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Following The Argument Where It Leads

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Fooloso4
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Re: Following The Argument Where It Leads

Post by Fooloso4 » October 28th, 2018, 9:01 am

Georgeanna:
I don't fully understand what you mean by 'what we see is...the assumptions and concerns that inform the argument'. And how this would differ from a logical process…
I was referring to what we see when we look at two different ways in which following where the argument leads is understood based on different assumptions and concerns. In line with your previous post about philosophy as a way of life, following where the argument leads is informed by an understanding of thinking as an activity whose value need not have some end beyond the activity itself. This stands in contrast to the assumption that philosophy is primarily useful for achieving some end, for solving some problem, for arriving at some truth based on reason. The first way of looking at philosophy is an opening up, the second is a narrowing down. The second way, as the article you quoted indicates, does not lead to the intended end and so the injunction is rejected.

Georgeanna
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Re: Following The Argument Where It Leads

Post by Georgeanna » October 28th, 2018, 12:55 pm

Thank you, fooloso4, for clarification. I now understand better. However, I can't help but think that 'following where the argument leads', in the sense of thinking aloud, as an activity of value in itself and an opening up, would better be phrased as 'following where the discussion leads'.
There is no initial 'argument' as such, is there ? Or am I being a bit stupid here...probably. However, I take encouragement from Peter Suber.

Peter Suber's lecture notes and his philosophy regarding group enquiry. Part of it here:

https://legacy.earlham.edu/~peters/cour ... ticipation
Note for the shy: quality of oral contributions cannot be judged from a sample of zero. Note for the loquacious: quality of oral contributions is not a function of quantity, not even a little bit. Good class discussions require more than fluency in English. They require a reasonably civilized conquest of timidity, drawing the line between bashful under-confidence and what DeQuincy called "imbecile garrulity".

They require good listening and good will. You should reflect before speaking, build on previous comments, help discover the meaning that others are struggling to express, be open to persuasion, and bend to the weight of evidence and reasoning. You must be prepared to substantiate your factual or textual claims, to defend your value judgments, to show the connection between your premises and conclusions, and to use the diversity of insights and perspectives in the class to advance your understanding of our texts and their themes.

The ultimate premise of class discussion is that each of us can learn from each of us; otherwise we would read the books at home and never meet...

...Discussion is group inquiry, not merely group talk. We will try to understand our texts and reach answers on the important questions they raise. Group inquiry only works when the insights of many people are made public, giving each a view much wider than they could have had by themselves.

It requires that these perspectives be received with respect, but subjected to respectful scrutiny and criticism. For these reasons I want you to feel free, unafraid, and positively encouraged to speak your mind even when you suspect that others may disagree. You may feel uneasy, but I'll be pulling for you. Say anything that you believe is true and will help the group understand the issues or passages under discussion, especially if you can support your claim with reasons or evidence.

Respect anything said by another for which reasons are given; and when no reasons are given, ask for them. When you disagree with others, don't rest in your opposition to their statements or conclusions; find their reasons and address them directly.

If you accept the principle that discussion is group inquiry, then your uncertainty about a question is a good reason to speak, not a good reason to remain silent. If you don't have answers, but feel uncertain, then you can help the cause by asking questions to zero in on what is difficult.

Identify what sub-questions we must answer before we can answer the main question on the floor. If you agree with others, support them instead of remaining silent. If the atmosphere of the course ever prevents you from speaking up, proposing new ideas, asking questions, or disagreeing with anybody (student, teacher, author), whether the cause lies in me or your fellow students, please let me know. Beyond what I can do, however, students should take responsibility for the quality of their discussions.

If you accept the principle that your uncertainty is a good reason to speak, not a good reason to remain silent, then you will understand my expectation (in seminars and discussion courses) that everyone should speak every day.

To take responsibility for the quality of discussions means, at least, to come prepared every day to listen and speak, learn and teach, and to participate without being called on. While discussion is group inquiry, we are not just struggling for the "right answers", but also to explore and develop the process of this joint inquiry for answers. As Quakers say of the consensus process, aim for a "balance between being persuasive and being persuasible". If you want respect, insights, seriousness, and a healthy balance of speaking and listening from others, you must give the same to them.
Some wise pointers there, I think.
In this case, of course, group discussion does follow on from texts which will contain arguments. So, I suppose - I can see where I am wrong.
So, the injunction 'Follow where the argument leads' stands as is. Exploring and developing within a healthy atmosphere.

