Wednesday, April 11, 2007

On The Road Again, Plus A Reply

So, today is another road trip day. I wish that I had a more reliable vehicle though. Mine is in the shop again, so this road trip had to be done in a hire car. Although it is nice to get invitations, if this circumstance keeps happening, it will get expensive.

My hosts this time took me for supper at a place that advertised itself as being 'genuine' Mexican. Signs that claim this sort of thing I often take to be a big red flag (and not a good one). However, in this case, I was not disappointed. Although I am not an expert on Mexico, or Mexican cuisine, it seemed a reasonably good version of the kinds of meals I have had in Mexico, in out of the way places.

I am back in a hotel again, which I am not too happy about, but it is a necessary evil. At least this hotel seems a good deal better than the last one I was in. They also offer free Internet access, which makes me happy and enables me to write this.

While I was driving over here, I had a chance to reflect upon yesterdays blog events. Quite frankly, I was amazed by them. It seems when people's passions get fired up on a topic, they lose all sense of proportion, critical abilities and to some degree, the ability to read. This is a shame.

Before closing this sorry chapter, I do have one or two remarks for the amateur critical thinkers 'per' and 'Joe Bingham'. 'per' asked,

"[T]ell me, CP, what is the [L]atin name for the logical fallacy which involves using foul language, and calling people names?"

To this question, "Joe Bingham" (who has no real profile) replied,

"It's ad hominem. Thus his pseudonym.

Well Joe, you only get a C- in the class, I am afraid. There are two reasons for this. First, both you and 'per' missed a potential case of the fallacy of prejudicial language. That was not the greatest error though. These activities only count as fallacies is they are offered in the context of an argument. The passage of text you both refer to was, in fact, a description, not an argument! Thus, all this clever classification is somewhat moot.

You see, were you ever to take a logic class, rather than looking a few things up on the Internet, you would know that one of the first things covered is the difference between arguments and other uses of language. Matters which pertain to arguments, do not pertain to other linguistic activities. This oversight is especially unforgivable, as there was a link on the very page you were commenting on that explained all this (hint, take a look at the first paragraph here). However, as Joe then attempts to draw a conclusion (note the conclusion marker term 'thus'), it appears that s/he was arguing in an ad hominem manner to boot.

Well Joe, I hope that your frat boy buddies do not rib you too much about your being hoisted by your own petard. Please, all you anons and pseudo-anons, go back to your holes in the ground! While I thank you for providing me many nice examples of poor reasoning in my Critical Thinking classes, I would rather that you went elsewhere to thump your chests. To my normal readers, normal service will be resumed very soon. I'm sorry about all this.

The CP


Blogger olddeadmeat said...


After reviewing some of your page (I found the explanations in the Better Reasoning links useful), I expect you of all bloggers would not lump all those who are passionate in the troll category. All trolls may be passionate commenters, but not all passionate commenters are trolls, yes?

Speaking only for myself, I follow the case because I was appalled by what people said and did, and then also by what they didn't say and declined to do.

Very few people have said "I was wrong."

One exception I found interesting is here

I find the inability to admit errors in judgment tremendously troubling, and it says a lot more to me about whose minds are open to reason than the quality of their spelling or their ability to fashion persuasive argument.

When I followed the link to Tenured Radical's post, I was dismayed by what I read, given that published accounts of the Lacrosse affair have changed quite dramatically from the initial coverage.

I wonder, since you have taken trolls to task for their analysis and reasoning, would you care to do the same for TR's comments so many have cited? I understand you respect TR, and may even consider TR a friend. To which I say "faithful are the wounds of a friend."

Perhaps you would care to compare TR's analysis with Mike Freeman's in the article I cited, and show the fallacies in each.

Respectfully yours, olddeadmeat

P.S. The post on library lurkers was interesting, as was the link in it. Thanks, ODM

11:11 PM  
Blogger The Combat Philosopher said...

I will resist the opportunity of doing a blow by blow analysis of this whole series of events. My reason for doing this is simply that I am very much over it. Although there may have been mistakes amongst many posts, my concern is the broader phenomenon.

a) I wish people would read closely. If they did, then many misunderstandings would be avoided.

b) When people are impassioned, they do not seem to reason well. With blogs especially, this is a problem. It will not take too much searching around to find many individuals who have been denounced as racists, sexists and many other kinds of -ists, due to ambiguous remarks. Once so branded, it is hard to find anyone prepared to listen to an explanation. Try doing a search on blogs for the phrase "this is abuse" the results are truely scary.

c) There is a bigger picture issue here somewhere too that I am still cogitating on. When I figure things out clearly, then I will post.

d) There may have been factual errors in TR's post. I do not know. This is not my area of study. I suspect it is not hers either. That being said, I still think that there was a good deal of sense in her analysis, even if the specifics were not quite on target.

e) The more pernicious matter in this whole thing is that once 'denouncements' begin, debate ceases. I am a big fan of debate.

I agree that not all passionate people are trolls, although I believe that there is a strong correlation. Some passionate people are also fools. Neither trolls or fools are helpful for fostering greater understanding.

Finally (responding to one of the troll comments) I am fully aware of what a troll is, and is not. I have been dealing with them, in one form or another for over a decade.

Thanks for your kind words on the rest of the blog. Please visit again. Thanks also for the comments. It is only through dialogue that understanding can be enhanced, or as Francis Bacon put it in the Advancement of Learning, "That knowledge shall be increased."

The CP

12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"First, both you and 'per' missed a potential case of the fallacy of prejudicial language."
you have no idea what I missed, and your prejudiced assumptions have little value.

"That was not the greatest error though. These activities only count as fallacies is they are offered in the context of an argument. The passage of text you both refer to was, in fact, a description, not an argument! "

err, I asked you a question about fallacies. If you choose to assume that what you wrote was a foul-mouthed fallacy, then that is your error, not mine.

"You see, were you ever to take a logic class..."
condescension does not make your argument better. You have no idea what my education is, and your sneering inference that I haven't taken a logic class is yet another example of name-calling.


12:30 PM  
Blogger The Combat Philosopher said...

Actually, 'per' I do have some idea of whether or not you have taken a logic class. It is pretty clear from what has been said here that you have not. Of course, you may have taken a logic class and failed, but that would not provide much of a basis for an argument.

As for 'condescension', I think that I have some basis for a superior attitude. I have a PhD in philosophy, which requires taking (and passing!) logic classes. I have also written an extensive guide to better reasoning, that is available here. Hell, I have even published on the topic. So, if you want to come to a philosophical site and raise issues on philosophical matters, like logic, then you can expect a bit of 'combat'. You see, there is also truth in advertising here. However, perhaps it would be best if you took your anonymous trolling elsewhere.

The CP

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Actually, 'per' I do have some idea of whether or not you have taken a logic class."
you have not the faintest idea. It is kind of bizarre to see a self-styled philosopher making assertions, when you know you don't know the facts.

"As for 'condescension', I think that I have some basis for a superior attitude."
it is just as well that your condescension is accompanied by such well-deserved modesty.

"However, perhaps it would be best if you took your anonymous trolling elsewhere."

Well, I have learned you like foul language. I have learned you like sneering at people who you suspect to have less education than you. And now I am castigated for being anonymous, by CP - who is ...anonymous.

I obviously have a lot to learn- but maybe, as you say, elsewhere.


7:26 PM  

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