• Hallucinogen
    96
    I'm looking for the name of an informal fallacy where you're arguing with someone who changes what they mean by a certain term between statements. It's similar to moving the goalposts, only within the argument rather than after the conclusion. It's also similar to Motte and Bailey, but not the same in that the Motte and Bailey is about switching a controversial claim for a popular one, rather than being about an argument.

    It's a definitional fallacy but I don't know which.

    Here's an example.

    YOU: Reality equals everything and there's nothing outside everything, so reality is self-changing.
    SOMEONE: Something could be outside everything, which would mean reality isn't self-changing.
    YOU: Is this "something" real?
    SOMEONE: Yes.
    YOU: Then it is a part of everything, you've changed what you originally meant by "outside". First you said it was outside everything, now you're saying it's real enough to be within everything.
    SOMEONE: It is an imaginary thing which is outside everything.
    YOU: So this "something" is not real, and cannot change reality, so my conclusion stands.

    You might call it flip-flopping. Does anyone know the exact name?
  • Tom Storm
    5k
    Equivocation fallacy - Wiki: In logic, equivocation is an informal fallacy resulting from the use of a particular word/expression in multiple senses within an argument.
  • Hallucinogen
    96
    Huh. Yeah, it is, thanks. I hadn't spotted it even though I often point out equivocation fallacies! Just not of the same format. Usually I've got my eye out for when someone equivocates a term in what they are *criticising* to mean something it doesn't, rather than actually equivocating on what they themselves earlier said.
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    As far as I'm concerned there's no fallacy. The interlocutor has caught you in a compromising position :snicker: with no one but yourself. First you go on to say reality is everything; then you posit something outside of everything; after that you claim that something is real; quite obviously you're making no sense at all if what follows is the claim that that something is outside of everything.
  • unenlightened
    7k
    But imagination can change reality. Tolkien imagines a world, and books are published, films are made, songs are sung, merchandise is created, and the world is thoroughly polluted.
  • Changeling
    1.3k
    and the world is thoroughly polluted.unenlightened

    Which world?
  • unenlightened
    7k
    I think I'm going to let you see if you can work that out for yourself.
  • Hallucinogen
    96
    First you go on to say reality is everything; then you posit something outside of everything;Agent Smith

    I think you're getting the lines mixed up.
  • Hallucinogen
    96
    But imagination can change reality.unenlightened

    Yes, this supports the point. Imagination is within reality.
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    I think you're getting the lines mixed up.Hallucinogen

    Explain! Please.
  • Hallucinogen
    96
    "YOU" is the participant in the dialogue who does not say that there is something outside of everything. That is "SOMEONE", the interlocutor who you're claiming has caught "YOU" in a compromising position.
  • unenlightened
    7k
    Yes, this supports the point. Imagination is within reality.Hallucinogen

    This is the result of loose talking. The faculty of imagination is real, the contents of imagination are imaginary. The problem you have is not so much fallacy, but equivocation between what is real and what is imaginary.

    An architect imagines a building and draws it in minute detail. The plans are real plans, but the building may never be built, because finance, permission, whatever. Yet the imaginary building can be realised.
  • Hallucinogen
    96
    All content of imagination influences reality because at the very least it delays the point at which you imagine something that you manage to create some semblence of in the perceptual domain. This places it within reality, since the interaction between the imaginary content and perceptual content is real.

    What is truly not real is imaginary content which does not share the syntax of reality, even if it shares states (e.g. Superman does not share the syntax of reality, but he is describable in terms of real states). This equates to "nothing".
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    "YOU" is the participant in the dialogue who does not say that there is something outside of everything. That is "SOMEONE", the interlocutor who you're claiming has caught "YOU" in a compromising positionHallucinogen

    :blush: Apologies for that silly mistake.
  • dclements
    493
    I'm looking for the name of an informal fallacy where you're arguing with someone who changes what they mean by a certain term between statements. It's similar to moving the goalposts, only within the argument rather than after the conclusion. It's also similar to Motte and Bailey, but not the same in that the Motte and Bailey is about switching a controversial claim for a popular one, rather than being about an argument.

    It's a definitional fallacy but I don't know which.

    Here's an example.

    YOU: Reality equals everything and there's nothing outside everything, so reality is self-changing.
    Hallucinogen

    There is a problem with your statement, your claiming reality to equal everything but also stating that it is "self-changing" which is ambiguous. Unless you can clarify what you mean by "self-changing" one can not really confirm or deny if it actually applies to reality.