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Greta
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Re: Following The Argument Where It Leads

Post by Greta » October 28th, 2018, 4:34 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
October 28th, 2018, 8:40 am
And I suppose we could take it as a wish and not as something that might guide moderator behavior.
I never used it, myself. I think modding is just a matter of commonsense.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
October 28th, 2018, 8:40 am
I think it would be better, given all this, to just leave the only-insult posts in place. It makes reactions to them clear and if nothing else it is a record of what should be embarassing behavior, even if the people in question never get embarrassed.

They tend to be veyr short posts, so they don't take up much space. And it would save you time.
Sometimes I leave them, but if there is a complaint, I delete or edit unless I see the complaint as an overreaction. I treat all of these things on a case by case basis rather than bother with policies since I hold a largely unaccountable role of Forum Dictator, in keeping with the Zeitgeist :)

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Re: Following The Argument Where It Leads

Post by Fooloso4 » October 28th, 2018, 6:39 pm

Georgeanna:
… would better be phrased as 'following where the discussion leads'.
The Greek term translated as argument is ‘logos’. Discussion would be an appropriate translation in this context, but the term ‘discussion’ is often used in a non-critical casual sense - a discussion of the weather or what’s for dinner. The term 'class discussion' is standard practice. It sounds less confrontational, more cooperative than a class argument which may connote a fight, shouting, and bickering. But when describing to students what a philosophical argument is, one might describe it in much the way Suber describes class discussion.
There is no initial 'argument' as such, is there ?
There is:
"Now this is exactly what I meant: we must come to an agreement as to whether we'll let the poets make their narratives for us by imitation; or whether they are to imitate some things and not others, and what sort belongs to each group; or whether they are not to imitate at all."
"I divine," he said, "that you're considering whether we'll admit tragedy and comedy into the city or not.
"Perhaps," I said, "and perhaps something still more than this. You see, I myself really don't know yet, but wherever the argument,
like a wind, tends, thither must we go."
Poetry is a transliteration of the Greek poiesis, from poiein, to make. The poets are both the makers of images (imitation) and opinion-makers. In the image of the cave in the Republic, they are the puppet makers. The shadows on the wall of the cave are the shadows of their puppets.

Where the argument leads is questions of education, truth and opinion, and philosophy.

Book VII opens:
… make an image of our nature in its education and want of education, likening it to a condition of the following
kind. See human beings as though they were in an underground cave-like dwelling (514a)
But Book VI begins:
"And so, Glaucon," I said, "through a somewhat lengthy argument, who the philosophers are and who the nonphilosophers has, with
considerable effort, somehow been brought to light." (484a)
Has it come to light? Here we see another sense of what it means to follow the argument. If we are in a cave, which will not be introduced until the next book, then it is by the light of the cave that the distinction between the philosophers and nonphilosophers is made. The philosopher has come to light at the end of book V as the lover of knowledge and wisdom and the nonphilosopher the lover of opinion (480 a). But if the distinction between knowledge and opinion has not been shown then the distinction between the lover of knowledge and the lover of opinion cannot be made. The image of the cave turns out to be just another image and Plato another poet.

By carefully following the argument the poet’s place in the just city takes on a whole new meaning than it would if we did not follow where it went. What it means to follow the argument where it leads now shows itself to mean not only following where it goes but where it has been.

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Re: Following The Argument Where It Leads

Post by Karpel Tunnel » October 29th, 2018, 2:20 am

Greta wrote:
October 28th, 2018, 4:34 pm
I never used it, myself. I think modding is just a matter of commonsense.
At least, one common sense amongst a number of commonsenses.
Sometimes I leave them, but if there is a complaint, I delete or edit unless I see the complaint as an overreaction. I treat all of these things on a case by case basis rather than bother with policies since I hold a largely unaccountable role of Forum Dictator, in keeping with the Zeitgeist :)
I'll be careful where my digital ass is in relation to you then.

