sâmbătă, 6 august 2011

Note on Argumentation as a Practice

When someone commits an error, there are two possible explanations: either he missed some precise data about a particular fact in the context of knowing the rest of all the relevant information about the matter discussed, or he comes to publicly express a long time erroneous practice.

In the first case, the error can be eliminated by a simple correction. It is supposed that the author of such an error has all the required knowledge and he misses just one point of it. A simple negation of his false statement proves to be sufficient.

In the second case, to correct the false belief means to correct all the practice that backs it. The common habit is to reduce the second case to the first one. For instance, we could imagine that we eradicated the seemingly false belief in a world fully providentiated (at least the simplest way of expressing such belief) only through denying it. Certainly, arguments are added, but they are built for that one proposition that denies the belief. But it still remains for philosophy the task of finding a view of the world able to satisfy the human needs concerning the world as the doctrine of providence does.

However well constructed could be the arguments, they can contribute to correct the false practice only by becoming themselves parts of a practice. Therefore, an argument has in fact three values: truth, its persuading force, and the power of becoming a practice.

Any argument for a thesis should pay attention to know what are the practices that support the alternative theses. Or, if there are not such alternative theses, it has to search for the practice that jeopardizes the raising of that thesis. Afterwards, the arguments can be built for becoming a more reliable practice than the false one.

The subject matters of philosophy always pertain to the second case.