On Argument and meaning
To Argue is to Establish Truth
ANIL MITRA © MARCH 2016—March 2017
On Argument and Meaning
From the universal metaphysics—
Seeing argument as relation. The universe relating to itself—one part to another … what can we infer from that? Self reference? Limits? Argument as process as dialogue … ? And strict inference as a player? Rationality? Emotion and value?
Argument is of thought of as ‘cognitive’. The following provides further context—
An argument establishes truth
Simple and compound facts
Patterns as compound facts—vs. universal theories (or laws)
Note—universality of a theory is projection beyond given fact from the immediate to the universal
In general because of the possibility of error or projection, confidence is not absolute and confidence grows from failure to disconfirm (falsify)
Accuracy exceeds precision—examples:
In necessary inference, if premises are true the conclusions are true.
Necessary inference is truth preserving—if A Ž B and B Ž C, then A Ž C where ‘Ž’ reads ‘implies’ but really means ‘implies with full confidence’. Due to error accumulation this does not always hold if ‘Ž’ is ‘implies with confidence greater than some value 0 < confidence < 100%’.
The standard for deduction is ‘small’ steps where the smallness of each step is such that it is transparently obvious from (a) meaning and or (b) a consistent set of rules whose necessity is established by proof or models.
Deduction would seem to be analytic—i.e. it is based in meaning.
But consider the argument from ‘the universe is all there is’ to ‘there is exactly one universe’. From the premise there can be no more than one universe. But the argument that there is a universe is synthetic. So some synthetic propositions fall under deduction. They are based in ‘accuracy exceeding precision’.
A deductive argument is valid if it is correct—i.e. if the conclusions necessarily follow from the premises.
It is sound if the conclusion is necessarily true—if the premise is true and (a) the premise is the conclusion or (b) the argument is valid.
I.e. arguments that are not necessary in their conclusion
Generalization from instances or data
Listing reasons or factors, pro and con.
Conduction is unreliable except when all factors are enumerated their combined influence can be assessed. One way is (a) quantitative measures for each factor and (b) quantitative assessment of joint influence. When accuracy exceeds precision, conductive argument may be necessary.
If one set of conductive factors is questionable, another may be available. E.g. when causal factors present difficulty correlations may be transparent.
Abduction is ‘inference’ of hypotheses or explanatory models. In general, because the data is a subset of the universe, abduction carries no necessity. Some cases yield to statistical treatment.
However, abduction can be seen as necessary over the data.
The standard method is abduction and test. Tests are experimental or in terms of other models which are experimental at rood.
The method is not necessary for the same reason that abduction is not. However, when experiment so far does not disconfirm a theory, confidence grows.
However, a scientific theory can be seen as necessary over the data—i.e., over a region of the universe.
The symbol, concept, object notion (concept) of meaning gives the following empowerments.
Fallacy of concept meaning—the assumption that ‘grammatically formed’ concepts have objects.
Negative existentials; liar paradox.
Universality of meaning vs. context vs. speaker meaning.
Dictionary paradox, meaning, and use.
Shifting meaning, include object. Include literal meaning, non-literal meaning, and their relationship.
The conductive fallacy—accumulating arguments constitutes proof. It can but this requires (a) including all pertinent factors (b) sufficiently quantitative and synergic analysis. And note a complex conduction can sometimes be replaced by a cleverly chosen single factor argument. Often, counting causes is efficiently replaced by correlations and / or statistics.
The fallacy of argument—we often think argument is king. However, given a finite time other factors enter—personalities, deviousness … what shall we do about this? Shall we counter only with argument? Is it a fallacy to argue that argument is king? Should we not also enter the fray?