Georgeanna
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Re: Following The Argument Where It Leads

Post by Georgeanna » October 29th, 2018, 5:05 am

Fooloso4 wrote:
October 28th, 2018, 6:39 pm
Georgeanna:
… would better be phrased as 'following where the discussion leads'.
The Greek term translated as argument is ‘logos’. Discussion would be an appropriate translation in this context, but the term ‘discussion’ is often used in a non-critical casual sense - a discussion of the weather or what’s for dinner. The term 'class discussion' is standard practice. It sounds less confrontational, more cooperative than a class argument which may connote a fight, shouting, and bickering. But when describing to students what a philosophical argument is, one might describe it in much the way Suber describes class discussion.
There is no initial 'argument' as such, is there ?
There is:
"Now this is exactly what I meant: we must come to an agreement as to whether we'll let the poets make their narratives for us by imitation; or whether they are to imitate some things and not others, and what sort belongs to each group; or whether they are not to imitate at all."
"I divine," he said, "that you're considering whether we'll admit tragedy and comedy into the city or not.
"Perhaps," I said, "and perhaps something still more than this. You see, I myself really don't know yet, but wherever the argument,
like a wind, tends, thither must we go."
Poetry is a transliteration of the Greek poiesis, from poiein, to make. The poets are both the makers of images (imitation) and opinion-makers. In the image of the cave in the Republic, they are the puppet makers. The shadows on the wall of the cave are the shadows of their puppets.

Where the argument leads is questions of education, truth and opinion, and philosophy.

Book VII opens:
… make an image of our nature in its education and want of education, likening it to a condition of the following
kind. See human beings as though they were in an underground cave-like dwelling (514a)
But Book VI begins:
"And so, Glaucon," I said, "through a somewhat lengthy argument, who the philosophers are and who the nonphilosophers has, with
considerable effort, somehow been brought to light." (484a)
Has it come to light? Here we see another sense of what it means to follow the argument. If we are in a cave, which will not be introduced until the next book, then it is by the light of the cave that the distinction between the philosophers and nonphilosophers is made. The philosopher has come to light at the end of book V as the lover of knowledge and wisdom and the nonphilosopher the lover of opinion (480 a). But if the distinction between knowledge and opinion has not been shown then the distinction between the lover of knowledge and the lover of opinion cannot be made. The image of the cave turns out to be just another image and Plato another poet.

By carefully following the argument the poet’s place in the just city takes on a whole new meaning than it would if we did not follow where it went. What it means to follow the argument where it leads now shows itself to mean not only following where it goes but where it has been.
Thank you once more, fooloso4, for being a patient and enlightening teacher who never makes any questioner feel stupid and who never shows any hint of condescension. You answer the questions, staying on track and not going off on one big blah, blah, blah full of self-importance.

When I said that there was no initial 'argument' as such, I was thinking more of myself or anyone else who starts an exploration simply by musing or following a wish to know more.
For example, I wondered what was meant by 'fascism'. In my case, the initial stirrings came from a place of emotion - a fear of the rising hatred and violence as apparent in recent political events, namely Brexit and Trump.

What followed led to a place where the acts of forum moderation were considered; also the different perspectives on philosophical discussions.
Your OP cleverly brought focus and a branching out.

The different ways we can even look at a single injunction - what it means to follow the argument where it leads - demands a quality of care.
In gathering thoughts, words and action.

Georgeanna
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Re: Following The Argument Where It Leads

Post by Georgeanna » October 29th, 2018, 5:16 am

I forgot to add - the explanation and questions relating to Plato (what may have been brought to light by the arguments ) remain of interest to me. The above quotes served to spark some life into the backburner where I placed him...
But there's simply too much to take in :)
I don't know that I have the quality of care required...

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Re: Following The Argument Where It Leads

Post by chewybrian » October 29th, 2018, 10:08 am

Fooloso4 wrote:
October 26th, 2018, 10:29 pm
Greta:
Many naturalists would disagree with the statement "at first he is nothing".
I have not read enough Sartre to give a confident answer. I think that what he is getting as is that our identity is not something we are given. We cannot determine at birth what someone will make of themself by a sophisticated physical examination. In addition, there is no god given plan or purpose that plays itself out for any of us or all of us.
Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself. Such is the first principle of existentialism.
When he is born he has not yet made anything of himself hence he is nothing, that is, not this or that. What he becomes, both in the sense of the individual and as a species, is determined by what he does, by his actions.
There is no reality except in action… Man is nothing else than his plan; he exists only to the extent that he fulfills himself; he is therefore nothing else than the ensemble of his acts, nothing else than his life.
I only brought this up as a little joke, but it is a very interesting topic, and I think I will re-read the text and start another thread to see if anyone else wants to discuss it. I am surprised how much I have forgotten, but it has been a long time since I read this.

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Re: Following The Argument Where It Leads

Post by Fooloso4 » October 29th, 2018, 11:02 am

Georgeanna:
But there's simply too much to take in
I know the feeling, but it is a mistake to take in nothing because you will never be able to take in everything.

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