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Logical flaws in RTR


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166 replies to this topic

#1
bake

bake
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I've recently read RTR, and it's had a significant positive impact on me. I've changed several priorities, and am in the process of changing my communication style. However, this only occurred the second time I tried to read RTR: the first time, I found it unreadable. Despite RTR's very significant merits, it has some heavy flaws. This post is meant as constructive criticism: I appreciate the work Stefan Molyneux is doing, and would be thrilled if he improves it further. What bothered me, while reading the book for the first time, was the misuse of logic. I strongly value logic, and it seems very clear that Stefan Molyneux does as well, which made it all the more disconcerting. RTR is littered with false dilemmas. They often provide interesting ideas and intuitions, but they destroy any logical buildup based upon them, and are painful to read. Below, I've provided some examples. These are not meant to be exhaustive, by any means - they are merely to illustrate. False dilemmas (found by searching for "either"). p29, under "Baggage": "Either she really is untrustworthy - in which case we chose to enter into a relationship with an untrustworthy woman - or she is trustworthy, but we have a hard time trusting because we have been betrayed in the past." This leads into "If we have been betrayed in the past, either we have learned who to trust or we have not." It then proceeds to draw conclusions for both cases. p30 has an example with a friend and a loan, which has several errors of this type; I find it a little reminiscent of the Monty Python sketch about witches and ducks. "Then anyone you call your best friend must be the opposite of people who harmed you in the past." is especially surrealistic. p44, "Objective Integrity": "If Jennifer has to constantly nag Vance to meet her needs, then clearly she believes that he does not voluntarily want to meet her needs in the first place. He does not respect what she wants, or does not care that she wants it - either way, he is treating her entirely disrespectfully." p77, "You never support me": "If it is true that you have never supported me, then either you lack the capacity to support anyone, or you have the capacity to support others but choose not to support me." p77, "Assuming you can...": "Assuming you are capable of supporting me, if I tell you that you never support me then either you have a desire to support me - but choose not to - or you do not have a desire to support me at all." Some non-sequiturs I stumbled across while looking at the above false dilemmas: p31: "If love is a completely subjective state, then the concept of "quality" does not exist at all - and thus neither does improvement." If there is a rigorous proof of this, I'd like to be made aware of it; without any mention of such, I fail to see how this follows. p77: "If you know how to support someone, but do not have a desire to support me at all, then clearly you believe that I am not worthy of being supported." The "This must be.." mythology which follows is also a non-sequitur. To loosely riff page 30, I'm left in the uncomfortable position of seeing RTR embrace logic, but lacking logic at the same time. I would very much like to see this resolved by reducing or eliminating the logical errors. I hope this post can fuel some positive change, thinking by Stefan Molyneux, and perhaps posts with logically sound rethinkings of some of his ideas and words which convey his valuable insights - or barring that, rephrasings which cast them as an intuitive sketch. Once again, I find RTR valuable, and I thank Stefan Molyneux for writing it.


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#2
PinkGlitter

PinkGlitter
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Hey

I was just wondering if you could elaborate some more on why the supposed false dilemnas are false dilemnas.

 


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#3
DMH

DMH
  • 229 posts

Hey

I was just wondering if you could elaborate some more on why the supposed false dilemnas are false dilemnas.

 


I've actually been aware of some problems like this myself, although it hasn't stopped me from learning a lot from RTR.

A false dilemma is where two possibilities are provided as if they're the only ones whereas they're other possibilities as well. For example the one under Baggage says "Either she really is untrustworthy", or "she is trustworthy, but we have a hard time trusting because we have been betrayed in the past." Although it could be argued that being betrayed in the past is the most likely cause for not trusting a trustworthy person there could be many other reasons as well which aren't looked into.


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#4
PinkGlitter

PinkGlitter
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Hey

I was just wondering if you could elaborate some more on why the supposed false dilemnas are false dilemnas.

 


I've actually been aware of some problems like this myself, although it hasn't stopped me from learning a lot from RTR.

A false dilemma is where two possibilities are provided as if they're the only ones whereas they're other possibilities as well. For example the one under Baggage says "Either she really is untrustworthy", or "she is trustworthy, but we have a hard time trusting because we have been betrayed in the past." Although it could be argued that being betrayed in the past is the most likely cause for not trusting a trustworthy person there could be many other reasons as well which aren't looked into.

right OK i see what you mean, thanks for explaining!


