[2011-Oct-17] Better Truism

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[2011-Oct-17] Better Truism

Postby graphitepen » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:18 pm

Am I understanding this setup correctly?

The way I see it is so - the child argues that :
A causes B;
Therefore we don't need A for B to happen anyway.

While in many cases this is statistically possible if A is not the only cause for B, it's definitely a leap of faith...

Also, if that's his argument for the first truism, I totally see him making the same argument against the second.
And considering his disinclination to learn from history, smacking him will not be an effective treatment. He will continue to make the same logical fallacy of strange leaps in logic.
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Re: [2011-Oct-17] Better Truism

Postby zark169 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:01 pm

Thanks for the good response on the logic. I think you have pretty good argument, but I wanted to throw in my two cents:

Based solely on what the kid says it sounds like he just didn't understand the statement. When he says studying history is a waste of time he is only implying that history not repeating is bad but he doesn't give any explanation as to why he thinks that. For his argument to be true he needs to essentially say "preventing the past from repeating causes the future to be unknown, which ends up being the same as not studying history." Since he doesn't say that, it just sounds like he didn't understand the implied meaning of the truism.

From a logical standpoint the truism would be more accurate to its meaning (as I understand it) by saying, "those who study history's events can better recognize (and prepare for) future events."
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Re: [2011-Oct-17] Better Truism

Postby mathnerdjames » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:37 pm

The kids argument is a logical fallacy. The father says A implies B. The kid responds so not A implies not B, saying that if we study history we immediately will be not doomed to repeat it, which is a logical fallacy. The father's statement was an implication one way, the lack of studying history will imply that you will be doomed to repeat it, but it is not necessary for one who studies history to be not doomed to repeat it. Therefore, the child's argument is false and the truism holds against the argument.
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Re: [2011-Oct-17] Better Truism

Postby Doug » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:43 pm

I didn't follow this comic starting with panel 2, because I never understood that to be the meaning of the saying. "Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it" because without studying history they cannot learn from the horrible mistakes others have made in the past in situations we will probably see again, and thus they are doomed to repeat those mistakes through ignorance.

It's not about predicting an inevitable future - it's about using knowledge from the past to improve the future, because otherwise we are doomed to repeat old mistakes. Like state communism (Mao, Stalin, the Kim family, etc.), or appeasing aggressive dictators (or bullies in general) as though it would satisfy them or end their abuse, as was done with Hitler shortly before WWII.

Not that I think you should change or retract anything about the comic, really. If other people understood this saying the way the characters in the comic do, the weirdness of that meaning should be pointed out.
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Re: [2011-Oct-17] Better Truism

Postby Frostbite » Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:15 am

One post in and we're already over-analyzing it. Awesome.
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Re: [2011-Oct-17] Better Truism

Postby Oldrac the Chitinous » Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:35 am

If you need them, I'm sure there are enough ponies to go around.
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Re: [2011-Oct-17] Better Truism

Postby graphitepen » Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:01 am

mathnerdjames wrote:The kids argument is a logical fallacy. The father says A implies B. The kid responds so not A implies not B, saying that if we study history we immediately will be not doomed to repeat it, which is a logical fallacy. The father's statement was an implication one way, the lack of studying history will imply that you will be doomed to repeat it, but it is not necessary for one who studies history to be not doomed to repeat it. Therefore, the child's argument is false and the truism holds against the argument.


I agree with this analysis of the logical fallacy but as I don't think it counteracts the conclusion he came to. He seems to make quite a leap and therefore, while his argument may be false, his conclusion could still hold merit (but it doesn't).

Also, after reassessing my position, I now think this is a very poignant satire on personal, corporate and governmental responsibility.
You see this argument made implicitly every day - "Prevention isn't worth doing until what you'd want to prevent happens".
Decisions based on such reasoning usually end up costing much more than original speculation and estimates.
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Re: [2011-Oct-17] Better Truism

Postby Kaharz » Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:44 am

You know how when you have to explain joke, it isn't funny anymore?
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Re: [2011-Oct-17] Better Truism

Postby GUTCHUCKER » Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:25 pm

I thought this was a good idea when I was a kid. That special kind* of logic I used to have, where I didn't realise that
Study history = no loss
Not study history = loss
and that there is little difference between gaining something and preventing the loss of something. A lion saved is a seagull earned, so I hear.

*On a scale of 1 to 10 it probably would have read 'fucking dumb'
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Re: [2011-Oct-17] Better Truism

Postby Frostbite » Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:05 pm

Kaharz wrote:You know how when you have to explain joke, it isn't funny anymore?

You know how when you have to explain a funny joke, that someone didn't get because they're kinda dumb? That makes me sigh.
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Re: [2011-Oct-17] Better Truism

Postby FistsOfIndifference » Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:25 pm

Not sure where to post this so Zach sees it, but he should call our school "Penn" and not "UPenn." Not really a big deal, but it would be a good thing for ingratiating himself and selling more books. And for not getting chased out of Philly by angry students wielding flaming torches and pitchforks and... ... flaming pitchforks?
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Re: [2011-Oct-17] Better Truism

Postby Anon » Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:47 pm

FistsOfIndifference wrote:Not sure where to post this so Zach sees it, but he should call our school "Penn" and not "UPenn." Not really a big deal, but it would be a good thing for ingratiating himself and selling more books. And for not getting chased out of Philly by angry students wielding flaming torches and pitchforks and... ... flaming pitchforks?

But our school is called UPenn...
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Re: [2011-Oct-17] Better Truism

Postby FistsOfIndifference » Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:28 pm

Huh. I never, ever hear anyone who goes here call it that. And I have a whole wardrobe with "Penn" on it, not "UPenn." I'll grant you that saying "Penn" can lead to the "No, not Penn State" conversation, though.
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Re: [2011-Oct-17] Better Truism

Postby DonRetrasado » Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:03 am

FistsOfIndifference wrote:And I have a whole wardrobe with "Penn" on it
Image
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Re: [2011-Oct-17] Better Truism

Postby Layra-chan » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:57 am

On its logo and associated it's called Penn. Everyone refers to it as UPenn, including the url of its website. Possibly because "Penn" sounds dumb. Also to lower the possibility of the current freshmen making "Penn '15" jokes.
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