Though this is a relatively rare distinction to be made, it is nonetheless an important one. **Nonrationality** is NOT the same thing as **irrationality**. These two terms are different and must be recognized as such. While we are at it, we should discuss what ‘rationality’ actually is…

### Category Archives: Epistemology

## Concept-Checking: Nonrational vs. Irrational vs. Rational

## An Initial Look into ‘Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement’

**Name Calling****Ad Hominem****Responding to Tone****Contradiction****Counterargument****Refutation****Refuting the Central Point**

## The Principle of Charity (Revisited)

As an adjunct faculty member of Philosophy, one of my soapbox lectures to my students is the importance and application of the Principle of Charity. I mention it in the 1st Day Syllabus, I mention it again about half-way through the semester, and I include it as a short-answer question on the Final Exam.

At its core, the Principle of Charity (PoC) involves thinking well of people; their intentions, their capabilities, and their knowledge level. I take it very seriously because (1) it is the civil, respectful, and necessary thing to do and (2) it actually makes discussions or discourse more efficient by not wasting time on misunderstandings or by committing straw person fallacies. In either case, the PoC has a wide range of important uses and that is why I hammer it into to my students from the get-go. Below, I will explain what it is and give some pertinent examples as well as provide some good resources for further reading.

Continue reading## Sentential Logic: Rules of Inference for Deriving Proofs

EXCELLENT RESOURCE AVAILABLE HERE: https://courses.umass.edu/phil110-gmh/text/c05.pdf

**Ampersand-In (&I)**: If one has available lines, A and B, then one is entitled to write down their conjunction, in one order A&B, or the other order B&A.

**Ampersand-Out (&O):** If one has available a line of the form A&B, then one is entitled to write down either conjunct A or conjunct B.

**Wedge-In (∨I):** If one has available a line A, then one is entitled to write down the disjunction of A with any formula B, in one order AvB, or the other order BvA.

**Wedge-Out (∨O):** If one has available a line of the form A∨B, and if one additionally has available a line which is the negation of the first disjunct, ~A, then one is entitled to write down the second disjunct, B. Likewise, if one has available a line of the form A∨B, and if one additionally has available a line which is the negation of the second disjunct, ~B, then one is entitled to write down the first disjunct, A.

**Double-Arrow-In (↔I):** If one has available a line that is a conditional A→B, and one additionally has available a line that is the converse B→A, then one is entitled to write down either the biconditional A↔B or the biconditional B↔A.

**Double-Arrow-Out (↔O):** If one has available a line of the form A↔B, then one is entitled to write down both the conditional A→B and its converse B→A.

**Arrow-Out (→O)**: If one has available a line of the form A→B, and if one additionally has available a line which is the antecedent A, then one is entitled to write down the consequent B. Likewise, if one has available a line of the form A→B, and if one additionally has available a line which is the negation of the consequent, ~B, then one is entitled to write down the negation of the antecedent, ~A.

**Double Negation (DN):** If one has available a line A, then one is entitled to write down the double-negation ~~A. Similarly, if one has available a line of the form ~~A, then one is entitled to write down the formula A.

## Concept-Checking: Authority Figures (AFs) vs. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

On the surface, one may think that an ‘authority’ or ‘authority figure’ is the same (or nearly the same) as an ‘expert.’ Teasing out the key differences to these concepts is of philosophical significance.

Let’s take an ‘authority figure’ first. Someone who is an authority figure is someone who is seemingly responsible, either preventatively or reactively, for enforcing observance or obedience to a particular norm/rule/principle/ideal. They either encourage us to uphold (or at least not to break) that norm/rule/principle/ideal. Or, if we decide not to do what is asked or expected of us, they may punish us for our seemingly incorrect choice.

We can think of 3 key examples within our daily lives: the religious leader (e.g. priest, rabbi, imam, guru, etc.), the police officer (or military official), and the calculator (or the computer program).

Continue reading## Concept-Checking and Assumption-Checking

Just as there are numerous websites, agencies, and sources that ‘fact-check’ the various statements made by politicians, public figures, and the like, I want to use part of my platform here to ‘concept-check’ and ‘assumption-check’ different statements made by whomever (historians, philosophers, journalists, etc.).

Concept-checking will involve ensuring that all of the technical concepts are being accurately and, at least initially, fairly portrayed in articles or books or magazines I read. So, for instance, if someone claims that Nietzsche’s ‘eternal recurrence’ is about how badly he wishes he could experience the joy of riding his bicycle for the first time extended over an infinity, then I would assert that they are incorrect and need to be concept-checked (along with the relevant authoritative evidence and argumentation).

Assumption-checking will involve pointing out some common sense and likely events or situations in all (or at least most) of our lives differ from the assumption being offered. So, for instance, if someone talks about how free each individual in the United States is, I would point out how that assumption doesn’t ring as true as they would like. For instance, consider the divergence in experiences among POC and white America. There are VAST differences that cannot and should not be glossed over, especially when engaging in philosophical analysis and truth-seeking. That same principle applies here.

Moving forward, I will specifically mark the CC and AC posts and provide all the proper documentation that I can. If you think of any or come across any articles you think would be interesting, please send them my way!

## Sentential Logic Practice: Symbolizing More Natural Sentences

1.) Natural sentence: Either I will eat ham or I will eat turkey.

Library: H = I will eat ham, T = I will eat turkey

Symbolization: **H** v **T**

2.) Natural sentence: Yesterday, we danced, played, and ate so much!

Library: D = we danced so much, P = we played so much, A = we ate so much

Symbolization: [**D** & (**P**&**A**)]

3.) Natural sentence: Harrison or John will win Prom King

Library: H = Harrison will win Prom King, J = John will win Prom King

Symbolization: **H** v **J**