miercuri, 27 iunie 2012

Fighting with Wrong Arguments


When a true and valid argument proves itself weaker than a bad, but convincing one,  there could be shaken the very fundaments of argumentation. They are deemed to provide a powerful basis to the true argument and yet they are attacked by wrong arguments.

At least from a historical point of view, a fundament of a well built argument is its reliance on communication. In a minimal sense, an argument has to offer those premises that are intelligible to other persons than its author.

Is not an error of communication when an argument supported by such fundament still fails to prevail over a bad argument? Or, is not in fact futile the condition of choosing premises which could be communicated?

As an answer to the first question, we can admit that the rational way of communication is always weaker than the harmful manner of reasoning with the only goal of convincing. We may add, as many rational thinkers, it is a painful truth.

For the second question, we might answer that there is not a unique form of communication. The form used by bad and persuasive arguments is that of reaching others as fast as possible. On the other hand, the well-built arguments are meant to communicate by advancing to others’ disposal an object for which they can renounce to their former beliefs. Such object must be able to attract by itself and, therefore, the perfect candidate for this role is the truth, in spite of the bad reputation of this notion.

‘All sciences have truth as their goal’, sets Frege in ‘The Thought’. Firstly, we know about truth its function of attracting others and ourselves. The truth followed by impersonal sciences makes difficult the recognition of this elementary knowledge of truth, since it makes us to leave to others, i.e. to those other who created science, to solve the problem of finding something that attracts us and others at the same time. From this point of view, the truth of science, though well supported by arguments, is close to the persuasive communication of bad arguments which are preoccupied to touch others’ minds.

Without a personal search of the truth, our arguments have no chance to attract others. For instance, the scientific truths would not have many chances against common beliefs, if there were not scientific men able to defend their theories as personal truths.

An alternative of this dramatic defense of truths is the renouncement to use arguments that communicate through scientific concepts. It presuppose an effort of searching for words that belong too us and still could drive us out of our individuality for forming truths that attract others. The problem of building arguments will not be a simple duty of matching words generally considered as expressing rationality. The rationality will rather be the result of an effort of fighting with our resistance to abandon ourselves for the truth.