Logical Fallacies

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PadmaVonSamba
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Logical Fallacies

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

This is a link to a list of "logical fallacies"...faulty premises and faulty conclusions. Since there are so many philosophers here, and because one often runs into an argument that may not make sense, this list might be helpful.

It describes a variety of faulty arguments, and gives the name for that particular type of "logical fallacy". enjoy!
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/
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Chaz
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by Chaz »

PadmaVonSamba wrote:This is a link to a list of "logical fallacies"...faulty premises and faulty conclusions. Since there are so many philosophers here, and because one often runs into an argument that may not make sense, this list might be helpful.

It describes a variety of faulty arguments, and gives the name for that particular type of "logical fallacy". enjoy!
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/
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Interesting choice of sources. Of all the sources for info on logical fallacies, why did you pick Nizkor, because it is first on the list of results if you google "logical fallacies"? (I've always liked the Nizkor site and what they stand for, it just wouldn't be my first choice for info about logical fallacy)

Also, a argument that doesn't make sense to someone isn't necessarily logically falacious, so knowing something about such fallacies wouldn't do much good in making sense of something.

Knowing you're logical fallacies is fine if you engage in formal debate. Most people never studied debate so they wouldn't know a fallacious argument if it knocked them down and sat on their face. Posting something like that will be about as useful is posting links to sites promoting good spelling in forums.

That said, knowing abit about logical fallacies can be helpful. It seems to me that the most common fallacious arguments on boards like this are non-sequiturs and ad hominems. You see the occaisional "No True Scotsman" argument. Some people use appeals to authority.

Reading boards like this with an eye towards detecting and identifying logically falacious arguments can be entertaining, but thats about all. Trying to get people to abandon falcious argument, especially when they don't know anything about it or don't really care can and probably would be futile. It would do little good to respond to a post saying,
Gee, that would be great if your argument wasn't Reductio ad Hitlerum!
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Chaz wrote:

Interesting choice of sources. Of all the sources for info on logical fallacies, why did you pick Nizkor...?
...
Trying to get people to abandon falcious argument, especially when they don't know anything about it or don't really care can and probably would be futile. It would do little good to respond to a post saying,
1. I found this page a long time ago and like it because it is plain, direct and comprehensive.
2. There are a lot of people who cannot see beyond their own stubborn inconsistencies. But there are also a lot of people who do not see the holes in their logic, and if you can explain why what they are arguing doesn't make sense, or, carried to all possible conclusions doesn't prove their point at all, some people are very open to that. But you also have to give an argument that they can appreciate.
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Chaz
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by Chaz »

PadmaVonSamba wrote:2. There are a lot of people who cannot see beyond their own stubborn inconsistencies.
So? These are people - normal, everyday people you're dealing with. They may not have the skills in debate that you'd like them to have. Many of them may not have the faintest idea that they're arguments have logical holes in them and even fewer will likely give a shit.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Chaz wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:2. There are a lot of people who cannot see beyond their own stubborn inconsistencies.
So? These are people - normal, everyday people you're dealing with. They may not have the skills in debate that you'd like them to have. Many of them may not have the faintest idea that they're arguments have logical holes in them and even fewer will likely give a shit.
yeah, that's true.
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Kyosan
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by Kyosan »

It's a mistake to judge things that people say about the dharma by whether or not they are logically consistent. The dharma often is logical but if it isn't that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with what was said. The dharma delivers sentient beings from attachments. Delivering sentient beings from attachments, relieving their suffering and bringing them closer to the point where they can understand the Buddha wisdom is the purpose of the dharma. Being logically consistent is of secondary importance. Here's an example. Someone who is trying to free others from the notions of existence and nonexistence might make a statement like:

All dharmas (things) are neither existent nor nonexistent.

This statement is logically inconsistent. But in Buddhism, it points to the middle way. It says that existing and non-existing are invented in our minds. It points to suchness and helps free beings from sufferings.
:namaste:
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Kyosan wrote: All dharmas (things) are neither existent nor nonexistent.

This statement is logically inconsistent. But in Buddhism, it points to the middle way. It says that existing and non-existing are invented in our minds. It points to suchness and helps free beings from sufferings.
:namaste:
That's not actually where a logical fallacy lies.
if you were to assert that:
All dharmas (things) are neither existent nor nonexistent because_____________
...and if your "because" argument didn't hold up, this would be a logical fallacy.

The Dharma is full of statements such as this, but those who made them could explain why they were true,
and when there were holes in that logic, it was pointed out.
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Malcolm
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by Malcolm »

Kyosan wrote:
All dharmas (things) are neither existent nor nonexistent.

