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Should Judges Check Logical Fallacies?

Daktoria
Posts: 497
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6/11/2013 2:28:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
As a judge, do you check fallacies yourself, do you check to see if fallacies are checked in debate, or do you tolerate logical fallacies and vote in favor of whoever made the other side check them?
Daktoria
Posts: 497
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6/11/2013 2:32:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I'm just concerned about survivalist bias where people vote for the sides which make the website survive.

For example, people could judge in favor of those who commit logical fallacies and make the other side check them. In turn, the website would survive because over time, checkers would get mad, and people would make logical fallacies on purpose in order to be provocative.
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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6/11/2013 2:39:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
There is generally two schools of thought:

1. The requirement is who made the more "convincing" arguments. Now, you're supposed to be objective and not based this judgement on any biases, preconceived notions or prejudices. That said:

1a. You can argue that logical fallacies are inherently and objectively unconvincing, then honestly dismiss those points on those grounds.

1b. On the flip side, you can argue that logical fallacious are innately convincing, which is why they exist and are committed in the first place! Though, this usually requires you not being aware of them, kind of making this moot.

2. On the other hand, you could also say that it is up to the debate opponent to point these out; that any uncontested aspect is a conceded aspect. That is, if an opponent addresses an argument as if it is valid (attacking only the premises, not the logical inferences), then that is a concession among both parties that the argument is valid.
Ragnar
Posts: 1,658
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6/11/2013 3:10:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Depends how bad they are, and how obvious. Of course if the competing side catches them that is favorable (harms the person who pointed them out, if they are then successfully defended).
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philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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6/11/2013 3:20:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 2:28:36 PM, Daktoria wrote:
As a judge, do you check fallacies yourself, do you check to see if fallacies are checked in debate, or do you tolerate logical fallacies and vote in favor of whoever made the other side check them?

That's a good question and something I've struggled with. I lean in favor of waiting for the opponent to point out the logical fallacy, and I do this for two reasons:

1. If somebody uses a fallacious argument to arrive at some conclusion, and the opponent doesn't dispute the argument or the conclusion, then the opponent is implicitly conceding the point. At that point, it doesn't matter whether the argument is fallacious or not, because the point has been conceded.

2. I think there is too much temptation to vote according to bias if we judge fallacies ourselves. After all, the reason we hold our positions is because we think our arguments are sound the arguments of others are unsound. So, for example, atheists probably think all theistic arguments are fallacious. Otherwise, they wouldn't be atheists. So should all atheists automatically vote against the theists? That doesn't seem right.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Stephen_Hawkins
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6/11/2013 3:43:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
No. Logical Fallacies are easily found where there are not, and not found where they are. Simply take the case at face value, as if you were hearing a political speech. Logical Fallacies weaken a case automatically, so persecuting even more harshly based on them is going to cause more problems in itself.
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DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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6/11/2013 4:08:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I'm a tabula rasa judge--I only judge based on hat is said within the round. If someone makes a logical fallacy that the opponent drops, then the fallacy, if its presented convincingly, still counts. I don't think it's appropriate for me as a judge to intervene with my own personal judgments and knowledge. It's about the debaters.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
the_croftmeister
Posts: 678
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6/11/2013 8:54:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I understand the merits of the tabula rasa approach, but surely the quality of an argument is part of the judgement of it? Logical fallacies are like invalid moves in a chess game, or at least some of them are. Even if I thought one player did a better job, if they made illegal moves I wouldn't vote for them.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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6/11/2013 10:14:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think that if an argument fails due to a fallacy, then it does not contribute to meeting the burden of proof nor does it overcome an opponents argument. I think the judge should recognize the fallacy and discard the argument.

It's not always obvious how much the judge should bring to the debate. We expect judges to understand the ordinary meanings of words; they have to bring that knowledge to the debate. We should also expect the body of common knowledge relevant to the topic, and for a debate understanding logical fallacies is part of that arsenal.

I think the resolution is like a defendant on trial. To approve the resolution, a burden of proof must be met. If a prosecutor used an invalid argument, a juror wouldn't convict on the grounds that the defense failed to point out the logical error. It's different from pure academic debate where failing to answer one of a flurry of invalid argument can lose the debate.
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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6/11/2013 10:29:54 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 10:14:04 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
I think that if an argument fails due to a fallacy, then it does not contribute to meeting the burden of proof nor does it overcome an opponents argument. I think the judge should recognize the fallacy and discard the argument.

If that's the case, then wouldn't it follow that if one person makes a fallacious argument, their opponent has no obligation to refute it? As long as the opponent is confident that everybody else could recognize the fallacy, he could just ignore it and still win the debate. That doesn't seem right to me.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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6/11/2013 10:52:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 10:29:54 PM, philochristos wrote:
If that's the case, then wouldn't it follow that if one person makes a fallacious argument, their opponent has no obligation to refute it? As long as the opponent is confident that everybody else could recognize the fallacy, he could just ignore it and still win the debate. That doesn't seem right to me.

