Formal structure of a logical argument

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Speakpigeon, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Evolution of chemical complexes can - in theory - explain the emergence of evolution of living beings.
    The basic mechanism does not require "species", or any living being at all.
     
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  3. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    But this basic mechanism does produce a species which then evolves. Being able to evolve is a necessary condition.
     
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  5. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    Yours is not a formal argument, at least it wouldn't be accepted as such by any logician I know of. It's an informal argument.
    If you know it's reasonable, then you should be able to provide the reasons. Identifying the reasons would allow you to make your argument formal.
    I don't know, it's for you to tell.
    What's missing is any reason to accept the premise that assuming what is assumed here is reasonable.
    If it was to be taken as a formal statement, you would need to analyse the various notions you use here, such as "form of life", "adaptation", "evolutionary", "conditions", and "sufficiently adapted". Analysing these notions would allow you to make them concepts and use these concepts to make an actual formal argument. As it is, different people can choose for themselves what these notions mean and therefore how they relate to each other, and from there turn your argument into a different argument.

    Still, thanks for posting this. This is good evidence that people possess an intuitive logical capability. Your assumption that your argument is true on the face of it even though it's not a formal argument shows you had to come to a view as to its logical validity even though you don't know the formal structure of your argument and therefore couldn't use formal logic to prove your argument logically valid.
    So, possibly, what you are making equivalent with your argument is intuitive logic and formal logic. They are not equivalent, at least not for now, and this is the problem.
    EB
     
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  7. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    No.
    There's objectively nothing subjective suggested in the argument.
    The vocabulary I used in my argument should be interpreted using any ordinary good English dictionary, which is an objective basis. Doing differently would allow subjectivity to sneak in.
    And the only one who is being subjective here is you in your use of the term "tense", which does make your post nonsense.
    Here is, objectively, what the term "tense" means in English:
    So, objectively, my argument is entirely couched in the present tense, and I don't think you could cogently argue this makes it somehow subjective.
    For you to have a point, you would need to express it in proper English first.
    You would need to explain what's not accepted as science in my argument.
    You should understand that if somebody thinks the premises are somehow contrary to science, it is for them to explain how and none has so far. I can't make other people's points for them.
    As for me, I don't have any doubt that they are compatible with current science.
    A debate here can only be philosophical at best.
    For there to be any serious debate, people here would need to upgrade a lot in the way they argue. Better English, better logic, and sticking to facts, including the facts of what people have said so far, which include quoting people and only quoting the relevant bit. If you can't get yourself to do that, that's just too bad.
    So, there clearly would be a very long way to go for a serious debate here.
    EB
     
  8. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    I expect a rational conversation. Facts and logic. Is that too much?
    I'm sure Sarkus is a nice guy, I'm not yet convinced is so smart as you think.
    I'm not here to teach, so your point here is essentially irrelevant.
    As to me being a bit harsh on people, you need to appreciate this in light of the sheer idiocy of many comments and replies I get, unless you could prove to my satisfaction that's not idiocy.
    It should be evident to you that my treatment of posters is a function of the relevance of their comments, and idiotic comments are the most irrelevant of all.
    I said the logical structure. That's not quite asking for a formal argument.
    Sarkus so far as been unable to get himself to articulate his point to begin with. His only offering in terms of the logical structure doesn't match the structure of my argument.
    And it's me who started this thread. People can decide whether they want to address the OP or not.
    I also wouldn't ask a question if I was only interested in my own answer to it.
    EB
     
  9. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Yet you ignore facts. Go figure.
    I have articulated it numerous times now, even pandering to your desire for a more formal structure - i.e. in post #9. This post also quite clearly shows that your argument suffers from an undistributed middle. That you can't equate two equivalent expressions, and seem to think that the order of the premises matters to the formal structure, is where you start to divert from rational conversation.

    So, the ball's in your court as to whether you are intending this thread as more than just a place to troll.
    If you disagree that your argument suffers from an undistributed middle, what sensible rebuttals do you have? The justification for considering it invalid has been posted - do you have anything more than just the premises are in a different order to the wiki example, or your mistaken claim that none of your premises are of the form "all x are such that F(x)"?
     
