First, do not imagine the sophistry to be a blurry topic. This stuff is as juicy as a good bank fraud and for the same reasons. Mark Twain says lies are like cats, except cats have only nine lives. It just seems to go on. Learn some of the most important philosophical trends of the last 75 years. Looking closely it turns out to be too rich and sophisticated.

I remember my shock when I first heard about the original sophists, about the early Greeks. Those who do not care about the truth. They just want to win merit! Can you believe it ?! All right, I was naive. We now know that sophists are commonplace. Attorneys defending mafia murders; PR people with a bad client; journalists who do not show true propaganda and truth – well, these examples are more or less trivial.

Even more interesting are the secret sophists, who are almost never accused of being them. Let's take a look at five areas where the naked emperors wear particularly beautiful clothes: position ethics, descriptive linguistics, deconstruction, moral relativism and (too often) multiculturalism.

All Zeno could be taken as a patron saint. This Greek philosopher who has proved that a fast runner never, never gets a slow – hell, none of them can reach the finish line. This is the power of the sophistry


The ethics of the situation has been used for decades to undermine religious and moral evidence. As you pretend to take an interesting look at the tough decisions of life, situational ethics is usually destructive. It works like this.

The ethics of the situation use what is called a rock-and-a-hard-place sophistry. You get two choices, both the bad and the one are carefully placed to make it less bad. If you take it well, the so-called ethical says: "There you see it accepted the evil, it does not show that your moral values, your philosophy of life is weak and probably false?" [19659002] Such a situation might be so: imagine that in 1942 a Dutchman hid Jews in the basement; German soldiers are coming to the door – are you telling the truth? No, you're probably lying. The suffix then triumphantly rises: "You think the lie is okay!" This is a trap, a structure, but innocent and inevitable. The student thinks: "Gee, I always thought I was lying, it was not right … but I think it's okay …" And from there you may start to doubt all the convictions you've grown.

reminds me of a conversation we sometimes looked at on the school bus when I was fourteen and about the different kinds of terrible fates we would like to endure. Are you blind or deaf? Are you burnt to death or drowned? Or just take it: you want to lose a finger or your entire arm? Everyone would say "finger". But will this tell you the wish to lose your finger? Of course not! No one wants to lose his finger.

Here's a quicker one. In Peru, the machine collapsed, people died, the living ones ate the dead; this was the only way to survive. But will this tell us the value of cannibalism as a way of life? … People have been picked up for a week in the Pacific for a raft; drank urine; it's the sea water that's going crazy. But do we conclude that these people accept urine as a drink? Suppose there is a burning house – do you prefer 6 or 20 people to die? You are six people. Yeah, well, approve the dying men! Killer!

The trick is to catch the two bad things, then it seems to support or even like them. But not. Probably both of them hate it.

Aggression (and even wickedness), which is the basis of the technology, becomes quite apparent in so-called deaths when the children are preparing to choose which relatives to be allowed in a life hall – to die! Again, at least in the late 1950s, the psychological tests of school-age children raised questions such as "What's the worse American flag or the Bible?" Just imagining these things will obviously confuse and numb a child, obviously the goal.

Coda: A gratifying remark for all that people will definitely struggle to find the morally right choice – the higher the better. The lie, from the first situation, can also come to an end, it is such a terrible thing to save only human life. The ethics of the situation – if only turned right – proves the opposite, which is often proved. DESCRIPTION "NON-SPECIFICATIONS"

Descriptive Linguistics is a Meaningful View: Anthropologists must be humble and embarrassed when studying foreign languages ​​or cultures. In short, locals are their own culture and language, especially those who speak only languages. Visiting scientists must preserve their own values ​​and opinions for themselves.

So if you want to know how the Edens talk about Eden, you can record and transcribe it as lively as possible. For the obvious reason that you are not Eden and you can hardly speak the language. If you want Edenese's expert to speak, find some Ed. You got that, right?

