A Theory of Philosophical Fallacies, 1st Edition by Leonard Nelson (auth.)

By Leonard Nelson (auth.)

Presented as a Vorlesung within the German philosophical culture, this booklet provides the main distinct account of Nelson’s approach to argument research, celebrated by way of many luminaries corresponding to Karl Popper. It was once written in 1921 against the relativistic, subjectivistic and nihilistic traits of Nelson’s time. The e-book includes an exposition of a mode that could be a additional improvement of Kant’s transcendental dialectics, through an software to the severe research of arguments through many well-known thinkers, together with Bentham, Mill, Poincaré, Leibniz, Hegel, Einstein, Bergson, Rickert, Simmel, Brentano, Stammler, Jellinek, Dingler, and Meinong. The booklet provides a common thought of philosophical argumentation as noticeable from the point of view of the common fallacies devoted via anyone arguing philosophically, even if expert philosophers or philosophical laypeople. even supposing the character of philosophy and philosophical argumentation is without doubt one of the such a lot recurrent items of mirrored image for philosophers, this e-book represents the 1st try at a basic concept of philosophical fallacy. in response to Nelson, it really is within the form of fake dilemmas that blunders in reasoning regularly emerge, and fake dilemmas are continuously the results of a similar mechanism--the unwitting substitute of 1 inspiration for another.

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It is therefore highly significant for us that this is not the case. e. that occur again and again, so that the multiple errors found in philosophy can be reduced to a definite and indeed quite small class of errors. The same sources of error, few in number, are to be found in a multitude of applications. Hence, if we investigate the sources of illusion in philosophy we arrive at a theory of dialectical error, as I would like to term this exercise—a theory that allows for an overview of possible sources of error in philosophy and that provides us with a complete systematisation of the dialectical errors that originate from these sources.

We can only hope that this approach, which is quite contrary to the manner in which the results of research are studied, might become even more consistent with its aim. If we are in fact to find real wisdom between the lines, then it would be best to make the space between the lines as large as possible and in fact leave out the lines altogether. There can of course be no greater act of kindness towards the public, to whom the price of books has become quite unaffordable. It is well known that in his time Kant fought this fanciful way of doing philosophy when it became prominent in the particular field of natural science from which we can today consider it expelled.

The insight that rational knowledge depends on something else is not so old. The error I have described did not only entirely pervade the medieval philosophy of the Schoolmen, but also the philosophical school which under the name of rationalism dominated the modern era up to the end of the eighteenth century. Only towards the end of the eighteenth century was the spell of this conception broken, with the arrival of Immanuel Kant. 1 What characterises scholastic philosophy is the conception that it is possible to answer scientific questions through logic.

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