23 December 2008

On bad arguments

I'm a bit slow on picking up on interesting material from Times Higher Education this week, but I was struck by this article on bad arguments. It's an interesting teaching device for one thing, but for another, it contains;

As long ago as 1985, an Australian philosopher, David Stove, ran a competition to find the worst argument in the world. In his marking scheme, half the marks went to the degree of flaw in the argument, half to the degree of its endorsement by philosophers.

He awarded the prize to himself, for the following argument: "We can know things only as they are related to us under our forms of perception and understanding in so far as they fall under our conceptual schemes, etc. So, we cannot know things as they are in themselves."

What is wrong with that? (Apart of course from the difficulty of knowing what it would mean to "know things as they are in themselves"—or is that the point?) And it does have precedent...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:44 pm

    What's wrong with it is that it denies "cause and effect" as part of knowing.


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