    Also it should be noted that your definition of "reality" is really just that merely what you define it to be and not really anything more than that and if someone wishes to define "reality" another way they may choose to do so. It is a given that such arguments over nomenclature can get pretty confusing by it is a given it is just something we have to put up with when we play our word games with each other.

    My guess in this argument the "YOU" in this conversation is likely you speaking to someone else who you have labeled as "SOMEONE" in your post. By your definition, "reality" isn't just the physical things we know, but also everything else that we don't know that can somehow physically interact with what we know to be physical. It is kind of hard to define what might exist outside of what we know to exist that could physically interact with out world (perhaps supernatural/paranormal phenomenon or exotic matter that seems to both exist and not exist at the same time perhaps) but it is kind of "OK" to assume that as soon as we discover some thing that exhibits many or most of the traits of what we are use to with other "physical matter" than we can more or less assume that it "exists" in some way and part of our "reality". However there are a few catches with such an assumption.

    The first catch is that we have to know enough about it to know whether or not it really exist. Take for example ghosts. People have claimed to see them but we don't have enough scientific proof to show that they really exist or if they are all hoaxes and/or tricks of the mind. The second is that in order for something to "exist" it must have the same attributes as something that is physically real. For example, ideas exist as both something projected in our minds and also can be constructed/written down on paper but they do not necessarily exist as a physical thing. In a way your position/argument takes care of this issue by implying that "reality" is only the things that "physically exist", however there is a bit of a gray area as to where exactly the line is where things that don't really exist and those that do.

    As far as I know there is no scientist that can truly define where this line "is" (at least with potential unknown "exotic" matter) since nobody can be sure what attributes really defines ALL matter that does exist verses that which does not.

    Because of this your position or definition of "reality equals everything and there's nothing outside everything" could be considered a hasty generalization because you are likely trying to oversimplifying a very complex topic to a point where what you are saying and thinking don't properly address issues in such a topic.

    Hasty generalization
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faulty_generalization#Hasty_generalization

    Please don't think I'm trying to say you are "wrong" when you say "reality equals everything and there's nothing outside everything" since such a statement is correct in many ways, I'm just trying to say that it is a lot more complicated then one can just put in a few simple statements as you have tried to do.

    It is possible that the other person is also incorrect in some way and made a logical fallacy of their own, but between the ambiguous comment about a "self-changing" reality and hasty generalization regarding reality equals everything it wouldn't be too surprising that someone might just be confused about what your position is or means. I hope this helps you with the problem you defined in your OP.
  • Yohan
    671
    Real vs imaginary:
    Its a bit like a drawing of a baseball vs a baseball that can be thrown around.
    In normal speech if we ask if the drawing of a baseball is a real baseball, what is meant is, can we do with the baseball drawing what we can do with what we think of as baseballs. Throw them around.
    A drawing of a baseball is not an unreal baseball. Its just not a baseball.
    Or a plastic fruit vs an edible fruit.
    When you imagine a baseball, ok its imaginary. But its still real as far as it goes. Its just you can't do with an imaginary baseball the same things you can do with a baseball that exists in consensus reality.
  • dclements
    493
    When you imagine a baseball, ok its imaginary. But its still real as far as it goes. Its just you can't do with an imaginary baseball the same things you can do with a baseball that exists in consensus reality.Yohan

    No, that is not how it works. A real baseball is a real object where as an imaginary is merely an abstract object. An idea or concept is not the same thing as something that actually exists and it is improper to say that they are "real". It is often important to know the difference and be clear when talking about such things and use proper nomenclature in order to reduce potential confusion.
  • Yohan
    671

    I don't understand what you mean. For me you appear to be talking in circles. "Real is real, and imaginary is imaginary". Like 'real' and 'imaginary' are well settled and clearly demarcated.
    I am confident we cannot have a conversation because I think our metaphysical foundations are diametrically opposite. Good day.
  • Hallucinogen
    96
    Anything which physically interacts, or interacts in any way, with our world, is real enough to interact with it, and so must be contained within reality to affect the rest of what we know to be reality. Proposing that something unreal is affecting reality is just a contradiction (because it affecting anything would make it real), like claiming something can exist and not exist simultaneously. This places imaginary things in the same reality as anything physical, since what we imagine affects our actions and physical reality from moment to moment.

    This principle is not hasty, rather, it is one which covers any alternative scenario you could come up with and renders the question of what can exist to be quite simple, contrary to the claim that the subject is complex due to having no clear principle of what may be known or unknown and having to rely on rules of thumb taken from experiment.

