Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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“She was asking for it” by Ashlee

After countless nights of pondering, and an infinite amount of research, the vital factor that really helped me solidify my topic was the conversation I had with my good friend, Ben (shout out to you!). The question, “What’s one topic that irks you? Without hesitation, my reflex answer was rape culture and its discriminatory traits. So, why do these thoughts occur? Where is the foundation of such beliefs? It’s time to dissect what has constantly been bothering me: why is there fear generating from the victims, when what’s been done had an absence of consent? Maybe a step by step analysis will help me (and whoever is reading) at least understand the root of such logic.

 

Premise #1: women dressed provocatively evoke men’s sexual urges

Premise #2: men cannot control their sexual urges

Conclusion: Therefore, men aren’t to blame for sexual assault

Let’s start with validity. The definition of a valid statement is a one that has a conclusion that follows from its premises. Considering such definition, the premises above technically lead to the final conclusion. The argument is structured, putting aside its lack of truth or consideration. If the way women dressed did provoke sexual arousal from men, and if men had a difficult time controlling such desire, then men shouldn’t be the ones to blame. It’s as simple as which party pried it out and which party has less control over their vulnerability. As much as I think it’s quite unprofessional to incorporate personal opinions into my work, I will! Personally, I value the “truth” part of a deductive argument more than its validity; anything can be valid because validity is mostly about its structure. For instance, the argument:

Premise #1: all dogs are astronauts

Premise #2: All astronauts are Spanish

Conclusion: Therefore, all dogs are Spanish

aw ye boi

With common sense, most people can detect that such argument is blatantly false (although, never take away a dog’s right to become an astronaut). The way that this argument is structured however, is completely valid. This example can be used to prove the importance of both aspects of an argument: validity and truth.

Let’s dissect the truth aspect of such argument:

The first premise that states, “ women dressed provocatively evoke men’s sexual urges” not only comes straight from the ancient prejudice of labelling men to be more aggressive and sexually active, but is false. This generalization is an attack to not only the reputation and characterization of men, but the safety of women (or any sexual assault victims).

The second premise, “men cannot control their sexual urges” is a biased cliché, and there are countless reasons as to why it isn’t factually correct, but let’s state some of the obvious. The real question here is, what is the difference between the sexual desire of a man versus a woman? The common belief that men have a stronger sexual longing than woman, to mark them as “the gender that has the uncontrollable crave to reproduce” is a myth. This myth exists due to the fact that men generally tend to place the emphasis on the outcome of the relation (in this case, sex), while most women might value the relationship, mood, or their partner more. Although this is also a societal image formed over a period of time. There is no solid answer as to how exactly specific genders feel about sex and the amount of control they have; it’s solely dependant on the person. Being aware that many studies have proven that in fact, men do have a stronger sex drive than women, that can never be an excuse to sexual assault. Everyone, no matter the gender, is entitled to a right to safety; it’s unfair for their rights to be taken away because of someone else’s lack of self-control. A more truer statement would be, “some people cannot control their sexual urges”.

With two false (and biased) premises, it’s impossible for the final conclusion to be sound. “Therefore, men aren’t to blame for sexual assault” is technically valid, but far from being factually correct, therefore, not a sound argument. After reading many articles, my ultimate conclusion was that the main cause of rape are the rapists. There might be a higher statistic in a certain cohort or a recurring similarity in sexual assault cases, but that does not change the fact that what potentially caused it was the mindset of the rapist.

It should never be okay to normalise rape culture. Although, the argument stated above, unfortunately is still the perception of some. I do not aspire to brainwash every single existing misogynist into considering gender equality, yet I do think it’s possible for me to get some people thinking, or at least myself. These things should infuriate us; one of the biggest benefits to such arguments is that it gets us thinking. I do not believe I am doing this “because I’m a woman”, but because violation against other’s rights should never be tolerated. Some might say that this argument is completely sound, but even being the frankly neutral and indecisive person I am, my answer to that is, and will stay in a strong disagreement. 

 

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Morality of Capital Punishment- Jessica Lewis

The argument i’ve chosen for the Truth,Validity and sound assignment is the video attached regarding Barack Obama’s opinion of the death penalty and the morality behind it. During the clip, a question asked directly to Alan Keys  from a reporter in the audience   brought up the topic of Christianity and how could a christian, ( Alan keys) Support the idea of death penalty and abortion. In the clip there are two arguments mentioned; Abortion and Capital punishment. For this assignment id like to highlight the argument for the death penalty.

