Appeal to experience, Direct confirmation - Theory and practice of argumentation

Appeal to the experience

Direct confirmation

Human knowledge begins with sensory perception. The five senses of man - sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste - are the windows through which he perceives the external world. Sensual experience is the source and ultimate support of knowledge. Linking to incontrovertible facts is one of the most effective ways to persuade.

Of particular importance are the facts in the refutation. The appeal to reliable facts, contrary to false or questionable statements, is the most successful way of refuting. A real phenomenon or event that does not agree with the consequences of any universal position refutes not only these consequences, but also the situation itself. Facts, as you know, are a stubborn thing. When refuting false, divorced from reality, speculative constructions "stubbornness of facts" is particularly clear.

Direct confirmation is the direct observation of those phenomena referred to in the justification statement.

A good example of direct confirmation is the proof of the hypothesis of the existence of the planet Neptune.

French astronomer J. Leverrier, studying perturbations in the orbit of Uranus, theoretically predicted the existence of Neptune and indicated where to telescope to see the new planet. When J. Leverrier himself was asked to look through the telescope to make sure that the tip of the pen found on the the planet exists, he refused: "It does not interest me. I already know for certain that Neptune is exactly where it should be, judging by the calculations of the "quotes."

It was, of course, unjustified self-confidence. No matter how precise the calculations of J. Leverrier, until the moment of direct observation, the statement about the existence of Neptune remained to be highly probable, but only an assumption, and not a reliable fact. It could turn out that perturbations in the orbit of Uranus are caused not by an unknown planet, but by some other factors. This is exactly how it turned out when studying perturbations in the orbit of another planet - Mercury.

Sometimes, for a direct confirmation of an assertion, it's required to "& decrypt" it; or translation .

For example, if someone said: She is tall and nice-looking - we can not say without knowing English, true this proposal or not. After translating ( It's high and attractive ") , we are able to determine, of course, whether this is true or not.

With indirect confirmation , it is about confirming the logical consequences of the statement being justified, not about directly confirming the statement itself.

The sensory experience of a person - his sensations and perceptions - is the source of knowledge that connects him with the world. Justification by reference to experience gives confidence in the validity of such statements as "This rose red", "Cold", "The voltmeter's arrow stands at around 17" etc. It is not difficult, however, to note that even in such simple statements there is no pure sensual contemplation. In man, it is always permeated with thinking, without concepts and without the admixture of reasoning, it is not able to express even the most simple of its observations, to record the most obvious facts.

For example, we say: "This house is blue" when we see the house under normal lighting and our feelings are not upset. But we say "This house seems blue," if there is little light, or we doubt our ability or ability to observe.

To perception, to sensory data, we mix a certain theoretical idea about what objects are seen under normal conditions and what these objects are in other circumstances, when our feelings can deceive us.

Observation is always selective. From the set of objects one or few should be chosen, a problem or task must be formulated for the sake of which the observation is carried out. The description of the observation results implies the use of the appropriate language, and therefore all those similarities and classifications that are laid in this language.

Experience - from the most simple everyday observation to a complex scientific experiment - always has a theoretical component and in this sense is not "clean". Experience is affected by the theoretical expectations that it is intended to confirm or refute, the language in terms of which its results are fixed, and that constantly present interpretation of the visible, audible, etc., without which a person is not able to see, hear, etc. .

Even observations and reports of observations, writes the famous philosopher K. Popper, are under the power of theories ... Indeed, there are no uninterpreted observations, observations not imbued with theory. In fact, even our eyes and ears are the result of evolutionary adaptations, that is, the trial and error method, which corresponds to the method of assumptions and refutations. Both of these methods consist in adapting to the laws of the environment

For example, usually geographical discoveries are represented as "clean" observations of islands, seas, mountain peaks, etc. But you can see that geographic observation tends to be guided by theory, requires interpretation in terms of this theory.

For example, Columbus proceeded from the idea of ​​the sphericity of the Earth and, keeping a constant course to the west, sailed to the shores of America. He did not consider, however, that he discovered a new continent, unknown to Europeans. Guided by his theoretical ideas, Columbus believed that they found only a shorter and easier way to the already known West Indies. T. Heyerdahl's expeditions were undertaken to test certain theories, and the results of these expeditions were interpreted in accordance with these theories.

Thus, the incontrovertibility of sensory experience, facts is relative. It is not uncommon for cases when facts that were initially believed to be reliable were reconsidered, revised, or even discarded at the time of their theoretical rethinking. This was noted by the well-known domestic biologist K. A. Timiryazev. Sometimes it is said, "he wrote," that the hypothesis must be in agreement with all known facts; it would be more correct to say - to be in such harmony or to be able to detect the inconsistency of what is wrongly confessing facts and being at variance with it. "

Particularly difficult is the situation with facts in the sciences of man and society. The problem is, firstly, that some facts may be questionable and even simply insolvent, and secondly, that the full significance of the fact and its concrete meaning can only be understood in a certain theoretical context, when considering the fact with which something of a common point of view. This special dependence of the facts of the humanities on the theories within which they are established and interpreted was repeatedly emphasized by the United States philosopher AF Losev. In particular, he wrote that the facts are always random, unexpected, fluid and unreliable, often incomprehensible. Therefore, willy-nilly, it is necessary to deal not only with the facts, even more so with those communities without which it is impossible to understand the facts themselves.

Sensual experience, serving as the ultimate source and criterion of knowledge, is not unique, contains components of theoretical knowledge and therefore needs to be interpreted correctly, and sometimes also in a special substantiation. Experience has no absolute, irrefutable status, it can be interpreted in different ways and even revised.

Direct confirmation is possible only in the case of statements about single objects and their limited collections. General provisions usually refer to an unlimited number of things. The facts used with such confirmation are far from always reliable and largely depend on some general, theoretical considerations. Therefore, it is not strange that the field of direct observation is rather narrow.

The widely held view that in substantiating and refuting the claims the main and decisive role is played by facts, the direct observation of the objects under discussion, thus requires a substantial refinement. Facts - the starting point of the rationale, but not always its end.

When confirming the provisions relating to a limited range of objects, the hardness of the facts is especially clear.

And, nevertheless, the facts, even in this narrow application, do not possess absolute reliability. Even taken in the aggregate, they do not constitute an absolutely unshakable foundation for conclusions based on them. Facts mean a lot, but not all.

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