• Janus
    15.9k
    It pertains to empirical arguments and metaphysical arguments and arguments about astrology and homeopathy and alien abductions. The advice given in the OP is meant to aid arguments of all kinds.Leontiskos

    OK, fair enough...I guess I misunderstood where you were going with it.
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    - :up:

    When I came to this forum I was in the process of creating my own philosophy forum, and very nearly did so. For this reason a lot of my thread ideas pertain to pedagogy, how to aid people in philosophy, and how to keep a philosophical community well-oiled, so to speak. This thread is just one product of that sort of thinking, for a lack of transparency in argument leads to a weakening and breakdown of philosophical communities.
  • Janus
    15.9k
    a lack of transparency in argument leads to a weakening and breakdown of philosophical communities.Leontiskos

    I agree with that, assuming that you mean everything should be out in the open and that there should be no hidden or unacknowledged premises at work in philosophical discussions.
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    I agree with that, assuming that you mean everything should be out in the open and that there should be no hidden or unacknowledged premises at work in philosophical discussions.Janus

    Yes: no concealed premises or motivations, and no lack of clarity about one's position. For example, <this post> was an urging towards transparency.

    But my other point is teleological. Sometimes when people engage in argument they are doing the wrong thing or aiming at the wrong thing. Just as the children kneading dough have an ulterior end, so too do those who engage in argument have an ulterior end. Often a lack of transparency pertains to an inappropriate ulterior end, or telos. "If the proper telos of truth is maintained, then the courage for transparent arguments will be ready to hand." I gave some examples of errors in the OP, but a common one is vainglory, where someone will engage in argument for the ulterior end of being praised, or being thought intelligent. In that case transparency is quickly obscured.

    The interesting thing is that two instances of argument can reflect entirely different realities. The material fact that someone is engaging in argument is not enough to understand what they are doing. We also need to understand their telos. Oftentimes when two people are arguing with each other, they are each engaged in entirely different acts, even though they might both assume that the other one is engaged in the same act that they are engaged in. This can lead to strange and frustrating encounters.

    Transparency can therefore act as a gauge which tells us whether we are going astray. When it is no longer present we have very likely ceased to argue for the sake of truth, and one or more of the conditions for legitimate dialogue noted below have evaporated.

    Plato comes at this at one point in the Meno. After brushing aside a bit of eristic, Socrates gives the conditions for philosophical dialogue:

    Then, if they are friends as you and I are, and want to discuss with each other, they must answer in a manner more gentle and more proper to discussion. By this I mean that the answers must not only be true, but in terms admittedly known to the questioner. I too will try to speak in these terms. — Meno, 75c-d, (tr. Grube)

    That is:

    1. Friendliness or goodwill
    2. A desire to discuss
    3. One's answers must be (believed to be) true
    4. One's answers must be given in terms that are able to be understood and accepted by the questioner

    Pierre Hadot comments on this:

    Training in dialectics was absolutely necessary, insofar as Plato's disciples were destined to play a role in their city. In a civilization where political discourse was central, young people had to be trained to have a perfect mastery of speech and reasoning. Yet, in Plato's eyes, such mastery was dangerous, for it risked making young people believe that any position could be either defended or attacked. That is why Platonic dialectics was not a purely logical exercise. Instead, it was a spiritual exercise which demanded that the interlocutors undergo an askesis, or self-transformation. It was not a matter of a combat between two individuals, in which the more skillful person imposed his point of view, but a joint effort on the part of two interlocutors in accord with the rational demands of reasonable discourse, or the logos. Opposing his method to that of contemporary eristics, which practiced controversy for its own sake, Plato says: "When two friends, like you and me, are in the mood to chat, we have to go about it in a gentler and more dialectical way. By 'more dialectical,' I mean not only that we give real responses, but that we base our responses solely on what the interlocutor admits that he himself knows."

