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Thread: Ad absurdum

  1. #1 Ad absurdum 
    Forum Masters Degree Golkarian's Avatar
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    Revealing an argument to lead to absurd consequences is often used by philosophers to question an argument. But I have heard ppl call it a fallacy, which somewhat makes sense, perhaps the absurd consequence is in fact true? What do you think, fallacy or valid technique?


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  3. #2 Re: Ad absurdum 
    Lyn
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    It must depend in some part on the degree of absurdity. Sometimes a reductio ad absurdum results in an actual contradiction, which strikes me as a pretty valid rebuttal of an argument. (EDIT: In formal logic, this is the only valid form of a reductio ad absurdum since logicians define "absurdity" as a formal contradiction.) In other cases, maybe you're right... the "rebuttal" shows that the argument is merely improbable rather than conclusively fallacious.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Professor jrmonroe's Avatar
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    We humans are very relative in our perceptions. We can see only a small part of reality. Our statements about reality fall woefully short of representing it. Most or all statements, taken to an extreme, become ridiculous. Give me any statement, I will endeavor to make absurd.
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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  5. #4  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe
    Give me any statement, I will endeavor to make absurd.
    Here is a statement for you to work on:

    Give me any statement, I will endeavor to make absurd.
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  6. #5  
    Lyn
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe
    Our statements about reality fall woefully short of representing it.
    Every single one of them? (And how do you know?) "Jumping off a cliff is likely to kill you." Is that woefully short of reality? It seems pretty spot-on to me.
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  7. #6  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyn
    "Jumping off a cliff is likely to kill you." Is that woefully short of reality? It seems pretty spot-on to me.
    Just to be pedantic it depends how far up the cliff you are, how tall the cliff is and whether or not you are wearing a parachute.
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  8. #7  
    Lyn
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    Ha! Point taken.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Professor jrmonroe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe
    Give me any statement, I will endeavor to make absurd.
    Here is a statement for you to work on:

    Give me any statement, I will endeavor to make absurd.
    I'm working on it...
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Lyn
    "Jumping off a cliff is likely to kill you." Is that woefully short of reality? It seems pretty spot-on to me.
    Just to be pedantic it depends how far up the cliff you are, how tall the cliff is and whether or not you are wearing a parachute.
    Not necessarily. There is still a probability of death.

    The pobability can be calculated using those factors, but death is still in the picture
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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  11. #10  
    Forum Professor jrmonroe's Avatar
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    Okay, here we go...

    Give me any statement, I will endeavor to make absurd.
    In the extreme, 6 billion people could read this thread and give me 6 billion statements (if they limit themselves to one each), and I would not be able to answer them all. Even if I lived to the ripe old age of 120 years, I would have lived about 3.8 billion seconds, allowing me about second per statement. Even if I was Methuselah, I'd still have only 5 seconds per statement. And that's without sleeping.
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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