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CrinklyCrustacean
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18 Aug 2010, 6:38 am

Before I say anything, don't worry, I'm not going to try this on anyone. One bad experience with my mum was enough to convince me otherwise. The equation is this:

If your argument is flawed, the emotions you feel because of it are unfounded, and your claims invalid.

People have a big problem with it. Why?



zer0netgain
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18 Aug 2010, 7:04 am

My best guess.

If you are wrong about what you are getting worked up about, then your "feelings" are the product of getting worked up over something that is not really happening.

If you think someone is trying to hurt you because someone told you so (but they were wrong or lying), then you could have all kinds of feelings over the perceived threat, but since the threat is not real, your feelings are real but unfounded.



kate123A
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18 Aug 2010, 7:51 am

Your logic is flawed. You can get worked up over something and then be proven wrong however the emotional states of others are as valid to them as your emotional states are to you.

For example I intensely dislike being touched, loud noises, and certain types of lighting. My dislike of these things is not universally valid to all people.



Janissy
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18 Aug 2010, 8:05 am

The flaw is in thinking that emotions are based on logic. Although there is such a thing as an invalid argument, there is no such thing as an invalid emotion. People feel what they feel. Logic has nothing to do with it. Why is that? Because emotions predate logic by several million years. Logic is a rather recent development evolutionarily. It is piggybacking on emotion, not the other way around.



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18 Aug 2010, 9:04 am

CrinklyCrustacean wrote:
If your argument is flawed, the emotions you feel because of it are unfounded, and your claims invalid.


OK, tryiing to parse this a piece at a time - So, we are assuming someone is making a flawed argument, e.g. "Black is white because the color grey contains both at the same time"

The emotions - one would assume someone might be agitated if presenting a flawed argument that could easily be refuted?
are unfounded - I think here is where you're losing people. Emotions don't need a reason or justification to exist, they just are what they are - what's more, they may not be based on the argument at hand, but on the situation. So, another possibility is that the person isn't agitated because their argument is flawed, but because they perceive you not to be hearing them out before you make a judgement.
and your claims invalid While, in theory, you could say "If your argument is flawed, then your claims are invalid" in many cases it's entirely possible to use logic incorrectly and make a flawed argument for a valid claim. In any case, someone's emotions have no bearing on the argument, so I can see where people might have a problem with that statement.

(Everybody else in my family is or has been a philosophy professor; my Mom used to pull something like this on me all the time "If you feel guilty, that's because you did something to be guilty about" was one of her favorite responses to "stop trying to make me feel guilty," a similarly flawed argument.)



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18 Aug 2010, 11:26 am

momsparky wrote:
CrinklyCrustacean wrote:
If your argument is flawed, the emotions you feel because of it are unfounded, and your claims invalid.


OK, tryiing to parse this a piece at a time - So, we are assuming someone is making a flawed argument, e.g. "Black is white because the color grey contains both at the same time"

The emotions - one would assume someone might be agitated if presenting a flawed argument that could easily be refuted?
are unfounded - I think here is where you're losing people. Emotions don't need a reason or justification to exist, they just are what they are - what's more, they may not be based on the argument at hand, but on the situation. So, another possibility is that the person isn't agitated because their argument is flawed, but because they perceive you not to be hearing them out before you make a judgement.
and your claims invalid While, in theory, you could say "If your argument is flawed, then your claims are invalid" in many cases it's entirely possible to use logic incorrectly and make a flawed argument for a valid claim. In any case, someone's emotions have no bearing on the argument, so I can see where people might have a problem with that statement.


I recognize the argument above -- both from previous posts and from my own internal dialog at times -- so what you've parsed out isn't quite what the OP intended, I think. Here's a scenario (purely fictional; I caught myself before making this comment to someone yesterday morning. :lol: ):

I see my friend in the morning and think she looks like she hasn't slept well. What comes out of my mouth is: "Your face looks puffy this morning."

My friend is very concerned about her weight and takes my comment as an unprovoked insult first thing in the morning. She becomes angry.

I explain that what I meant to express was my concern over her not sleeping well, thinking that she will stop being angry if she knows that I didn't intend to insult her.

