False Claim of Victory

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False Claim of Victory

Postby Anthem » Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:40 pm

From Anthem Labs comes another exciting new logical fallacy, the Flase Claim of Victory Fallacy!

Like the Ad Squared Fallacy (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=162854), this is actually a specific type of other fallacies that is common enough that I think it deserves its own name.

I don't think its been explicitly defined anywhere, but I could be wrong, and I'm sure other people have thought of it before, but here's the gist of my thoughts:

Party A makes an argument
Party B counters
Party A counter-counters
Party B claims victory because of reason 'x'

Claiming victory in an argument with no pre-established rules is just stupid. It's impossible without the other party ceding a point. When neither side budges, there can be no victory. Why? Because both parties have to agree on the mode of victory and defeat. A formal debate may be judged and both parties agree that the judge is the deciding factor, but without such rules, even if 99% of the world agrees with one of the parties, the other party may still claim victory for another reason. The only way to 'win' is to get your opponent to admit defeat. There is no superior ground to be gained when arguing, especially when done through a computer screen.

It can be completely evident to almost everyone that one party has won an agrument, but that does not mean the other party will stop the fight. One could point out to another why their argument is wrong, why he thinks the other has lost, and that everyone agrees that he has lost, but it is all in an attempt to get the other to admit defeat. Otherwise, both sides are reduced to claiming victory on unestablished grounds.

This fallacy is a combination of straw man and ad hominem fallacies.

The straw man fallacy is committed when one side claims victory, implying that the other had the intention of victory for himself, and also that he is finished arguing. Obviously if he is not finished, his position is being misrepresented by the other side saying he is defeated. It also misrepresents what the he thinks defeat is, because he does not agree that he is defeated, and the terms were not agreed upon beforehand.

The ad hominem fallacy is commited when the side claiming victory tries to discredit the opponent by saying he has already lost when he has not. Again, without formal rules, there is no victory and defeat unless one side admits to defeat.

The False Claim of Victory Fallacy is often used by one side trying to get the other to become angry and yell, "No you don't! I win!" so that the original perpetrator of the fallacy can call the other out on being emotional, which leads to an even deeper ad hominem with which they can again falsely claim victory.

I'll take any questions now.
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby manic » Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:54 pm

I'm calling Standford immediately.

This work is phenomenal. I've never seen anything like it.
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby Anthem » Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:18 am

manic wrote:I'm calling Standford immediately.

Stanford takes anyone these days :roll:
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby Wonderer » Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:31 am

i like it... and knowing exactly where it came from i am suspicious as to wether you were implying that i was the original commiter of this fallacy who inspierd you to write this post?

so be nit picky i never really clai victory.... i once said "you cannot deny" and "you know im right" but in the end no victory is had if someone merely claims it. the opposition must recognise himself as a loser before both sides can walk away...

but ocntradiction is humans nature and it doesn't just go away... consult a poet.
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby Anthem » Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:51 am

^^ No, it was Soldout who was doing it to me most recently.

You falsely claim to be right, but at least you're not claiming victory :) Both of us were trying to get the other to recognize that they are wrong before I retired from the thread. I stopped posting there because I realized you had no interest in listening to my argument, thus there was no 'victory' in it for me, which wasn't for my own personal satisfaction but for that of math.

The only 'victory' I can hope to come out of that thread is that someone will respect my knowledge on the subject, see how futile I saw the attempt to sway you is, and also retire; or if they were on the fence, see my exasperation and think to themselves what that means when I leave a thread that I have a lot of interest in. But that doesn't mean I've defeated you. It's a partially satisfying end for me, but I have not attained victory. In a way it's also a 'defeat' for me because I wasn't able to get you to learn, but even Robert E. Lee knew when to quit.
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby Wonderer » Thu Mar 27, 2008 4:30 am

hahaa, i guess you're right there..

im glad to know that it wasnt me who got you panties all twisted (to think i should be so prolific)

but when it came to the limit thread it's just that i already know to the fullest extent about limits in the way they are traditionally taught and described... i do not deny their utility, i merely object to a logical contradiction that lies hidden amongst the concepts...

i'm a perfectionist and i dont like seeing an equals sign between .999[bar] and 1 :evil:

but i do like a good argument O:) .... but one thing you have to give me credit for is my consistency :wink:
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby Anthem » Thu Mar 27, 2008 4:52 am

