[ExI] The Argumentative Theory of Reasoning

Gordon gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 16 04:26:39 UTC 2011

Sorry meant to change the subject line... 

This seems to me an interesting subject to argue about. :) 

According to this theory, which has gained a bit of press recently in philosophical circles, reason evolved not to ascertain truth but rather to aid us in arguing with others. It is primarily a social function. 

I read this interesting summary:

The argumentative theory of reasoning

Among other things, this theory seems to me to nicely explain the confirmation bias.

I wonder... assuming this theory is "true" then how shall we ever know it? If reason evolved to help us win arguments and not to actually find truth, then how can we accept these reasoned arguments in support of the theory that this is so?

It seems to me that on this account we must reject the correspondence theory of truth (in which true propositions are defined as those which correspond to objective facts in the world) and accept the coherence theory of truth (in which true propositions are defined as those which cohere with a set of agreed-upon propositions). I don't see how else to make sense of the theory. In fact this so-called argumentative theory of reasoning seems to me a sort of complement to the coherence theory, with a nod to evolution theory.

But I'm willing to listen to other arguments. :)


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