    A true dialogue is possible only if the interlocutors want to dialogue. Thanks to this agreement between the interlocutors, which is renewed at each stage of the discussion, neither one of the interlocutors imposes his truth upon the other. On the contrary, dialogue teaches them to put themselves in each other's place and thereby transcend their own point of view. By dint of a sincere effort, the interlocutors discover by themselves, and within themselves, a truth which is independent of them, insofar as they submit to the superior authority of the logos. Here, as in all ancient philosophy, philosophy consists in the movement by which the individual transcends himself toward something which lies beyond him. For Plato, this something was the logos: discourse which implies the demands of rationality and universality. This logos, moreover, did not represent a kind of absolute knowledge; instead, it was equivalent to the agreement which is established between interlocutors who are brought to admit certain positions in common, and by this agreement transcend their particular points of view.
    — Pierre Hadot, What is Ancient Philosophy, pp. 62-3 (footnotes omitted)

    For example, a personal fault I have is that, when I am getting tired, I will recast proposals as assertions. If I know that my interlocutor disagrees with X I may impatiently say something which means, "X is true!", rather than something which means, "I myself hold/propose X and I am willing to give arguments on its behalf." This can be a very subtle difference and a very subtle fault, but if it occurs frequently enough then tensions will rise and the dialogue will implode. It is a violation of Socrates' fourth condition, and it also happens to involve a lack of transparency of intent.
  • Janus
    15.9k
    :up: All you say there makes good sense to me.
  • Judaka
    1.7k

    That claim was that to move from asserting to arguing involves an increase in transparency.Leontiskos

    There's certainly a relationship between being transparent and giving arguments, but surely it's just that an argument is a prerequisite to transparency. Refusing to give one's reasonings is antithetical to being transparent.

    It would be just semantics, but it's the entire premise of your OP. That transparency, which seems to be nothing more than sharing/giving your argument, is a prerequisite for a good argument, and by your own logic, it isn't.Judaka
    I don't think you will find anything in the OP to support these ideas of yours.Leontiskos

    Which part?

    Firstly, defending my assertion of transparency as giving one's argument.

    The transition from the assertion to the argument makes the reasoning and rationale visible.Leontiskos

    Yet in order for this to work the argument must be seen to be right or wrongLeontiskos

    Disguising or veiling arguments is a bit like going to the doctor and lying about one’s health in order to avoid an unpleasant diagnosis. It defeats the whole point. Arguments don’t exist to make us feel good about ourselves; they exist to help us pursue truth, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.Leontiskos

    In each case the crucial factor is that it be seen, that it be transparent.Leontiskos

    Secondly, you claim that transparency is an essential part of a good argument.

    n this thread I am concerned with a key component of this shared pursuit: transparency, and in particular transparency as an essential part of good argumentLeontiskos

    I can't remember why I said "By your logic, it isn't", but surely if being transparent means giving your reasons for belief, then that implies you had such reasons to give in the first place. If I give my argument, my real feelings for why I assert X, then I am being completely transparent, right? To be transparent I mustn't conceal my reasons or give false reasons.

    Yes, and that requires transparency.Leontiskos

    As in it requires one to provide arguments and reasonings?

    You're conflating practical knowledge with truth. Not all propositions are about how to get something done.Leontiskos

    Very little to go on here.

    Then name the third way instead of being opaque and contentious.Leontiskos

    I disputed the first "two ways" by going into detail about the simplicity of thinking that one is right or wrong. That which determines what is right or wrong is part of the argument/discussion. One must strive to be compelling or convincing, rather than right or wrong, even when dealing with truth. A claim found right by means we deem flawed has no value to us.

    What does it have to do with the OP?Leontiskos

    The OP depicts an argument as a tool used in the "pursuit of truth", and good arguments as being necessary for success in that pursuit.

    I hope the answer would have something to do with truth, knowledge, understanding, or wisdom. We knead dough to bake cookies and we argue to get at these sorts of things.Leontiskos

    I am claiming that truths are dependent upon claims and arguments, a good argument creates truth. For instance, if you provide a compelling argument for why "X is immoral", and I'm convinced by it, then it becomes true for me that X is immoral. What is determinative of whether X is immoral or not is still subjective, it still depends on how we interpret it, and perhaps your hypothetical argument addressed that.

    Your claim that <only argument is able to arrive at truth> is not at odds with my claim that argument helps us arrive at truth. You're engaging in eristic, and you're not even addressing the OPLeontiskos

    I am understanding truth and the relationships between truths and arguments differently than you, and that's part of my criticism of the OP.