I'm not talking about that any more with you. I told you, I've retired. And it would be off-topic here.
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby Wonderer » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:08 am

Anthem wrote:I'm not talking about that any more with you. I told you, I've retired. And it would be off-topic here.

yes srry i was just defending my reputation as a wonderer
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby Blacklung » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:32 am

Just brilliant! =D>

Seriously though, this applies to 99% of discussions I've noticed in the real world and 99.99912% of internet conversations. It's so fucking hard to find a critical thinker among most lay people, especially when you're discussing the "meta" issues and why they believe what they believe.(politics, religion especially)
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby anon » Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:49 pm

Excellent OP. :D

I'm curious whether you are claiming that it is important to have clear ground rules, as in formal debating. Your ideas remind me of certain main themes underlying a classical Buddhist debating style called "prasangika" - a form of intellectual judo in a sense. A prasangika debater simply takes an opponent's assertion and points out its logical incoherence, without making any counter-assertions at all. Wiki: "It is this use of prasanga, also described as a proof reductio ad absurdum, that characterizes the Prasangika school of Madhyamaka Buddhism." So in prasangika, there is no need to establish ground rules at all. The prasangika debater completely accepts his opponent's own implicit ground rules as a matter of course.
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby Wonderer » Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:30 pm

i think that a formal system to judge debates would lead to a sort of dictatorship.

the outcome of every argument being decided only once and carried through for all similar arguments by regulation, thus leading to a sort of determinism... it would be fun :D
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby Anthem » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:01 pm

anon wrote:Excellent OP. :D

I'm curious whether you are claiming that it is important to have clear ground rules, as in formal debating. Your ideas remind me of certain main themes underlying a classical Buddhist debating style called "prasangika" - a form of intellectual judo in a sense. A prasangika debater simply takes an opponent's assertion and points out its logical incoherence, without making any counter-assertions at all. Wiki: "It is this use of prasanga, also described as a proof reductio ad absurdum, that characterizes the Prasangika school of Madhyamaka Buddhism." So in prasangika, there is no need to establish ground rules at all. The prasangika debater completely accepts his opponent's own implicit ground rules as a matter of course.

Thanks. I don't think it's important to have clear ground rules, unless one side or the other starts claiming victory.

I like that prasangika, but there are two things I see wrong with it. First, once the opponent's assertion has been defeated by its own system, there has to be another system by which to judge it. It has been deemed circular or inconsistent with itself, but there has to be a system that defines what circular and inconsistency is outside the opponent's argument. Obviously someone who has a clear understanding of logic would have no problem with this, but the opponent will defend their idea by counter-attacking the attacker's system of logic, and/or point out that the attacker is professing to use only the original system of the argument which he thinks is circular thus nullifying the attack :o

Secondly, many systems are 'water-tight' to their believers. Judaism, Christianity, Islam...strict adherents of these religions believe their system to be the only true religion. We know that at least two of the three must be wrong. But each of these religions has a complex defense taught to its believers. Every seeming contradiction has an interpretation or a twist or a 'logical' explanation. The reductio would not work on a believer, even if it is done to a satisfactory degree to an unbeliever (or believer of another system). Inside such a well-constructed system of defense, the parasangika strategy is useless; the system is impenetrable in the eyes of the believer, and within that system, they are right; the system does not allow itself to be reductioed.
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby anon » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:06 pm

Anthem wrote:Thanks. I don't think it's important to have clear ground rules, unless one side or the other starts claiming victory.

I like that prasangika, but there are two things I see wrong with it. First, once the opponent's assertion has been defeated by its own system, there has to be another system by which to judge it. It has been deemed circular or inconsistent with itself, but there has to be a system that defines what circular and inconsistency is outside the opponent's argument. Obviously someone who has a clear understanding of logic would have no problem with this, but the opponent will defend their idea by counter-attacking the attacker's system of logic, and/or point out that the attacker is professing to use only the original system of the argument which he thinks is circular thus nullifying the attack :o

Secondly, many systems are 'water-tight' to their believers. Judaism, Christianity, Islam...strict adherents of these religions believe their system to be the only true religion. We know that at least two of the three must be wrong. But each of these religions has a complex defense taught to its believers. Every seeming contradiction has an interpretation or a twist or a 'logical' explanation. The reductio would not work on a believer, even if it is done to a satisfactory degree to an unbeliever (or believer of another system). Inside such a well-constructed system of defense, the parasangika strategy is useless; the system is impenetrable in the eyes of the believer, and within that system, they are right; the system does not allow itself to be reductioed.

