Julia Galef: Reason is Not Enough

I’m moderating a panel discussion at FTBConscience on critical thinking with Jeremy Beahan, Dan Fincke and — I hope — Julia Galef. This video demonstrates why I want her to be there. She points out that it’s not enough to be able to recognize logical fallacies if you aren’t willing to sublimate your ego, admit that you might be wrong and genuinely consider the merits of an argument.

6 comments on this post.
  1. Christian Giliberto:

    As a philosopher I absolutely agree that to recognize fallacies is not enough. In fact, even informal fallacies can sometimes be rationally admissible in arguments (for example, genealogical accounts/historical exposes can deprive a claim of its epistemic warrant, although it cannot demonstrate its falsity) as natural language arguments are usually too semantically “fuzzy” to evaluate them simply in terms of formal validity.

    However, I would object to identifying “reason” with “the narrowly logical.” I personally think “reason,” at least in its post-Enlightment meaning (rather than its Thomist meaning) means something more akin to critical rationality in general, and not being narrowly logical.

  2. TCC:

    Julia Galef really is great; I enjoyed her Skepticon talk immensely last year.

  3. grumpyoldfart:

    I don’t genuinely consider the merits of any arguments about god’s existence, tinkerbell, or the flat earth. I just say “Bah Humbug” and walk away, declaring there is no god, no tinkerbell, and the earth is an oblate sphere. Is that wrong?

  4. matty1:

    @3 No of course it isn’t wrong you aren’t required to engage in any argument you don’t want to.

    I would say though that if you did choose to debate the existence of tinkerbell you would owe it to yourself to listen to and understand your opponents arguments so you could actually understand the ways they are wrong.

  5. Michael Heath:

    grumpyoldfart writes:

    I don’t genuinely consider the merits of any arguments about god’s existence, tinkerbell, or the flat earth. I just say “Bah Humbug” and walk away, declaring there is no god, no tinkerbell, and the earth is an oblate sphere. Is that wrong?

    I think so. I suggest waiting till the theist deploys a factually inaccurate premise key to their conclusion. The level of patience required is typically mere seconds of your time.

  6. redmann:

    I suggest waiting till the theist deploys a factually inaccurate premise

    Is there any other kind?

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