embedded in our brains, and yet at the same time, find ourselves capable of brilliant rhetoric and complex mathematical calculation?”

Our capacities have been determined by whether are not they have been selected phylogenetically by our ancestors survival to reproduction.  But as social beings our capacities are also promoted to a greater or lesser degree by the cultures within which we develop. Cultures are selected by the belief systems and behaviors of their members that promote the continuation of those cultures. 

I would submit that reasoning abilities such as “brilliant rhetoric and complex mathematical calculation” have probably contributed to some of our ancestors survival to reproduction and also to the continuation of cultures that our ancestors were a part of. 

Now the tricky part, “confirmation bias” has probably also contributed to some of our ancestors survival to reproduction and to the continuation of cultures that our ancestors were a part of.

One other important factor is that we only know that humans have these capacities, because we see them actualized.  One’s capacity for reasoning is actualized during one’s lifetime because it is shaped through the environment and the reinforcing experiences that one is exposed to as reasoning behaviors occur and develop.  Again, some environmental and cultural settings are more likely than others to promote and reinforce complex calculating and brilliant rhetoric.  But also when one does brilliant rhetoric and complex calculations, I suspect that there is some inherent satisfaction in doing so.  Is there not also some subjective satisfaction in a biased confirmation, as long as you do not realize it is biased?

It is also beneficial for many cultures to establish, within its members, biased beliefs that are not subject to any objective discrepancies. (Humans have acutely developed the ability to have faith, aka, believing without evidence or in spite of contrary evidence. This has probably had phylogenetic survival value as well.)

A culture or other setting that is strictly based on empirical thinking and the scientific method would tend not to select for one exhibiting or learning to do biased confirmation, but most of humanity does not live in such a culture or setting. (And our ancestors have not lived in such settings or cultures.) So even scientists must struggle against bias, because it is inherently <or often externally, as in grant money depends on it, or previous theories that made my reputation depend on it> reinforcing to believe some things despite contrary objective evidence. 

Hence, one can be skilled at certain types of reasoning and completely lack skill at another.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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