We end up bickering for most of the morning.


In this instance, my friend has made an erroneous assumption about my intentions. Her argument, if she were to express it, is that she's angry because I've insulted her. Because I never intended to insult her, I see her argument as being flawed and feel that all it will take to resolve the situation is an explanation of my original intent. She'll see that her anger is unfounded and will stop being angry, maybe even apologize for taking my comment the wrong way. What I've learned over the years is, she has no way of knowing what my original intention actually was. What I see as explaining myself could just as easily be taken as making excuses for my bad behavior, which is even more insulting, since that means that I think she's stupid enough to be lied to.

The upshot of all of this is, like Janissy said, emotions are not based upon logic. For most people, hurt feelings can not be explained away. (I say for most people, because I'm actually very amenable to having other people explain what they really meant and amending my reactions to it accordingly. Most people don't do this and it still kind of throws me, sometimes.) The only way out of this situation for me is to apologize for the hurt my words caused, even if the hurt was unintentional on my part. The hurt is valid and so is her anger, because that's what she's feeling. It's my fault she was hurt because I didn't choose my words wisely in the first place.

While this particular scenario is fictional, it is sort of a type for a kind of issue I have come up again and again and I always have to remind myself that other people can't see what's going on in my head. I have to take the responsibility to be very careful about the way I express what I'm thinking and not just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.



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18 Aug 2010, 12:41 pm

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The hurt is valid and so is her anger, because that's what she's feeling. It's my fault she was hurt because I didn't choose my words wisely in the first place.


It isn't correct to jump from "emotions are never invalid" to "emotions are always valid". If a category of items cannot be said to lack validity, then they also should not be described as having it. Validity is simply not a useful concept when referring to emotions, as they are neither valid nor invalid. Validity refers to the structure of a logical argument, not to the way people feel.

I also do not agree that the person's anger is your fault. It's true that you could have been more careful with your choice of words, but that person could also have been more careful in her interpretation. If she was unclear about what you meant, she could have asked for clarification. Some people are hypersensitive to certain statements (or imagined statements) about themselves, in much the same way that autistic people are hypersensitive to some elements of our environments. People with borderline personality disorder, for example, have a knack for reading blame or insult into almost anything a person says. Take this nearly factual example:

"Why are you acting like such an as*hole to me?"

"I'm not acting that way, and I'm hurt that you said that about me. I wish we were getting along better."

"Oh! So this is about what I'm doing wrong?"

"No, I just don't understand why you're arguing with me. I'm not trying to argue with you."

"Are you saying it's MY fault we're arguing!?"

At this point I'm more or less forced to either lie or offend the person further. Are this person's emotions valid or invalid, and whose fault is it that this interaction is going on? Just as validity is irrelevant to emotions, so is blame. It doesn't matter whose fault an emotion is; what matters is the way a person acts and the decisions he or she makes. People are fully responsible for decisions made under the influence of strong emotion, and if a person's emotions are leading a person to act irrationally or perceive events in a manner not consistent with reality, then we need to do much better than simply wring our hands and say "well, all emotions are valid."


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CrinklyCrustacean
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19 Aug 2010, 6:24 am

Janissy wrote:
Logic has nothing to do with it. Why is that? Because emotions predate logic by several million years.


That is analogous to saying, "Driftwood has been around longer than a hammer, therefore driftwood is better for banging in nails." Time and evolution has nothing to do with it.

Perhaps a theoretical example is needed. Suppose there is a big disaster, such as the Boxing Day Tsunami a few years ago, and you think your loved ones are dead. Your are grief-stricken. Then, one day, they turn up at your front door, and you are overjoyed. What's happened?

Misconception: loved ones are dead
Feelings because of it: extreme grief, anger, wretchedness
Proof of misonception: loved ones turn up
Result: previous feelings are now acknowledged as unfounded, and discarded. Replaced by extreme joy.

Somehow, though, when this is presented as a straightforward logical equation, people have a very hard time accepting it. This is what I don't understand.



Bethie
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22 Aug 2010, 12:50 am

CrinklyCrustacean wrote:
Before I say anything, don't worry, I'm not going to try this on anyone. One bad experience with my mum was enough to convince me otherwise. The equation is this:

If your argument is flawed, the emotions you feel because of it are unfounded, and your claims invalid.