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#5
MMD

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Although it could be argued that being betrayed in the past is the most likely cause for not trusting a trustworthy person there could be many other reasons as well which aren't looked into.

Could you please provide examples of these other reasons?


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#6
Stefan Molyneux

Stefan Molyneux
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Thank you for your feedback, but I'm afraid I have a little bit of trouble following your examples -- did you post them perhaps in "if A then B" format?[:)]


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#7
DMH

DMH
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For example the you might have heard some false rumours about the trustworthy person. Anyway I don't even have to come up with reasons since the burden of proof is on the other side. If you find a way of ruling out all other possibilities you've got somewhere.
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#8
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
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For example the you might have heard some false rumours about the trustworthy person

The dilemma in that part of the book isn't that you've correctly figured out that she's worthy of trust or that you've correctly figured out that she's unworthy of trust.  If it was, you'd be correct: there are lots of other possibilities, including you being wrong from believing false rumors.  However, the dilemma given is that she is actually worthy of trust or that she is actually unworthy of trust, both regardless of what you believe or are unsure about.  That fits well with the law of the excluded middle, which is a way to rule out all other possibilities.

Anyway I don't even have to come up with reasons since the burden of proof is on the other side.

You are quite right as far as that, but I think Stef was asking others to show him more syllogistically the flaws in his own reasoning rather than asking them to prove there are alternatives to his dilemmas.


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#9
bake

bake
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Hey

I was just wondering if you could elaborate some more on why the supposed false dilemnas are false dilemnas.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma is a good place to start.

One type of false dilemma is only looking at the extremes, excluding what is between them. The trustworthyness example is in this category. No one is 100% trustworthy or 100% untrustworthy. The range representing reality is being neglected, as the extremes are reasoned upon - and this doesn't work.

A mathematical example: Imagine the real numbers between 0 and 1, inclusive. If I then say "If the number is 0, adding it to any number results in the same number. Otherwise, the number is 1, and multiplying any number by it results in the same number", there's a serious problem: numbers which aren't 0 aren't necessarily 1. If I take 0.5 and run it through that statement, I'm told that it is 1, that 3*0.5 is 3, etc - and this is simply false.

Most of the errors are in another category: they present two options (or, in a generalization of the fallacy, a list) and then reason as if the options given are the only ones possible. It's as if I said "If you do not eat at a restaurant tomorrow, either you're bankrupt or hate restaurants" - while there are clearly other possibilities, such as having other plans. If this is just a non-exhaustive list, which is not being used in a chain of logic, it's not a problem - but if it's used for an either/or line of reasoning or ends with an "otherwise, it has to be the option which hasn't been excluded" (in the previous illustration, one way to do this would be if I prove you're not bankrupt, and claim it's a proof you hate restaurants), it's a serious flaw.

 


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#10
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
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Ahh, I've reread your (Dan's) earlier posts and RTR and found that I totally misunderstood what you were saying.  Sorry about that; please apply what I was saying to the original poster (bake).  It says "or, she is trustworthy, but we have a hard time trusting because we have been betrayed in the past."  It assumes that if we have a hard time trusting someone trustworthy, then it must be due to past betrayals.  That was invisible to me.


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#11
bake

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Thank you for your feedback, but I'm afraid I have a little bit of trouble following your examples -- did you post them perhaps in "if A then B" format?/BOARD/emoticons/emotion-1.gif

 

I'm not entirely sure whether this post is in reply to mine or those of Dan Holding, and would appreciate if you'd specify.

On a side topic, are you open to editing RTR?

 


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#12
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
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One type of false dilemma is only looking at the extremes, excluding what is between them. The trustworthyness example is in this category. No one is 100% trustworthy or 100% untrustworthy. The range representing reality is being neglected, as the extremes are reasoned upon - and this doesn't work.

Just so you know, one common misunderstanding of English usage by mathematicians is to take a statement like "Jim is trustworthy" as "Jim is absolutely trustworthy" rather than "Jim is generally trustworthy" or, more precisely, "Jim is sufficiently trustworthy that I'm not ambivalent about whether his trustworthiness is sufficient for me".  Given that the book doesn't say "100%" there, it's certainly a possibility for what Stef meant.


