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Thread: Science as the core.

  1. #1 Science as the core. 
    sox
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    Frequently in the science-religion debate I see people trying to use science as a core for their arguments.

    It just baffles me. Surely people are aware that science cannot provide the basis for a viewpoint, but can only be used to support one? Indeed the same goes for Philosophy.

    Why can't people (on both sides of the table) not just be honest when discussing this and say:

    "It is my personal convictions/experience that have led me to believe XYZ and science only helps to reinforce my belief." ?

    It would be so refreshing and I feel would make for much more interesting discussion rather than hearing the old "Evolution disproves God", "The order in the universe is indicative of a creator" arguments.

    PLEASE STOP USING THESE TYPES OF STATEMENTS AS PROOF/FOUNDATIONS FOR YOUR VIEWS!


    Let the hostilities begin...

    sox out.



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    Science is just observation, with the caveat being that we need to confirm our observations by comparison with others. What is so unreasonable about basing our beliefs and arguments on that simple system? What would you suggest is a better basis for belief or argument than observation? Fantasy? Wishful thinking? Assumption?


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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Science is just observation, with the caveat being that we need to confirm our observations by comparison with others. What is so unreasonable about basing our beliefs and arguments on that simple system?
    problems ensue since beliefs are not observable

    What would you suggest is a better basis for belief or argument than observation? Fantasy? Wishful thinking? Assumption?
    how about philosophy?
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    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    problems ensue since beliefs are not observable
    Are you sure you want to stand by that claim?
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  6. #5 Re: Science as the core. 
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    Quote Originally Posted by sox
    It would be so refreshing and I feel would make for much more interesting discussion rather than hearing the old "Evolution disproves God", "The order in the universe is indicative of a creator" arguments.
    Such claims reveal that the claimant does not understand the nature or intent of science. Such claims lie (currently at least) outside the sphere of science.

    Since science is at its heart methdologically naturalistic it cannot be used to provide substantive material for the supernatural. That would be illogical. Of course many like to indulge in the illogical.
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  7. #6  
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    How does it reveal I don't understand the intent of science?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sox
    How does it reveal I don't understand the intent of science?
    I don't believe that Galt said anything of the kind. Get a grip.

    You were talking about certain types of statements and Galt was making a comment about the people who make those same kind of statements that you were talking about.
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  9. #8  
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    Oh yeah... see that now!

    Well I'm glad someone agrees!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sox
    Oh yeah... see that now!

    Well I'm glad someone agrees!
    I'm not sure I fully understand or agree with your opening post.
    I had a quick look over some of your other posts and I find it surprising, given you are a physics student, that the vast majority were sent to the Religion and General Discussion sub forums and very few, if any, are "technical" posts to the Maths or Physics sub forums.
    I hope I don't give the impression I am being "combative"!
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  11. #10  
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    The reason I joined this forum was actually for the religion section so there's not a surprise there.

    But back on topic whats your thoughts on the opening post?

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  12. #11 Re: Science as the core. 
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    Quote Originally Posted by sox
    Frequently in the science-religion debate I see people trying to use science as a core for their arguments.

    It just baffles me. Surely people are aware that science cannot provide the basis for a viewpoint, but can only be used to support one?
    A basis for a viewpoint could be created with the simple observation of a meteorite falling to earth, near enough for you to see it hit. I would ask, what would have been your "personal convictions/experience that led you to believe" in the effect of meteorites, if in fact, you had never heard of nor seen them before?


    "It is my personal convictions/experience that have led me to believe XYZ and science only helps to reinforce my belief." ?
    That would roughly be one of the first steps towards formulating an hypothesis. Many proposed here and elsewhere often wind up in the pseudoscience bin simple because science does not reinforce the beliefs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sox
    The reason I joined this forum was actually for the religion section so there's not a surprise there.