    If you read those two pages and agree that my suggestion would aid the dialogue by introducing more transparency, then you should have a key to the meaning of the OP, which you seem to have misunderstood.Leontiskos

    I did as you requested. I'd rather describe your post as a request for clarity, not transparency. What you're asking for is for CreativeSoul to clarify their position because you feel their arguments and reasonings aren't clear. CS seems to be attempting to be as transparent as possible, it could be viewed as unfair and offensive to request they be more transparent.

    By the way, though I aspire to disagree with Banno whenever I can, I share his view that truth is a product of language and grammar, the one he is arguing for in this thread. His stance could be a good template for understanding mine.

    Bad day?Leontiskos

    I was in the mood for antagonising, apologies.
  • baker
    5.6k
    Criticism is of course feared because of its connection with adverse consequences. That is itself a perfectly workable definition of fear: anticipation of future evil.Leontiskos

    Dou you think that posting at a public forum should involve no such fear?
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    Dou you think that posting at a public forum should involve no such fear?baker

    I said:

    On the other hand, if an argument is unsound then transparency will only make it easier to see that it is wrong, and no one likes to be wrong. So transparency is a double-edged sword, much like transparent clothing that makes attractive people more attractive and unattractive people more unattractive.Leontiskos

    Courage is the ability to overcome fear. If there were no fear, there could be no courage. We often think about courage as overcoming irrational fears, but in fact there are also rational fears that need to be overcome by courage, and this is one of those.

    The OP is talking about the fear of criticism that leads people into sophistry and opaque argumentation. There is also a fear of criticism that that leads us to write write quality posts (checking our spelling, proofreading, considering counterarguments, etc.). That latter kind of fear is healthy and praiseworthy.
  • baker
    5.6k
    but in fact there are also rational fears that need to be overcome by courage, and this is one of those.

    The OP is talking about the fear of criticism that leads people into sophistry and opaque argumentation. There is also a fear of criticism that that leads us to write write quality posts (checking our spelling,
    Leontiskos

    How about being aware that your posts here might someday be read by, say, an FBI agent or an IRS agent? Or your boss?
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    The OP is talking about the fear of criticism that leads people into sophistry and opaque argumentation.Leontiskos

    How about being aware that your posts here might someday be read by, say, an FBI agent or an IRS agent? Or your boss?baker

    Well, is that a "fear of criticism that leads people into sophistry and opaque argumentation"?
  • baker
    5.6k
    Of course.

    The US Miranda warning:
    You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions.
    If you give up the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.


    The equivalent for England and Wales:
    You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.


    Posters are still citizens and subject to laws.
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    I was in the mood for antagonising, apologies.Judaka

    Thanks. That's alright. I'm not sure how long I can carry on this conversation, but let me reply:

    There's certainly a relationship between being transparent and giving arguments, but surely it's just that an argument is a prerequisite to transparency.Judaka

    If X is a prerequisite for Y, then X must be in place before Y can occur. So you seem to be saying that argument must be in place before transparency can occur. But I don't think that's right, because transparency very often occurs without argument. For example, if a wife tells a husband that his father's words have made her sad, she is being transparent and yet there is no argument in sight.

    Refusing to give one's reasonings is antithetical to being transparent.Judaka

    Can some arguments be more transparent than others?

    Secondly, you claim that transparency is an essential part of a good argument.Judaka

    It is an essential part, but that does not mean that transparency is "nothing more than sharing/giving your argument." Likewise, dough is an essential ingredient in cookies, but cookies are more than dough.

    I can't remember why I said "By your logic, it isn't", but surely if being transparent means giving your reasons for beliefJudaka

    But "transparent" does not mean "giving your reasons for belief." A dictionary will attest to this.

    If I give my argument, my real feelings for why I assert X, then I am being completely transparent, right?Judaka

    I would say that if you give all of your reasons, motives, intentions, feelings that you have in relation to some proposition, then you are being transparent about your relation to that proposition. But an argument is an attempt to persuade, not just an explanation of why you believe something. So for example, if you give all of these reasons, motives, intentions, and feelings within an argument, the sheer length of the argument may well make it hard to perceive, thus impeding transparency.

    As in it requires one to provide arguments and reasonings?Judaka

    Yes, and clarity of terms, definitions, intention, conclusions, etc.

