A Theory of Philosophical Fallacies by Leonard Nelson, Fernando Leal, D. G. Carus

By Leonard Nelson, Fernando Leal, D. G. Carus

Presented as a Vorlesung within the German philosophical culture, this booklet offers the main distinct account of Nelson’s approach to argument research, celebrated by means of many luminaries resembling Karl Popper. It was once written in 1921 against the relativistic, subjectivistic and nihilistic trends of Nelson’s time. The e-book comprises an exposition of a style that may be a extra improvement of Kant’s transcendental dialectics, via an software to the severe research of arguments via many well-known thinkers, together with Bentham, Mill, Poincaré, Leibniz, Hegel, Einstein, Bergson, Rickert, Simmel, Brentano, Stammler, Jellinek, Dingler, and Meinong. The e-book provides a common idea of philosophical argumentation as noticeable from the perspective of the common fallacies devoted by way of anyone arguing philosophically, no matter if expert philosophers or philosophical laypeople. even though the character of philosophy and philosophical argumentation is among the so much recurrent gadgets of mirrored image for philosophers, this publication represents the 1st test at a normal thought of philosophical fallacy. in response to Nelson, it truly is within the form of fake dilemmas that mistakes in reasoning continually emerge, and fake dilemmas are consistently the results of a similar mechanism--the unwitting substitute of 1 proposal for another.

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For the intuition people have recourse to is, when you look closely, precisely what is attacked by the sophistic dialectic we wish to resist. One is replying to the doubts and objections of such a dialectic by a sheer assertion when one appeals to a purported intuition, when this is precisely what is contested by the said dialectic. The fact that it is open to attack by such a dialectic is the best and most unmistakable proof of the fact that the purported intuition is purely fanciful. For if we really were in possession of such an immediate intuition of philosophical truth, then no sophistic dialectic could have any success whatsoever against the truth.

People speak of the ‘intuitive apprehension’ of something that is true yet only mean a dark awareness which in itself lacks all intuitive clarity… Feeling is no intuition but an act of reflection, even though it is different from the grasping of concepts or the drawing of inferences. Thus we have occasionally the feeling that an argumentation we have listened to or read is fallacious and yet cannot quite say what the fallacy is. ’ See Nelson (1917, 304). For the correct understanding of the first three lectures as well as the last two ones it is very important that the reader keeps in mind that the term ‘intuition’ for Kant, Fries and Nelson always refers to our sensory capacities; this includes the ‘formal’ intuitions that underlie mathematical knowledge but excludes all intellectual intuition.

A series of German philosophers from Leibniz to Kant borrowed it to denote a specious argument by which concepts are replaced or swapped for each other (see Birken-Bertsch 2006). More generally, traditional logicians used subreptio or vitium subreptionis to denote the verbal equivocation produced by using one term for two different concepts, a fallacy whose best-known manifestation is the quaternio terminorum in a classical syllogism. Starting with Chapter “Lecture IX” below Nelson will use Erschleichung (or more fully, begriffliche Erschleichung) to indicate a mixture of these two senses: the dialectical context in which the two parties in a philosophical debate reciprocally swap their concepts.

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