 

“I believe that the death penalty is appropriate in certain circumstances. There are extraordinarily heinous crimes, terrorism, the harm of children, in which it may be appropriate. Obviously we’ve had some problems in this state, in the application of the death penalty and that’s why a moratorium was put in place and that’s why I was so proud to be one of the leaders in making sure that we overhauled it, death penalty system that was broken. For example, passing the first in the nation videotaping of interrogations and confessions in capital cases. We have to have this ultimate sanction for certain circumstances in which the entire community says this is beyond the pale.”

 

     – Barack Obama, 2004

 

Barack Obama’s argument of the death penalty  is factually correct and valid. Barack Obama’s argument is factually correct due to the facts he use to support his argument. During the argument Obama states how in the past the process of applying the death penalty has been broken and unfair, therefore he mentioned  of when interrogations for  capital cases used to  videotaped and how it affected the cases. Obama recognizes that the death penalty is an extreme punishment and reasons that the application of the death penalty needs to be fair which too is a fact. Obama goes forward to mention (1) The death penalty is acceptable under extreme circumstances, (2) in The past , the application of the death penalty hasn’t always been fair, therefor (3) We need to be collectively certain as a society that its the right decision.

 

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The Logic of Nigel Tufnel ~ Dylan

Stonehenge was built in a cold climate

Aliens don’t build in cold climates

Therefore, Stonehenge wasn’t built by aliens

This is a great twist of a valid argument where the conclusion that we’ve arrived to is one that we can agree on and is backed up by science, but the way that we’ve come to it is not completely based in fact. While the conclusion may be true, the section of premises may not be completely factual. We know for sure that Scotland, where Stonehenge was built, is a very cold place. But the second premise is one that we can not tell for sure yet. We don’t know for sure if aliens don’t build in cold climate. I could assume that if they were able to travel the vast highway that is space to our blue marble of a home that they would have to build some sort of intergalactic traveling space craft in the deep cold of space somewhere. But, in any case, this argument comes from the vast, mysterious, dark, and confused mind that is Nigel Tufnel (character from the movie Spinal Tap, played by Christopher Guest) and according to him, aliens do not like cold. But until we have complete and solid proof that interstellar travels do not enjoy creating works of wonder in minus zero weather, we can not know for sure weather this argument is factually correct or sound.

Besides being an interesting look into factual correctness, this is a great comedic look on science and scientific arguments that Nigel Tufnel  proposes and I think that it is a great examination of scientific argument. I think that there is some work of a genius in this small little statement said at the end of a video. First of all, it is a great commentary on comedy and just how much comedy can really be a thought provoking message wrapped in a silly exterior. It shows us just how far comedy can go in blurring the line between reality and fantasy, and blending the two together.  Secondly, it is a great commentary on science, and how we reach conclusions in science and asks some great questions about the subject. If we all reach the same conclusion but with different methods, even if some methods may themselves not be correct, are all the conclusions as correct as one another? All in all, this is a great satirical argument to examine that is really a great look into the mind of comedy, and the mind of logic.

“It’s such a fine line between stupid and… clever.”

-Nigel Tufnel

 

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Basic Concepts of Logic – Preliminary Definitions

Here is a prezi that was created to explain lesson 6 in the basic concepts of logic package. Enjoy!Preliminary Definitions

 

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High Altitude to be Blamed – Presidential Debate

“During a post-debate analysis on Current TV, Gore went out on a limb and questioned if Denver’s environment had something to do with the president’s flop.

‘I’m going to say something controversial here,” Gore started, “Obama arrived in Denver at 2 p.m. today, just a few hours before the debate started. Romney did his debate prep in Denver. When you go to 5,000 feet, and you only have a few hours to adjust. I don’t know… Maybe.’

…Altitude sickness is a proven illness.”

~Huffington Post

The reason for President Obama’s dismal debate was altitude sickness according to Al Gore.  For him to come to this conclusion, he used Abductive Reasoning to explain the president’s poor performance on Wednesday night.  So how high does someone have to go to before his reasoning affected?  At least 6,000 feet as some studies have suggested that the first signs of short-term memory problems begin to appear at about 6,000 feet.  However, according to Gore’s information, the president had only reached 5,000 feet.  True, altitude might have been a factor that affected Obama in that debate, but to blame a lost debate on altitude?  Seems a bit far-fetched.  There are many factors that could justify the “flop”, for example, unexpected set-up by Romney, unpreparedness, fatigue, stress…etc.  Thus Al Gore’s statement cannot be proved sound.

 

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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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