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A Rulebook for Arguments (Hackett Student Handbooks) Paperback – November 14, 2008
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This is the ultimate 'how-to' book for anyone who wants to use reasons and evidence in support of conclusions, to be clear instead of confusing, persuasive instead of dogmatic, and better at evaluating the arguments of others. No one outgrows its forty-five timeless rules, all explained and illustrated with vivid examples. The fourth edition, even more elegantly organized and concise than before, adds new material on oral presentations and Web sources that everyone needs. --Debra Nails, Michigan State University</div>
I'm very pleased with the new edition of this book. I've been using A Rulebook for Arguments for several years now in my critical thinking course with great success . . . the chapters on generalizations (formerly arguments by examples), sources (arguments by authority), and arguments about causes have all improved substantially. Thanks for a great new edition! --David Morrow, Hunter College</div>
An elegant, concise, and consistently useful little book that every student needs. --Rachel Hadas, Rutgers University</div>
About the Author
Anthony Weston is Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at Elon University.</div>
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Fairly early on the author makes the statement that
"...although there was a time when experts disagreed about global climate change, the world scientific community is now nearly unanimous that it is occurring and needs to be addressed. Sure , there `s still controversy, but not among the experts."
It's that Al Gore Kool-Aid rhetoric again. Who needs to argue "settled science?" Psst . . . the author obviously has an ax to grind. Perhaps he hasn't read his own book.
"Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong."
"Logic, therefore, as the science thought, or the science of the process of pure reason, should be capable of being constructed a priori."
-Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Controversy
("a priori" is defined as deduced from self-evident premises)
The book, 'A Rulebook for Arguments' by Anthony Weston is, first and foremost, a deliberately useless tool for understanding Aristotelian/formal logic, or using formal logic to make sense of the world. Key and essential elements of formal logic have been deliberately omitted, or cleverly obscured in this book. I will explain this in detail.
(1) The author never reinforces the fact that logical arguments must be deduced or inferred from verifiably true premises (a premise that seems true, and a premise that is logically verified to be true are two totally different things). At one point he deliberately attempts to persuade the reader that expert opinion alone can constitute sufficient evidence that a premise is true.
From page 23 of 'A Rulebook for Arguments':
"No one can be an expert through direct experience on everything there is to know. We don't live in ancient times our selves and therefore can not know first hand at what age women tended to marry back then. Few of us have enough experience to judge which kinds of cars are safest in a crash. We do not know first hand what is really happening in Sri-Lanka or the state legislature, or even in the average American classroom or street corner. Instead we must rely on others--better-situated people, organizations, surveys, or reference works- to tell us much of what we need to know about the world..."
(Anthony Weston also conveniently forgets to define, or even mention, the logical fallacy of the "appeal to authority"; also known as "argumentum ad verecundiam". When you consider the dubious nature of the above comment, this omission makes perfect sense.)
Here are a few quotes from great logicians regarding how to correctly determines the truth of premises (They don't seem overly eager to simply take the word of an expert or organization for anything.):
(A) "Aristotle devides all conclusions into logical and dialectical, in the manner described, and then into eristical. (3) Eristic is the method by which the form of the conclusion is correct, but the premises, the material from which it is drawn, are not true, but only appear to be true. Finally (4) sophistic is the method in which the form of the conclusion is false, although it seems correct. These three last properly belong to the art of Controversial Dialectic, as they have no objective truth in view, but only the appearance of it, and pay no regard to truth itself; that is to say, they aim at victory."
-Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Controversy
(B) "All instruction given or received by way of argument proceeds from pre-existent knowledge."
-Aristotle, Posterior Analytics
(C) "We ought in fairness to fight our case with no help beyond the bare facts: nothing, therefore, should matter except the proof of those facts."
