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Western Civilization’s Last Stand

The Art of The Argument

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shirgall

The Art of the Argument

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5 hours ago, luxfelix said:

Currently sold out -- Fire up those printing presses! :woot:

Well, you can always read the Kindle version. :)

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Any golden nuggets anyone would like to share? I ordered in paperback but it doesn't arrive for days.

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hopefully mine arrives soon. so excited!

the concept almost seems like a tautology:

"the solution to people being unwilling to debate is teaching them how to debate properly."

 

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3 hours ago, RamynKing said:

hopefully mine arrives soon. so excited!

the concept almost seems like a tautology:

"the solution to people being unwilling to debate is teaching them how to debate properly."

You might think so, but part of teaching the proper argumentation also teaches the value of proper argumentation.

"Imagine a world where the truth-shredding viciousness of verbal abuse no longer decided the day." and "By loving the world enough to staunchly defend The Argument we can actually create a world we can love."

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12 hours ago, shirgall said:

 

Well, you can always read the Kindle version. :)

Wha... Such a great argument! You must have read it already. :thumbsup:

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People giving 5-star ratings before they've even read any of the book seems kind of like an insult to what Stefan stands for and also is perhaps somewhat ironic.

That said, congratulations on finishing and releasing your book! Looks like it's selling well on Kindle. Currently #66 in paid Kindle.

 

If you found the time to complete this book, does that mean you may be able to find time to finish your parenting book next in the not too distant future? Sure many people would be interested in getting that one as well.

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Got my print copy! The cover is so compelling. The content is very detailed. I am hoping to learn how to take Leftist logical fallacies and turn those into points for winning debates.

 

9 hours ago, thebeardslastcall said:

People giving 5-star ratings before they've even read any of the book seems kind of like an insult to what Stefan stands for and also is perhaps somewhat ironic.

(I didn't do this, but...)

It's activism. I sometimes do it with Youtube videos. If a high rating means good information gets out there to redpill more people, I don't really care if the book isn't an objective 5-stars. Hell, a 3-star read that saves the west, I wish I could give something like that a FRILLION stars.

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Stephan really should try to keep the books in print. Even if they need to be run on demand at a higher price point. I can't stand reading things digitally and I like to highlight and write notes in my books. I would like to buy Art of the Argument paperback and some of his older books like UPB if I can find them anywhere. Preferably from Steph so he can make the monies on them instead of some random free marketer taking advantage of my needs. :P

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38 minutes ago, smarterthanone said:

Stephan really should try to keep the books in print. Even if they need to be run on demand at a higher price point. I can't stand reading things digitally and I like to highlight and write notes in my books. I would like to buy Art of the Argument paperback and some of his older books like UPB if I can find them anywhere. Preferably from Steph so he can make the monies on them instead of some random free marketer taking advantage of my needs. :P

My copy has a printing date of "August 28, 2017" and I received it August 30. That's pretty "print on demand" to me.

Publisher "CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform" which does print-on-demand for Amazon in the US, Canada, and UK...

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On 9/1/2017 at 11:08 AM, shirgall said:

My copy has a printing date of "August 28, 2017" and I received it August 30. That's pretty "print on demand" to me.

Publisher "CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform" which does print-on-demand for Amazon in the US, Canada, and UK...

That all sounds great but then when I go to Amazon why can't I buy a paper copy?

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9 hours ago, smarterthanone said:

That all sounds great but then when I go to Amazon why can't I buy a paper copy?

I don't know. My experience with print on demand is that inventory running out triggers another print run so there will be a delay until the next run can go... but that delay is usually not long unless unexpected demand is present. In the past Amazon used to claim items were in stock when they came from a print on demand supplier, but with predictability from Prime being a selling point, they don't do that anymore.

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Got my copy a few days ago, and I'm only a couple pages in so far. Loving it for the most part, but I did find a disagreement fairly early on.