This statement is logically inconsistent. But in Buddhism, it points to the middle way. It says that existing and non-existing are invented in our minds. It points to suchness and helps free beings from sufferings.
:namaste:
It is perfectly logical when you understand the assumptions upon which it is drawing. Context is King.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
el_chupacabra
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by el_chupacabra »

Kyosan wrote:All dharmas (things) are neither existent nor nonexistent.

This statement is logically inconsistent. But in Buddhism, it points to the middle way. It says that existing and non-existing are invented in our minds. It points to suchness and helps free beings from sufferings.
:namaste:
Importantly in this case, dialectical logic differs from formal logic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectic# ... nd_dualism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

"Another way to understand dialectics is to view it as a method of thinking to overcome formal dualism and monistic reductionism. For example, formal dualism regards the opposites as mutually exclusive entities, whilst monism finds each to be an epiphenomenon of the other. Dialectical thinking rejects both views...In the dialectical method, both have something in common, and understanding of the parts requires understanding their relationship with the whole system. The dialectical method thus views the whole of reality as an evolving process."
Malcolm
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by Malcolm »

el_chupacabra wrote:
Kyosan wrote:All dharmas (things) are neither existent nor nonexistent.

This statement is logically inconsistent. But in Buddhism, it points to the middle way. It says that existing and non-existing are invented in our minds. It points to suchness and helps free beings from sufferings.
:namaste:
Importantly in this case, dialectical logic differs from formal logic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectic# ... nd_dualism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

"Another way to understand dialectics is to view it as a method of thinking to overcome formal dualism and monistic reductionism. For example, formal dualism regards the opposites as mutually exclusive entities, whilst monism finds each to be an epiphenomenon of the other. Dialectical thinking rejects both views...In the dialectical method, both have something in common, and understanding of the parts requires understanding their relationship with the whole system. The dialectical method thus views the whole of reality as an evolving process."
It is also not a dialectical statement -- context is everything.

The statement means that dharmas do not come into existence in the first place, therefore, they cannot perish and become non-existent. It is not a dialectical statment, but one meant to show that the categories of existent and non-existent do not apply to dependently originated phenomena.

N
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
Kyosan
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by Kyosan »

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Kyosan wrote: All dharmas (things) are neither existent nor nonexistent.

This statement is logically inconsistent. But in Buddhism, it points to the middle way. It says that existing and non-existing are invented in our minds. It points to suchness and helps free beings from sufferings.
:namaste:
That's not actually where a logical fallacy lies.
if you were to assert that:
All dharmas (things) are neither existent nor nonexistent because_____________
...and if your "because" argument didn't hold up, this would be a logical fallacy.

The Dharma is full of statements such as this, but those who made them could explain why they were true,
and when there were holes in that logic, it was pointed out.
I disagree. The original statement itself is logically inconsistent. Because existent and nonexistent are mutually exclusive, they can't both be either true of false according to formal logic. But we understand how statements such as these are used, so to us it makes sense. To us, statements such as these are helpful.

"The Dharma is full of statements such as this"

That is for sure.
:namaste:
Last edited by Kyosan on Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
el_chupacabra
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by el_chupacabra »

Namdrol wrote:The statement means that dharmas do not come into existence in the first place, therefore, they cannot perish and become non-existent. It is not a dialectical statment, but one meant to show that the categories of existent and non-existent do not apply to dependently originated phenomena.
Namdrol wrote:It is perfectly logical when you understand the assumptions upon which it is drawing. Context is King.
yes, but that original assertion is not based simply upon assumption, the context was established through reasoning using the method of catuṣkoṭi - four members in a relation of exclusive disjunction - to which simple formal logic is inadquate.

The key phrase is "understanding of the parts requires understanding their relationship with the whole system" - a method used by the Buddha and by Nagarjuna to great effect, after all, why exclude the idea of dependent origination in the methodology itself?
el_chupacabra
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by el_chupacabra »

Kyosan wrote:The original statement itself is logically inconsistent. Because existent and nonexistent are mutually exclusive, they can't both be either true of false according to formal logic.
Yes, according to formal logic either something is true or not. Dialectical logic adds the two other propositions of "both" or "neither".
Malcolm
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by Malcolm »

el_chupacabra wrote:
Namdrol wrote:The statement means that dharmas do not come into existence in the first place, therefore, they cannot perish and become non-existent. It is not a dialectical statment, but one meant to show that the categories of existent and non-existent do not apply to dependently originated phenomena.
Namdrol wrote:It is perfectly logical when you understand the assumptions upon which it is drawing. Context is King.
yes, but that original assertion is not based simply upon assumption, the context was established through reasoning using the method of catuṣkoṭi - four members in a relation of exclusive disjunction - to which simple formal logic is inadquate.