    The result is that the principle that reality is self-changing is grounded in binary logic, rather than it being an ambiguouis concept. Any changes that we observe are inside reality, and there's nothing outside reality, so the only place those changes could be coming from is inside reality, since there's nothing real outside reality to be changing it.
  • Hallucinogen
    96
    Imagination has to be real, since it has a self-evident connection to whatever you might call reality. What isn't real is nonsense imagined within imagination, which doesn't follow the rules of reality (e.g. logical contradictions).
  • dclements
    493
    Anything which physically interacts, or interacts in any way, with our world, is real enough to interact with it, and so must be contained within reality to affect the rest of what we know to be reality. Proposing that something unreal is affecting reality is just a contradiction (because it affecting anything would make it real), like claiming something can exist and not exist simultaneously. This places imaginary things in the same reality as anything physical, since what we imagine affects our actions and physical reality from moment to moment.

    This principle is not hasty, rather, it is one which covers any alternative scenario you could come up with and renders the question of what can exist to be quite simple, contrary to the claim that the subject is complex due to having no clear principle of what may be known or unknown and having to rely on rules of thumb taken from experiment.
    Hallucinogen
    I disagree. What we know about reality is merely based on our observations and while our observations have allowed us to be able to predict what reality is and how it behaves, but it isn't without it's flaws.

    This kind of problem was debated between Hume and Kant and his law of causation. To be honest I don't have the time to go into this subject that far other than to say that you are trying to deal with a subject that is far more complicated than you realize and your oversimplification doesn't touch on the real issues in this subject. What you are trying to state is merely you opinion on this matter and those with more experience in this philosophical topic understand it is better to just say either "they don't know" or "we don't know" (as the human species) enough about the true nature of reality to confidently claim what reality is.

    Because you are confusing what is merely your opinion is to be something that is factual (ie it is perfectly reasonable to claim we don't know what the nature of reality is instead of assuming we know enough about it to say we know the difference between what is real and what is not real and being able to define it), your argument is a non sequitur fallacy because what you are trying to state does not necessarily follow what you are trying to prove and you are confusing what is merely your opinion with factual information.
  • Hallucinogen
    96
    you haven't pointed out any non sequitur in anything I wrote.

    If you think either "there's nothing outside of everything" or "anything that interacts with what is real must also be real" is a nonsequitur, then you're free to try and explain why they are.

    appealing to ungrounded skepticism by insisting that we don't know in the way that you're doing is like claiming we don't know whether true is the opposite of false.
  • dclements
    493
    If you think either "there's nothing outside of everything" or "anything that interacts with what is real must also be real" is a nonsequitur, then you're free to try and explain why they are.Hallucinogen
    It isn't a given that the statement "there's nothing outside of everything" or your other statement "anything that interacts with what is real must also be real" are true so therefore trying to state that it is a given either one of them to be true is a non sequitur fallacy.

    The problem with your statement "there's nothing outside of everything" is that it isn't a given that the way you think what "everything" is and means is actually the way it really is. Are you talking everything in this universe or about everything in this universe and ALL other universes? If you are talking about ALL other universes (if there happens to be such things) then it is obvious that you nor anyone else in this universe (who has no experience with interacting this other universe) has any authority to speak about how this other universe operates since we know nothing about it. Even with this universe, human beings have a very limited knowledge on how things actually operate and the rules that most be followed.

    For example if the world we live in was nothing more than a computer simulation, the line between what is real and that which isn't real would be more or less non-existent since everything that we thought to be "real" would be merely an illusion and the laws of causation could be broken with ease.

    The same problem exist with your other statement "anything that interacts with what is real must also be real". All you are really doing is saying is that "YOU" define something that is "real" to be something that interacts with something else that is real. But what if the thing that is being interacted with in the first place isn't even "real" but only thought of as real in the first place? You are assuming that what you perceive to be "real" and that which is real are one and the same when it isn't a given that it is.

    You are assuming that the axioms that you are postulating to be true and self evident, but like pretty much all axioms that anyone postulates they are only true because one believes them to be true. However if someone else chooses not to subscribe to the paradigm you choose to believe in, then there is nothing wrong with them disagreeing with what you choose to follow. And that it is why your statements are not anything more than a non sequitur since it is supported only by your own opinions and how you choose to see and/or define the world around you.
  • Hallucinogen
    96
    It isn't a given that the statement "there's nothing outside of everything" or your other statement "anything that interacts with what is real must also be real" are true so therefore trying to state that it is a given either one of them to be true is a non sequitur fallacy.dclements

    What you claim my statement is, is not what a non sequitur is, nor is my statement what you describe it to be. I said if you think one is false, then you can explain why. Requesting an explanation is not a non sequitur. I'm not saying either "is a given". Even if I were to say that, that wouldn't be a non sequitur. A non sequitur isn't an unjustified assumption; it is a conclusion that doesn't follow from a presented argument.