    One must strive to be compelling or convincing, rather than right or wrong, even when dealing with truth.Judaka

    Right, and in this I think you are only agreeing with the OP. It is basically a paraphrase of the OP. So I'm not sure which part of the OP you believe yourself to be disagreeing with. (And merely listing a bunch of quotes from the OP gives no insight as to what you believe these quotes demonstrate.)

    Note that I said that arguments can get at truth in two basic ways: by being right and by being wrong. I never said that persons should aim solely at being right or being wrong (and in any case, who would aim at being wrong?). I said just the opposite: "Arguments don’t exist to make us feel good about ourselves; they exist to help us pursue truth, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. It is worth paying the price of vulnerability for the sake of truth."

    I am claiming that truths are dependent upon claims and arguments, a good argument creates truth. For instance, if you provide a compelling argument for why "X is immoral", and I'm convinced by it, then it becomes true for me that X is immoral. What is determinative of whether X is immoral or not is still subjective, it still depends on how we interpret it, and perhaps your hypothetical argument addressed that.Judaka

    Yes, I agree.

    I am understanding truth and the relationships between truths and arguments differently than you, and that's part of my criticism of the OP.Judaka

    Then why not do the same thing I asked in that other thread? Say, "Leontiskos believes X. Judaka believes Y. X contradicts Y." Be transparent.

    I did as you requested. I'd rather describe your post as a request for clarity, not transparency.Judaka

    'Clarity' and 'transparency' are synonyms.

    CS seems to be attempting to be as transparent as possible, it could be viewed as unfair and offensive to request they be more transparent.Judaka

    Do you think anyone ever fails at being transparent? The three other participants in that discussion confessed that they did not understand what CS was saying (and that there was therefore a lack of clarity/transparency). I think all three of us presume that an increase in clarity and transparency is not only desirable, but possible.

    By the way, though I aspire to disagree with Banno whenever I can...Judaka

    lol...

    I share his view that truth is a product of language and grammar, the one he is arguing for in this threadJudaka

    That thread is about belief, not truth...?
  • Judaka
    1.7k

    But I don't think that's right, because transparency very often occurs without argument. For example, if a wife tells a husband that his father's words have made her sad, she is being transparent and yet there is no argument in sight.Leontiskos

    I was imagining philosophy as the context for my statement, and these things are context-dependent. Transparency in your example isn't the same as the transparency of a government, or the transparency of a business, or the transparency of an interlocutor in philosophy.

    What a business is expected to disclose to be transparent is completely different from what a doctor must disclose to be transparent, and so on.

    Though the transparency you refer to was never explicitly outlined, as I understood it, the context is of debates and arguments. In a discussion, refusing to give an argument for your beliefs is antithetical to being transparent. Though, now that you've brought up a completely different context as your example, I suspect even you don't have a clear picture of the transparency you're referring to.

    'Clarity' and 'transparency' are synonyms.Leontiskos

    I disagree. Transparency involves being open and honest, disclosing information, and allowing others to access, particularly because you believe they have a right to it. It's useful to hear you think they're synonyms though, since your usage generally felt inappropriate but I couldn't tell exactly why.

    Clarity just involves being clear and easy to understand. The goal of clarification is to make the information more accessible and comprehensible. Clarifying involves explaining or simplifying complex or unclear concepts, ideas, or statements to enhance understanding. You're asking CS to clarify their position, to disambiguate it so that others can understand better what they're saying.

    Unlike transparency, clarity isn't about disclosing information, it's about the way in which information is conveyed. CS doesn't appear to be failing to disclose anything, they're being open and honest, and so they're being completely transparent. They're just failing to be clear, concise and easy to understand.

    Can some arguments be more transparent than others?Leontiskos

    They can be clearer and easier to understand if that's what you mean. In this context, the term transparency to me, involves disclosing relevant information, like some bias or conflict of interest. For instance, we might be talking about the morality of arranged marriages, and for transparency, I might admit that I'm quite unfamiliar with the subject.

    Admitting that weakens my argument, but I felt like it was important to be upfront about it. That's an example of transparency. Outside of disclosing information that would weaken one's position, I don't think arguments themselves can be transparent.

    Yes, and clarity of terms, definitions, intention, conclusions, etc.Leontiskos

    Unless a lack of clarity is motivated by some ulterior motive, the term transparency seems irrelevant.