(D) "The truth or falsity of a statement depends on facts, not on any power on the part of the statement itself of admitting contrary qualities". - Aristotle, Categories
(E) "Similarly with any other art or science. Consequently, if the attributes of the thing are apprehended, our business will then be to exhibit readily the demonstration. For if none of the true attributes of things had been omitted in the historical survey, we should be able to discover the proof and demonstrate everything which admitted of proof, and to make that clear , whose nature does not admit of proof". - Aristotle, Prior Analytics
(F) "We suppose ourselves to posses unqualified scientific knowledge of a thing, as opposed to knowing it in the accidental way in which the sophisticated knows, when we think that we know the cause on which the fact depends, as the cause of that fact and of no other, and further, that the fact could not be other than it is". - Aristotle, Posterior Analytics
(G) "The province of Logic must be restricted to that portion of our knowledge which consists of inferences from truths previously known; whether those antecedent data be general propositions, or particular observations and perceptions. Logic is not the science of Belief, but the science of Proof, or Evidence. In so far as belief professes to be founded on proof, the office of Logic is to supply a test for ascertaining whether or not the belief is well grounded."
- John Stuart Mill, A System of Logic
(2) The author of 'A Rulebook for Arguments' very conspicuously fails to define, or even mention, the logical fallacies of suppressed evidence or the appeal to authority (argumentum ad verecundiam); he also perpetuates the deliberate misdefinition of the logical fallacy of the appeal to ignorance.
From the appendix of 'A Rulebook for Arguments':
"Ad ignorantiam (appeal to ignorance): Arguing that a claim is true just because it has not been shown to be false."
Now, here's the definition of argumentum ad ignorantiam and argumentum ad verecundiam from the book 'The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric' by Sister Miriam Joseph, first published in 1937 (compare the definitions of argumentum ad ignorantium for yourself, and see which one seems more appropriate, useful, and logical):
"ARGUMENTUM AD IGNORANTIAM
Argumentum ad ignorantiam is the use of an argument that sounds convincing to others because they are ignorant of the weaknesses of the argument and of the facts that stand against it."
"ARGUMENTUM AD VERECUNDIAM
Argumentum ad verecundiam is an appeal to the prestige or respect in which a proponent of an argument is held as a guarantee of the truth of the argument. This is unwarranted when reasoning about an issue is required and only the authority of its upholders or opponents is given consideration. It is perfectly legitimate to supplement reasoning with authority (Argumentum ad auctoritatem ), but it is fallacious to substitute authority for reasoning in matters capable of being understood by reason."
Here's some a priori information about properly supporting premises, and the logical fallacy of suppressed evidence that were left unexplained by the author of 'Rulebook for Arguments', but which are utterly essential to the effective use of logic:
"The fallacy of suppressed evidence is committed when an arguer ignores evidence that would tend to undermine the premises of an otherwise good argument, causing it to be unsound or uncogent. Suppressed evidence is a fallacy of presumption and is closely related to begging the question. As such, it's occurrence does not affect the relationship between premises and conclusion but rather the alleged truth of premises. The fallacy consists in passing off what are at best half-truths as if they were whole truths, thus making what is actually a defective argument appear to be good. The fallacy is especially common among arguers who have a vested interest in the situation to which the argument pertains."
-Patrick Hurley, A Concise Introduction to Logic (1985)
"Fallacious Even If Valid
So far, we have considered arguments that are fallacious precisely because they are invalid. But arguments may be fallacious for reasons other invalidity --even valid arguments may be fallacious. Thus we have the fallacy category 'fallacious even if valid.
1. Suppressed Evidence
When arguing, it is human nature to present every reason you can think of that is favorable to your own position, while omitting those that are unfavorable. Nevertheless, anyone who argues in this very human way argues fallaciously. Let's call this the fallacy of 'suppressed evidence...
The fallacy of the 'questionable premise' is simply the fallacy of accepting premises in an argument that are both questionable and inadequately supported."
-Howard Kahane, Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric, 1976
"Fallacious reasoning is just the opposite of what can be called cogent reasoning. We reason cogently when we reason (1) validly; (2) from premises well supported by evidence; and (3) using all relevant evidence we know of. The purpose of avoiding fallacious reasoning is, of course, to increase our chances of reasoning cogently."
