Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Arguments and reasoning

When I listen to a discussion of logical reasoning, I get the feeling that what I am hearing is not very related to the ideas and mental experience of many people.  

    All men are mortal.

    Socrates is a man

    Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

Maybe so, but those who like the fellow don't want him to die.  They are hoping he doesn't die for a long time.  Meanwhile, those who don't like the man and his endless questioning are hoping he kicks the bucket real soon.

So, already we can see the liking and the disliking.  We can see timing involved: Can he postpone dying for a long time, like 60 years?  Can he hurry it up and expire soon, like tomorrow?

Besides, when my boss or my hero says he hopes Socky lasts a long time, and I like my boss and my hero, too, I decide I hope the old questioner lasts another century, too.  Mortal, schmortal, I am in with the supporters.  Argument, schmargument, I don't want him to die and I am going to moan and groan if he does, just as loudly and with the same heartfelt sounds as the other mourners.

The philosophers and the logicians and the mathematicians discuss valid inferences but if my cousin is on the side of those in favor of the Gadfly drawing his last breath, I support heroic measures to sustain his life.  I have never liked my cousin and what he likes, I don't.  

Oh, wait a minute.  Is Socrates that old guy who hangs around the Acropolis muttering about virtue and slave boys?  Oh, I thought you meant that other guy, the one my cousin hates and my boss likes.  That man's not Socrates?  Oh, forget the whole thing, then.  I don't care one way or another.  I am not involved.  Not my problem.

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