    But "transparent" does not mean "giving your reasons for belief." A dictionary will attest to this.Leontiskos

    What do you mean, a dictionary will attest to it? Word meaning is context-dependent, I'm referring to "transparent" in the context of your OP. What transparency involves depends on a wide variety of factors. Such as what information should be disclosed, which depends on the context and how "what should be disclosed" is interpreted. It could be broadened further though. I wasn't even referring to my own opinions on the subject, I was referring to how I interpreted the way the OP was using the term.

    Right, and in this I think you are only agreeing with the OP. It is basically a paraphrase of the OP. So I'm not sure which part of the OP you believe yourself to be disagreeing with.Leontiskos

    Well, I interpreted your OP very differently, but if you understand and agree with all of my "criticism", then great. Not sure if there's any point in debating whether the confusion is my fault or yours.

    Then why not do the same thing I asked in that other thread? Say, "Leontiskos believes X. Judaka believes Y. X contradicts Y." Be transparent.Leontiskos

    That's pretty much what all discussions involve, I'm not clear on what you're asking change. Are you arguing for that exact format? For example, you said clarity and transparency are synonyms, I replied and said you're wrong, and gave my reasonings for why I think that. What should I have done differently?

    That thread is about belief, not truth...?Leontiskos

    It's about both. I'm confident the thread contains multiple explanations of how Banno understands the truth. Nonetheless, if you're unaware of his views then don't worry about it. In summary, that which is grammatically and linguistically correct to say is also true. If It's correct to refer to a shape as a triangle, then it's true that shape is a triangle. The rules for the word "triangle" determine when it's correct to refer to a shape as a triangle.

    If I believe a shape is a triangle, then I believe it's true that shape is a triangle. "Truth" affirms the conditions for the applicability of the word were met. I may believe the conditions for truth were met, "The clock is working", but upon closer inspection, I realise I was mistaken, and that the clock is broken. The conditions for the clock to be "broken" were met, therefore it was broken.

    Say it's because the time isn't moving that I believe the clock is broken, that seems justified, a working clock wouldn't be stuck like that. However, what if the clock only stopped moving because the batteries died? It's probably not correct to say something is broken when it's only not working because it was unpowered, but maybe it's also incorrect to say that an unpowered clock is working. The semantics determine what is and isn't true.

    You said earlier:
    You're conflating practical knowledge with truth. Not all propositions are about how to get something done.Leontiskos

    In this view, truth is just correct language use, if it's correct to refer to a method as "the best", then it's true that method is the best. The rules for what's best aren't written in a dictionary, they're context-dependent, and they're rules we must establish. It's a complicated topic and my comment's already too long, so I'll wrap up, hopefully you get the gist.

    Feel free to select what to respond to or to answer my comments indirectly, in order to move things forward. And respond at your leisure, no rush.
  • Antony Nickles
    1.1k
    There are two basic ways that an argument can get at truth: by being right and by being wrong. Yet in order for this to work the argument must be seen to be right or wrong... that it be transparent.Leontiskos

    I think there is something unrevealed here (perhaps a specific gripe), for which--a now contextless--"transparency" is seen as the answer (which would be ironic). But, in claiming I am right (about the existence of this hidden want), I am not claiming that @Leontiskos is wrong or osbcure (though perhaps blind to themselves), or that I will be arguing that I have the right presumption. I will only assert some possibilities to, in a way, help, I hope, by putting "words in their mouth" (and those perhaps not correct through no fault of mine, as I am here guessing), which is to say, drawing out some possibilities, in investigating what they might be saying before assuming I know what they mean at first glance.

    Framing it that one making an argument may not be transparent appears to ignore that someone hearing it may not see the gist--be able to grasp why it is right--not because they have not been shown everything, but because of their own inability to see it, see how it is right (setting aside lack of experience and nature ability). If I try to argue that the quality of reality was created by philosophy out of the desire for certainty, and you can't get past thinking that I mean that nothing is real, is it really my fault in somehow not putting all my cards on the table? That is to say, sometimes "arguments... are opaque and difficult to discern" but not because of me, but because of another's unwillingness see something on someone else's terms, open their mind, map out the implications, account for the possibilities of misunderstanding, etc. This will lead to someone reading (some of) a post with which they are pretty sure they will disagree, finding the one murky point, and throwing out the baby as well. Here there is no offering of grace, which @NotAristotle rightly points out as a lack of humility, but also a lack of collegiality, as we are to be both searching for the truth (imagine Socrates and (some of) his interlocutors). In the Meno, Socrates at one point is basically telling us that we must walk in another's shoes in order to see what they are saying (the basis of Wittgenstein's method of Ordinary Language Philosophy).