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#13
bake

bake
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Ahh, I've reread your (Dan's) earlier posts and RTR and found that I totally misunderstood what you were saying.  Sorry about that; please apply what I was saying to the original poster (bake).  It says "or, she is trustworthy, but we have a hard time trusting because we have been betrayed in the past."  It assumes that if we have a hard time trusting someone trustworthy, then it must be due to past betrayals.  That was invisible to me.

Assumptions, of varying degrees of plausibility, also occur in RTR, often without background information to support them. To an extent, that is inevitable - this isn't formal math, and an attempt to truly rigorously fix this would become unreadable long before being in sight of that goal.

I think I addressed your original statements at least partially in my reply to Candice; if not, tell me (and clarify what you're looking for, so that I don't address the wrong points) and I'll try again.

For what it may be worth, I have a few reasons for starting this thread:

a) Seeing if anyone else is interested in these problems.

b) Seeing if anyone else is willing to identify logical problems in RTR - in any category.

c) Finally, and most importantly, seeing if there is any interest in the community in fixing them. One community option would be an errata/alternative illustration guide to accompany RTR.

I mention "anyone else" and community because I think this is worth addressing, but it's not something I would want to bother with if no one else cares.

 


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#14
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
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b) Seeing if anyone else is willing to identify logical problems in RTR - in any category.

I think Dan may have found one above, though I'm unsure, since it seems to me that believing false rumors is helped out quite a bit by a history of betrayals.  That is, of course, an assumption in the argument, but no one would find the following argument flawed even though it doesn't prove gravity :

Gravity exists between this ball and the earth.

I let go of this ball.

It will fall.

The premises are certainly unproven, but the argument is logically valid.  Similarly, there is a correct dilemma in the book between someone actually being trustworthy and untrustworthy.  I think that because I would separate that from the premise that if you think someone is untrustworthy when they are trustworthy, it's definitely due to past betrayals.

 I would be interested, though, in your response to my previous post (about English usage).


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#15
bake

bake
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One type of false dilemma is only looking at the extremes, excluding what is between them. The trustworthyness example is in this category. No one is 100% trustworthy or 100% untrustworthy. The range representing reality is being neglected, as the extremes are reasoned upon - and this doesn't work.

Just so you know, one common misunderstanding of English usage by mathematicians is to take a statement like "Jim is trustworthy" as "Jim is absolutely trustworthy" rather than "Jim is generally trustworthy" or, more precisely, "Jim is sufficiently trustworthy that I'm not ambivalent about whether his trustworthiness is sufficient for me".  Given that the book doesn't say "100%" there, it's certainly a possibility for what Stef meant.

Regardless of exactly which definition we pick, it still presupposes two distinct categories; I consider this unreasonable, but can see room for argument. I find that RTR sometimes makes contrasts far too black and white (I believe there's a small bit of the book which comments on that, but can't find it at present). This can be useful for introducing ideas, but it's not a sound basis for logical reasoning.

 


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#16
FreedomWins

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Regardless of exactly which definition we pick, it still presupposes two distinct categories; I consider this unreasonable, but can see room for argument. I find that RTR sometimes makes contrasts far too black and white (I believe there's a small bit of the book which comments on that, but can't find it at present). This can be useful for introducing ideas, but it's not a sound basis for logical reasoning.

You may be confusing distinct with extreme.  If I say that all numbers that aren't zero are one, those are distinct categories and also, as you pointed out, extreme and black and white.  If I say all numbers less than a half and all numbers a half and greater, that's distinct but not black and white, it's every lighter shade of grey and every darker shade.

I think the possible definition I gave would be closer to the distinct shades of gray rather than the distinct black and white.


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#17
Nathan

Nathan
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Bake, I think Stef was replying to you, asking you to restate your contentions from the first post in the form of syllogisms which we would all appreciate I think.  I do think you have a point which is not to say you're right or wrong about this but that I have found this kind of either or thinking somewhat frustrating for me as well.  I cannot think of any alternatives to the first one other than one that was mentioned earlier "you could have heard a false rumor that she was untrustworthy."  Which I would say is trusting a rumor that is false over someone in a relationship with you that has no history of untrustworthyness... which also would be related to baggage in the form of early attachment problems if that makes any sense.


