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Author Topic: Basic Argumentation, And The Causing Of Offence  (Read 3593 times)

Jim_Campbell

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Basic Argumentation, And The Causing Of Offence
« on: 04 June, 2019, 11:36:52 am »
I’m not sure why some members of this forum seem unable to parse a short series of logical IF/THEN operations that wouldn’t defeat a copy of Microsoft Excel, but let’s try this from first principles, shall we?

STEP 1: Someone says something I think is sufficiently stupid/ offensive/ whatever to warrant a response. Please note that other forum members have the right to find anything they damn well please stupid/ offensive/ whatever, and deploy this or any other discursive tactic to make their case.

STEP 2: I quote the thing that someone has said. I do this because I may have misattributed the statement, or I may have missed/omitted some important context. However, the other person can be in no doubt as to the configuration of words I am discussing. If I’ve misquoted or omitted context, all the other person needs to do is point this out and we stop right here because I need to go back and look at the original statement and we do not need to progress to STEP 3.

STEP 3: I explain my understanding of the quoted statement. This, right here, is the get-out-of-jail-free card. It’s important that I’m clear on how I’m reading the statement, but the other person can, at this point, either explain how I’ve misread/misinterpreted their statement, or explain that the statement doesn’t represent their position (because of poor phrasing, choice of words, etc). At that point, there is no STEP 4 and you will find me, on this very forum, apologising to people because I’ve misunderstood their words. That’s what this step is for.

STEP 4: I posit a logical conclusion from my understanding of the other person’s statement. If we’re dealing with this step, then the other person must have accepted that my understanding of their statement is correct. Often that conclusion is an extreme one for rhetorical/(allegedly) humorous purposes and is often formulated as “if you think X, then Y…”

At this point, people seem to immediately leap to “HOW DARE YOU SAY I THINK Y?!” and completely ignore the “IF” part of that sentence. They can refute the logic of my conclusion if they think it’s faulty, but they’ve already accepted the basis on which I came to it if they’ve accepted STEP 3.



I’m not saying the other person is stupid. I’m saying: “You said Thing X, which I think is a stupid/ offensive/ whatever thing to say. This how I understand Thing X. If you think Thing X, as I understand it, then logically we end up at Position Y which shows why saying Thing X is stupid.”

Contained within that process are multiple opportunities to correct/refute me, because I absolutely acknowledge that I may have misread/misunderstood the original statement, or be lacking context because the other person knows more about the subject than I do. All of these are fine. I’m happy to be corrected. You learn things by being wrong, and I like learning things. For the sake of brevity, all these steps are rolled up into a single post, rather than a back-and-forth, but the logical progression exists nonetheless. If the other person derails the argument at STEP 3 by (for example) showing that I've fundamentally misunderstood their position, STEP 4 is automatically refuted.

SO… Applying all this to the minor kerfuffle on the Forthcoming Thrills thread… I imagine no one would disagree that the basic notion of finding it “troubling” that a man in his seventies might be considering retirement is ridiculous?

In fact, Richard immediately abandoned that position… all he had to say was that wasn’t what he meant, because it clearly wasn’t. Of course he can be sad about when Wagner retires — I’m going to be sad about it. Instead, however, he chose to claim that he didn’t say the thing he very clearly did say and then add in an accusation of bad behaviour on my part, to which I take exception.



Please cut out and keep this handy guide to refer to before you leap to outraged responses when I say “…and if you think that, you must be trolling” or something similar.
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The Legendary Shark

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Re: Basic Argumentation, And The Causing Of Offence
« Reply #1 on: 04 June, 2019, 12:58:29 pm »
I find it helpful (in all aspects of life) to try and remember the Trivium method of Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric.

Step 1, Grammar.
Ensure an understanding of definitions, context, conclusions, assumptions etc. In the physical world, this step can be compared to reading and understanding the instructions contained with flat-pack furniture - knowing what Dowel C or Bracket F refers to.

Step 2, Logic.
Extrapolate meaning and reconcile contradictions. In the example, matching all the pieces and parts in the instructions with the physical parts of the flat-pack to ensure it all makes sense; are the instructions correct for the item to be built and are all the parts present and correctly identified.

Step 3, Rhetoric.
Construct and present a valid response. Putting all the parts together in the correct configuration to end up with a sturdy new bookcase.

Do I always go through this process properly? No, unfortunately - which can result in a wobbly bookcase.

When it comes to arguments, I find the biggest problem to be emotion. For example, if someone says to me, "the Earth is flat because A+B=C," my immediate reaction is an emotional one - something along the lines of, "oh f*ck off, you bloody idiot," which is not helpful. The best response is to put the emotion aside, understand what A+B=C actually means, construct a logical response and then put that response into words. Unfortunately, this in itself often leads to an emotional response - at which time it's probably time to walk away as emotional arguments cannot be defeated by logical arguments. Whilst emotion is important to inform our arguments, it cannot be relied upon to carry them.


