Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Pick your sources carefully and corruptly and you can justify anything

I am currently preparing an article for the Winter 2006 Skeptic journal. The article is about fallacies in thinking and informal logic. This topic has a pedigree ranging back to the writings of the most notable ancient greek philosophers - Aristotle and Socrates in particular. However I don't wish to have to read masses of arcane and esoteric material, so in my article, I propose to bag both Aristotle and Socrates, disparage their writings in the most general terms, and thus avoid having to deal with them. Naturally, I searched for sources which might support my dismissive and shallow account of their work. The best source I found was the Department of Philosophy at Wooloomooloo University's Drinking song. And I quote: (source - Monty Python)

"Aristotle, aristotle was a bugger for the bottle... (and further, Socrates is said to be) a lovely little thinker but a bugger when he's pissed".

My source clearly establishes that both philosophers were crapulous dipsomaniacs; and therefore: (a) their philopsophy was unreliable; and therefore: (b) I am not obliged to know much about their work; and therefore: (c) I will not dignify their writings by referring to them (except for bagging them) in my article.

To avoid criticism down the track, I will also use ironic, self-deprecating humour in the article, and claim that one of my purposes in writing the article was to give clear examples of a range of fallacies in my own writing (e.g. False Attribution and Observational Selection).

This multilayered nested recursion is giving me a headache... or is it?

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