    But back on topic whats your thoughts on the opening post?
    I am surprised you would join a science forum simply "for the religion section" and pretty much ignore your specialist subject. I wish I had the much deeper knowledge of maths/physics that comes from academic study of these subjects.
    You say in your opening post "surely people are aware that science cannot provide the basis for a viewpoint, but can only be used to support one".
    I'm sure that when I first became interested in astronomy I realised that either the universe had always existed or it had a starting point. One does not have to be a scientist/philosopher to accept that! It was only when I read about the scientific evidence supporting the BBT that I used the evidence "as the basis for a viewpoint" that the universe did have a beginning almost 14 billion years ago.
    I have to say, hopefully without sounding too pompous, that the BBT was, for me, philosophically more satisfying than the SST but if I had been a strong supporter of the SST, way back, I know that the mass of scientific evidence building up would have forced me to change my opinion/viewpoint.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday
    Quote Originally Posted by sox
    The reason I joined this forum was actually for the religion section so there's not a surprise there.

    But back on topic whats your thoughts on the opening post?
    I am surprised you would join a science forum simply "for the religion section" and pretty much ignore your specialist subject.
    I don't find that surprising at all.

    Not everyone is confined to a single interest as if there brain only had room for field of inquiry. I have a masters in physics and another masters from a theological seminary, so my interest goes in both directions.

    The vast majority of people doing studies in scientific field do not get involved in discussion forums in that field and I suspect the majority of those involved in discussion forums in that field are those with passing or amature interests in it. Science isn't really about this kind of discussion anyway, though it might be an effective way for some people to learn. To be sure, people learn in different ways. But real physics is learned through problem solving, because it is all about seeing the world in mathematical terms. Without the math, it really isn't physics at all, but something more like metaphysics and scientific visualization.

    Theology and religion is of course very different. And personally I have become less and less interested in a pursuit of theology within the narrow confines of the assumptions and premises of those within a religious group. In the case of theology, I think that discussion goes a long way toward making it real.
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  15. #14  
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    I think (well actually I know as I really didnt write much of an opening post now I look at it) I haven't been specific enough in my opening post.

    When I said:

    "surely people are aware that science cannot provide the basis for a viewpoint, but can only be used to support one".

    what I meant was:

    "surely people are aware that science cannot provide the basis for a viewpoint with regards to the meaning of life/spiritual matters etc, but can only be used to support one".

    I would agree with mitchel to an extent, studying physics at uni is more than enough for me at the moment. I'm actually deliberately branching out into the arts by learning the piano and soon by learning french. Constantly thinking about physics and the big questions leaves one rather drained. It's why I tend only to use this forum every few weeks for a few days at the most.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Science isn't really about this kind of discussion anyway.
    I should say that there can be even more of an exception to this when your studies are at a really high level, because then classes are rarely offered, the texts are much harder to understand even when they can be found, and in general there has not been a great deal of development in the area of how to teach the subject most effectively. Such subjects are often offered at university as a seminar which often involves a lot more discussion than lecturing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday
    Quote Originally Posted by sox
    The reason I joined this forum was actually for the religion section so there's not a surprise there.

    But back on topic whats your thoughts on the opening post?
    I am surprised you would join a science forum simply "for the religion section" and pretty much ignore your specialist subject.
    I don't find that surprising at all.

    Not everyone is confined to a single interest as if there brain only had room for field of inquiry. I have a masters in physics and another masters from a theological seminary, so my interest goes in both directions.

    The vast majority of people doing studies in scientific field do not get involved in discussion forums in that field and I suspect the majority of those involved in discussion forums in that field are those with passing or amature interests in it. Science isn't really about this kind of discussion anyway, though it might be an effective way for some people to learn. To be sure, people learn in different ways. But real physics is learned through problem solving, because it is all about seeing the world in mathematical terms. Without the math, it really isn't physics at all, but something more like metaphysics and scientific visualization.

