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Refuting argument from Tradition

Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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2/26/2012 12:10:22 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I need a solid refutation of an argument from tradition: something that makes the problem obvious, something that is slightly informal, something that can be accessible by anyone and something that is short. Help?
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Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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2/26/2012 2:46:25 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Using "tradition" is problematic because that which is traditional is not necessarily beneficial.

For instance, say our ancestors used to spend one week every year killing as many deer as possible.

The reason for this is that they were farmers and the deers ate their crops.

Fast forward two hundred years. Everyone lives in cities and they get their food from factory farms.

Tradition dictates that they should run into the wild exterminating any deer they find.

Tradition justifies an action using a rationale that might easily be outdated. When tradition becomes outdated, it can become destructive.

Tradition, then, should be followed only when we know that the original rationale behind tradition is being fulfilled by us in the present.
The_Fool_on_the_hill
Posts: 6,071
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2/27/2012 12:30:46 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/26/2012 12:10:22 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
I need a solid refutation of an argument from tradition: something that makes the problem obvious, something that is slightly informal, something that can be accessible by anyone and something that is short. Help?

Sophist: The argument from tradition is that we should continue to do something just because we have done in the past.

The Fool: The fallacy is that it doesn't follow from the past that we should contintinue to it in the future.

The Sophist: A stronger version is that we ought to do what has worked in the past. aka if it ain't broke don't fix it.

The Fool:

1. We can still upgrade it.
2. Secondly the world changes and adaptibility means changing with the world.
3. you can't even know how well something is working unless you compare it to other ideas.

My fav example:
The eastern Roman Empire lasted a thousand years after the western empire but their gradual decline and defeat was because of their inability to adapt. Because of their over reliance on what worked in the past. Thus instead of adapting they tried to re-establish the old roman way. But what had been long thought to be barbaric is what they became..
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL