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D&D 5E 5e and the Cheesecake Factory: Explaining Good Enough

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I'm asserting that an appeal to authority is only as good as the character of the authority.
Appeal to authority exists when you say Person A is an authority on X, and they say Y, so Y is correct because A is an authority. This disregards whether Y is part of X, and the entire argument is that because A said it, it's right, based solely on his authority.

This doesn't apply if you provide the argument said by A, and rely on it's strength, or if Y is a technical issue and A is a legitimate authority on Y. In this case, you've ignored that the argument was presented while being credited and doesn't rely on the author being right solely based on their authority. And, you've also ignored that the author is actually a well-cited authority on this exact subject matter.

What you have done, though, is commit the genetic fallacy, which says that since Person A is horrible in way X, all things Person A says are also horrible.

I mean, if you're going to try to use an informal logical fallacy as a means of argument, do try not to commit a different one yourself in the process.

EDITL: and @PsyzhranV2 beat me to it. It's what I get for opening the reply window and then being called away and not checking before hitting submit.
 

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Appeal to authority only becomes a fallacy if the authority you are quoting is:

1. An expert on the area of knowledge under consideration,
2. Speaking about their area of mastery, and
3. Expressing a view that is in general agreement with other experts in the field (as opposed to some crank's one-off conspiracy theory),

Then that's not a fallacious appeal to authority! That's just citing doing your due diligence with your research and citing your sources!
Not talking about logical fallacy. This is a philosophical point, not a logical one. Opinion is inseparable from character. If someone cites someone of dubious character that dubiousness reflects on the citer.
 

What you have done, though, is commit the genetic fallacy, which says that since Person A is horrible in way X, all things Person A says are also horrible.
I would argue that that is truth, not fallacy.

By citing someone, you are showing support for that person. If Hitler wrote a book about fishkeeping, and you cite it as a source for fishkeeping, you are implicitly saying "Hitler is an authority people should pay attention to".
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I would argue that that is truth, not fallacy.
Which it may be. Informal fallacies are not like formal fallacies. A formal fallacy is incorrect in conclusion due to the argument. These are fairly rare. Informal fallacies are much more common, and for these the conclusion may well be correct -- the issue is that the argument doesn't support the conclusion at all. In this case, Ruskin may be horrible in the same way in all things they did, but the argument that he was horrible in one area doesn't actually show, in any way, that he was also horrible in a different area. He might have been, but this argument doesn't support that.

Instead, you need to show that Ruskin was also horrible in this case. It's quite possible he is (although I disagree, this statement is well supported by consensus), but that work needs to be done, you can't just leverage it in from other, unrelated areas.

Of course, you might just not care about logical support of arguments, which is fine, but then your leveling of appeal to authority certainly loses a lot of sting.
 

fearsomepirate

Adventurer
Even if one doesn't agree with Ruskin, and thinks there's no difference in quality between the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and (say) The Seventh Seal - indeed that the former must be better, because more people paid to see them! - still there is no denying his point that producers shape the market, and taste, as much as satisfy it.

The MCU movies are, despite my loathing of most of them, quite well made as mass-market entertainment products. Not only did people enjoy them, but success built on success in a way that many movie franchises failed to, whether we're talking about Lethal Weapon, DCU, or Star Trek. Denying that they're doing anything particularly well because film critics will never regard them the way they do some cult film from almost 70 years ago seems to be missing the point.

Nor, to pick another contemporaneous example, does the history of rock and cave art. This was not created for "consumption", or as part of a process of generating demand for "product". Whatever one might want to say about the quality of such works, the idea that the consumer is the final judge of quality has no work to do in that respect.

Presumably, cave painters painted paintings for others to look at for some reason or another, and could be considered bad at their craft if others felt they had failed in some purpose, whatever that was. Something that is poor quality is something that isn't very good at doing whatever it is that it's supposed to do, and in the case of consumer products, it's to be used by the consumer for some purpose. So, who's the judge of whether or not a consumer product actually does what it's supposed to? If it's not the consumer, who is it?
 

In this case, Ruskin may be horrible in the same way in all things they did, but the argument that he was horrible in one area doesn't actually show, in any way, that he was also horrible in a different area. He might have been, but this argument doesn't support that.
My point is that being that being horrible in any area taints everything a person does. Maybe what they said about something was right, maybe it was wrong, but either way we should disregard it and look for a different source.
 

Campbell

Legend
@fearsomepirate

I think we should acknowledge what Marvel films do well, especially standouts like the Winter Soldier. We should also engage in criticism. That some critics are overly critical of material made for the mass is true, but that's not evidence that criticism is worthless. It's evidence that sometimes the biases of critics get in their way of properly evaluating a piece of art/film.

I often see the reverse as well though. Some people have a disdain for anything not made for the mass market or them specifically. The make an aesthetic judgement based on what they think something is like with absolute confidence. Not talking about just not being interested or satisfied with the media you like here, but like making emphatic judgements or relative comparisons based on pretty much no evidence. If you talk to them about an independent movie you just saw they will assume the worst at every point. Maybe even argue with you about a movie they have never seen.

