Re: Compendium of errors in logic.

Fri, 04 Apr 1997 15:09:57 +1000
Bruce R. McFarling (

On Thu, 3 Apr 1997, David Lloyd-Jones wrote:

> Bruce R. McFarling wrote:
> > > b.) Africa is exploitable,
> >=20
> > Africa *is* exploitable. Part of the reason for the lack of
> > capital inflows is that Africa is too *easily* exploitable:=20

> Here Bruce takes advantage of the dual meaning of exploitable, "useful,"
> or "subject to being cheated." Since we have all learned from Bruce's
> posts on logic, we are able to recognise this as an exploit in the
> undistributed middle. =20

=09I rather take advantage of the dual meaning in the other sense of
'take advantage': I think that both meanings apply. The difference is
therefore not logic but substantive.
> > > All three are ridiculous.
> >=20
> > Exactly. While based on perfectly valid observations of what i=
> > going on, if simplified to this degree the result is too extreme to be
> > taken seriously. Of course, it was dlj who suggested this as the
> > explanatory framework. Since he read this framework in in order to
> > ridicule it, there may be suspicious souls on the list who would suspec=
> > (a thing, I've heard, that suspicious souls do) that dlj's reading is n=
> > unbiased.=20

> Again time for recourse to logic: the fact that a conclusion is =EBxtreme=
> does not per se renbder it false. My drinking buddy Karl Hess comes to
> mind. Similarly the fact that a suggestion is _mine_ is not necessarily
> evidence for its incorrectness.

=09Again, I do not mean to claim that all extreme conclusions are
ridiculous, but this one, I thought, was. Hence, "if simplified to this
degree *the* conclusion" not "*a* conclusion". Not a difference in logic
or substance, either, because dlj believes that this simplification is
ridiculous. Only a difference in whether the original post contained
sufficient information to conclude that the simplification is the single
most reasonable reading.

> Finally, the fact that one is a "suspicious soul"does not ipso facto
> preordain that everything one examines will turn out wrong. Suspicion
> is for many people a useful attribute in finding what is correct, good,
> sound and beautiful.

=09Again, I said that suspecting is something that suspicious souls
do. I think tha tin categorical terms, that's pretty close to accurate.
Whether or no this would lead to a correct, good, sound, and beautiful
assessment of what dlj is up to, I leave for the members of the list to


Bruce R. McFarling, Newcastle, NSW