    Your responses to me here all fall under the category of denying that there is an invariant guarantor of truth to base any axiom or definition on. What you're failing to notice in each case, is that this is self-refutational, and that is the basis for accepting that there are such self-justifying means for ruling the truth or falsehood of propositions that cover all cases.

    Are you talking everything in this universe or about everything in this universe and ALL other universes? If you are talking about ALL other universes (if there happens to be such things) then it is obvious that you nor anyone else in this universe (who has no experience with interacting this other universe) has any authority to speak about how this other universe operates since we know nothing about it. Even with this universe, human beings have a very limited knowledge on how things actually operate and the rules that most be followed.dclements

    Without noticing it, you've actually instantiated the very truth that "there's nothing outside of everything" in your attempted refutation of my position, since the very format of your argument relies on something being false outside of some domain (having any true knowledge about these other universes)in opposition to what is true inside (having true knowledge about the universe one resides inside) of the domains excluded by the outside. So the fact that I'm right is hiding within your response claiming that I am wrong.

    Despite claiming that there's no objective meaning to the word "everything", and that human beings have no authority to decide on how things foreign to us operate, you've proceeded to use the quantifier "ALL" as if it does mean something intelligible and in way that does apply to and produce knowledge regarding any entity we can imagine. There's another 2 contradictions.

    All you are really doing is saying is that "YOU" define something that is "real" to be something that interacts with something else that is real. But what if the thing that is being interacted with in the first place isn't even "real" but only thought of as real in the first place?dclements

    The presence of an interaction itself is what defines being real - is the feature that a real thing has - proposing interacting with an unreal thing is an oxymoron/self-contradiction. For something to not be real means for it to be incapable of changing anything in reality. This very point is pretty much in the OP.

    like pretty much all axioms that anyone postulates they are only true because one believes them to be true.dclements

    But you also said
    it isn't a given that the way you think what "everything" is and means is actually the way it really isdclements

    wherein you claimed that there is "an actual way it really is". So is there, in fact, an axiom that's stance-independently true? You seem to be claiming there aren't such axioms but then using axioms as your justification.

    All of these objections ultimately stem from you thinking that true might not under all circumstances be the negation of false, which is the general form of what you've said here, including insinuating that what is real could turn out to be, or interact with what is, unreal. It is for systematic reasons that anyone holding the position you are holding about true definitions ends up contradicting themselves in any claim they make about those definitions or about what can be known using them. These errors perpetuate because you are not noticing them.
  • dclements
    493
    Your responses to me here all fall under the category of denying that there is an invariant guarantor of truth to base any axiom or definition on. What you're failing to notice in each case, is that this is self-refutational, and that is the basis for accepting that there are such self-justifying means for ruling the truth or falsehood of propositions that cover all cases.Hallucinogen
    I agree. Under the paradigm/narrative I choose to believe in, I dismiss all axioms and believe them to be false. It isn't that I believe that others who choose to believe that are axioms to be true are not rational human beings, it is only that I believe that they mistakenly follow other paradigms that are less accurate than if they didn't believe in axioms. Think of such self evident truths such as "God exists", "this is a war of Good vs Evil", etc. that have often proposed by those in power and realize that practically ALL of THEM are based on one's own beliefs and desires and almost always have nothing to do with how things really are.

    Because of this I choose to separate facts/data from that which could be moral decisions/moral perceptions of the world. While facts/data can say that we have never witness an event/process in the physical world (or at least one that has ever been recorded), it isn't necessarily a given that causality relationships can never be broken nor our perceptions based on such experience should be completely trusted. I don't know if you ever hear of something called the "Black Swan Theory" but it talks about some of the issues I'm trying to get you to understand since it talks about the issue of problems that are caused when we assume our experiences can always predicate what future events may hold

    Black_swan_theory
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_theory

    The presence of an interaction itself is what defines being real - is the feature that a real thing has - proposing interacting with an unreal thing is an oxymoron/self-contradiction. For something to not be real means for it to be incapable of changing anything in reality. This very point is pretty much in the OP.Hallucinogen
    I realize and understand the rules of causation/processes pretty well. Our world is made up of countless processes each in itself created from an endless succession of other processes that created it. The problem with such an idea is that it is merely a mental model of the world we live in and it isn't a given that it describes the world we live in. For example, we know that 1+1 equals 2 which in itself may seem like it is a truth, but it is only truth in out mind. We may make as many mental models of the world around us that we choose, but we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking our mental models we choose to create and the reality outside of minds are the same thing. After all neither "1" nor "2" actually represent anything in the world outside of us beyond the labels we choose to give things.