The key phrase is "understanding of the parts requires understanding their relationship with the whole system" - a method used by the Buddha and by Nagarjuna to great effect, after all, why exclude the idea of dependent origination in the methodology itself?

The Caturskoti itself is based on assumptions about language and meaning, that is why it is failure when subjected to formal logic as a simple formal statement i.e. -(x, -x, x+(-x), -(x+(-x))).

However, the first statement (x) of the Caturskoti is not established, there is a cascading negation. This has to do with the linquistic parameters Nāgārjuna frames existence and non-existence in, in chapter 15 where he states quite explicitly that a non-existent is what people commonly call an existent that has changed its state into something else.

N
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
Malcolm
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by Malcolm »

el_chupacabra wrote:
Kyosan wrote:The original statement itself is logically inconsistent. Because existent and nonexistent are mutually exclusive, they can't both be either true of false according to formal logic.
Yes, according to formal logic either something is true or not. Dialectical logic adds the two other propositions of "both" or "neither".
The Caturskoti establishes a cascading negation where both and neither are also not true since a truth was not established to begin with.

N
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
el_chupacabra
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by el_chupacabra »

Namdrol wrote:
Kyosan wrote:All dharmas (things) are neither existent nor nonexistent.
The statement means that dharmas do not come into existence in the first place, therefore, they cannot perish and become non-existent. It is not a dialectical statment, but one meant to show that the categories of existent and non-existent do not apply to dependently originated phenomena.
erm... isn't this exactly the fourth proposition in Nagarjuna's dialectic?
Malcolm
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by Malcolm »

el_chupacabra wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Kyosan wrote:All dharmas (things) are neither existent nor nonexistent.
The statement means that dharmas do not come into existence in the first place, therefore, they cannot perish and become non-existent. It is not a dialectical statment, but one meant to show that the categories of existent and non-existent do not apply to dependently originated phenomena.
erm... isn't this exactly the fourth proposition in Nagarjuna's dialectic?
No, since Nāgārjuna is not asserting some phenomena either exists nor does not exist.

The point is since no phenomena have arisen in reality there are no phenomena to which any of the four predicates in caturskoti may be applied.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
el_chupacabra
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by el_chupacabra »

Namdrol wrote:
el_chupacabra wrote:
Kyosan wrote:All dharmas (things) are neither existent nor nonexistent.
erm... isn't this exactly the fourth proposition in Nagarjuna's dialectic?
No, since Nāgārjuna is not asserting some phenomena either exists nor does not exist.

The point is since no phenomena have arisen in reality there are no phenomena to which any of the four predicates in caturskoti may be applied.
That seems a strange reading to me. While ultimately all 8 dialectic propositions are countered in favour of Sunyata, both Shakyamuni and Nagarjuna seem to employ them as stepping stones on the way, if only to define their ideas against the other prevalent views of the time.
Going back to the original point, conventional logic would still seem to fail at the start - the whole idea of dialectical reasoning is that it is a process, so when you say that "Context is King", to me that suggests that such a logic is required because formal logic cannot account either for context or for the dynamic process involved.
Malcolm
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by Malcolm »

el_chupacabra wrote:
That seems a strange reading to me.
It is nevetheless, the correct one, and the only one that rescues Nāgārjuna from the fetter of being accused of being a terrible logician. In fact, the caturskoti is not all that important in Madhyamaka -- too much of if it has been made by Western enthusiaists of Nāgārjuna.

In fact, the whole eight-fold negation of the mangalam is predicated on the fact that dependently arisen phenomena do not in fact arise, hence Nāgārjuna says of dependent origination: not ceasing, not arising, etc., when he praise the Buddha for teaching dependent origination.

Since phenomena do not arise , here again is a cascading negation of the other seven possibilities. If there is no arising, there can be no cessation, permanence, impermanence and so on.

In reality it is very simple, but if one should approach these texts with the wrong set of assumptions about language and so on, they will seem very strange and illogical. If you approach them with the correct set of assumptions about language (i.e. Nāgārjuna's) based on a close read of the texts in either Sanskrit or Tibetan, freed from the constraints of later Tibetan polemics or later Sino-Japanese Buddhist metaphysical speculations ala tathāgatagarbha, it is all very straight forward and somewhat boring.

N
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
el_chupacabra
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Re: Logical Fallacies

Post by el_chupacabra »

Namdrol wrote: ...it is all very straight forward and somewhat boring.
lol, thank you much Loppon-la :namaste:
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