    Because people sometimes stick their heads up only their own context, not everything can be shown by being direct; sometimes the truth cannot simply be told, or is something that can be merely explained and then known. As if Nietszche and Emerson and Wittgenstein were just bad writers or being mystical or that it is not philosophy but just social commentary or common sense. Sometimes, you must change how you think (not just what you think) in order to understand; Nietzsche said his audience had yet to be born (that you have to turn into someone else to be able to read him). Heidegger can only point the way to Thinking, and you must, as it were, walk through the door into a totally new world, shed your presumptions, turn on the "picture" which holds you captive Wittgenstein says. Sometimes this is just ships passing in the night; sometimes people simply do not share the same interests (beyond when someone just wants to look smart, win, dismiss the other, etc.). And if you have no interest in what I am trying to say, that is fine; philosophy has lots of concerns.

    Now, having gotten through my own axes to grind, I may be able to better see what @Leontiskos is getting at (or left unsaid, but let's not quibble). Maybe it is not courageously leaving myself open to misunderstanding, nor is it addressing everything up front that may need to be made intelligible, but it's that some people say things and then do not stand behind them. They are cowards who don't stand still and take their lumps. As our OP author says, if I "could question premises or inferences, the person giving the argument might realize that they are mistaken, etc." So it is not cases where someone says, "Sorry, I meant to say...", or "You're right, I hadn't realized that would mean...", but cases where someone dodges the implications of what they have said. As if I have a “meaning” that I communicate in words, that everyone has their own "perception", that "interpretation" is without context, that you can just retreat to "your opinion" in the pursuit of truth. (Unfortunately talking out of school, but for example there was just no nailing down @RussellA and @schopenhauer1 in a recent discussion of Wittgenstein.)

    To say something is to commit to it, to be subject to be read by it, to be responsible to making it intelligible to me, to have to stand behind it, to be held to the implications of it being said to me, here, now, which dictate how it can and cannot be taken (even if there are multiple implications, there is no getting out from under the obligation of its being taken one way or the other). Now of course you CAN slip out, but your word is your bond, as: who you ARE (to be) is bound to your ongoing responsiveness. As Cavell will say, "...if I say truly and appropriately, "You must [mean what you say]" then in a perfectly good sense nothing you then do can prove me wrong. [If I say you must move the queen in diagonal lines, y]ou CAN push the little object called the Queen in many ways, as you can lift it or throw it across the room; not all of these will be moving the Queen [in a game of chess]. Must We Mean What We Say?, p. 31

    What I then take the point as, here, is to handle ourselves in a way that provides something for the other to grab onto, of the available options (here @Leontiskos being most interested in right and wrong).
  • Antony Nickles
    1.1k
    I agree with that, assuming that you mean everything should be out in the open and that there should be no hidden or unacknowledged premises at work in philosophical discussions.
    @Janus

    Yes: no concealed premises or motivations, and no lack of clarity about one's position.
    Leontiskos

    I would point out that, although we may try to place what we say in a context of assumptions and contingencies, we cannot think of everything that might apply (although Mill tries), nor can we anticipate the expectations that concern you, nor all the features of the possible (or imagined) contexts that qualify the matter.

    Imagining we can reveal all the premises ahead of saying something comes from a picture of argument in a logical vacuum (our desire to make “everything” clear beforehand drives us to an abstracted answer--as with the sophists). The criteria for judging something (its "truth") reveal our shared interests, expectations, possible interpretations, etc., but it is the process of philosophy to draw out those criteria, how we determine what is what (thus Socrates' back and forth trying to get at how we can tell, say, what is good, or knowledge); the conditions and possibilities Kant and Wittgenstein discuss.

    This is also seeing the self as something that is complete, constant, and knowable (even setting aside the psychological) rather than as revealed more than I can know in what I say, or even more than I may want. Thus the duty to continued responsiveness, to make myself intelligible, and bound to the implications of what I say.