    Also take for example Descartes's "I think therefore I am". It assumes that a "thinking thing" which is able to question whether it exist has to exist in order to postulation such a question. However, it doesn't address the issue of how such a thing exist (whether it is just a brain in a vat or an actual being able to observe reality) nor what reality really is (ie whether the brain in the vat or person is at least experiencing something that is similar to reality, or if reality is something completely different from what is being experienced). Last of all it can't even tell whether it exist the moment before or the moment after it postulates such question (ie that statement can not disprove that it isn't merely a simulated AI that wasn't "turned on" just seconds before the question nor that it won't be turned off in a second after postulating such matters). It isn't even a given that such thoughts are actually continuous, nor the "I" is really a true separate being from other beings potential beings being processed by something like a powerful AI simulating multiple personalities at the same time. Since the statement "I think therefore I exist", really can't tell us what the true nature of "I", "exist" (or existence), or "think" it is just another meaningless axiom postulated by someone who doesn't understand the problems/difference between our mental models of the world and the world outside of ourselves.

    All of these objections ultimately stem from you thinking that true might not under all circumstances be the negation of false, which is the general form of what you've said here, including insinuating that what is real could turn out to be, or interact with what is, unreal. It is for systematic reasons that anyone holding the position you are holding about true definitions ends up contradicting themselves in any claim they make about those definitions or about what can be known using them. These errors perpetuate because you are not noticing them.Hallucinogen
    The only confusion here is from you not understanding the paradigm I have been trying to describing to you. Or as Kahashi might put it:

    I'm telling you this because you don't get it. You think you get it, which is not the same as actually getting it. Get it?“ — Hatake Kakashi,

    The only difference between my view/paradigm and yours is that I don't mix facts/mere data and/or mental models with what the world may actually be. I can more or less perceive the world just as you choose to but can also choose to see it from different paradigms as well. Take a moment to think about this axiom:

    "The only truth (axiom) is that there is no truth (or 'true axiom")"

    It may seem contradicting at first, but is merely saying that the fact that it is "raining on Tuesday" (or similar facts clumped together) can be used to create a axiom that is true, nor can our ability to make mental models of the world or say things like 1+1=2 can be used to create an axiom that is true either. It really isn't quite as confusing or contradicting as you think it to be if you choose to not want it to be.

    All I have been doing is explain a different kind of paradigm then you are use to seeing things from. Once you are able to understand this, it should come quite so hard for you see what I have been saying.
  • Hallucinogen
    96
    ALL of THEMdclements
    Applying a truth-value to every element in a domain, as an invariant and valid operation toward producing a result; there you go using a self-evident axiom again.
    are based on one's own beliefs and desiresdclements
    The examples that I gave and am basing my argument on aren't. They're self-evident in logic. Using examples other people have incorrectly said are self-evident isn't a counter-argument to my position.
    how things really are.dclements
    So there is a true way in which things are?
    "Black Swan Theory"dclements
    So black swan theory is a true axiom?
    Descartes's "I think therefore I am". It assumes that a "thinking thing"dclements
    I don't think it "assumes" a thinking being, rather points out to you the fact that you are thinking. All it assumes is a dependence of thinking on being, and so therefore produces the result that observing you are thinking proves that you are being.
    However, it doesn't address the issue of how such a thing existdclements
    It doesn't need to.
    "The only truth (axiom) is that there is no truth (or 'true axiom")"dclements
    Like all formulations of logical relativism, this is a self-contradiction. It's literally "the x is not x".
  • Cuthbert
    999
    "The only truth (axiom) is that there is no truth (or 'true axiom")"
    — dclements
    Like all formulations of logical relativism, this is a self-contradiction. It's literally "the x is not x"
    Hallucinogen

    "All sentences, with the sole exception of this sentence, are false."

    I think that sentence is false, but I'm not sure it's self-contradictory. All images of the Mona Lisa, with the sole exception of the Mona Lisa, are copies. Isn't it like that?
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