This methodology is so obviously right, you are surprised to remember the anthropology. In fact, this scientific narrowness is a mysterious (re) discovered. And the excitement quickly accumulated and his name was complex

Certain scholars, especially linguistic anthropologists and their influential linguists suddenly behaved as if they had found a real life rule. does not prescribe (ie rules), just describe it.

Well, this is obviously a contradiction, so we're suspicious. But the bad part is still ahead. These linguists, with wonderful hands, used a perfectly good method and insisted that they be used in places where methodological reasons no longer apply.

Sophism here is like saying: well, the razor is good for cutting the scrubs, so I use it for cutting garments, cutting glass or cutting an appendix. Just because something is right in one place does not mean that it still works in a very similar place. The linguists have made a methodology for beginner anthropologists who have conducted field research among exotic, preparatory cultures and have applied the same methodology for us!

The United States is not a pre-emptive culture that suggests another methodology is appropriate. Our language is written, and it is already overwhelmingly rewritten – in the book of ten thousand libraries. And do you want experts? – A few million useful. Writers, editors, teachers, etc. Call them. But the linguists said, "No, no, I do not care what people think, not at all. The methodology demands that we randomly stop people, guys on the street – as if we were still in the Edens. Even though they are still there, they suspect that they are not interviewing children and mentally defective. Strangely, when they get to us, they insist that the reception is almost as wide. In fact, they are just real experts. The recipe seems to be that: in trying English grammar, only rely on those who do not know much about it.

And if you ask, why ?, linguists will answer as if you were completely idiotic: because you can not write down, you can only describe it, this is RULE. And if you say, give it to me again, why can not we write it down? Linguists will say this: because we will not do this when we study Edens.

True story.

It also takes this form in prescriptive form: "Languages ​​change, so, and all change is equally valid." Similarly, it is similar to a strangely odd, non-sequence: "Rivers naturally constantly change our courses and every course as well so do not waste your time saving land or cities. "

in the current and possibly very limited geographical area. But in English time it exists vertically (one (night), 400 years after Shakespeare, and is horizontally, the first language on the planet, has a great advantage of being coherent in the past and thus effectively communicating with people today everywhere: the spread of telephones, fax machines and computers is far more important than ever

It is a fact that linguists are often not as simple-minded as the narration so far suggests that we think to a certain degree, to some extent, an ideological component works here. Descriptive linguistics and solemn scientific endeavors are a convenient way of undermining the dominant culture, attacking them as "privileged" language forms. Such a naked and open attack would not gain much support from the peoples who would be helped

Descriptive linguistics is also a norm is a useful tool for teachers who are ruined in schools. These people say: it is not scientific for kids to get to know the good English language. Whatever the kids do, that's OK – they are experts on how to use the language.

Welcome to Eden. Deconstruction is perhaps the most demanding packet cluster

DECONSTRUCTIVELY YOURS Deconstruction seems Marxist literary science, but someone is aware that the name does not help in sales. However, do not put labels on it. Let's look at the deconstruction in its own way and sort it out. In fact, this is the first sophistry of deconstruction – not to apply its own methodology to itself

. The second sophistry is that deconstruction comes out of four squares in each hierarchy. Except for the only surprise – where it is at the top of deconstruction. Ah, hubris.

The third sophistry is thorough but cunning. Every text has an infinite number of meanings (shadows of Zeno paradoxes use the same tool known as endless regression). Thousands of reports mean that a student can spend one year for a novel and will never know what the book thinks generally. An infinite number of reports, whether strict or mildly practical, does not mean anything … In fact, this apparent indulgence is just a track, often used to mislead or obscure the reports that most readers perceive or that the authors themselves are recognizable.

Which leads to the fourth sophistry, is a thorough but not too restrictive reductionism. When all the apparent reports were taken and most of them released with so much air, it turns out that the real, deep down, real report is usually the same. No matter what text we examine, it turns out that the author indicates that the bourgeois society is bad, Marx is right.