    Theology and religion is of course very different. And personally I have become less and less interested in a pursuit of theology within the narrow confines of the assumptions and premises of those within a religious group. In the case of theology, I think that discussion goes a long way toward making it real.
    I agree that "not everyone is confined to a single interest as if their brain only had room for one field of enquiry" and so I cannot see why that should not also be true for those involved in Internet discussion forums. That is why I expressed surprise, at the fact, that a large proportion of sox's posts came to this forum and hardly any were sent to science sub forums.
    I agree with you when you say "the vast majority of people doing studies in the scientific field do not get involved in discussion forums in that field and I suspect the majority of those involved in discussion forums in that field are those with passing or amateur interests in it. Science isn't really about this kind of discussion anyway, though it might be an effective way for some people to learn".
    Of course sox is completely free to post where he wants but, as you say, it is possible, for some, to learn from this kind of forum and therefore it seems a pity if any specialist in, or student of, any of the "hard" sciences rarely posts in their area of expertise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    problems ensue since beliefs are not observable
    Are you sure you want to stand by that claim?
    Are you sure you want to stand by the claim that all beliefs within the field of science are observable?
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    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    Are you sure you want to stand by the claim that all beliefs within the field of science are observable?
    Are you sure you want to stand by the claim that I've made any claim whatsoever?

    Anyhow, how can beliefs be anything but observable? It doesn't make sense. It's not like they're invisible, outside the scope of our understanding or whatever. But you said "within the field of science", which is puzzling. Why would that make any difference? Beliefs in science are based upon what the evidence can tell us. It's not like it's founded on some unprovable claim of some supernatural power. And they are perfectly "observable". Why shouldn't they be?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    Are you sure you want to stand by the claim that all beliefs within the field of science are observable?
    Are you sure you want to stand by the claim that I've made any claim whatsoever?
    Feel free to show us how one challenges a claim without making a claim

    Anyhow, how can beliefs be anything but observable? It doesn't make sense. It's not like they're invisible, outside the scope of our understanding or whatever.
    and that's precisely it

    beliefs are connected to understanding and its the nature of understanding to change

    But you said "within the field of science", which is puzzling. Why would that make any difference?
    it doesn't

    a belief in science or a belief in elvis presley has an identical framework (although the framework of reference may be radically different)

    Beliefs in science are based upon what the evidence can tell us.
    what a wonderful circular argument

    It's not like it's founded on some unprovable claim of some supernatural power. And they are perfectly "observable". Why shouldn't they be?
    sure

    beliefs in science are based on evidence and the evidence tells us what to belief.
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    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    Feel free to show us how one challenges a claim without making a claim
    It's perfectly simple to critique or question something without making any claims.

    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    and that's precisely it

    beliefs are connected to understanding and its the nature of understanding to change
    Beliefs are connected to understanding? The existence of creationism seems to disprove that statement. I would rather say some beliefs are connected to understanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    what a wonderful circular argument
    From a strawman's perspective perhaps.

    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    sure

    beliefs in science are based on evidence and the evidence tells us what to belief.
    Yes? Is something unclear?

    You do know what evidence means in this context, yes?

    Observations, rigorous testing, experimental data, calculations (predictions), consistency and probability. All of these evidences form a belief, or rather, theory which makes accurate predictions based upon these emperical data (evidences) acquired thanks to the process of the scientific method (observation, hypothesis, falsification).

    You seem to ignore all of this when you make your strawman delusion that what I said was a logical fallacy (circular argument).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    Feel free to show us how one challenges a claim without making a claim
    It's perfectly simple to critique or question something without making any claims.

    well feel free to offer an example

    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    and that's precisely it

    beliefs are connected to understanding and its the nature of understanding to change
    Beliefs are connected to understanding? The existence of creationism seems to disprove that statement.
    Given that creationism (which IMHO has numerous problems) is underpinned by quite a few issues of understanding (like who is god, what are his activities and how this relates to the living entity) that doesn't seem to be the case.

    I would rather say some beliefs are connected to understanding.
    doubting the issues of understanding that underpins a claim doesn't impinge the requirement of understanding in forming belief

    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    what a wonderful circular argument
    From a strawman's perspective perhaps.

