Ars Argumentorum

Adversus solem ne loquitor.

Translation: Don’t dispute the Sun. In other words, don’t argue against an obvious fact.

As I wander through the Internet like a serially stranded tourist I read many assertions that are not as well-founded as the existence of the Sun, or even the Moon. Actually, many of them are lunatic. This is not restricted to blogs or personal sites. There are many published newspapers and magazines that are full of non-facts asserted as if they were the most obvious, apparent truths of the world. One common example is mind-reading, where a reporter explains that somebody performed an act because of this and that, but at root the explanation is simply the reporter’s imagination running wild with surmises about the pathologies that rampage through the subject’s deranged mind, or even worse when the reporter uses a Marxist or other ideologically biased and invalid explanation of behavior and treats the conclusion as if it were rigorously proved.

I have often taken upon myself where I could the task of leading these poor misguided souls to understanding using logical reasoning based on empirical facts and principles. Imagine my surprise when people don’t exactly do back-flips to express their appreciation of my freely-offered assistance.

So I recently got my hands on A Practical Study of Argument, 6th Ed, by Trudy Govier. The reviews are mostly positive. It is a college-level textbook, and thus, ridiculously overpriced. I obtained the library’s copy and am studying it.

You see, I have come to believe one cannot reasonably expect to read the corpus of a master of syllogistic argumentation such as William F. Buckley and simply absorb his grasp of logical argument without having an independent understanding of what he did.

So what I hope to be doing for a little while is going through the interesting topics in Govier (with an assist from the Internet) under the label “Ars Argumentorum”. This will be a continuing review and digestion of the topic, not necessarily limited to the Govier source material. If you have any sub-topics you would like me to cover I will endeavor to research them and oblige. Practical applications of theoretical material such as this always help clarify the usefulness of distinctions that might appear at first glance to be overly technical.

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Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, The Virtuous Republic, Rosemary’s Thoughts, Right Truth, Oblogatory Anecdotes, Cao’s Blog, Leaning Straight Up, InvestorBlogger, Phastidio.net, Adeline and Hazel, Nuke Gingrich, The World According to Carl, Pirate’s Cove, Global American Discourse, The Pink Flamingo, Wolf Pangloss, Dumb Ox Daily News, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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7 thoughts on “Ars Argumentorum

  1. Pingback: What is or isn’t an Argument? « Beagle Scout

  2. Okay, here goes. Do you remember this arguement? If A equals C, and B equals C, then A equals B. Let us say that A is 32% F, and B is 0% C, and C is Freezing, then the sentence is true. Now let’s change the question. If A equals Apples and B equals Berries, but C equals Fruit, then we do not have a match! Where was I going with this? Oh yes.

    Would you please explain why lowering taxes increases tax revenue without using the facts of the Kennedy, Reagan and Bush tax cuts. Logically and with facts. 😉

    Great post.

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  4. PS. Please excuse me for using the same post to trackback with, because I’ve been busy posting military news. I have to write a post now to bring all of these articles together and allow others to make their own choices as to which ones they choose to read. Thanks.

  5. Pingback: Informal Logic « Beagle Scout

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