joi, 13 septembrie 2012

The Force of the Weak Arguments



Where do the prejudices lay? It is easy to consider the memory as their place, but they do not come out as some recalled memories. The memories track back the subject to his past experiences. Meanwhile, the prejudices have rather an offensive character which makes the subject to move himself against a new or adversary belief. His retirement into the net of beliefs which form the prejudices is a secondary step.

Therefore, it is more adequately to place the prejudices in the fluctuant context of the meetings with other beliefs. And the prejudices are more clearly defended when such context is humanly connoted, that means when the new beliefs are defended by other persons.

For this reasons, we may classify the addiction to prejudices as a matter of human interrelations, and not a matter of intellectual wrong beliefs which need to be intellectually rebuked.

The prejudices are rather displaced by the peaceful or warm relations between men than by a perfect and cold demonstration of their errors.

Even the hierarchy of arguments can be changed for such purpose. Contrary to the belief in the certainty of the deductive arguments, the inductive arguments that give to the conclusion merely probability seem more fruitful.


The loosely structure of an inductive argument and the weakness of its conclusion could be taken into account as means for an agreement with a person who is reluctant to new beliefs. Differently, the stronger conclusion of deductive arguments is closer to prejudices, since it restrains the debater to his own position.

For instance, it is quite possible to formulate a strong deductive argument against the belief in the existence of a moral order of the world, but more convincing is the simple inductive enumeration of moral cases which are not backed by such a belief. And the personal moral example convinces even more.

If we admit that our cognitive purposes are subordinated to the need of social relations and to that of making people free from prejudices, we must strive for discovering the manners by which we can hold the truths through weak arguments.