    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    sure

    beliefs in science are based on evidence and the evidence tells us what to belief.
    Yes? Is something unclear?
    only why you are unable to recognize a text book example of a circular argument
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell

    well feel free to offer an example
    The Socratic Method.

    (If we're going to proceed this discourse on claims I suggest we move it over to the 'Philosophy' forum. I have a feeling some interesting things might come out of it.)

    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    Given that creationism (which IMHO has numerous problems) is underpinned by quite a few issues of understanding (like who is god, what are his activities and how this relates to the living entity) that doesn't seem to be the case.

    ---

    doubting the issues of understanding that underpins a claim doesn't impinge the requirement of understanding in forming belief
    So a lack of understanding equals a form of understanding? And you don't think this is an oxymoron?

    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    only why you are unable to recognize a text book example of a circular argument
    You seem to be ignorant of the fact that the scientific method goes around the problem of personal incredulity by assuming what we believe to be false.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell

    well feel free to offer an example
    The Socratic Method.
    poor choice

    give an example of the socratic method and you will see why

    (If we're going to proceed this discourse on claims I suggest we move it over to the 'Philosophy' forum. I have a feeling some interesting things might come out of it.)
    no need

    here's just fine
    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    Given that creationism (which IMHO has numerous problems) is underpinned by quite a few issues of understanding (like who is god, what are his activities and how this relates to the living entity) that doesn't seem to be the case.

    ---

    doubting the issues of understanding that underpins a claim doesn't impinge the requirement of understanding in forming belief
    So a lack of understanding equals a form of understanding?
    no

    a lack of understanding simply means an existing understanding that is not suffcient.

    For instance you could challenge that a creationist has a lack of understanding but you if you said they have no understanding that's technically inaccurate



    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    only why you are unable to recognize a text book example of a circular argument
    You seem to be ignorant of the fact that the scientific method goes around the problem of personal incredulity by assuming what we believe to be false.[/quote]

    meh

    and this doesn't make the argument circular?
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    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    poor choice

    give an example of the socratic method and you will see why
    When examining a claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Socrates generally applied his method of examination to concepts that seem to lack any concrete definition; e.g., the key moral concepts at the time, the virtues of piety, wisdom, temperance, courage, and justice. Such an examination challenged the implicit moral beliefs of the interlocutors, bringing out inadequacies and inconsistencies in their beliefs, and usually resulting in puzzlement known as aporia. In view of such inadequacies, Socrates himself professed his ignorance, but others still claimed to have knowledge. Socrates believed that his awareness of his ignorance made him wiser than those who, though ignorant, still claimed knowledge. Although this belief seems paradoxical at first glance, it in fact allowed Socrates to discover his own errors where others might assume they were correct. This claim was known by the anecdote of the Delphic oracular pronouncement that Socrates was the wisest of all men. (Or, rather, that no man was wiser than Socrates.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socrati...od#Application
    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    So a lack of understanding equals a form of understanding?no

    a lack of understanding simply means an existing understanding that is not suffcient.

    For instance you could challenge that a creationist has a lack of understanding but you if you said they have no understanding that's technically inaccurate
    So you differentiate between 'understanding' and 'misunderstanding' then? Do you interpret ignorance as being a form of misunderstanding then?

    I'm not implying you are wrong, but it seems that the role of the absense of understanding is obscure or not present (taken into consideration).

    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    meh

    and this doesn't make the argument circular?
    Well, it's circular because it's intertwined. Kind of like the chicken and the egg dilemma, I guess.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    poor choice

    give an example of the socratic method and you will see why
    When examining a claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Socrates generally applied his method of examination to concepts that seem to lack any concrete definition; e.g., the key moral concepts at the time, the virtues of piety, wisdom, temperance, courage, and justice. Such an examination challenged the implicit moral beliefs of the interlocutors, bringing out inadequacies and inconsistencies in their beliefs, and usually resulting in puzzlement known as aporia. In view of such inadequacies, Socrates himself professed his ignorance, but others still claimed to have knowledge. Socrates believed that his awareness of his ignorance made him wiser than those who, though ignorant, still claimed knowledge. Although this belief seems paradoxical at first glance, it in fact allowed Socrates to discover his own errors where others might assume they were correct. This claim was known by the anecdote of the Delphic oracular pronouncement that Socrates was the wisest of all men. (Or, rather, that no man was wiser than Socrates.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socrati...od#Application
    nice

    now give an example of implementing the socratic method to a claim and you will see why it is a poor choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    So a lack of understanding equals a form of understanding?no

    a lack of understanding simply means an existing understanding that is not suffcient.