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    5,599
    You asked "try to express the formal structure of the following argument as you understand it". That appears to be a little formalization homework exercise, unless it raises more interesting philosophical issues or serves some larger philosophical purpose. Certainly philosophical issues do seem to arise during the course of the formalization, such as how to formalize "for all we know... may be...", but you don't seem to want to discuss those issues. Yet when Sarkus tried to snip those words out and treat the first premise as a simple conditional, you rejected his doing so and claimed that he was misrepresenting your argument.

    So... how would you formalize "for all we know... may be..."?

    If "express the formal structure" isn't a demand that we restate your argument in terms of formal logic, then what exactly do you want?
     
  11. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    You mean, like you do when you post a "formal argument"?
    I want you to explain why my argument isn't formal and yours is. Identify the premises and the conclusion, and show me that my argument isn't rigorous, wouldn't be accepted by any logician you know (how many is that, btw?), yada yada.

    But you won't be doing any such thing anytime soon. What you really want to do is explain to everyone why they aren't as good at thinking as you are, and you don't seem to be to anyone here.

    Maybe you could try it somewhere else?
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    30,994
    It does not produce a species - or any "living" entity - until much farther along the evolutionary track than the chemical complexes it begins with.

    (Some chemical complexes - such as certain clays, certain complex organics as sometimes produced by hydrothermal vents and lightning strikes, etc - can evolve by Darwinian mechanism).
     
  13. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    7,652
    So this mechanism also evolves, but not the way living organisms do.

    Also the question arises, what happened to this process? Was it replaced, so it "died out", once real evolution began?
     
  14. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    For the talking birds here, my argument in a more rigorous form is:

    P1. The theory of evolution doesn't explain how life began.
    P2. Evolution of species requires species with the "ability" to adapt to environmental changes.
    C1. Adaptation is the evolution of new ways to exploit the environment and be "fitter".

    P3.The first forms of life adapted to the local conditions.
    C2. The first forms of life emerged spontaneously (from some chemical complex), in "ready to adapt/evolve" mode.
     
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    30,994
    By the exact same Darwinian ratchet as, later, shaped living beings. Reproduction with variation, differential selection among the variety.
    Nothing. It still goes on. Its more complex products get eaten, these days, by the evolved eaters of stuff.
     
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    30,994
    It's the current leading candidate for explanation.
    It is certainly capable of such explanation - but hard evidence of what actually happened, three billion years ago and more, is sparse and uncertain.
    It certainly cannot be ruled out by assumption.
     
  17. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    Nonetheless, it's still 'reasonable to assume' that the theory doesn't explain it; it needs a revision.
    The hard evidence is still there, you said; current evolved organisms are exploiting it right now. Is that confirmed research, or an assumption?
     
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    This is not a valid argument. The conclusion doesn't follow directly from the premises.
    P1 states what evolution isn't. Fair enough. I'm not going to comment on the soundness.
    P2 states what evolution of the species requires.
    The conclusion is simply another statement, relying on neither premise 1 nor premise 2. It is a non sequitur. It is merely an explanation of the word "adapt" as used in the second premise, but the conclusion and P2 are rather circular.
    So as an argument.... I'm not sure there is any syllogism here, no formal argument, just three statements. If you insist there is an argument then the conclusion is invalid.
    Similarly here the conclusion has no bearing on any of P1 to 3. It is just a statement.
    P2 says evolution of species requires adaptation to environmental changes, P3 says that the first forms of life adapted to local conditions, and P1 says evolution doesn't explain how life began.
    C2 is some guess as to how life did begin,
    It doesn't need P2 or P3. P2 and P3 are about what evolution and adaptation is, and because of P1, they have no bearing on the arrival of first life.
    So you're left with saying that evolution doesn't explain how life began, and your conclusion is to offer up some alternative method. Unfortunately offering up one alternative leaves whatever logic there is between the premise and the conclusion as invalid, as P1 does not exclude all but 1 alternative. You offer one, for example, but our Creationist friends might offer one or two other.
    So again, there is no valid conclusion here.

    With my more nit-picky hat on, you also offer the phrase "emerged spontaneously" as describing the arrival of that first life, but emergence is far from spontaneous.

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  19. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    I’m pleased to announce I was able to obtain independent confirmation that the argument is valid. I am told it can be couched in the axiomatic S4 of modal logic. Not that I was worried myself, I was even rather embarrassed to ask for the confirmation of something pretty obvious to begin with, but you never know.

