Tag Archives: Daniel Cohen

OSSA Day 1: Andrew Aberdein Fallacy and Argumentational Vice

Andrew Aberdein, of the Florida Institute of Technology, argued that if good arguments are virtuous, then bad arguments are vicious.  The problem is that arguments are tokens, not dispositions.  Side note: we here at the NS stress this fact in our general disclaimer on bias.  We diagnose individual argument tokens, not ideologies.

Back to Aberdein.  After dispensing with the idea that the ad hominem is always fallacious that the concept of virtue in argument was a self refuting ad hominem, Aberdein built what I thought was a good case for taking fallacies as argumentative vices–these include dogmatism, reliabilist problems, and failures of diligence in investigating evidence.  All good so far, I think.

Dan Cohen (see Scott’s post on his awesome keynote) raised a key question.  Argumentative vices seem to provide good reason for discounting arguers, but do argument virtues do the same for individual arguments?

Ossa Day One: arguing for the sake of it

In hte 2 O'Clock Daniel Cohen read a paper called "academic arguments."  Simply put, an academic argument is one that really matters not–a knowledge for its own sake argument in other words.  The question raised was basically whether one has any justification for engaging in such an argument.  Though Cohen is skeptical that any such purely academic arguments exist (he didn't give any examples), he argued nonetheless that it would be worthwhile, on ethical grounds, to engage in them. 

One interesting objection, the last one made at the end of the session, concerned whether we can really abstract the question from other ones: in particular, though knowledge may be intrinsically valuable, it is the least of intrinsic goods, so there will likely always be something better to do than argue for the sake of it.