    For instance you could challenge that a creationist has a lack of understanding but you if you said they have no understanding that's technically inaccurate
    So you differentiate between 'understanding' and 'misunderstanding' then? Do you interpret ignorance as being a form of misunderstanding then?

    I'm not implying you are wrong, but it seems that the role of the absense of understanding is obscure or not present (taken into consideration).
    even ignorant persons have an understanding, albeit an ignorant one.

    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    meh

    and this doesn't make the argument circular?
    Well, it's circular because it's intertwined. Kind of like the chicken and the egg dilemma, I guess.
    however when an effect is attributed as a cause, you have something slightly different
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    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    nice

    now give an example of implementing the socratic method to a claim and you will see why it is a poor choice.
    Why don't you just show and explain what you're getting at?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    nice

    now give an example of implementing the socratic method to a claim and you will see why it is a poor choice.
    Why don't you just show and explain what you're getting at?
    I'm trying

    Take any claim you like, apply the socratic method to it and I will point out why it is a poor choice of challenging a claim without making a claim.
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    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    I'm trying

    Take any claim you like, apply the socratic method to it and I will point out why it is a poor choice of challenging a claim without making a claim.
    Why make a specific example when you can't find anything wrong with the general principle?

    It's a method used to find a better hypothesis by eliminating those who contain flaws in reasoning. It doesn't claim anything - other than indirectly implying a claim (under examination) might be wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    I'm trying

    Take any claim you like, apply the socratic method to it and I will point out why it is a poor choice of challenging a claim without making a claim.
    Why make a specific example when you can't find anything wrong with the general principle?
    Fine

    Provide an example and I will provide a problem with your general principle.
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    Fine

    Provide an example and I will provide a problem with your general principle.
    ???

    Alright then, take this example from Wikipedia:

    In Plato's early dialogues, the elenchos is the technique Socrates uses to investigate, for example, the nature or definition of ethical concepts such as justice or virtue. According to one general characterization (Vlastos, 1983), it has the following steps:

    1. Socrates' interlocutor asserts a thesis, for example 'Courage is endurance of the soul', which Socrates considers false and targets for refutation.

    2. Socrates secures his interlocutor's agreement to further premises, for example 'Courage is a fine thing' and 'Ignorant endurance is not a fine thing'.

    3. Socrates then argues, and the interlocutor agrees, that these further premises imply the contrary of the original thesis, in this case it leads to: 'courage is not endurance of the soul'.

    4. Socrates then claims that he has shown that his interlocutor's thesis is false and that its contrary is true.

    Edit:
    It is used to assess the truth or plausibility of things by a series of questions. What claim is needed in order to assess another claim?
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  32. #31  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    Fine

    Provide an example and I will provide a problem with your general principle.
    ???

    Alright then, take this example from Wikipedia:

    In Plato's early dialogues, the elenchos is the technique Socrates uses to investigate, for example, the nature or definition of ethical concepts such as justice or virtue. According to one general characterization (Vlastos, 1983), it has the following steps:

    1. Socrates' interlocutor asserts a thesis, for example 'Courage is endurance of the soul', which Socrates considers false and targets for refutation.



    Edit:
    It is used to assess the truth or plausibility of things by a series of questions. What claim is needed in order to assess another claim?
    well if there is no claim that courage is the endurance of the soul is false, its kind of difficult to figure out how the cross examination would proceed.

    If you can't understand how the general principle suffers in this example, feel free to offer another.

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