Finished How to Win Every Argument: The Use and Abuse of Logic by Madsen Pirie. Basically a long list of logical fallacies, written in a moderately amusing manner with some examples.
He tends to bundle a lot of things that aren't strictly fallacies in as well, and some of them seem to be inconsistent. For instance he defines a "runaway train" fallacy where you fail to take something to its logical conclusion: his example is arguing that the speed limit should be reduced to 60mph but not 0mph. However he also mentions the familiar "slippery slope" fallacy, which would seem to be the exact opposite.
Does have a few useful tips, like the suggestion that Americans are more vulnerable to the fallacy of composition, because their grammar makes no distinction between the collective entity and the individuals within it.
In English we would say 'the crew is a good one', referring to it as a separate entity, but 'the crew are tired', if we are speaking of its members. In American one uses the singular verb in both cases, losing an important distinction.If everyone in society looks after themselves, then our society will be one that looks after itself.
(It will certainly be a society of people who look after themselves, but maybe society has aspects which need to be looked after by people acting in concert.)
I would have liked to see more practical examples, and more suggestions on how to defend against fallacies. Overall, has some interesting points, but not really worthwhile unless you're a beginner.
What I'm Reading 2
Finished the first Inspector Rebus novel: Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin. They're detective novels set in the seedy underworld of Edinburgh. This one was written in the mid-Eighties.
It's mostly more period than dated: everybody smokes, Rebus puts on a suit and tie to go to a party. Some of the serial killer tropes have been pretty much done to death in the intervening decades though: the serial killer sending notes is pretty much a cliché now. It's also an odd mix of police procedural and decipher-the-puzzle detectivism: there's lots of realistic cross-checking and mass interviewing, but also clues and hints sent by the serial killer.
The Rebus character is a bit hard to believe too: an ex-SAS man turned police detective who reads Dostoevsky and is crammed full of angst. This was a pretty early book: this series has a huge reputation so the author probably got better later on.
Will keep an eye out for the later ones. This isn't bad, but it's not brilliant. the whodunnit side of things is a bit sloppy: plot depends on coincidences of timing and the villain is introduced too late.
Felt pretty rotten Friday and had a temperature (I've bought a thermometer now) so called in sick again. What's going on? I hardly ever used to get sick. I think it's because since we shifted floors the office is too hot and badly ventilated. Firstly it spreads diseases, secondly since it's so hot it's really unpleasant to go in when you're even slightly feverish.
I Asked Metafilter What are the classics of genre fiction? Anyone have anything to add?
Video. Pixar short: Lifted.
Eighties kids TV: Mr Noseybonk. It's a miracle any of us survived with our sanity intact.
Economics. Voting is rational, just not selfish.
Why are there different inflation rates within the Eurozone?
Treisman finds little support for the "local knowledge", hypothesis laid out in the school board trope. In general, he finds, greater local decision-making and budget authority are associated with nasties such as poorer youth literacy and sanitation. He also finds that the number of tiers of government is positively associated with the level of perceived corruption. More tiers of government are also associated with fewer inoculations, a good measure of a country’s health performance.Tech. VB and misery in another’s success.
Random. What are you worth in bed?
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