Early into the book, he defined two distinct types of arguments, truth arguments, and value arguments. He asserts that truth arguments don't matter if we don't value the truth, and value arguments only matter if they're true, so the two aren't inseparable. I have a criticism for this outlook in that I think there may be a bit of a conflation going on. In economics, we're taught that there are two types of statements: positive and normative. Contrary to what many think, positive statements are not reinforcement or compliments, they're just statements of fact. Normative statements are meanwhile statements of how things "should be" rather than how they are. So you can see the parallel between the two pairs of categories; truth arguments are another name for positive statements, and value arguments are another name for normative statements.

My criticism comes with his assertion that the two aren't always separate, because of the aforementioned cyclical "only if we value truth and only if true" validations. Well, my understanding of normative versus positive statements is that you can make a sort of "prescription" using solely positive statements, rather than relying on normative ones. The example given by one of my former professors was him teaching his daughter about the different chemicals in sodas and why she "shouldn't" drink this soda or that. He could have made prescriptive normative claims that it's unhealthy so she shouldn't, but instead he gave her positive factual descriptors about caffeine and sweetness additives whenever she'd ask "what about this soda?" until she came to a drink where he had no facts to give her that would compel her not to drink it. So he in effect conveyed a "as should be" argument, but not by using a value or a normative claim, rather by sticking to facts (as he knew them). It's not that you think drinking soda is unhealthy, it's that you know the following consequences come from the following components of the following drinks, draw your own conclusions. A value argument was completely unnecessary, in spite of "preferable" behavior being advocated.

So perhaps I'm just saying there's a bit of a simplification going on. But then again... isn't that the whole point of the book? It's not for the intellectual titans exclusively, it's for those who love philosophy as well as those just dipping their toes in the philosophical waters. So some simplifications are necessary, I suppose.

The important thing is I am enjoying the read. =)

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Most of the book is about evaluating and countering normative statements, without the vocabulary. I look forward to hearing how you feel when you finish your read!

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A (((liberal))) economist can pretend to be a conservative economist, the reverse is not true.

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On 10/28/2017 at 8:07 PM, shirgall said:

I look forward to hearing how you feel when you finish your read!

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeowzah! I REALLY procrastinated on this! >_<

Well it should go without saying that I finished reading the book... uh... months ago, and I really enjoyed it! Quite amusingly, the one section I'd had a bit of a reservation over remained the singular section of the book that I wasn't completely sold over (that being about his interpretation of inductive reasoning). Like many other books I have read, it followed a formula, and that formula exists for a very good reason, it works. He used simplistic words and analogies for the same reason Trump never digs deep into his bag of language when trying to reach an audience: you want to be able to communicate to as many people as possible.

I wanted to joke that I found Stef's "Bob" character to be a god-like entity because of how multi-faceted he could be, so much so that I really wanted to meet this person to behold their glory! Obviously this is because Stef just names a hypothetical character "Bob" when he's trying to make a point, and obviously the Bob of one chapter is not the same Bob from 2 previous chapters, or even one of multiple Bobs several chapters before that!

So linguistically the book did a good job of keeping concepts simple, but still engaging, so "just about anyone" could pick it up and read it! I even found myself periodically hearing it in his voice (I read the physical book, not audiobook) since I can now do that after listening to hundreds of his videos and podcasts. I don't believe I was ever "lost" while reading the book (meanwhile I had to stop and re-read paragraphs of Warren Farrel's Why Men Earn More REPEATEDLY because of how densely packed those pages could be) but consequently neither did I feel particularly won over. The book didn't really tell me anything I didn't know already. But people who have never heard about UPB, peaceful parenting, or rational-empiricism-based philosophy? I think the book could be its own worst enemy. It's a gift to people who already know what's written down before they read it, and after they read it they may come away as I was realizing that they'd heard this all before. It's a coffee table paperweight to people who don't know what's held within its pages, because the instant a dear concept is reviewed with a skeptical eye in this book, I know they'll just stop reading it. I mean I couldn't get my best friend to even say "thank you" when I gave him a free copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad when we were in college, despite gushing over the book with him, and having very similar dispositions in many respects, and we both had "not the best" relationships with our fathers, so a book that lionized the concept of a "second father" should've really struck a shared chord with us both. But the truth is... I sought out the book so I could read it, and since my friend didn't, when I gave him the book, he lacked any interest or enthusiasm whatsoever to bother picking it up. I fear this is the fate to be had of The Art of the Argument; not because I wish it to be, but because I fear that's just what most people are like.