    I would say I should make myself “out in the open” as in ready to "acknowledge" premises you point out are implied, on an ongoing basis.
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    I was imagining philosophy as the context for my statement, and these things are context-dependent.Judaka

    So when you said, "it's just that an argument is a prerequisite to transparency," what you meant was apparently either, "it's just that an argument is a prerequisite to transparency-in-the-context-of-philosophy," or else, "it's just that an argument is a prerequisite to transparency-in-the-context-of-philosophical-argument."

    If you meant the first, then my exact same objection applies, because not all philosophy-transparency requires argument. If you meant the second, then your claim is tautological, where argument is a prerequisite to some-form-of-argument.

    What you probably meant in the first place was that transparency is a prerequisite for argument, and of course that's true in the sense that argument itself carries with it some degree of transparency, but you haven't managed to produce an argument for your view that every argument possesses the exact same level of transparency. If not every argument possesses the exact same level of transparency, then your criticism of the OP fails. Given that you haven't managed to give such an argument, you are failing to be transparent. As the OP notes, you should replace your assertion with an argument, and thereby achieve a greater level of transparency and philosophical rigor.

    Transparency in your example isn't the same as the transparency of a government, or the transparency of a business, or the transparency of an interlocutor in philosophy.

    What a business is expected to disclose to be transparent is completely different from what a doctor must disclose to be transparent, and so on.

    Though the transparency you refer to was never explicitly outlined, as I understood it, the context is of debates and arguments. In a discussion, refusing to give an argument for your beliefs is antithetical to being transparent. Though, now that you've brought up a completely different context as your example, I suspect even you don't have a clear picture of the transparency you're referring to.
    Judaka

    Well I am talking about transparency in argument, but "transparency" means transparency. It is a concept that can be applied to all sorts of different contexts, and it retains a similar meaning in each context. That's how words work, and that's why predications have meaning. When I say, "This cat is black," the predicate 'black' has a universal meaning that can be applied to all sorts of different things, and the predication is meaningful precisely because not every cat is black. If you were right and 'black' was entirely context-dependent, then such predications would be meaningless.

    When I say, "This argument is transparent," the predicate 'transparent' has a universal meaning that can be applied to all sorts of different things, and the predication is meaningful precisely because not every argument is (equally) transparent. For example, an enthymeme is less transparent than an argument in which every premise is explicitly stated. For a second example, an argument which contains a complex and difficult inference is less transparent than an otherwise identical argument which develops and explicates that inference. So you are still wrong, even if we limit ourselves to the formal characteristics of the arguments themselves and pass over the dispositions of the subjects who are making the arguments.

    Finally, we must consider the breadth of the term 'argument'. When someone strolls into a thread and produces a bunch of contentious assertions, we might say that they are arguing or being argumentative, despite the fact that they have not produced any true arguments. Hence my point about moving from (argumentative) assertions to (syllogistic) arguments. So if we think of arguments in a very formal sense, then your claim is still wrong but achieves a shade of plausibility; but if we think of arguments in this sense of "The utterances of people who are arguing with each other," then the claim loses all plausibility. Arguments in this latter sense have an even wider range of transparency than arguments in the former sense, and internet forums are filled with argument in this looser sense.
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    Framing it that one making an argument may not be transparent appears to ignore that someone hearing it may not see the gist...Antony Nickles

    This does not follow, and I do not deny that an argument can fall on deaf ears. We should still be transparent in argument, even though arguments can fall on deaf ears.

    But you are right to emphasize the other side of the coin. To use a football analogy, I am talking about the virtues of the quarterback and you are bringing up the virtues of the wide receiver. But note that as soon as you respond to a post you have instantly become a quarterback, and transparency is back in the game. So if someone does not understand an argument, an honest response to that effect goes a long ways. And if someone misses your pass then they might be a bad receiver, but if everyone misses your pass then it was a bad pass, and you might be a bad quarterback. (Some folks seem to think they are a baseball pitcher rather than a football quarterback. :grin:)

    They are cowards who don't stand still and take their lumps. As our OP author says, if I "could question premises or inferences, the person giving the argument might realize that they are mistaken, etc." So it is not cases where someone says, "Sorry, I meant to say...", or "You're right, I hadn't realized that would mean...", but cases where someone dodges the implications of what they have said.Antony Nickles

    That part of the OP was about "[Opening up other paths] beyond mere affirmation or denial." Moving from assertions to arguments has this beneficial effect. But I agree with you that people also need to stand behind what they have said.