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#18
bake

bake
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Regardless of exactly which definition we pick, it still presupposes two distinct categories; I consider this unreasonable, but can see room for argument. I find that RTR sometimes makes contrasts far too black and white (I believe there's a small bit of the book which comments on that, but can't find it at present). This can be useful for introducing ideas, but it's not a sound basis for logical reasoning.

You may be confusing distinct with extreme.  If I say that all numbers that aren't zero are one, those are distinct categories and also, as you pointed out, extreme and black and white.  If I say all numbers less than a half and all numbers a half and greater, that's distinct but not black and white, it's every lighter shade of grey and every darker shade.

I think the possible definition I gave would be closer to the distinct shades of gray rather than the distinct black and white.

My point is that there is a continuum of grey. It's not two groups: that is incorrect, regardless of whether the claim is that everything is either "light grey" or "dark grey", or claiming that everything is black or white.

I am not confusing distinct with extreme.


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#19
Blank

Blank

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I've recently read RTR, and it's [background=#ffffff]had a significant positive impact on me. [/font]I've [background=#ffff99]changed several priorities[/font], and am in the process of changing my communication style. However, this only occurred the second time I tried to read RTR: [background=#ffff99]the first time, I found it unreadable.[/font]

Can you talk a bit more about what you mean by "unreadable", and the changes you describe here? What emotions came up on the first attempt to read the book?  What emotions came up on the second? What about them blocked you on the first attempt? What do you think might have changed for you between the two attempts? Why do you think that change occurred?

Also, if you don't mind my asking, what were those priorities? How did the book influence your thinking about those things?


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#20
bake

bake
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Bake, I think Stef was replying to you, asking you to restate your contentions from the first post in the form of syllogisms which we would all appreciate I think.

I'd appreciate hearing Stef's take on what he wants.

 

I am slightly puzzled by this request. Surely you're not asking for something like this:

RTR aims at logic.

RTR contains logical flaws.

RTR does not reach its aims.

 

My contention is fairly simple: there are logical flaws in the book, and I give examples by quoting logically flawed passages from the book, and optionally some commentary. I don't see how making syllogisms of any of this is the slightest bit helpful. Perhaps someone who wants this could show me an example of what they would like?

 

I do think you have a point which is not to say you're right or wrong about this but that I have found this kind of either or thinking somewhat frustrating for me as well.  I cannot think of any alternatives to the first one other than one that was mentioned earlier "you could have heard a false rumor that she was untrustworthy."  Which I would say is trusting a rumor that is false over someone in a relationship with you that has no history of untrustworthyness... which also would be related to baggage in the form of early attachment problems if that makes any sense.

My first example seems to be the most contentious. That said, false rumors strike me as a red herring, but I'd rather not entirely sidetrack the discussion by giving this a full reply, sorry. I'd actually request that further discussion of that example go to a new thread.

 


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#21
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
  • 2098 posts

I am not confusing distinct with extreme.

Ahh, sorry about that.

My point is that there is a continuum of grey. It's not two groups: that is incorrect, regardless of whether the claim is that everything is either "light grey" or "dark grey", or claiming that everything is black or white.

I could equally say: My point is that there is a continuum of real numbers.  It's not two groups: that is incorrect, regardless of whether the claim is that everything is either "rational number" or "irrational number", or claiming that everything is zero or one.

But there are two groups of the reals: the rationals and the irrationals.  Would you agree ?  If so, you can see that you can consistently impose lots of dichotomies on the reals: numbers that have three in the ones place when written in decimal and all others, numbers whose floor is even and all others, and so on.  The key there is "things with this property and all others".

If you're with me there, saying that it's a continuum doesn't lead by itself to the conclusion that dichotomies cannot be applied to it, since we have several counterexamples of a continuum with valid dichotomies.

Because of that, you and I will need more than "trustworthiness is a continuum" to believe that "trustworthiness cannot validly be broken into two groups" is proven.


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#22
DMH

DMH
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My first example seems to be the most contentious. That said, false rumors strike me as a red herring, but I'd rather not entirely sidetrack the discussion by giving this a full reply, sorry. I'd actually request that further discussion of that example go to a new thread.