People have a big problem with it. Why?


Two problems:

1. Since when are emotions subject to linear reasoning?

2. One can arrive at a valid claim through flawed reasoning, or at invalid claim through impeccable reasoning, given that the premise was flawed.


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Janissy
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22 Aug 2010, 4:53 pm

CrinklyCrustacean wrote:
Janissy wrote:
Logic has nothing to do with it. Why is that? Because emotions predate logic by several million years.


That is analogous to saying, "Driftwood has been around longer than a hammer, therefore driftwood is better for banging in nails." Time and evolution has nothing to do with it.

Perhaps a theoretical example is needed. Suppose there is a big disaster, such as the Boxing Day Tsunami a few years ago, and you think your loved ones are dead. Your are grief-stricken. Then, one day, they turn up at your front door, and you are overjoyed. What's happened?

Misconception: loved ones are dead
Feelings because of it: extreme grief, anger, wretchedness
Proof of misonception: loved ones turn up
Result: previous feelings are now acknowledged as unfounded, and discarded. Replaced by extreme joy.

Somehow, though, when this is presented as a straightforward logical equation, people have a very hard time accepting it. This is what I don't understand.


I bolded the part that often plays out differently than how you've put it here. This is a common sort of scenario. I have seen it play out with others and been involved in it both as the relieved person glad to see that my family member/friend wasn't hurt and as the person who turned up unhurt. I've never seen anybody acknowledge the previous feelings as unfounded and then discard them (and I've never done it myself). What I actually saw happen (and what I also did) is move the previous feelings into the past tense. Like so:

"I heard about (disaster du jour) and I know you were around there. I'm so glad to see you weren't actually in it. I was so scared. Now I'm so relieved."

That's more like what usually happens. People don't say they were wrong to be scared or that their fears were unfounded. Their fears weren't unfounded and they really did feel them. Instead they move those negative feelings into a past context and the positive feelings of relief are what is felt in the present.



CrinklyCrustacean
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23 Aug 2010, 2:44 am

Bethie wrote:
Two problems:

1. Since when are emotions subject to linear reasoning?

2. One can arrive at a valid claim through flawed reasoning, or at invalid claim through impeccable reasoning, given that the premise was flawed.


1. If I give someone $1000 as a present they will probably be happy, because it allows them to do more with their life.

2. Yes, and I believe I conceded this further up. If not, well, I agree.

Janissy wrote:
I bolded the part that often plays out differently than how you've put it here. This is a common sort of scenario. I have seen it play out with others and been involved in it both as the relieved person glad to see that my family member/friend wasn't hurt and as the person who turned up unhurt. I've never seen anybody acknowledge the previous feelings as unfounded and then discard them (and I've never done it myself). What I actually saw happen (and what I also did) is move the previous feelings into the past tense.


Yes, you are quite correct in that they shift it to the past tense, although I didn't mean that they openly acknowledged their feelings. I was thinking more on a subconscious level. Clearly I picked a bad scenario. However I disagree with you that because you feel a particular emotion, it is necessarily valid without justification. For example: if one day I become terrified of my wardrobe for no reason at all, is that a valid emotion? Assuming most other people would tell me to grow up if I shared my feelings, I find it hard to accept the idea that it's ok to feel something "Just because", especially since, in a lot of cases, the emotions we feel are caused by an outside stimulus (you insult me, I feel hurt). I can't argue with the fact people are free to feel whatever they wish, but if someone gets upset because of a misunderstanding, once the situation is cleared up and the hurt person sees that the situation isn't what they thought, then why should they continue to feel upset? It doesn't make sense. :huh:



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23 Aug 2010, 4:11 am

CrinklyCrustacean wrote:
Before I say anything, don't worry, I'm not going to try this on anyone. One bad experience with my mum was enough to convince me otherwise. The equation is this:

If your argument is flawed, the emotions you feel because of it are unfounded, and your claims invalid.

People have a big problem with it. Why?



the key is flawed does not mean entirely incorrect. Maybe their argument is not flawed but thatyou deem it to be because of poor communication or even comprehension?

