Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Procrastination Leads to Failure

Everyone has a set of unique traits and attributes which makes them who they are. Some people are studious, some are critical thinkers or can work well under pressure. And then there are the people like me. Procrastinators.

  • Premise 1: Procrastinating is intentionally wasting time and deferring tasks which could be completed in now, to a future time period.
  • Premise 2: Tasks must be completed to be considered successful.
  • Premise 3: Tasks or other issues require time to complete.
  • Premise 4: Time is a finite resource.
  • Premise 5: Not having enough time to complete a task leads to failure of said task.
  • Conclusion: Therefore, procrastination causes failure of tasks due to insufficient amounts of time to complete said task.

 

Premise one can be accepted as true.

Premise two can be more easily debated as to whether it is factually true. Some people may say completion of a task does not mean it was a successful task, as well as the inverse; that completing a task does not mean it was successful. These arguments are made for a variety of reasons, the most important and prevalent one being emotion. Having emotion behind tasks and situations creates a personal bias toward a certain outcome which is not necessarily connected to the completion of the task. For example if someone decided they had a goal of running a marathon but were in the end happy to complete only 50%, they may see the task as a success, even though in the logical setup they failed to complete the entire task. Without emotion or other distractions premise two becomes much easier to accept.

Unless you transcend both time and space to complete your tasks, premise three can be accepted as true

Premise four can be debated on whether or not to be accepted as true for time itself throughout the cosmos and universe but as far as us human beings are concerned, time is a finite resource which we will eventually spend.

Finally premise five, based upon previously accepted premises can also be accepted as true.

This leads us to conclude that based upon the accepted premises, the argument is invalid as the conclusion drawn can be proved false as though we can accept time as being finite, the open-ended nature of procrastination leads us to an infinite amount of potential changes in the use of the time given, some of which would not leave us with enough time to succeed and complete the tasks required (Making the conclusion true) but at the same time there is an infinite amount which would just as easily give us the required time to complete said task (Making the conclusion false). Simply because of the generality of procrastination and the unspecific values of time wasted, remaining and needed, we can not currently conclude that the argument is valid. Of course this also means that the argument is unsound as a result of its invalidity.

So what do we have left? An argument which is neither valid nor sound, while many others would say the factual correctness of the piece is a stretch at best. Procrastinating may not be logically proven to cause failure in this example but let me tell you from personal experience that procrastination is not called the thief of tomorrow for nothing. Many people have felt the engulfing reach of procrastination in their lives, some are improving on their habit, others are begrudgingly accepting it and others… well lets just say some others are up blogging about philosophy assignments much past their finite time given for the task.

 

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no matter what, we strive to look good

almost all of our lives us people are very socially aware about everything. ranging from what shoes you are wearing to even how u put them on, the way we smile, how our voice sounds, we all strive for perfection in our heads and it makes us do certain things or hold back from saying certain things that we otherwise would have done differently if we all just acted ourselves without social pressure of being perfect. everyones idea in their head is that if they aren’t perfect that they aren’t worth as much, and that people will think they are weird. don’t deny it, its easy to SAY you always “act yourself” 100% all the time. It is something to be aware of, if you believe this isn’t you, think about every time you get up to public speak, overtime you talk to someone you like, and notice you get really worried about how you look and what they will think but ask yourself why?

what do you think you or your life would be like if you weren’t this way? if you just never worried and was the most “outgoing self” and cheery? i think some of the people in their life that have managed to overcome this, have really become successful. because they don’t hold themselves back from opportunities and what their heart desires, because there isn’t fear or risk holding them back from being productive. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. don’t let your ego get in the way of your desires and opportunities. i make my following conclusions about our egos and how it affects us in these premises:

 

Premise 1: being socially aware holds us back from possibilities & ourselves

premise 2: we crave perfection

premise 3: we lack self belief and confidence

conclusion: our egos hold us back from getting what we want done and to feel good about ourselves.

 

to evaluate these premises on truth and validity,

premise 1: can be accepted as truth, i believe it is something we all know.

premise 2: rather it is molded by society, it is definitely true. just look around you.

premise 3: some could argue they are very confident people and that they always believe in themselves but i believe there is even a reason of looking good by saying that.