 

Yes, i think the point I picked up on's a bit different to yours, in fact I'm with Mr C when it comes to splitting things into two categories. The point i was making was that although it's ok to say people are either trustworthy or untrustworthy, you can't jump to a conclusion to why they're untrustworthy without ruling out other possibilities.<\p>

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#23
Allison

Allison
  • 234 posts

This thread has reminded me about some of the thoughts that came up for me as I read RTR. I was at first disarmed by how brilliantly divisive and decisive the book is, but reading it again some 14 months later, I would agree with what I think bake is saying, that it oversimplifies things, and follows seemingly logical chains that upon further examination aren't actually logical.  Thus, as interesting as the book is in and of itself, the lack of nuance and context prevents it from being entirely applicable to the complexity of real life.  Whether there's any way to take life's complexities into consideration and still end up with a book that actually says anything, I'm not sure.  Maybe the black-and-whiteness of this book is the best that we can do, and we just have to be careful to apply it with a grain of salt in real life.

I've been writing a post about the aforementioned page 30 for a little bit, so I've missed some of the discussion that's gone on in here, but I'd be interested in hearing anyone's thoughts on what I've come up with. I wish I was formally trained in philosophy, because I don't feel like I'm capable of expressing my thoughts as clearly as I'd like to, but oh well.  I'm definitely interested in pursuing the topic of logical flaws in RTR as a whole, as well.

 

We all arrive with scars, and that is not a bad thing. A boxer without scars has never fought an equal, and a lover without baggage has never risked his heart. To some degree we do learn through pain, and being on the receiving end of falsehoods and betrayal can do wonders to sharpen our criteria for trustworthiness.

However, we do run into a fundamental problem when we mistrust our lover.

Either she really is untrustworthy – in which case we chose to enter into an intimate and lengthy relationship with an untrustworthy woman – or, she is trustworthy, but we have a hard time trusting because we have been betrayed in the past.

The form being used here is: Either the woman is “not X”, or she is “X”, but appears as “not X” to us because of A.

Others in this thread have said that there could be reasons for her appearing as “not X” beyond just A.  But even more fundamentally, I wonder whether it makes sense to say that she is either “X” or “not X”.  This strikes me as being oversimplistic.

In the context of this example, X is trustworthiness.  It seems to me that trustworthiness or its negation is not a label that can be applied across the board to a person.  They could be trustworthy in some situations but not in others.  E.g. I might trust a friend to housesit for me, but not to renovate my house.  Is it fair to say that this friend is “untrustworthy”, just because I wouldn’t trust them to renovate my house?  Later on I’ll get into why I think this false dichotomy leads us into trouble.

If we have been betrayed in the past, though, we have either learned who to trust or we have not. If we have learned who to trust – primarily ourselves – then we cannot reasonably call our current partner untrustworthy.

The “primarily ourselves” interjection here is tripping me up.  It seems to be suggesting that for each person, the person they can trust most is their own self.  This idea on its own makes sense to me.  Inevitably in life, you will interact with people with competing interests, and you are the only one who will always have your own best interests at heart.  The problem is that once we begin to discuss trustworthiness in this sense, it ceases to be an objective quality.  A person is trustworthy to themselves, but not always to other people.  It thus no longer makes sense to label people as “trustworthy” or “untrustworthy” across the board, as was done earlier. 

So yes, we cannot reasonably call our partner “untrustworthy”, because trustworthiness in the sense that we are using it is not an objective quality.  I get the feeling though that this is not the conclusion the book is trying to draw.

If we have not learned to trust, then we cannot blame our current partner for being untrustworthy.

A few issues with this sentence jump out at me.  The first is that we’ve switched from “learned who to trust” to “learned to trust”.  These two phrases convey completely different meanings to me.  The meaning of the first phrase is that, assuming people are either “trustworthy” or not (my previous objections to this false dichotomy notwithstanding for a moment), we are able to discern between the two.  The second phrase takes things a step further: assuming we have identified a “trustworthy” person, are we capable of trusting them? (i.e. Do we have past baggage that is preventing us from doing so?)