In practice, the professor of deconstruction most of the text bends out. In order to ultimately make all the literature politicized, and the students should be reasonably justified. And thank heaven, they can not spend their time watching civilian bourgeois beauty or just enjoy a good book …

I admit that I personally deconstruct. I write novels and poems, and I know what kind of reports have been made. The idea that someone says that it is not relevant at all, is awesome (as is usually crazy). No, start the author's report, and then go to the supplementary reports that the smartest critics and the most clever readers have found. If you want to know how the different psychoanalysts, historians and ideologists see the job, be my guest. This is the only possible hierarchy. Whatever else it says, no runner is passing through the finish line. Moral relativism is widely accepted as a final philosophical word. People routinely say, "Well, everything is relative" usually means you can not make moral judgments in anything.

They simply say that if God dies, everything must be relative. To myself, I've heard that argument so often, I accepted it passively. If we can not prove God's existence, then we seem to have been caught up with relativism.

Then I realized that relativism used a lot in political debates, especially in the Cold War debates. And the idea seemed to be that because of all relative, there was no way to criticize communism. All relative … you're wrong … the end of the conversation.

However, I think that when we talk about metaphysics and about the construction of human societies, relativism is by no means obvious or relevant. Therefore. Relativism only applies if there is no God. But in this case mankind becomes a measure of all things. So while relativists do not have to listen to God, do not you have to listen to people now?

The relativists' sophistry is to get rid of God, and then they will last and get rid of everything else on their way. How comfortable it is to try to protect something horrible. Or to skip something you evaluate.

The more you think, the relativism is dead. If there is no God then there are people. And for people in everyday life, there is almost nothing to do with it. As for all the basics of human existence, 99.99% of them have the same say. Here are some of my basics and I claim that everyone is choosing the second option:

 Sickness / Health 

Hunger / Appropriate Food

With Rozál / Freedom

No Religious Freedom / Religious Freedom [19659002] Work Daily 18 Hours / Work Daily 8 Hours

No Speech / Free Speech

Raise a Family in a Room / Two Rooms

Breathe Dirty Air / Breathe Clean Air

No Travel / Free to Move [19659002] Illiterate / Educated

Destitute / Prosperous

Long live in a city hit by a crime / in a safe city

What is in fact a relative? Sure, a good sophist can jump to any one and claim that people do not really want it or without it to be better. So you know it's sophistry. Then they will prove that the fast running will never catch the slow

. The point is that relativism means a higher truth. In practice, this is usually a low-talk technique for nihilism. Thousands of voices can speak to their hearts, but relativists say: fast, we do not have to listen to this stupid thing, its logic has no basis! So the Spectator Speaks Speaking

First, multiculturalism is not automatically sophisticated.

The idea of ​​learning other cultures is always a good liberal arts education. Ideally, we all want to know the culminations of the most important civilizations (if there is enough time and time). Indeed, we can argue that knowing such high points is a sign of a well-trained person.

Multiculturalists generally claim to argue about this assumption. Hey, they declare that students need to know all the great things from other cultures, not just that country.

However, in practice, many supporters of multiculturalism are often not the best and brightest to other major cultures. Often, the curriculum lists minor minority thinkers (things that may be appropriate in a postgraduate school). Multiculturalists sometimes sell the route and then swap the promised destination. In retail, this bait and switch is called. Here, the real subject of many multicultural programs, the university in a very limited time, simply reduces studying the student's own culture. Then, as a second part of the combination, these programs form a work that further attacks this culture. In fact, multiculturalism is often just another name for America-bashing. Of course, this is a valuable subject in itself if it is sold. This is when multiculturalist has a secret program that penetrates the sophistry very dramatically. I'm not here to argue that America can not stand a little. I just want the truth in advertising.


Overall, it seems to me that serious philosophers have to play much more than they are. Regrettably, the serious philosophy of this century is usually academic philosophy, people mostly occupy the angels of the angels who danced on a pen. In early Greece, there has been a permanent conflict with the teachers of smart controversy techniques, with people seeking truth or with the right lifestyle. The two sides always fought, and it was good for everyone. Nowadays the arable field has been left open for the sophists, and in a man's opinion it was too easy.


© Bruce D. Price 2006. Same article appears under "Philosophy Weeps" under the author's page

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