Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: What does "precluding the possibility of disconfirming mean"?  (Read 1138 times)

F. Mercury

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 514
    • View Profile
I was reviewing PT 14, section 4, question no. 10, a flaw question.  The flaw is "It precludes the possibility of disconfirming evidence."  What does it mean to preclude the possibility of disconfirming evidence?  An example would be fantastic.  Thanks very much lsd.

babyeatsdingo

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 293
    • View Profile
Re: What does "precluding the possibility of disconfirming mean"?
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2007, 04:31:52 PM »
I was reviewing PT 14, section 4, question no. 10, a flaw question.  The flaw is "It precludes the possibility of disconfirming evidence."  What does it mean to preclude the possibility of disconfirming evidence?  An example would be fantastic.  Thanks very much lsd.

I would think a statement that may not be falsified is one that "precludes the possibility of disconfirming evidence".

The statement "all swans are white" may be falsified. One need only observe a non-white (e.g., black) swan to show this statement is false and thus falsifiable. Conversely, the statement "aliens are real" can only be known to be false if we know all there is to know, which we do not, so this statement is not falsifiable and, by my lights, would thus constitute an example of a statement that "precludes the possibility of disconfirming evidence".

I'm not sure whether this is helpful. Can you post the flaw question that supposedly "precludes the possibility of disconfirming evidence"?

SergioCQH

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 409
    • View Profile
Re: What does "precluding the possibility of disconfirming mean"?
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2007, 04:53:29 PM »
Layman's terms: The argument ignores the possibility of evidence that might prove the argument to be wrong.

Bernie

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 278
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: What does "precluding the possibility of disconfirming mean"?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2007, 05:02:55 PM »
This phrase is often used to describe circular reasoning.

For example: 

Everyone who studies correctly will get at least a 170 on the LSAT.  Some people argue that I am mistaken, pointing to students who have studied for hours but not done any better.  However, since anyone who studies correctly will get at least a 170, it follows that these students haven't studied correctly.


Makes your head hurt, doesn't it?  It's a circular argument, and you can't prove it wrong.  Every time you give me a counter-example, I'll argue that the student must not have studied correctly.

Lindbergh

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 4358
    • View Profile
Re: What does "precluding the possibility of disconfirming mean"?
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2007, 05:06:31 PM »
This phrase is often used to describe circular reasoning.

For example: 

Everyone who studies correctly will get at least a 170 on the LSAT.  Some people argue that I am mistaken, pointing to students who have studied for hours but not done any better.  However, since anyone who studies correctly will get at least a 170, it follows that these students haven't studied correctly.


Makes your head hurt, doesn't it?  It's a circular argument, and you can't prove it wrong.  Every time you give me a counter-example, I'll argue that the student must not have studied correctly.



Personally, I find your argument highly compelling.  How is it flawed?

On the other hand, it may just be your persuasive speaking style.   :)

babyeatsdingo

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 293
    • View Profile
Re: What does "precluding the possibility of disconfirming mean"?
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2007, 05:11:29 PM »
No True Scotsman.

Eveman in Ingmarland

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1892
    • View Profile
Re: What does "precluding the possibility of disconfirming mean"?
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2007, 06:34:40 PM »
Maybe to put this is simpler terms, it's flawed because it's impossible to prove a negative.

For example, let's say I was to tell you that the sun rises everyday because it's chasing after the moon, and the moon sets because it doesn't want to get eaten.

Now, assuming you don't know much about cosmology, you might ask me how I know this, to which I would respond by saying that my theory models the data, and it is therefore impossible that new data could come along that would disprove my theory.

And you, assuming you don't know much about logic, might then ask how I can know this, to which I would of course retort, how do you know I could not know this?

Even in your day to day life, it's wise to remember that a theory is nothing but the most reasonable guess derived from currently available information. We accept that E=MC^2 because nothing better has come along yet, but that doesn't mean that nothing ever will. We do not know, and can not know.

PNym

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 781
    • View Profile
Re: What does "precluding the possibility of disconfirming mean"?
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2007, 09:28:06 PM »
For example: 

Everyone who studies correctly will get at least a 170 on the LSAT.  Some people argue that I am mistaken, pointing to students who have studied for hours but not done any better.  However, since anyone who studies correctly will get at least a 170, it follows that these students haven't studied correctly.


In that example, which statement is the conclusion:

A) Everyone who studies correctly will get at least a 170 on the LSAT.

B) since anyone who studies correctly will get at least a 170

C) it follows that these students haven't studied correctly.

?

I thought C) was the conclusion. If C) is the conclusion, then this isn't an example of circular reasoning, because C) isn't used elsewhere in the stimulus as a premises. Is it the conclusion?

Lindbergh

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 4358
    • View Profile
Re: What does "precluding the possibility of disconfirming mean"?
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2007, 11:47:58 PM »

What it means is that the LSAT authors can't write very well.

EarlCat

  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 2533
  • i'm in ur LSAT blowin' ur curve
    • AOL Instant Messenger - EarlCat78
    • View Profile
    • EarlDoesLSAT.com
Re: What does "precluding the possibility of disconfirming mean"?
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2007, 12:33:06 AM »
If C) is the conclusion, then this isn't an example of circular reasoning, because C) isn't used elsewhere in the stimulus as a premises. Is it the conclusion?

Bernie's argument basically said, "X is true.  Some people think X is not true, but since X is true, they must be wrong."