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FYI-FTR: P burns down rationality in order to save “critical rationality”

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Sometimes, it is a sad necessity to make a public example.

In this case, P has been attacking not only inductive reasoning but chains of reasoning in general, in order to try to make the generic chaining of warrant illustrated in the following infographic — and especially its focus on the trichotomy, (i) infinite regress, (ii) circularity, (iii) finitely remote first plausibles — seem dubious:

A summary of why we end up with foundations for our worldviews, whether or not we would phrase the matter that way}
A summary of why we end up with foundations for our worldviews [whether or not we would phrase the matter that way]
(NB: To see where that frame of thought goes, cf here on in context. Also, here.)

P commented at 101 in the DK etc thread, and I replied as follows, at 120 by clipping and commenting:


>>Here is the bit of rhetorical trickery and attempted ridicule in the face of what you knew (as it was directly stated) was a summmary of a chain of warrant A — B — C . . . that exposes the bad faith you have been indulging, clipped from 101 above:

[KF:] 1: take an [–> it was any] claim or conclusion A

[P:] Ok. Take the conclusion that we should accept ideas because they are justified in some sense.

[KF:]  2: Ask, why should we accept it? (what warrants it)

[P:] Warrant, in a philosophical sense, refers to a proper justification for holding a belief. This is known as the Theory of Justification. There are a number of major and minor theories of justification, but there are also critics of the entire idea of justificationism. Namely, from Critical Rationalists that reject justificationism completely.

[–> If you reject the point that we generally want and have reasons for grounding conclusions, as the context of reasoned argument, we are in self-referential absurdity; and, this exchange is either reasoned argument or else a silly rhetorical game. If the latter, it is absurd. If the former, we here have an argument against argument; absurd, again. Which, must be patent from the outset to any educated person, so option 1 reduces to option 2. Game over.]

Furthermore, a key point of CR is the content of ideas, theories or conclusions are not actually out there for us to induce from observations. Rather, they start out as intuitions or guesses.

[–> hobby-horse, based on attempts to deny the existence of inductive arguments, in the sense of arguments that support and make it more reasonable to accept a conclusion, instead of claiming that such necessarily follow from premises. Induction is the majority of practical reasoning.]

[KF:] 3: B of course, some other claim or set of claims or observations

[P:] Of course? The very idea that some B justifies accepting idea A is the conclusion in question.

[–> Au contraire, willingness to accept that there are such things as cases of grounding of conclusion is a test of willingness to be led by commonplace facts and acknowledge them. And, the very act of reasoned argument requires the self evident point that conclusion A rests on basis B, even seeing the text of this post and accepting that you see text requires grounds that we have organs and faculties of vision, a skill of reading, languages and coding etc. It is a basic test of reasonableness and good faith in argument to acknowledge commonplace facts we all know or should and could easily acknowledge. Failed.]

[KF:] 4: Repeat, so we see C, D, …

[P:] Repeat, in that C is actually A?

[–> This is the point of outrage and irrationality or even borderline delusion frankly, where the allegedly triumphant collapse of chains of warrant is presented. But, the whole point of reasoned argument is grounding of claims, a commonplace fact of life, with Euclid’s geometry textbook, Elements, a famous longstanding case in point for deductive reasoning and say Newtonian dynamics for inductive reasoning. Popperian is burning down logic and reasoned argument to try to make rhetorical points, burning down the house he too must inhabit.]

[KF:] 5: We now have three options

Infinite regress, circularity: question begging, F is a finitely remote set of adequate First Plausibles, the Faith Point.

[P:] If we accept A, then we have three options. But, again, that’s what’s in question.

After this, we need no further evidence that you are not acting in good faith, for you are far too well educated not to know what you are doing here.

Rhetorical games of sophistry are over.>>


I trust this will be sufficient corrective.

You cannot burn down inferential reasoning to try to promote “critical rationality.”

burning down the temple of reason itself (HT: re-purposed Burning Man 2013)
burning down the temple of reason itself (HT: re-purposed Burning Man 2013)

That house is a house we all must live in to reason, prove, show that evidence supports claims, and discuss in a logical fashion.

For, when a claim A is on the table, and there is a challenge, why should one accept it — notice, the OUGHT popping up in reasoning — then further claims or observations, evidence etc, B, need to be connected to it in an adequate fashion, whether deductive or inductive in the modern sense, or grounded on the reliability of senses and instruments under appropriate circumstances etc.

B is a further claim, once expressed in words.

It is then natural and reasonable to chain, bringing C, D etc to bear in turn.

Where the symbols indicate the generic nature of what is going on.

It is then quite natural to ask, how does this go on, given that we are finite, fallible and too often ill willed, blind or stubborn.

That brings up the trichotomy illustrated above, and patently neither infinite regress nor question-begging circularity are good enough.

This implies that a finitely remote cluster of first plausibles is needed as a start-point and that we face comparative difficulties across serious alternatives to resolve the issue of question-begging, i.e. addressing factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power and balance — neither ad hoc nor simplistic, instead elegantly simple and powerful.

Where, of course, we can quickly add that certain key parts will be self-evident. Meaning, that once understood in light of our experience of the world and common good sense we will see that such a SET is so, and is necessarily so on pain of immediate, patent absurdity if denied. For example consider 2 + 3 = 5 or error exists, or of course the three core first principles of right reason — the law of identity, that of non-contradiction, that of the excluded middle:


Such is often derided as foundationalism, but in fact once we see a typical alternative, Neurath’s raft under perpetual reconstruction (presumably in a stormy sea) it is apparent that:

a –> a raft must at all times be adequate to purpose in the face of such seas, or it will disintegrate and drown us or feed us to the sharks

b –> it must be logically, dynamically coherent in order to be adequate

c –> it sits on the sea supported by the laws of floatation and

d –>it  is foundational to the structures built on it that we must inhabit.

In short, we are right back to the issues of an adequate foundation.

And, the like will happen again, even if we think of a spaceship or the like.

There being an open thread, comments would be entertained there. END