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Monday, September 22, 2008

Argument analysis - another non-technical useless post

((( This post is about t scientific arguments, as in the method, presentation; and value, not as in the science itself )))

When two people engage in an argument, it's because they have colliding opinions on some issue, or they are not seeing the entire other side's opinion

There are 3 possible outcomes of an argument:
1- One side proves his opinion is correct/superior and the other one is wrong/inferior
2- They reach a compromise or a trade-off. In the first one (2A), they were both wrong, and in the second one (2B) they were both right
3- They fail to reach anything out of it

Outcome 1 and 2, will occur because one side is less knowledgeable than the other, in which case I wouldn't classify it as an argument per se but rather an inquiry (1A). But it also typically occur in research teams where the whole team is researching an new topic and no one is more knowledgeable than the other (1B).

Case 3 also doesn't qualify as an argument, because each side left thinking he is right and the other is wrong. Thus a consensus was not reached. There is 3 reasons why this can happen:
1- Communication failure (3A)
2- Both parties are not knowledgeable enough/or is too arrogant (3B)
3- The topic itself does contradict itself, or the field they were discussing was a based on pure un-proven theories (3C)
Each of these 3 cases doesn't allow for an "argument" in the first place

Case 2B (both right) can be divided into 2 cases 2B' and 2B''
- 2B' they didn't reach a trade-off but only demonstrated that they have the exact point of view but were failing to communicate
- 2B'' they reached a trade-off, combining pieces of knowledge and creativity they created something new

What we can come out from that ?
2B'' and 1B are great argument that leads to an advancement and is worth the time spent
1A is good, but doesn't really qualify as an argument

Other cases are just plain useless, waste of time, and worst of all, unweighted sum of 5 argument out of each 8 are so.
Weighted sum differes between different environment and cultures.

To analyse that, I'll split them into three classes, the Great (I), the Good (II), and the Ugly (III)
Class I contains cases 2B'' and 1B, Class II contains only case 1A, and Class III contains the rest.

I'll compare different environments here

(MPC = most probable class)

Barber shopIII
MITI (duh!)

I want to join MIT someday isA :)

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