They're from some time in 2010, when I was in an argument with a former roommate who is an Objectivist. He was having trouble seeing the issue with the is-ought problem in philosophy, believing it to be solved. The desire to live must have come up, which is part of the base of his philosophy, and he tried to assert it is an objective fact that living creatures desire to live. I gave two counter-examples, thus deductively disproving that assertion. Surely if a desire to live is an is, it cannot so simply be overridden, therefore when it is overridden, that implication's premise must be false. The second image shows that the is-ought problem easily leads to circular reasoning, which is part of why it's a problem to begin with. Circular reasoning is bad in deductive logic!
I made these dot diagrams with graphviz, because I felt he wasn't capable of keeping the entire chain of logic in his head at one time without them. The graphs didn't help. In retrospect, this doesn't surprise me. The particular fellow has always struggled with deduction and changing his mind. For instance, I had previously failed to convince him 0.999... = 1 which is kind of a pons asinorum of deduction leading to truths your intuition might initially fight...
Changing one's mind is hard. Why does it appear so much harder for other people? This isn't elitism on my part -- I have a clear trail of evidence of changing my mind. But my Objectivist ex-roommate does not -- that's part of what being an Objectivist implies. It's just as mind-killing as being a devout Christian in a small town, as being a Universalist Progressive... Is it simply that some people are more susceptible to group signaling than others? (Ha, there's an older belief of mine I've had since before that post and that has not changed... i.e. group signaling is bad.)
Posted on 2013-08-09 by Jach
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