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Posts tagged The Art of the Possible

Statist logic

In comments at The Art of the Possible, Jeremy asks:

And how come you get the country and I have to leave [in order to secure individual liberty from government coercion under majority rule]?

Angelica replies:

Well, as most people think democratic government is a good idea and it's the idea we've used for a long, long time, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that your idea is better.

In logic, begging the question (sometimes known by its Latin name, petitio principii) is the fallacy of presupposing, in an argument, part of what you need to prove. There are lots of ways to spell out exactly what that comes to, and some interesting philosophical debate to be had. But one paradigm case of question-begging that pretty much everybody agrees on is the circular argument–a degenerate argument in which the conclusion supposedly to be proved is itself one of the premises. For example, when one argues that, all other things being equal, I ought to be ruled by a form of legal authority based on what most people want rather than based on my individual consent, because, regardless of whether or not I individually consent to it, that’s the form of legal authority that most people want.

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