Brendan Larvor: Feeling the force of argument

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Students, especially Philosophy majors, should feel the force of argument so that they may learn the lessons by heart.

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  • That aside, I'm delighted to see this stuff getting some use!
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  • Slide 33 has a word missing. ' ...or they would NOT subject themselves to the hard rigour of scientific rationality. '
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Brendan Larvor: Feeling the force of argument

  1. 1. Richard B.ReporterLopez
  2. 2. • Higher Education requires students to make judgements about the evidence and arguments placed before them, and all judgment has an aesthetic aspect.study of beauty: the branch of philosophy dealing withthe study of aesthetic values, e.g. the beautiful and thesublime Microsoft® Encarta® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. Struck!! Feel!!
  4. 4. • A student who knows that the argument on pages 64-73, but who does not feel the force of its logic, will lack all motivation to internalize the rules or use them on other occasions.• The difference that validity makes to an argument must be vividly real to a student if that student is to see why it matters.• A student who does not feel the badness of a bad argument is unlikely to produce many good ones. After all, good arguments usually start out as not-so-good arguments that don‟t feel quite right.
  5. 5. LARVOR1. Contrast Philosophy with Mathematics using the work of George Polya2. Criticism against mainstream English-speaking Philosophy by saying that it is ill-equipped to think about the aesthetic and emotive aspects of the experience of doing and learning Philosophy by blaming the Enlightenment Era3. Criticism against the viewpoint that humans are naturally rational. By rational, he means that something that is like dispassionate, formal rationality on display in the end-products of the mathematical sciences. (R.G. Collingwood)
  6. 6. MATHEMATICS VS. PHILOSOPHY• In Mathematics, there is a standard distinction between seeing the validity of the individual steps in a proof, and understanding the proof as a whole.
  7. 7. POLYA Desires of an Intelligent reader of Mathematics: 1.Present step of the argument is correct. 2.Purpose of the present step. • Present step- purpose is to advance the overall proof strategy • Connotes that the intelligent reader must have strategic overview • Without the strategic overview, even the most intelligent reader in math may become bored and dismayed and it loses the thread of argument
  8. 8. BUT, IN FORMAL DERIVATION OF A MATHEMATICAL THEOREM…• The purpose of a step may not be clear until the end, making it still a mysterious one on how did a certain theorem and proof came to be.• May compel assent, but does not answer the second intelligent reader‟s second requirements• Offers no heuristic lessons to students.• Polya recommends to tell the story on why a certain theorem or proof came to be.
  9. 9. • For Polya, mathematical problem solving requires a n appropriate motivational and affective condition.• You cannot practice the discipline without a feel for the subject-matter, where „feel‟ has two senses: an intuitive grasp and a caring concern. ax + b
  10. 10. PHILOSOPHY• Like Mathematics, philosophy demands commitment, readily familiar with the subject-matter and a vivid sense of logical relations among its elements.• The difference though is that Philosophy uses INTUITION.
  11. 11. INTUITION MEANS….• the state of being aware of or knowing something without having to discover or perceive it, or the ability to do this• is the power of obtaining knowledge that cannot be acquired either by inference or observation, by reason or experience. As such, intuition is thought of as an original, independent source of knowledge, since it is designed to account for just those kinds of knowledge that other sources do not provide. Knowledge of necessary truths and of moral principles is sometimes explained in this way.
  12. 12. ROLE OF INTUITIONS1.In many philosophical enquiries, pre- theoretic intuition serves as a test-bed or evidential field.2.In addition to using their intuitions heuristically, philosophy students must also examine their more spontaneous reactions to philosophical questions.
  13. 13. How do you perceive the TRUTH?It is possible that students can understand a question likethis, understand why it matters, and yet no intuitions tuggingthem towards one solution or away from another.
  14. 14. • Most likely, it is that the students, while they have feelings about certain concepts about the truth, do not have intuition about metaphysics or semantics to guide their next moves.• Lacking a sense of direction on the technical question, they sit still and wait for guidance.• Student becomes passive, waiting only for an instruction and waiting to be spoon – fed.• Cannot express their intuitions about the metaphysics of time for the same reason that they cannot follow an instruction to „Open the lid of your harpsichord.‟• “Sorry, Sir, I don‟t have one of those.”
  15. 15. PHILOSOPHY STUDENTS• In Philosophy, students who lack spontaneous responses to the matter in hand cannot participate.• Articulation and examination of one‟s spontaneous intuitive responses is central activity but occupies to much time.
  16. 16. SOLUTION…• Students of any subject must develop a sense for the characteristic arguments of their discipline. They should feel the „hardness of the logical must.• This is mainly true in Philosophy because logic is part of our subject-matter.
  17. 17. • The Philosophy student must have an intuitive grasp of logical structure that is sufficiently robust for the student to test logical theory against it.• Example: • A logic student should feel both the oddness of material implication considered on its own and the neatness of the system(s) of which it is part.