 

i believe we all notice these things but never address them to ourselves and its good to get you thinking and something to be aware of in your life, and trying not to let it affect you in any negative way.

 

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Logic Assignment Introduction

Logic Lane, Oxford

Photo of Logic Lane at Oxford by Andy Hough on Flickr.

As we move into our unit on logic, the face-to-face participants in Philosophy 12 have been reading about the Basic Concepts of Logic (pdf), which may be defined as “the science of reasoning.” Delving into statements, premises, propositions, as well as truth, validity and soundness, our hope is to greet the weekend with a host of blogged examples of logical arguments in their natural habitat. In past years, the tasks around logic have involved a similar feat of strength, and participants have generated multiple examples of logical arguments and tested them for form and content. Occasionally this has sparked interesting discussions of both the merits of this or that argument, the cultural implications (or origins) of such thinking, and by amending the unit assignment this week hopefully we will see more of this type of discourse emerging around our logical examples.

The Assignment 

  • Summarize and describe an example of a logical argument you have uncovered in a variety of settings: current events, popular media, personal anecdotes or hypothetical thought experiments. Be sure to include enough back-story for people unfamiliar with the milieu of your example to digest the logic at work, and provide links, video, or attached materials so that your audience can follow up or extend their inquiry into your example with ease.
  • Dissect the argument and its form by representing it as a syllogism.
  • Evaluate the argument for Truth, Validity and Soundness and explain your judgements.
  • Reflect upon the origins or implications of your selected argument. Where does it (or others like it) come from (in society, culture, etc)? What are the consequences of the conclusion drawn, or from the argument being framed in this way?

Post your example on the class site no later than Tuesday morning, and be sure to include the proper Category: Logic and Scientific Philosophy.

For your reference and preparation, here is an example of a response to this assignment:

Prime Ministerial Logic 

Image via Transitions, an Advocate for Sociological Inquiry

Following the discovery of Tina Fontaine’s murdered body in the Red River, in August, Prime Minister Stephen Harper faced reinvigorated calls to launch a federal inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women in Canada. On the heels of reports from the special rapporteur to the United Nations, as well as the RCMP, which each discovered that aboriginal women in Canada face significantly higher rates of violence than non-aboriginals, Harper’s federal Conservative Government continued to reject pressure to better understand the root causes of this trend. The Prime Minister himself stated that “we should not view this as a sociological phenomenon. We should view it as a crime.”

The Prime Minister’s statement might be seen as an argument broken down to the following premises and conclusion:

Premise 1: The murder or abduction of aboriginal women is a crime.

Premise 2: Crime is not a sociological phenomenon.

Premise 3: A federal inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women would rely on sociological practices of inquiry.

Conclusion: Therefore, a federal inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women would not address crimes against aboriginal women.

By evaluating the various premises’ truth and/or accuracy, we might be able to reveal the soundness of the Prime Minister’s argument.

  • Premise 1 can easily be accepted as true.
  • Premise 2 can be more easily contested, as the study of criminology itself is a branch of sociological inquiry. While it is the government’s prerogative to define and combat crime in terms it was elected to uphold, practitioners in the fields of both sociology and criminology would likely contest the Prime Minister’s assertion that “crime is not a sociological phenomenon.”
  • Premise 3 can be seen to be true, as an inquiry into the trend of murdered and missing aboriginal women would “study social behaviour, its origins, development, organization, and institutions,” which Wikipedia defines as sociology.

As we can see, the flaw in the Prime Minister’s argument is contained in Premise number two, and damages the conclusion reached. While the argument’s form may be valid, an error in its content damages both the truth of its premises and the soundness of the conclusion.

The origins of the Prime Minister’s logic are difficult to trace, though they might be seen in the political ideology of Neoliberalism. Writing in the Toronto Star, Jakeet Singh noted that the Prime Minister’s remarks were

“clearly trumpeting a standard component of neo-liberal ideology: that there are no social phenomena, only individual incidents. (This ideology traces back to Margaret Thatcher’s famous claim that “there is no such thing as society.”) Neo-liberalism paints all social problems as individual problems.”