That's really what feels off to the tenor of discussion on much of this site. The sort of aesthetic judgement without effort I see. I get good enough. I have watched John Wick about 20 times probably. I just do not see why people need to go from this suits my purpose fine and I don't feel need to look outside of it to actually here's why it's better than all this other stuff I have no real knowledge or experience of.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
My point is that being that being horrible in any area taints everything a person does. Maybe what they said about something was right, maybe it was wrong, but either way we should disregard it and look for a different source.
There's a difference between not allowing the good someone did to counteract the evil and throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I won't justify Ruskin, but I'm not going to say that nothing he did should be considered as valid just because he had some rather unpleasant viewpoints. I'm savvy enough to say that I strongly disagree and have strong distaste for some of Ruskin's ideas, but that he was also perceptive in other areas and should be considered.
 

fearsomepirate

Adventurer
Well, I'm not saying things that aren't made for the mass market are bad. I'm saying saying the ultimate judge of whether something is fit for its purpose and does the job well is the person who uses it. So the first question is really what the purpose of something is, and whom it's for.

I recently had a painting framed. The frame cost close to a thousand dollars. It's a high-quality frame. The lady who framed it is fairly well-known and regarded as a producer of high-quality frames. Her frames are anything but mass-market products. Who the hell pays a grand for a rectangle of wood?
 


Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Well, I'm not saying things that aren't made for the mass market are bad. I'm saying saying the ultimate judge of whether something is fit for its purpose and does the job well is the person who uses it. So the first question is really what the purpose of something is, and whom it's for.

I recently had a painting framed. The frame cost close to a thousand dollars. It's a high-quality frame. The lady who framed it is fairly well-known and regarded as a producer of high-quality frames. Her frames are anything but mass-market products. Who the hell pays a grand for a rectangle of wood?
Yup, this is the core of my point of utility vs quality.
 


I would argue that that is truth, not fallacy.

By citing someone, you are showing support for that person. If Hitler wrote a book about fishkeeping, and you cite it as a source for fishkeeping, you are implicitly saying "Hitler is an authority people should pay attention to".
My point is that being that being horrible in any area taints everything a person does. Maybe what they said about something was right, maybe it was wrong, but either way we should disregard it and look for a different source.

Wait, what?

Let me get this straight.

If we found out tomorrow that Jenner or Einstein committed heresies of x moral norm (you can put whatever value to that you wish) that Vaccines and Relativity should be binned (in the same place we put Geocentrism and Flat Earth Hypothesis)?

1633ish?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Well, I'm not saying things that aren't made for the mass market are bad. I'm saying saying the ultimate judge of whether something is fit for its purpose and does the job well is the person who uses it. So the first question is really what the purpose of something is, and whom it's for.

I recently had a painting framed. The frame cost close to a thousand dollars. It's a high-quality frame. The lady who framed it is fairly well-known and regarded as a producer of high-quality frames. Her frames are anything but mass-market products. Who the hell pays a grand for a rectangle of wood?
Sure, but that "high quality" is decided by preference for aspects of her work. There is no objectivity to that "high quality" standard. If in 100 years someone makes frames 10x better and you compare the two, the woman who you are using will be ranked at mid or low quality work. If quality were objective, that couldn't happen.
 

We would have to reboot human knowledge if we actually did this.

But we’d feel so much better about ourselves in the short interval of complete tear down that it would make up for the onset of depraved inhumanity when pestilence and famine imposes impossible-to-live-with choices on families!

On the bright side, life expectancy would plummet, so we wouldn’t have to endure the misery for long!
 



pemerton

Legend
Appeal to authority only becomes a fallacy if the authority you are quoting is irrelevant to the topic. If the authority you are quoting is:

1. An expert on the area of knowledge under consideration,
2. Speaking about their area of mastery, and
3. Expressing a view that is in general agreement with other experts in the field (as opposed to some crank's one-off conspiracy theory),

Then that's not a fallacious appeal to authority! That's just doing your due diligence with your research and citing your sources!
To add to this: I have taught Ruskin (via Williams) and have taught Zygmunt Bauman (Liquid Modernity).

Only on ENWorld do I encounter this phenomenon, whereby restating, and pointing to, some of the historically important ideas and arguments in aesthetic theory is dismissed as appeal to authority.

If someone thinks Ruskin, or Bauman, is wrong that's their prerogative. But let's hear the argument! The fact that someone is famous in their field (ie an "authority") isn't an argument that they're wrong! And in fact often it's a reason for pause before just dismissing them - maybe there's a reason why they're famous!
 


pemerton

Legend
On the comparison of Ruskin to Hitler:

I don't know who else posting in this thread teaches Holocaust studies. I do (as it happens, in the same module where I teach Williams and hence Ruskin - it's a modernity course). If you do teach Holocaust studies, you will know that it is emotionally very demanding, particularly if you have students who are part of a community whose members include survivors or had relatives who were murdered - because for those students it is more than just an intellectual or potentially abstract moral topic. I often do have those students in my class.

Hitler, and the political movement which he led, and the government which he created, was responsible for crimes of almost inconceivable magnitude. National socialism is perhaps the most discredited political movement in the history of humanity.

Ruskin, on the other hand, to the best of my knowledge never killed anyone, nor arranged for or called for their murder. He was one of the key thinkers in Britain whose influence led to the creation, after the war that Hitler started, of the British welfare state. Aspects of Ruskin's anti-libertarianism also inform one-nation/"big society" conservatism.

Equating the two is facile.
 
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