Trooper McFad

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Re: Basic Argumentation, And The Causing Of Offence
« Reply #2 on: 04 June, 2019, 02:00:38 pm »
The earth is Flat , isn’t it?  🤔🤔🤔
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The Legendary Shark

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Re: Basic Argumentation, And The Causing Of Offence
« Reply #3 on: 04 June, 2019, 02:41:19 pm »

Only on alternate Fridays when there's a 'k' in the month.


wedgeski

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Re: Basic Argumentation, And The Causing Of Offence
« Reply #4 on: 04 June, 2019, 02:56:40 pm »
Unfortunately we live in a world where emotion and self-delusion trumps (ha) logic and facts on a daily basis.

The Legendary Shark

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Re: Basic Argumentation, And The Causing Of Offence
« Reply #5 on: 04 June, 2019, 04:26:24 pm »

True, but that doesn't mean we all have to go along with it.


Hawkmumbler

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Re: Basic Argumentation, And The Causing Of Offence
« Reply #6 on: 04 June, 2019, 04:34:19 pm »
At which step is it acceptable to say "Fuck it" and head to the pub?

von Boom

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Re: Basic Argumentation, And The Causing Of Offence
« Reply #7 on: 04 June, 2019, 04:50:04 pm »
Step 1A if you want to remain sane, I think.

Funt Solo

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Re: Basic Argumentation, And The Causing Of Offence
« Reply #8 on: 04 June, 2019, 05:27:52 pm »
*hronch* ... this popcorn is delicious...

I was having some troublesome communication with a relative recently and one of the things I found most difficult to deal with was that when I wrote a little bit they didn't like they would WALL OF TEXT me in response.

The problem with WALLS OF TEXT is that they're intimidating and demand a lot of time to decipher.

Years ago someone pointed out to me that at the stage where you're getting your point across by using a numbered list, something has gone wrong.  Let me break that down for you:

1. Making lists is patronizing.
2. ....
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Hawkmumbler

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Re: Basic Argumentation, And The Causing Of Offence
« Reply #9 on: 04 June, 2019, 05:36:34 pm »
I had the most ludicrous exchange with a webcartoonist friend the other day. He has this strange way of bringing up the Manara Spiderwoman cover controversy by sharing any photos of lewd cosplayers in contorted T&A poses to try and prove a point. In general I thought the out cry to that cover was out of proportion but he takes it to almost militant levels.

On Monday he shared a post of a cosplayer in said pose, decrying the "forbidden pose" is physically possible (I mean, it IS but that was never the argument against that cover, ah well...) but I know for a fact this cosplayer photoshops their work for effect. Nothing wrong with that, ALL cosplayers use photoshop to some degree, it's part of the craft, so it's probably not the best evidence to call upon if you're trying to provide evidence in defensive of the Manara cover. I pointed out it was photoshopped and he kinda flew off the handle, going on about his art degree, years of life drawing classes as credentials he knew best.

Problem is....I never disagreed with him! Just pointed out his 'evidence' was a photoshoped lewd cosplay image, and wouldn't really stand up to any scrutiny if anyone DID disagree with him. The internet has a tendency to make smart people rather reactionary.

Funt Solo

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Re: Basic Argumentation, And The Causing Of Offence
« Reply #10 on: 04 June, 2019, 05:44:56 pm »
Oh, so this guy makes a case for one side of that argument.
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Hawkmumbler

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Re: Basic Argumentation, And The Causing Of Offence
« Reply #11 on: 04 June, 2019, 05:48:00 pm »
Oh, so this guy makes a case for one side of that argument.
He has a tendency to think with his dick a lot so....yeah.

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Basic Argumentation, And The Causing Of Offence
« Reply #12 on: 04 June, 2019, 05:52:48 pm »
Years ago someone pointed out to me that at the stage where you're getting your point across by using a numbered list, something has gone wrong.  Let me break that down for you:

I separated this out from the original thread because I was aware it's long and not terribly interesting, but if you'd like to give to me the benefit of your apparently boundless wisdom as to how one describes a process of logical steps without describing those actual steps, I'd be delighted to hear it.

(Also, the process I describe above is really not an unusual way to frame a point during a discussion. I only broke it down in such brain-numbingly boring detail here because of the seeming inability of various members of this forum to understand how it works. It's almost as though they're being wilfully obtuse and are deliberately trying to take maximum offence from something I've posted.)
« Last Edit: 04 June, 2019, 05:57:24 pm by Jim_Campbell »
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Funt Solo

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Re: Basic Argumentation, And The Causing Of Offence
« Reply #13 on: 04 June, 2019, 06:06:32 pm »
...your apparently boundless wisdom...

I really like this part: I'm going to assume you really think that about me.  All I need now is a banana daiquiri and a comfy branch in a tall oak overlooking some rolling hills on a warm spring day, and life will be complete.

...the seeming inability of various members of this forum to understand...

See, that's the part that could be taken as patronizing.  Or, to put it another way: it suggests that you have apparently boundless wisdom.  *cough*

---

But we shouldn't argue - I take it all back.  Your list is great and useful.  There was nothing more subtle that could have been done.  (Damn it ... I'm not very good at backing gracefully away from conflict.)

Maybe if I just unplug the machine...
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TordelBack

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Re: Basic Argumentation, And The Causing Of Offence
« Reply #14 on: 04 June, 2019, 06:06:47 pm »
... that cover was out of proportion ...

B'dum tish.