    What I then take the point as, here, is to handle ourselves in a way that provides something for the other to grab onto...Antony Nickles

    Yes, that is a large part of it.

    Imagining we can reveal all the premises ahead of saying something comes from a picture of argument in a logical vacuum...Antony Nickles

    Yes, I agree. But you seem to have moved from the idea that concealing premises belies a lack of transparency, to the idea that every conceivable premise needs to be set out. That doesn't follow, for an unspoken premise is not necessarily a concealed premise.

    Good thoughts. Thanks. :up:
  • Judaka
    1.7k

    If you meant the first, then my exact same objection applies, because not all philosophy-transparency is argument.Leontiskos

    My claim was that arguments are a pre-requisite for transparency in philosophy (discussion), not the only pre-requisite or only factor. How can one be transparent in a discussion while refusing to explain their reasons for thinking as they do? "I believe X is immoral!", "Why?", "Well, it just is", how can that ever be described as being transparent?

    What you probably meant in the first place was that transparency is a prerequisite for argumentLeontiskos

    I wouldn't know what that meant, but what I will say, is that arguments don't have to contain one's true feelings to be compelling. One can also hide key details and still make a compelling argument. For example, a doctor could try to convince you to use drug X, without telling you that they'd receive financial compensation for prescribing you drug X. The argument could be compelling, but the doctor isn't being transparent. If we're not talking about the one giving the argument being transparent, but the argument itself, that just seems like a misuse of the word to me.

    The transition from the assertion to the argument makes the reasoning and rationale visible.Leontiskos

    The reasons why the doctor wants to prescribe you drug X seem to be the merits he's explicating, but they're concealing the financial motivation, which may be their real motivation. Or you're just happy with any reasoning/rationale?

    Given that you haven't managed to give such an argument, you are failing to be transparent.Leontiskos

    I just didn't give an argument for a position that I don't have, not sure who gets to judge whether my critique of the OP fails or not. I don't imagine you'd be able to explain my critique in a way that satisfied me, and true, that might be more my fault than yours, hard to say. I certainly have given arguments, though we may just be too far apart on language and what the word "transparency" refers to.

    Well I am talking about transparency in argument, but "transparency" means transparency. It is a concept that can be applied to all sorts of different contexts, and it retains a similar meaning in each context.Leontiskos

    What it entails is different according to context, as well as how it's interpreted and understood, as my examples illustrate.

    Words are in of themselves assertions, to say someone is being transparent is to assert that they are being transparent. To call a cat black is to assert that that cat is black.

    The truth conditions or prerequisites for words mightn't change based on context, such as the word "triangle" which never changes. To correctly assert that something is a triangle requires it to be a shape with three sides, end of story.

    The word "transparency" doesn't have such straightforward truth conditions or prerequisites as "triangle".
    The rules and meaning change based on the context, because interpretation of the concept and the prerequisites change based on the context. I don't see how you can look at my list of examples and dispute that. A business, a government, a doctor, and an interlocutor on a philosophy forum are not held to the same standards, and the things they must do are completely different.

    Where the word is used, who uses it, the context of the usage, and what the speaker was trying to express or accomplish, all of these things influence word meaning.

    The word "black" was a poor example. I can think of hundreds of ways to use this word in a way that means something beyond mere colour. While playing chess, is the sentence, "You don't move first since you're black", illogical? It's not, right? Because the context is chess, and you understand the rules of chess, and so you understand the meaning of what's being said. It's the same for the word transparency, depending on what one wants to convey, the meaning of the word and its prerequisites change.

    Language is very flexible and adaptable, it allows people to express their own opinions and ideas, and adjust to context. It's easy to miss if you use examples like "triangle", so I'd prefer it if you avoided it.
  • Fooloso4
    5.8k


    I am reminded of the following:

    When you are philosophizing you have to descend into primeval chaos and feel at home there. — Wittgenstein, Culture and Value

    I agree that in general if wish to be understood we we should strive for transparency, but things are not always as clear as we might want them to be. Where there is a lack clarity we should be
    transparent about that too.

    (our desire to make “everything” clear beforehand drives us to an abstracted answerAntony Nickles

    Good point.
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