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What are the advantages of discriminating between valid and invalid arguments, good and bad reasons, more or less persuasive reasoning, both for the individual knower and for society? In evaluating the advantages of good arguments and reasoning for society, a knowledge issue that can be derived is: how necessary is reason in establishing justice in relation to other ways of knowing? One of the most important and foremost ways of knowing is reason. All arguments or judgments made by either witnesses or attorneys must follow a logical path of reason in order to be believable and persuasive.
Without logos or some degree of rationality, the argument is failed and ineffective. Any given trial is based on factual evidence presented to the jury for them to assess and draw a verdict based on reason. The claim that reason is the most essential to justice rests on the assumption that the most important part of the judicial process is determining guilt or innocence.
Some may view the sentencing of a criminal to be the most important part, and it can be argued that emotion plays a greater role in achieving justice in that respect.
An appeal to pathos may cause the jury to feel sympathy for the victims of a crime or for the person who was done wrong by the defendant. This would make the defendant appear deserving of a harsh punishment. There are no rational rules for determining punishment, but punishments are instead based on what the jurors feel the defendant deserves based on the way they feel about the crime he has committed.
For example, not sentencing based on reason of insanity is a form of emotional justification.
John Hinckley, who tried assassinating Ronald Reagan, was not sentenced because he was found to be mentally insane. Rationally, he committed the crime and so he should receive punishment as any other failed murderer would. However, the jury sympathized with him because they knew he was not in his right mind and had little control over his actions, so they acquitted him. What, if any, are the advantages of expressing arguments in symbolic terms? Are the ambiguity and vagueness of conventional language eliminated by this formulation?
A knowledge issue that can be derived from this is: to what extent are analogies useful in portraying knowledge? Analogies can provide a clear explanation for a concept by stating one concept in terms of another, easier to understand concept. For example, Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” is a widely-accepted story that is meant to describe man’s relationship with knowledge, as man is often unaware of his limited knowledge of the world. The story is taught to nearly everyone with the assumption that it is an accurate depiction of how man handles knowledge.
Using an allegory like this rests on the assumption that the readers understand the other concept, in this case the cave, more readily than they understand the abstract concept itself. A counterargument to this would be the opportunities to mislead that analogies provide. False analogies are a problem of knowledge and a logical fallacy. It can be argued that no two concepts are identical enough for an accurate comparison to be drawn between them. False analogies tend to oversimplify an often complex situation for ease of understanding.
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