Yes, I think the opponent can win without pointing out the fallacy. But if the fallacy is left to the judge to find it is as if the argument scored a zero, but the opponent also does not get a point. If the opponent points out the fallacy, he gets some positive credit. I don't mean actual points, but an informal accounting of who did better in the debate. A resolution that does not meet the burden of proof cannot win, but if there are many disputed points the debater who best points out the flaws ought to win.

People who are used to academic debate take a much narrower view than mine. I think it's more like a trial to determine the truth, rather than a game of scoring points. Every person gets to choose their judging approach.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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6/11/2013 10:55:25 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
RoyLatham, in many debates there is often only one truth. Does that mean that you would never vote for the opposing side regardless of the skill of the debaters?

Let's take an extreme example. For instance if someone argues that the Earth is hollow, they will never get your vote barring their opponent forfeiting or making a fool out of themselves?
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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6/11/2013 11:44:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 4:08:19 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
I'm a tabula rasa judge--I only judge based on hat is said within the round. If someone makes a logical fallacy that the opponent drops, then the fallacy, if its presented convincingly, still counts. I don't think it's appropriate for me as a judge to intervene with my own personal judgments and knowledge. It's about the debaters.

The bolded is contradictory. If it is a logical fallacy, then it won't be convincing.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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6/11/2013 11:46:49 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 11:44:45 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 6/11/2013 4:08:19 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
I'm a tabula rasa judge--I only judge based on hat is said within the round. If someone makes a logical fallacy that the opponent drops, then the fallacy, if its presented convincingly, still counts. I don't think it's appropriate for me as a judge to intervene with my own personal judgments and knowledge. It's about the debaters.

The bolded is contradictory. If it is a logical fallacy, then it won't be convincing.

Example - if someone said that 1+1=2 because 1+1=/=2, I would say that person is not making a valid argument. I wouldn't score conduct or anything, but the fact is that this invalid argument took up valuable space in a debate where the person could have actually made a valid argument.

In this sense, logical fallacies damage a case automatically, IMHO.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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6/11/2013 11:49:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 2:32:30 PM, Daktoria wrote:
I'm just concerned about survivalist bias where people vote for the sides which make the website survive.

For example, people could judge in favor of those who commit logical fallacies and make the other side check them. In turn, the website would survive because over time, checkers would get mad, and people would make logical fallacies on purpose in order to be provocative.

Can anyone figure out how the above is relevant to the OP?
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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6/12/2013 10:41:44 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 11:44:45 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 6/11/2013 4:08:19 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
I'm a tabula rasa judge--I only judge based on hat is said within the round. If someone makes a logical fallacy that the opponent drops, then the fallacy, if its presented convincingly, still counts. I don't think it's appropriate for me as a judge to intervene with my own personal judgments and knowledge. It's about the debaters.

The bolded is contradictory. If it is a logical fallacy, then it won't be convincing.

Not in all cases. There ARE logical fallacies that clearly make no sense. All the same, sometimes people do make fallacious arguments that nevertheless can sneak by unnoticed--ie, no true Scotsman, which, even if fallacious, can still be a convincing argument if worded correctly.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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6/12/2013 10:43:50 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 8:54:36 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
I understand the merits of the tabula rasa approach, but surely the quality of an argument is part of the judgement of it? Logical fallacies are like invalid moves in a chess game, or at least some of them are. Even if I thought one player did a better job, if they made illegal moves I wouldn't vote for them.

I understand--however, judge intervention with an argument should still be at its most basic. I mean, if its something as simple as the example given earlier--saying 1 plus 1 equals two because 1 plus 1 doesn't equal two--then obviously the judge should have enough sense to see that that argument isn't even coherent.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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6/12/2013 9:34:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/12/2013 10:41:44 AM, DetectableNinja wrote:
At 6/11/2013 11:44:45 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 6/11/2013 4:08:19 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
I'm a tabula rasa judge--I only judge based on hat is said within the round. If someone makes a logical fallacy that the opponent drops, then the fallacy, if its presented convincingly, still counts. I don't think it's appropriate for me as a judge to intervene with my own personal judgments and knowledge. It's about the debaters.

The bolded is contradictory. If it is a logical fallacy, then it won't be convincing.

Not in all cases. There ARE logical fallacies that clearly make no sense. All the same, sometimes people do make fallacious arguments that nevertheless can sneak by unnoticed--ie, no true Scotsman, which, even if fallacious, can still be a convincing argument if worded correctly.

The idea would then be, if it was convincing, it would be because 1) it wasn't a fallacy, or 2) you didn't catch what was fallacious about its reasoning.

Therefore, if the fallacy passes your "check" for logical fallacies, then you'd be evaluating a debate that you thought was argued without any logical fallacies. That is what makes the bolded contradictory, IMHO.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?