Ethical Realism

May 31, 2012

Nonrational Forms of Persuasion & Manipulation

Filed under: philosophy — JW Gray @ 12:45 am
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The world is full of manipulation, lies, and unreasonable thought. We all know we can’t believe everything we read, but people still get manipulated and charlatans occasionally make a fortune anyway. The Internet is one of the greatest sources of information, but we still need to know what information is reliable. It can be difficult to know what to believe, it can be difficult to identify manipulation, and it can be difficult to identify errors in reasoning. Additionally, there is research that strongly suggests that even the most reasonable people suffer from a great deal of cognitive bias. (more…)

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May 21, 2012

What Are Facts? Do Facts Exist?

Filed under: epistemology,metaphysics,philosophy — JW Gray @ 8:21 pm
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Do facts exist? At least one person has claimed that facts do not exist and that thinking they exist would violate Occam’s razor (i.e. multiply entities beyond necessity). However, there is much to be said as to why we have reason to believe that facts exist, such as the reasons to endorse various kinds of realism. I will discuss what facts are, whether they are supposed to refer to something that exists, whether any facts exist, and an objection against their existence. I will argue that all objections to the existence of facts are self-defeating and we have more reason to believe that some facts exist than that no facts exist as a result. (more…)

May 15, 2012

Do Default Positions Exist?

The term “default position” refers to a belief (or lack of belief) that is preferable prior to debate or before any evidence is considered. Many people claim that some belief (or lack thereof) are default positions, so everyone who disagrees with those positions has the burden of proof. What exactly is a default position, and do default positions exist? (more…)

May 6, 2012

What is the Burden of Proof?

Filed under: epistemology,philosophy — JW Gray @ 3:52 am
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One of the most confusing topics regarding argumentation and rationality is what we call the “burden of proof.” What is it? Who has a burden of proof? I will argue that there are two kinds of burden of proof—(1) a principle of debate and (2) a principle of rationality. These two principles are similar but there are important differences. As a principle of debate, the burden of proof determines who needs to prove their assertions. As a principle of rationality, it determines what beliefs are irrational without further evidence in their favor. (more…)

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