The effects of this logic being brought to bear on crime and punishment in Canada can be similarly difficult to witness (somewhat ironically even, as the evidence to be found would reside within the sorts of sociological inquiries the Prime Minister is denying). However, Singh’s article describes the casualties of Mr. Harper’s ideology as our societal ability to perceive and confront injustice. “You see,” he writes, “Sociologists often differentiate between “personal injustices” and “systemic” or “structural injustices.” Personal injustices can be traced back to concrete actions of particular individuals (perpetrators). These actions are often willful, and have a relatively isolated victim.”

Structural injustices, on the other hand, are produced by a social structure or system. They are often hard to trace back to the actions of specific individuals, are usually not explicitly intended by anyone, and have collective, rather than isolated, victims. Structural injustices are a result of the unintended actions of many individuals participating in a social system together, usually without knowing what each other is doing. Whereas personal injustices are traced back to the harmful actions (or inactions) of individuals, structural injustices are identified by differential societal outcomes among groups. Sociologists call these “social inequalities.”

By refusing to view crime as a sociological phenomenon, those accepting the Prime Minister’s argument do so within a broader context which should trouble those who believe in our collective responsibility for one another’s well-being. “When we paint all social problems as individual problems with individual solutions,” Singh writes, “we also lose any sense of the social responsibility, rather than personal responsibility, that we need to address them.”

 

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Children Learn What They Live Fallacy

This poem by Dorothy Law Nolte presents a fallacious hypothetical syllogism in the form of “If A, then B”.  However, the premises are not necessarily true as there are many factors that could affect a child’s upbringing.  The poem only shows one conclusion per premise, making it invalid because the way a child lives is restricted into one outcome. However, it is a valid statement as the conclusion from each premise can be one of the various results from a child’s life.  For example, “If a child lives with encouragement, she learns to find confidence”.  The child doesn’t just learn confidence, he/she could also learn arrogance as they start to think too highly of themselves.

 

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My Twin, Stephen Downes

So far, Stephen Downes hasn’t attacked me like Batman (patrols his territory under his own power and initiative, strikes fear into the heart of wrong doers in the dead of night, and does these things with only the tools and skills he has acquired through training himself to extremely high levels) yet. While I have nothing against this man (he hasn’t even critiqued my previous blog post), I’ve decided that the best defence is a good offense. So, I will proceed to criticize the fundamental flaws in the logic of one of Stephen Downes’ articles.

Criticizing Downes’ Premises In A Hypothetical Syllogism

In relation to memorization and learning:

That’s where practice and memorization comes in. By repeating and rote, your brain (which is a fantastic processing machine) will find the patterns you can’t find cognitively, and you’ll remember.

I agree with the validity in your argument. But your premise is completely and utterly false. I’ll show you why by plugging in an example. Keep in mind I have never taken AP Calculus before.

If one repeats and rotes, their brain will find patterns that they cannot. (If A, then B)

I repeated and roted AP Calculus for 4 minutes last night. (A)

Therefore my brain found patterns in the Calculus that I could not. (B)

Let’s be honest, that’s not true. Your statement is false for a few different reasons. First, you do not specify how long you must repeat and rote for. Secondly, you do not define what a pattern constitutes as. Thirdly, this does not apply to all scenarios.

Now Let Me Apply The Last Part Of Your Syllogism.

If your brain finds the patterns [that] you can’t find cognitively, you’ll remember. (If B, then C)

Let me tell you, I remember little of my Calculus last night, if any at all. Now, I do believe that if I had been trying harder to concentrate, understand and remember what I had been repeating, I might remember slightly more.

I think that a better way to phrase the original statement would look like this:

“That’s where practice and memorization comes in. By repeating and rote, your brain (which is a fantastic processing machine) will sometimes find the patterns you can’t find cognitively, and sometimes you’ll remember.”

Now, Let’s Do A Little Bit Of Error Analysis For Myself.

  1. I took this quote out of context from an article
  2. The article was not meant to be logically concrete, rather it was expression of ideas (I suspect)

Anyways, Stephen Downes, I don’t mean to harshly rebel against your recent comments, in fact, I don’t even suspect you are Batman in the slightest. I even think that we are a little bit alike.

 
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