Forum Replies Created
Thank you for the quick and clear reply, Dr. Herbener!
Thanks, Dr. Casey.
Thanks for the reply. Glad to hear you had a good time in Auburn. I have to admit I’m a bit envious as I would love to have been there, too!
I appreciate your economic argument against the minimum wage. For me, actually, the moral argument is most significant. As I see it, if two parties voluntarily agree to an arrangement that doesn’t initiate–or threaten to initiate–force against any others, then no one should be able to interfere with it. Period.
At any rate, my question wasn’t really concerning the legitimacy of the minimum wage. It was about what I sense to be a logical fallacy in one of the arguments against it that I frequently see/hear. Namely, this– “If a $10 minimum wage is beneficial to low-skilled workers, then why not raise it to $100 or $1000? Wouldn’t that be even better??” This doesn’t seem to be a logical argument to me. It would be the same as arguing against the efficacy of taking two aspirin to relieve a headache by staying “If taking two aspirin is beneficial, why not take 20, or 200? Wouldn’t that be even better?”
It’s this argument that a certain amount of something must be wrong because more of it wouldn’t be even better that I’m having trouble getting my head around. Can you understand what I’m getting at? Isn’t there some kind of logical fallacy here?
First, thanks so much for the quick reply. I really appreciate it.
I absolutely love your “principle of charity.” It’s a great way to state this idea. And in an argument with another native-English speaker, I totally agree. If face-to-face, I would likely clarify whether or not the person were asserting a universal proposition. However, when the opportunity for clarification is not available, I understand what you’re saying about not wanting to attack the weakest version of the argument. I by no means want to create a straw man and then attack that. That’s a cop out, as I see it.
Concerning my second question, though…
I’m in agreement when you say that “Some men are honest” is logically consistent with “Some men are not honest.” However, neither of these sentences is at all consistent with “Men are sometimes honest.” In the first two examples, the quantifier “some” modifies the noun “men”. In “Men are sometimes honest,” it’s the adjective “honest” that’s being modified (or quantified), which creates an entirely different proposition.
I would, of course, agree that “Men are sometimes honest” is logically consistent with “Men are sometimes dishonest.”
As I mentioned, I’m an English teacher in Japan. Therefore, I view language from the perspective of a teacher. In terms of context, Japanese language is what would be considered high-context. By that, I mean that the context is a much greater part of communication when speaking Japanese than it is when using English. This stems from the fact that overall, Japan remains a very culturally homogenous country. They simply don’t need actual language as much to understand each other.
For example, in Japan when a boss responds to an employee’s request (in Japanese, of course) with “Hmmm… That might be difficult,” the Japanese employee understands that this is essentially the same as “no”. Part of my job is to teach students that because English is used by such a culturally diverse group of people, a response of “Hmmm… That might be difficult” will not necessarily be received as the same as “no”.
I’m trying to help them have a better command of the old “say what you mean, mean what you say” approach. I, of course, try to make sure I do the same. Thus, my challenges to your examples.
Finally, you mention that translation is “rather art than science”. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I’m convinced that language in general is more art than science. In strict terms, though, I view logic as science, not art. Am I incorrect in thinking so?