Who is to judge the merit of ones argument?

It seems like you are using it in a context where you are trying to prove yourself right and someone else wrong. This is not the right time to say something like that. Timing is everything.



Janissy
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23 Aug 2010, 4:26 pm

CrinklyCrustacean wrote:
[). I can't argue with the fact people are free to feel whatever they wish, but if someone gets upset because of a misunderstanding, once the situation is cleared up and the hurt person sees that the situation isn't what they thought, then why should they continue to feel upset? It doesn't make sense. :huh:


That's a common scenario too and one I've been in lots of times from both angles (and witnessed too many times to count in other people). Generally, the other person doesn't continue to feel upset. That is to say, the other person doesn't continue to feel upset if they completely buy the explanation of the misunderstanding. The upset continues when person A thinks they have cleared up the misunderstanding adequately but person B either does not believe them or feels that their explanation makes things even worse (for example, if the explanation involves implying Person B is stupid for misunderstanding things in the first place).

So what is probably happening is that you think the situation is "cleared up" but the hurt person absolutely disagrees and thus is still upset.



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25 Aug 2010, 4:31 am

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I can't argue with the fact people are free to feel whatever they wish, but if someone gets upset because of a misunderstanding, once the situation is cleared up and the hurt person sees that the situation isn't what they thought, then why should they continue to feel upset? It doesn't make sense


People may not change their feelings instantly. They may also maintain their feelings because some new aspects of the situation require their continued existence. To add to your example, the loved ones might return safely - and declare that they had been smuggling opium on their trip. This might cause the viewer's grief, anger and wretchedness to persist in spite of the loved one's arrival, because different circumstances support it. It may be that the person understands the argument but cannot change the emotion - heck, when you release adrenalin into your bloodstream, you can't just make it disappear. And, of course, the feelings you see on someone's face may very well be fake. The "argument" for displaying an emotion would then be "I want to manipulate this person".

There are really a lot of scenarios in which people keep experiencing (or displaying) emotions in spite of the invalidation of an argument to have these emotions, simply because they're using a new argument, they have other arguments apart from the one you invalidated, they have no physiological means to discard the emotion, they're not actually experiencing the emotion you think they're experiencing etc.



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25 Aug 2010, 11:34 am

CrinklyCrustacean wrote:
Before I say anything, don't worry, I'm not going to try this on anyone. One bad experience with my mum was enough to convince me otherwise. The equation is this:

If your argument is flawed, the emotions you feel because of it are unfounded, and your claims invalid.

People have a big problem with it. Why?


The primary logical flaw is misprison of causation. The speaker makes the assumption that the emotions are caused exclusively by the flawed argument. It is not established in the argument that the emotions are retricted to a single cause.

"You didn't give me a popsicle because you don't love me. That makes me feel bad. I deserve a popsicle."

I might feel bad because I think that you don't love me. But I also might feel bad because I am hungry. Unless we can establish that the emotions are exclusively linked to the flawed argument we cannot conclude that they are unfounded.

The same analysis can be made with respect to the claims. If the claim to a popsicle relies on the flawed argument, then yes, the claim is invalid. But the statement does not demonstrate this.


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26 Aug 2010, 6:25 am

visagrunt wrote:
CrinklyCrustacean wrote:
Before I say anything, don't worry, I'm not going to try this on anyone. One bad experience with my mum was enough to convince me otherwise. The equation is this:

If your argument is flawed, the emotions you feel because of it are unfounded, and your claims invalid.

People have a big problem with it. Why?


The primary logical flaw is misprison of causation. The speaker makes the assumption that the emotions are caused exclusively by the flawed argument. It is not established in the argument that the emotions are retricted to a single cause.

"You didn't give me a popsicle because you don't love me. That makes me feel bad. I deserve a popsicle."

I might feel bad because I think that you don't love me. But I also might feel bad because I am hungry. Unless we can establish that the emotions are exclusively linked to the flawed argument we cannot conclude that they are unfounded.

The same analysis can be made with respect to the claims. If the claim to a popsicle relies on the flawed argument, then yes, the claim is invalid. But the statement does not demonstrate this.


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