Was a word (“who”) simply left out of the second sentence, or is this second sense of the word “trust” intended?  I will go with the first option.  It would seem to me that, because the two sentences are juxtaposed, they should be using the “trusting” action in the same sense.  If not, the reasons for the switch should be clear.  So adding in the missing word:

If we have not learned who to trust, then we cannot blame our current partner for being untrustworthy.

There are two separate issues within the situation of a person being with an “untrustworthy” partner, which I think are being conflated.  The first is that the partner is an “untrustworthy” person.  The second issue is that we are partners with them despite this fact.  I would agree that, insofar as this quality of untrustworthiness (or insert other negative quality here) exists, it is our own responsibility to be able to identify it in other people and steer clear of it if that is what we want to do.  However, the quoted sentence also seems to be absolving the partner of all responsibility for their condition of “untrustworthiness”.  This strikes me as false.  The partner is of course responsible for their own nature, unless it’s being suggested that a person’s lack of ability to detect trustworthiness somehow induces untrustworthiness in other people.

The problem with leaving the two different issues conflated is that as soon as you bring up “blame” you have to cast it somewhere (for if no one's to blame, why even bring it up?).  So this sentence seems to be saying that if we have not learned “who to trust”, we are to blame if we get taken advantage of by an untrustworthy person.

But as I discussed above the concept of trustworthiness is not as simple as someone “being” or “not being” trustworthy.  And because it is a nuanced concept, learning to decide how much to trust others is a lifelong process that we are constantly refining and improving upon as we gain experience, not some ability that we either “have” or “don’t have”.  At what arbitrary point can we say that we have learned enough that are no longer to blame if we get taken advantage of?  And who is to blame in this case?

I think the above issue is parenthetical to the argument as a whole, and could be avoided entirely by dropping the “blame” word and simply saying something like, “It is our responsibility to learn to identify and seek out in others the qualities we wish to have in a partner.”

To explain what I mean by this, let us return to our “loan” example.

First I tell you that you are my best friend, and then I refuse to lend you any money because I have lent and lost money in the past.

“Well,” you say, “are you still ‘best friends’ with those who ran off with your money?”

“Of course not!” I reply indignantly.

“Thus you find untrustworthiness to be a trait unworthy of someone you call a best friend?”

I think the example being used here muddies the waters slightly.  If a person has “run off” with your money, the most obvious explanation for the fact that you’re no longer friends with them is that they’re no longer around.  It is less clear that you would break off a friendship with someone who just carelessly lost your money.  It’s possible, but I think it would be a matter of personal preference more than anything else.  You could also decide that while you’ll no longer trust them with money, they have enough redeeming qualities that you wish to remain friends with them. 

“Yes.”

“Thus anyone you call your best friend must be the opposite of the people who harmed you in the past.”

I take issue with the use of the word “opposite” here.  There is no such thing as a person who is the opposite of some other person.  Each person has their shortcomings, and it’s entirely possible that “the people who harmed you in the past” were "better" at some things than the people currently in your life.  Again, I think it’s all about tradeoffs, and reducing personality to such simplistic terms renders this argument nonsensical.  Logically, it reduces everyone on the planet into two classes, "good" and "bad" (or "virtuous" and "not viruous").  I do not believe that such a simplistic paradigm corresponds to reality, any more than does the idea that everyone will either go to heaven or hell.

“Yes.”

“Thus if you tell me that you are afraid that I will not pay you back, then you are telling me that I am untrustworthy. However, since you have rejected those who failed to pay you back in the past because they were untrustworthy, but you claim that I am your best friend, then you are in
the illogical position of claiming that I am both trustworthy and untrustworthy at the same time.

Again, I return to my contention with the use of the terms “trustworthy” and “untrustworthy” as objective standards.  Isn’t it possible that the person is afraid they won’t be paid back simply because their capacity to trust has been damaged?  Thus, in hesitating to loan the friend money, they may not be expressing doubt about the whether or not the friend would pay back a loan, but rather about their own ability to judge whether or not this is the case.

If I am trustworthy, then I surely have earned the title ‘best friend,’ and you should lend the money to me.”

I object to the two claims being made here.  They feel manipulative to me.  After thinking about it a bit, I think the main issue is that they're trying to derive an “ought” from an “is”.  I don't have to be friends with a person just because they're trustworthy.  And if I am friends with them, even if I am completely confident in their “trustworthiness” (with regards to money), I don’t think this obligates me to loan the money to them.  It’s still a personal decision, with many factors involved.