  18. 18. TO THE TEACHER OF PHILOSOPHY• How to cultivate those sense ability of the students?• What exercise can we devise to make philosophical concepts and logical relations vivid to them?
  19. 19. • Teachers should offer students problems at the correct level of difficulty that arise naturally. • The teacher should check that the student understands the problem by asking: What is the unknown? What are the data? What are the conditions? Further support should take the form of general heuristic questions, such as „do you know a related problem?‟ • With enough practice of this sort, the student may internalize the heuristic questions and develop the confidence, commitment and intellectual stamina to tackle more demanding problems.Poly • “Teaching to solve problems is education of the will.”
  20. 20. THE KNIGHT OF REASON • English speaking heirs to the analytic tradition •They see Philosophy as something that is nothing but the activity of clarification; where other disciplines have a definitive subject-matter, Philosophy has a mission – to be the knight of clarity
  21. 21. • Mystery Monger – a “dealer or promoter” of “mystery” and doubtful arguments• Intellectual chicanery - deception or trickery, especially by the clever manipulation of language
  22. 22. DERRIDA• Most zealous clarifiers regard Derrida as a mystery-monger of the worst sort, that Philosophy is supposed to expose and eradicate.• Derrida- focused on language. He attempted to show that language is consistently shifting and that traditional way of reading makes a number of false assumptions about the nature of texts.• Suggest that clear speech is impossible, or at the very least, indicative of shallowness.• Derrida fall short of the prevailing
  23. 23. Feyerabend, Duhem and Polanyi• Insist on the importance of feeling and passion in Science
  24. 24. FEYERABEND• Science will not progress if scientists always approach their hypotheses with perfectly disinterested rationality.
  25. 25. PIERRE DUHEM• Introduced feeling into the very logic of science.• Rather than focussing on the scientist‟s passionate commitment to an idea, Duhem emphasized the scientist‟s feeling for the phenomena, which he called “good sense.”
  26. 26. Good sense – the scientist‟s acquired knack of judgment, like a mechanic‟s ear for changes in the tone of an engine or a doctor‟s ability to diagnose a chest complaint from the pattern of wheezes and rasps.• Experts require trained eyes and ears as well as a disciplined brain.
  27. 27. THOMAS KUHN • Prevailing scientific theories of the time influence the training of the scientist‟s senses and intellect • Scientist‟s convictions affect the way he or she perceives the evidence • The defeat of one scientific theory by another is not entirely a logical process; it requires a kind of conversion experience in the scientific community.
  28. 28. DEFENDERS OF SCIENCE• Rejected as heresy the suggestion that feeling plays an essential role in scientific practice because it seemed to undermine the rationality of science.
  29. 29. • If feelings play an important role in scientific practice then science is not wholly rational.
  30. 30. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE ENLIGHTENMENT? • It makes formal rationality seem like something we already have, which we only need use more carefully. • Becoming rational largely consists in removing self-imposed impediments to the use of one‟s reason. • Assumes that formal rationality is already present in students and lecturers alike, and needs only to be drawn out and exercised. • Experimental pshychology has shown this to be false.
  31. 31. • We humans live first in a world of connotations andLARVOR associations, which are only later resolved into thoughts, facts, hypotheses and suchlike.
  32. 32. • Dispassionate formal rationality is not natural to us, even when we are engaged in rational activities.
  33. 33. • Scientists and mathematicians write up their theories and explanations, their theorems and proofs in dispassionate language, but the scientists and mathematicians must be passionate, or they would subject themselves to the hard rigour of scientific rationality.
  34. 34. COLLINGWOOD TO THE RESCUE • In order to have a good foundation in teaching philosophy and to set aside the Enlightenment attitude towards dispassionate rationality, Larvor used R.G. Collingwood‟s view of language written in his Principles of Arts.
  35. 35. PHILOSOPHICAL PSYCHOLOGY • Sustains an electrostatic metaphor: experiences and activities (including intellectual experiences and linguistic activities) have an “emotional charge.” • Modern education encourages us to attend to the sensation at the expense of the emotion ex: Highly educated adults - can‟t hardly notice the emotional charge of most of their sensory experience Artist and Children – feel the emotional charge of their experiences keenly.
  36. 36. AIM• To develop a theory of imagination. Because for Collingwood, imagination is the capacity that allows creatures who feel to become creatures who think, write books and create art.
  37. 37. • Like Wittgenstein, Collingwood claims that language begins as emotional expression, and only later becomes a vehicle for the articulation of thoughts.
  38. 38. EXAMPLE No obvious emotive charge Phil Younghusband H2 O - It will express an emotion – perhaps boredom or excitement - As soon as we take up „symbolism for some Maam Patty and Maam purpose, we give it an Corcoro emotional charge.
  39. 39. CLASSROOM TIPS1.Take time to respect and develop the intuitions that students already have2.Tell the students what is going on3.Design exercise to induce suitable intellectual experiences4.Ensure that all your material is alive5.Retrace the route to here

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