    There are two specific qualifiers I didn’t expect (beyond necessity and possibility), which are nonetheless required in formal logic to capture the whole semantic of the argument. Good to know.

    Still, apparently, it seems there is no metaphysically absolute formal proof that any logical argument is valid. To see that an argument is valid, we all have to rely on our own personal intuitive sense of logic.

    Or rely on somebody else we trust, but he himself will have to rely on his own intuition, or possibly on whatever empirical evidence there is as to what people do in this respect.

    Still, it’s not all bad. It means anyone here can still enjoy the luxury of being able to deny mordicus that the argument is valid, even obviously not valid, even patently not valid. It a fact I can’t prove metaphysically, absolutely, that you’re wrong.

    Good to know, hmm?
    EB
     
  20. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    1,123
    People who have expressed their view the argument was invalid have also demonstrated they're not up to speed to discuss things like epistemological qualifiers. There would be no point. Removing the epistemological qualifiers just means you don't even know there's something called "modal logic".
    I agree that the argument without the qualifiers is not valid.
    This is what Sarkus proposed:
    P1 - conscious mind is the state of a group of neurons
    P2 - what we do is determined by the state of a group of neurons
    C - what we do is determined by our conscious mind
    Well, that's obviously not valid. So what? It's not my argument.
    Here is one proposition, by someone else. I left his question and comment:
    A may be B
    C is determined by B
    Therefore C may be determined by A
    Is there anything to debate? The argument is valid, though not necessarily sound.
    I didn't ask people to learn modal logic. I know nobody here could express the argument in formal logic. I asked for the formal structure because if someone is dead certain the argument is invalid and insist I should accept his claim, as Sarkus and others have, then it's fair to ask him to produce the formal structure of the argument as he understands it, because I would expect some serious departure from the original argument, as indeed demonstrated by Sarkus himself.
    EB
     
  21. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    1,123
    Not only you don't understand logic, but here you are demonstrating you can't even read proper English sentences and make sense of what they say.
    Here is my OP in its entirety.

    For those interested, thank you to try to express the formal structure of the following argument as you understand it:
    Premise 1 - For all we know, somebody's conscious mind may be the state of a group of neurons in this person's brain;
    Premise 2 - What somebody does is determined by the state of a group of neurons in this person's brain;
    Conclusion - Therefore, for all we know, what somebody does may be determined by the conscious mind of this person.
    Everything is admissible as long as it's what you think is the best expression of the structure of the argument and that you are prepared to argue your view.
    Still, I will myself keep away from this thread to let you all try to arrive at a consensus independently of my own view, hopefully through something like a rational debate.
    Thank you in advance for your contribution.
    EB

    It's clearly written and non-ambiguous, and there's nothing in there that says or suggests in any way that the argument I posted was a formal argument.
    If you can't understand that by yourself, even after you yourself quoted the relevant bits as you just did, then the only rational explanation is that you don't understand proper English sentences.
    It's not possible to have any rational conversation in those circumstances.
    If you don't like it, just ignore me. That would save me time.
    EB
     
  22. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    For someone who seems to consider them self reasonably well versed in logic, you clearly show that you don't practice it in your thinking.

    As for the rest of your postings, your abrupt and immature style is not conducive to discussion, and we're not here to mark your homework. This is a discussion forum. If you're not here to discuss then please find somewhere else.
     
  23. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    Maybe the first go was aimed at me exploring how to stack something up against the OP's effort.
    But here we are instead.

    Effort #2

    P1. The theory of evolution doesn't explain how adaptation to an environment began. (Seriously, like Einstein's theory doesn't explain where the universe came from)
    P2. Evolution requires species with the ability to adapt to environmental changes. (It's kind of axiomatic)

    P3. The first forms of life (were) adapted to the local conditions. (Ya think?)
    P4. The first forms of life emerged spontaneously (from some chemical complex), in "ready to adapt/evolve" mode.

    C1. The chemical reactions that life began from is where adaptation and its evolution came from. That is, from chemical systems that were adapting to local conditions. Life emerged from a pre-living complex that was itself evolving "chemically".

    This is all reasonable because the alternative, that life began then developed adaptivity, just shifts the question.
     

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