That being said, I'm definitely going to recommend it to as many people as I find who share a similar interest in not being a brainwashed leftist, which out here in deep-blue California is such a high barrier to entry, that I won't be recommending this book to that many people I meet. But I do have several in mind, already. However, like I already said, I worry that people are just too easily distracted, or too easily put-off by surprising information, otherwise I'm just recommending a book to them on a topic that they're already WELL-familiar with.

So about that gazelle analogy about inductive reasoning that didn't quite resonate with me...

I went into that section of the book a bit confused because Stefan opened it with very clear endorsement of the concept of inductive reasoning. Not as the one-and-only way, but as a viable tool. Full disclosure, I'm entirely aware that what I have been taught as a child may have been VERY nefarious propaganda that is entirely false, so take what I'm about to say with the appropriate grain of salt, but... I always grew up "understanding" that deductive reasoning was observing evidence, and using a form of rationalization (best typified in the "proofs" segment of geometry lessons) attempting to arrive at the proper conclusion. Meanwhile inductive reasoning was starting with a conclusion, then coming up with the argument that supports it, often by cherry-picking evidence that backs up the notion while dismissing dissenting evidence/arguments. In the book, meanwhile, Stefan expresses inductive reasoning as being to rationale as cautious-alertness is to a gazelle. He described the lion as needing to use precise planning to catch the gazelle, thus representing deductive reasoning, and the gazelle's fear that any stirring in the grass could be a lion to be an excess of inductive reasoning, but an overall cautiousness fueled by such paranoia as a good representation of inductive reasoning.

Or perhaps I just didn't get that part at all? Either way, I wasn't convinced by the end of reading that section, and I was certain he'd touch upon it some more so I might better understand his argument... only to find that he didn't. So is this the one island in a book I otherwise thoroughly enjoyed which contained a less-than-stellar concept? Or did I gloriously misread his explanation?

That's about it for my current thoughts on the book (horribly belated, though they may be), and I plan on rereading it soon, though for now I have a few other titles on my plate that I need to get to, first. Not the least of which is Jordan Petersons' 12 Rules for Life! I only have so much time in the day to spend peddling away on the exercise bike during which I can squeeze in my reading! I can bring books with me when I go on appointment and find myself with time to kill, but I generally like to have time dedicated to reading, which is either hour chunks while I exercise daily, or spontaneous and unpredictable down times where I can make the most of them with reading. Neither is ideal for getting through multiple books as soon as possible. But that being said, I tore through The Art of the Deal years ago doing the same thing, ending up going over my planned exercise time so I could keep reading. So I wouldn't put it past myself to likewise fiddle with my schedule so I can squeeze in some more good reading time.

I'm really looking forward to next time I read this book, after I've read some other great titles, so I have more ideas swimming through my head to entertain me! ^^

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Stefan expresses inductive reasoning as being to rationale as cautious-alertness is to a gazelle. He described the lion as needing to use precise planning to catch the gazelle, thus representing deductive reasoning, and the gazelle's fear that any stirring in the grass could be a lion to be an excess of inductive reasoning, but an overall cautiousness fueled by such paranoia as a good representation of inductive reasoning.

You have touched upon a very interesting topic that is not mentioned in this book, namely the problem of induction. Even if you find a general rule (chocolate tastes great) via induction and you can formulate it, what exactly is the epistemological status of that rule? This very problem of induction has been tackled by many philosophers, including Kant, Karl Popper, the modern Bayesians and CS Peirce (to name a few). The way it is treated in the book is less than optimal and you can learn a lot following its branches.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/induction-problem/

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/formal-epistemology/

 

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