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Evaluation of Bouwsma's Argument - Essay Example

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(4) We are not deceived about the world around us (A-). If we closely analyze the argument above as Bouwsma put it, we will notice in the major premise (1) that A is either B or B-. He then proceeds to prove in the minor premises (2) and (3) that B = A- and that B- = A-, and so he concludes that A- is true, thus implying that A in the major premise is not true. What Bouwsma is trying to say here is that simply because B and B- actually lead to A-, then it is A- that is true and not A. Nevertheless, without analyzing the content of the premises, the minor premises (2) and (3) commit a fault since they contradict the major premise (1). Based on the major premise, A = either B or B-. Therefore, if A = B, then A ? B-; or if A = B-, then A ? B, because whatever happens, A must either be B or B-. In short, one of these two possibilities must necessarily be true. There is actually no way that A, or Descartes’ claim that we are deceived about the world around us, can be proven false if it is stated in a major premise. The reason is that if A is not B, then it must be B-; or if it is not B-, then it must be B, regardless of whether B or B- is false. It is like saying that John is either a bird or a fish. It therefore means that if John is not a bird, then he must be a fish; and if he is not a fish, then he must be a bird – regardless of whether the conclusion is true, and regardless of whether both terms “bird” and “fish” are nonexistent and are not even concepts. Using this argument about John,

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the bird and the fish, what Bouwma did was to say that either John is a bird or a fish, and then prove that neither bird nor fish point to John, so therefore John does not exist. What then is the use of the major premise if the possibilities are not exhaustive? After all, Bouwma’s major premise is actually “John is a fish, or a bird or does not exist.” Likewise, in our original argument, Bouwma’s major premise is wrongly stated and should have been: (1) “If we are deceived about the world around us, there are three possibilities: we are able to detect the deception through our five sense
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Summary

(Name) (Professor) (Subject) (Date) Evaluation of Bouwsma’s Argument The argument of Bouwsma is not valid, particularly because of the major premise (1) and the minor premises (2) and (3). For the purposes of clarity, the premises will be represented as: (1) If we are deceived about the world around us (A), either we are able to detect the deception through our five sense (B) or we are not able to detect the deception through our five senses (B-)…
Evaluation of Bouwsmas Argument
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