-Howard Kahane, Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric, 1976
No we we come squarely to the reason why miserable excuses for logic texts like 'Rulebook for Arguments' are sold cheap, easy, and on page one of Amazon to the general population:
From page 35 of 'A Rulebook for Arguments':
"Note that the most likely explanation is very seldom some sort of conspiracy or supernatural invention. It is possible, of course, that the Bermuda Triangle really is spooked and that is why ships and plains disappear there... Likewise, although people fasten onto inconsistencies and oddities in dynamic events (the JFK assassination, 9/11, etc.) to justify conspiracy theories, such explanations usually leave a great deal more unexplained than usual explanations, however incomplete. (For instance, why would any plausible conspiracy take this particular form?) Don't assume that every little oddity must have some nefarious explanation. It's hard enough to get the basics right. Neither you nor anyone else needs to have the answer for everything."
I have seldom read a more contemptible and disgustingly dishonest appeal to ignorance, authority, and suppressed evidence than that above. Any reasonable person that honestly takes the time to carefully and logically examine the suppressed evidence of the false flag attacks of 9/11 will quickly see that Arab terrorists had nothing to do with those murders. There isn't one shread of verifiable evidence to support the argument that box-cutter wielding terrorists took over those planes. And when you consider the evidence that we do have, you quickly understand why suppression was necessary; (a) steel skyscrapers collapsing straight down through their frames for the first time in history, without being destroyed through controlled demolition, we are told due to asymmetrical damage and fire; (b) tower #7, a 47 story skyscraper, collapsing straight down through its own frame at the rate of gravity even though it was never hit by a plane (completely suppressed by the media and violating Newton's third law of motion; "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction"=objects falling at the rate of gravity can do no work=tower #7 could not fall at the rate of gravity and simultaneously crush its 47,000 tons of structural steel=tower #7 was quite obviously destroyed by controlled demolition); (c) video of 2,300°+ molten steel pouring from the 80th floor of the first tower that collapsed, even though the fire could not have gotten hotter than 1,800° (never seen on national television again after 9/11); (d) seasoned firefighters present at 9/11 are recorded saying that they saw molten steel in the buildings; (e) an empty smoking hole in Pennsylvania where we are told a plane crashed; (f) no audio recordings of pilots fighting off box-cutter wielding terrorists which would have been recorded in the indestructible "black boxes" in the tail section of the planes; (g) the steel and wreckage of 9/11 quickly scooped up and destroyed before being properly examined/investigated/photographed; (h) video taken across the street from the Pentagon seized by the FBI, and never released to the public; (i) steel and titanium parts of the four planes, which could not have melted in the fires, were never collected/categorized/inspected, but were rather simply destroyed with the rest of the evidence of 9/11; and (j) subsequent highly profitable wars over unindicted supposed terrorists and nonexistent "weapons of mass destruction".
Hundreds of thousands of human beings have been murdered overseas by the U.S. government because of lies. Lies designed to justify stealing resources. Lies that we don't understand, because our state controlled schools and media won't honestly teach us how to use logic.
" ' How is the dictionary getting on?' Said Winston, raising his voice to overcome the noise.
'Slowly,' said Syme. "I'm on the adjectives. It's fascinating.'
He had brightened up immediately at the mention of Newspeak ...
'The Eleventh Edition is the definitive edition,' he said. ' We're getting the language into its final shape -- the shape it's going to have when nobody speaks anything else. When we've finished with it, people like you will have to learn it all over again. You think, I dare say, that our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We're destroying words -- scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We're cutting the language down to the bone. The Eleventh Edition won't contain a singe word that will become obsolete before the year 2050 ...
'It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words' ...
'Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.' "
- George Orwell, 1984
"From the proletarians nothing is to be feared. Left to themselves, they will continue from generation to generation and from century to century, working, breeding, and dying, not only without any impulse to rebel, but without the power of grasping that the world could be other than it is. They could only be dangerous if the advance of industrial technique made it necessary to educate them more highly; but, since military and commercial rivalry are no longer important, the level of popular education is actually declining. What opinions the masses hold, or do not hold, is looked upon as a matter of indifference. They can be granted intellectual liberty because they have no intellect."
-George Orwell, 1984
Investigate 9/11 for yourself, and then you will know why you and your children will never be taught logic by the state.
"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things."
"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."
Architects and for 9/11 Truth
9-11 Missing Links
Dr Alan Sabrosky, former Director of Studies at the US Army War College