IGS Discussion Forums: Learning GS Topics: Use of Sophistry to Enact "psychological biases"
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, January 13, 2008 - 02:47 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

The word 'sophistry' does not seem quite appropriate.

Some definitions of sophistry on the Web:
sophism: a deliberately invalid argument displaying ingenuity in reasoning in the hope of deceiving someone

(SOF is tree) noun, A plausible but misleading or fallacious argument.

an invalid argument that nonetheless displays skillful reasoning intended to persuade and deceive

These definitions seem to suggests a "intent to decieve or mislead".

I think we sholud not, as the old saying goes, infer malice where "ignorance" would explain.

A lack of familiarity with and a lack of experience in detecting various fallacies can explain much.

This does not mean, of course, that there aren't charlatains operating in our midst.

General semantics, it seems to me is first concerned with applying the method of science through knowledge of what forms of argument not to use - namely all the invalid forms.

Intent to deceive ... that's another problem.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, January 13, 2008 - 07:53 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David wrote, ... fallacious argument serves as the “means” by which we attempt to enact our psychological biases.

How do you see "argument", fallacious or otherwise, contributing to processes that are largely unconscious? What does "attempt" have to do with this? Aren't such "bisas" largely unconscious? Please expand on your hypothesis. Please provide some specific examples.

We experience selective perception depending on our current state. Our pupils dialate when we see something we like enabling us to see it better, and this happens, by experimental evidence, before we are even aware that we have seen it.

I personally note that my eyes and head will turn and alight directly on something I know after the fact that I would have wanted to see, yet I had no conscious awareness of the object of my preference prior to my eyes and head turning and alighting on it.

Do you consider this an example of "psychological bias"?

Learning of the fallacies, practicing to learn when we have used them, to recognize when we may have used them, and to "religiously" avoid using them, does of course, require learning what rules of inference are valid. So one must become thoroughly knowledgable about logic.

I have plenty of biases that I am consciously aware of, and I often go "overboard" to prevent them from being expresesed in my actions, judgements, and behavior. Others I have a right to express and act on.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Monday, January 14, 2008 - 11:39 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I did not see any expansion of your hypothesis or any examples in your reply.

I see "argument" as a largely verbal process, and falacies as faulty reasoning in arriving at conclusions from hypothesis. This, it seems to me occurs primarily at veral, even if sub-vocal, levels of abstraction. Consequently, it would seem to me that verbal (including sub-vocal) "argument" takes places as "rationalizations" (in this case "irrationalizations") after the fact of having decided to do something. I see your hypothesis as having the cart before the horse.

We construct an "argument" to verbally justify our acts, and if our acts are not justified, then we use fallacious reasoning to make them appear justified to ourselves.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Monday, January 14, 2008 - 01:27 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Provide a detailed step-by-step process in which each step uses ony one simple valid rule of inference that is clearly obvious and unassailable, so that you have a starting point, a clear step-by-step process, and an ending point, and you can remember having traversed each step very carefully. (You may have multiple starting points that converge by combination rules, but the same step-by-step process applies.)

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - 12:32 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

You sound like a member of the modern television raised generation which expects every problem to have an immediate technological or chemical solution.

"Ring around the collar! "Wisk" it out!
"Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz. Oh what a relief it is"

Maybe those are too old for you. How about:

"For erectile dysfunction take this blue pill."
"Head on" for Instant headache relief.

The media ecology discipline describes this as "super condensed time" structuring - the television commercial.

It aleggedly helped create the "I want it now without effort" generation by showing us hundreds of instant solutions to instant problems in a minute or less for each one. No time for anything but "Bam!" You've got a problem. "Wham!" We've got "The" solution. Buy it now!

Are there easier ways? To learn to recognize and avoid using fallactious reasoning? Sorry, but they have not yet invented a pill for this malady.

To quote Jessie Jackson, "Anything worth doing is inconvenient, it requires effort."

One learns to do something by doing it. You may be lucky and have an apptitude based on your past experience that gives you a better learning curve, but you still have to learn each example, how to recognize it, and develop enough "look ahead" consciousness of abstraction to keep yoursef from scumbing to past practices.

Been there, done that, still doing it.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - 10:31 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I did not say you "were"; I said you "sounded like" one. Your ego directed sophistry will have no effect on me. I had some misinformation, which has now been corrected - through the usual process of use followed by disconfirmation - I might add.

The process you want is not altogther unlike the annoying twelve step programs.

1. Become aware of something that needs to be changed - most often by having it pointed out by others.
2. Denial until sufficient evidence is accumulated.
3. Acceptance as desired for change.

and now the process begins.

4. Learn to recognize an incident of undesired self behavior after the fact.
5. Recognize the behavior immediately after commission.
6. Recognize the behaior during commission, but not in time to interrupt it.
7. Recognize the behavior during commission and able to interupt it after onset.
8. Recognize the behaior immediately before commission, but not in time or with the ability to substitue desired behavior.
9. Recognize the behavior as it is about to happen and able to "change gears" to substitue the desired replacement behavior, but not smoothly.
10. Recognize the behavior as it is in the queue to be executed, and able to smoothly transition to the desired alternate behavior.
11. Recognize when a incident of the undesired behavior might have been committed as the new desired behavior is being internalized and planned.
12. No longer conscious of the incidence of when the old behavior would have been initiated. - new behavior is thouroughly internalized and automatic, and the learning process no longer has to be guarded.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - 08:21 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

No. Misinformation does not necessarily come from a person, even though the word "inform" is the core and it seems to imply the verb involving an actor and a recipient.

"Misinformation is information that is incorrect, but not because of a deliberate attempt to mislead. Believers in misinformation are said to be misinformed but not lying. It is commonly confused with disinformation. ..." (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misinformation)
Every time you use a map, your are, in fact, testing the portion you are using. When you do not discover error, your used map elements are corroborated again. If you try to test every piece of information before you use it, you are putting yourself in an impossible situation that prevents any action. General semantics teaches us to be aware that we make assumptions and to be prepared for them to be wrong. It does NOT say we must test every assumption prior to using it.

The usual process of life is to charge ahead acting on one's assumptions, taking risks, and getting big payoffs as well falling flat or losing all. If you try to avoid all risk of error you end up the equivalent of always playing it safe. No guts, no purple heart. (My version of "No guts, no glory.") I've used and revised my map (by looking up your introduction and finding that it did not agree with a vague memory, the source of which I have not retrieved).

Evolution does not proceed by testing before trying. Evolution proceeds by trying and discarding the failures, building on the successes.

You are beginning reopen the same theme and topic that you were told by the moderators that we are done with - the same one that got two threads closed - harping on others to test their assumptions before use by asking questions.

It is literally impossible to test every assumption or bit of information before using it; it is the same principle that you canot define all words in terms of only words that are previously defined. To act is to act on assumptions.

As in the second form of the Dichotomy - you can't even get started (without assumptions or risk).