Yes, prasangika seems to assume good faith. Also, your critique of prasangika as not putting forward any assertions of its own is the common criticism from within the Buddhist philosophical tradition as well. Just thought you'd be interested in the correlations to your OP.
"Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries, and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries." - Blaise Pascal

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"To a fly that likes the smell of putrid / Meat the fragrance of sandalwood is foul. / Beings who discard Nirvana / Covet coarse Samsara's realm." - Saraha
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby Anthem » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:50 pm

Oh yes, it's definitely pertinent. It's a good way of dismantling an unestablished theory, even (especially?) one of your own. I just think it would have trouble against a more formidable system like religion.
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby Pandora » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:46 pm

Anthem wrote:The only way to 'win' is to get your opponent to admit defeat.


What? Admit defeat?!!

NEVER!!! [-( (And damned be logic... and everything and everyone else!)
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby north » Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:22 pm

I suggest an arbitrator but then this person who is the arbitrator would have to be objective
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby Ingenium » Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:42 pm

anon wrote:
Anthem wrote:Thanks. I don't think it's important to have clear ground rules, unless one side or the other starts claiming victory.

I like that prasangika, but there are two things I see wrong with it. First, once the opponent's assertion has been defeated by its own system, there has to be another system by which to judge it. It has been deemed circular or inconsistent with itself, but there has to be a system that defines what circular and inconsistency is outside the opponent's argument. Obviously someone who has a clear understanding of logic would have no problem with this, but the opponent will defend their idea by counter-attacking the attacker's system of logic, and/or point out that the attacker is professing to use only the original system of the argument which he thinks is circular thus nullifying the attack :o

Secondly, many systems are 'water-tight' to their believers. Judaism, Christianity, Islam...strict adherents of these religions believe their system to be the only true religion. We know that at least two of the three must be wrong. But each of these religions has a complex defense taught to its believers. Every seeming contradiction has an interpretation or a twist or a 'logical' explanation. The reductio would not work on a believer, even if it is done to a satisfactory degree to an unbeliever (or believer of another system). Inside such a well-constructed system of defense, the parasangika strategy is useless; the system is impenetrable in the eyes of the believer, and within that system, they are right; the system does not allow itself to be reductioed.

Yes, prasangika seems to assume good faith. Also, your critique of prasangika as not putting forward any assertions of its own is the common criticism from within the Buddhist philosophical tradition as well. Just thought you'd be interested in the correlations to your OP.
Even though it takes the form, I think prasangika's really intended to be more of a teaching method than it is formal debate.
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby Ingenium » Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:53 pm

By the way, not to get off topic too much, but as I was clicking back to the referenced post, I found it confusing that Soldout and Wonderer have such similar avatars. I tend to identify people by the pics and was beginning to think this person with the pink Cheshire cat avatar was kind of schizo, lol.
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby anon » Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:54 pm

Ingenium wrote:Even though it takes the form, I think prasangika's really intended to be more of a teaching method than it is formal debate.

I think so too. But there's record of it being used in formal debate even with non-Buddhists in India. That's puzzling to me personally - there's even record of a noted Buddhist debater of the time being murdered by a student of an opponent he "beat" in a debate. Who knows if that's just a story or not though. I'm not sure what the point of that would be.
"Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries, and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries." - Blaise Pascal

"The bombs we plant in each other are ticking away." - Edward Yang

"To a fly that likes the smell of putrid / Meat the fragrance of sandalwood is foul. / Beings who discard Nirvana / Covet coarse Samsara's realm." - Saraha
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Re: False Claim of Victory

Postby Anthem » Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:34 am

Pandora wrote:NEVER!!! [-( (And damned be logic... and everything and everyone else!)

You've got it down pat, Pandora Image

north wrote:I suggest an arbitrator but then this person who is the arbitrator would have to be objective

And that's quite another problem. But if you agree that the arbitrator has the final say and both of you stick to that promise, one person can become 'victor' if that's how you set up the discussion.

Ingenium wrote:By the way, not to get off topic too much, but as I was clicking back to the referenced post, I found it confusing that Soldout and Wonderer have such similar avatars. I tend to identify people by the pics and was beginning to think this person with the pink Cheshire cat avatar was kind of schizo, lol.

I thought that too at first :D but Wonderer is much more tolerable.
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