If I am untrustworthy, then it is unjust to call me your ‘best friend,’
since you find untrustworthiness such a vile character trait. Thus keeping people in our lives who exhibit traits we call negative utterly prohibits us from blaming them for exhibiting those traits. If we act in opposition to our beliefs, we cannot reasonably blame other people for the results.

Again, I think the use of the word “blame” here confounds things unnecessarily.  As above, while I agree with the thrust of the argument, I would word it like this: “It is our responsibility to learn to identify and seek out in others the qualities we wish to have in a friend/partner.”  The friend/partner is still responsible for those traits we call negative, whether they see them as negative traits or not.


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#24
bake

bake
  • 53 posts

I am not confusing distinct with extreme.

Ahh, sorry about that.

My point is that there is a continuum of grey. It's not two groups: that is incorrect, regardless of whether the claim is that everything is either "light grey" or "dark grey", or claiming that everything is black or white.

I could equally say: My point is that there is a continuum of real numbers.  It's not two groups: that is incorrect, regardless of whether the claim is that everything is either "rational number" or "irrational number", or claiming that everything is zero or one.

But there are two groups of the reals: the rationals and the irrationals.  Would you agree ?  If so, you can see that you can consistently impose lots of dichotomies on the reals: numbers that have three in the ones place when written in decimal and all others, numbers whose floor is even and all others, and so on.  The key there is "things with this property and all others".

If you're with me there, saying that it's a continuum doesn't lead by itself to the conclusion that dichotomies cannot be applied to it, since we have several counterexamples of a continuum with valid dichotomies.

Because of that, you and I will need more than "trustworthiness is a continuum" to believe that "trustworthiness cannot validly be broken into two groups" is proven.

I agree that a continuum is not a sufficient precondition. We have a fundamental disagreement about the binary classification of trustworthyness into "trustworthy" and "untrustworthy", and i don't think we're going to make further progress towards agreement on it. For the rational numbers, it makes sense; for a blurry human quantity, I don't think it does, you do, and I fail to see a way to move further.

 


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#25
Kawlinz

Kawlinz

    An emcee that despises legalese

  • 640 posts

For me when I was listening to RTR, I just fgured that the lack of other reasons was because they'd be too numerous, and having to explain each nuance would detract from the main point.

For example, when I was reading a critique of UPB, the reviewer was constantly nitpicking certain things like the statement from the book (allow me to paraphrase) "Ice cream contains dairy." The reviewer went on to say "some ice cream doesn't contain dairy, so this is an odd example used to prove the point" Stef could've gone on to clarify "well, some doesn't use dairy, and then there's gelato. Some are made ..." but that would've detracted from the main point for no reason. I felt the same way about RTR, that the simplification of the concepts made the book stronger, because it didn't go into long needless tangents to make the analogy fit perfectly, just well enough to demonstrate the point being made.


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#26
bake

bake
  • 53 posts

For me when I was listening to RTR, I just fgured that the lack of other reasons was because they'd be too numerous, and having to explain each nuance would detract from the main point.

For example, when I was reading a critique of UPB, the reviewer was constantly nitpicking certain things like the statement from the book (allow me to paraphrase) "Ice cream contains dairy." The reviewer went on to say "some ice cream doesn't contain dairy, so this is an odd example used to prove the point" Stef could've gone on to clarify "well, some doesn't use dairy, and then there's gelato. Some are made ..." but that would've detracted from the main point for no reason. I felt the same way about RTR, that the simplification of the concepts made the book stronger, because it didn't go into long needless tangents to make the analogy fit perfectly, just well enough to demonstrate the point being made.

That is a perfectly valid point, and one I largely agree with. However, I would then prefer that pseudo-logical chains of reasoning which are technically invalid not be used. They are an ugly flaw in any book, made uglier in this case by occuring in a book which claims to be a logic.

There are tradeoffs. I find RTR an extremely valuable sketch (including the parts I disagree with), which also has a number of valuable details, questions, viewpoints, etc, and I really wish it was not marred in this way - and I think that it can be improved.

 


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#27
Stefan Molyneux

Stefan Molyneux
  • 19755 posts

Just to satisfy my curiosity, did you buy a print version, or download the PDF, or listen to the audio file?


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#28
bake

bake
  • 53 posts

Just to satisfy my curiosity, did you buy a print version, or download the PDF, or listen to the audio file?

 

I downloaded the PDF. I strongly prefer reading to audiobooks. I do most of my reading on computers at this point - I really appreciate being able to search for text, to the extent that I buy (DRM-free) ebooks rather than physical books, or read pirated electronic copies and only buy the corresponding physical books (which I often entirely neglect to use in favor of the electronic copy) so that the author and others who worked on the book are compensated. I use physical books on occasion, but prefer them in increasingly fewer niches.

 


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#29
Stefan Molyneux

Stefan Molyneux
  • 19755 posts

thanks - and do you listen to any of the podcasts, or have you read any of the other books?[:)]


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#30
Allison

Allison
  • 234 posts

 Stef, I'd love to know what you think about the thoughts that have been put forth in this thread. :)


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#31
bake

bake
  • 53 posts

thanks - and do you listen to any of the podcasts, or have you read any of the other books?/BOARD/emoticons/emotion-1.gif

I wouldn't say that I listen to the podcasts - I've heard a few. I plan to try listening to more. I'm not too optimisic about this, though. I find I can only really take in podcasts or audio (on anything) by giving them my complete attention - even taking notes tends to seriously derail me, and long pauses to ponder are right out, short of pausing the audio, and that's still fairly disruptive. It's something I can deal with, but I tend not to enjoy, regardless of the content.

I intend to read more of your books.  I haven't done so yet, but I downloaded 5 the other day. I'm leaning towards spending more time with RTR before reading them.  For what it's worth, I'm someone who almost never rereads books, much less right after reading them, so this is almost unheard-of for me.

Edit: The book I plan to read next, after I move on from RTR for a while, is "On Truth", though I am open to other suggestions. I also welcome podcast suggestions (from anyone).

 


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#32
bake

bake
  • 53 posts

In reply to Allison's post about page 30 of RTR: I think you made your points well. I'm tired enough not to be entirely comfortable assessing your post, but it seems quite good, and nothing negative jumps out.


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#33
Stefan Molyneux

Stefan Molyneux
  • 19755 posts

thanks - and do you listen to any of the podcasts, or have you read any of the other books?/BOARD/emoticons/emotion-1.gif

I wouldn't say that I listen to the podcasts - I've heard a few. I plan to try listening to more. I'm not too optimisic about this, though. I find I can only really take in podcasts or audio (on anything) by giving them my complete attention - even taking notes tends to seriously derail me, and long pauses to ponder are right out, short of pausing the audio, and that's still fairly disruptive. It's something I can deal with, but I tend not to enjoy, regardless of the content.

I intend to read more of your books.  I haven't done so yet, but I downloaded 5 the other day. I'm leaning towards spending more time with RTR before reading them.  For what it's worth, I'm someone who almost never rereads books, much less right after reading them, so this is almost unheard-of for me.

Edit: The book I plan to read next, after I move on from RTR for a while, is "On Truth", though I am open to other suggestions. I also welcome podcast suggestions (from anyone).

 

Thanks -- and do you plan on purchasing the books?


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#34
Jake B

Jake B
  • 35 posts

I'd really like to hear a response to Bake / Allison's specific contentions - their point about false dichotemies is quite interesting.


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#35
PinkGlitter

PinkGlitter
  • 684 posts

A thought that occurred to me earlier was that regardless of whether or not the dilemnas which Bake wrote about in his first post are correct or not, what might be a problem is that Stef makes conclusions about why the person is behaving in a particular way, which seems anti-RTR given that the idea of RTR to say what you are thinking and feeling in the moment, and then ask open ended questions to the person you are speaking with which will encourage them to tell you what they are thinking and feeling, and then you work through it together to conclude what the issue is at hand.

I always thought RTR was about approaching the person you are in a relationship with, with out any prior conclusions as to why they are acting in a particular way, so that the process of openness, curiosity and honesty leads you to the correct conclusion about the problem.

It has been a long time since I read the book though so I don't recall within what context the dilemnas were given.


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