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Old 07-24-2007, 04:44 PM   #601
Smiling Assassin27
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Blimey me hearties

Join Date: Dec 2002
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Posts: 14,807

Pirate Giraffe

When you create fictional characters and carefully craft their responses to your questions in way that conveniently leads to your next planned question (and so on until the inevitable victory is achieved), that is text book straw man arguing. That is precisely what Kreeft does in his laughable little book. Hell, the method he uses coupled with his obvious bias makes it nearly impossible to avoid straw man arguments.
The arguments are not misrepresented and so are not straw man arguments. Like you, I read what the other side likes to argue and Kreeft has not misrepresented them here. The 'carefully crafted responses' are not invented by Kreeft but are real arguments made to support the pro abortion stance. If you do not like the arguments, that is your choice but I've yet to see how they are misrepresented. Fictional characters don't essentially make their arguments straw men.

Every charatcer in the book.
So Socrates did not have a method which he used to analyze moral issues? If you think Kreeft applied the method wrong, then kindly show where. If he did not apply it wrong, then the character of Socrates is fictional in context but not a straw man.

And here you display your ignorance of the pro-choice argument for all to see. If you'd familiarize with folks like Trefil and Morowitz you would get much more sophisicated pro-choice arguments on the nature of personhood than Kreeft presents. He doesn't bother with such arguments either out of sheer ignorance or else just plain ol' intellectual dishonesty.
And if you'd familiarize yourself with Kreeft's REAL argument and guys like Francis Beckwith, you'd realize that personhood is not some legal concept relating to human rights as Trefil and Morowitz claim. It's the same stuff that Boonin argues, and to a lesser degree Thomson (though her stuff's a lot weaker,IMO). As for Kreeft, just because he did not address these issues in his tiny little book does not mean he does not understand them or that he's unable to refute them--that's an assumption on your part. Keep in mind that Kreeft is a philosopher and so approaches things on that level, not from a scientific standpoint. The thing about Trefil is that he's even admitted that before he did this research on embryonic development that he was fully pro choice, but actually took a more restrained position afterward, even claiming that the fetus' rights (after acquiring humanness in his own arbitrary definition) had to be weighed against the mother's.

Well, the responses his gives to the softball questions he lobs himself are fine. The problem is that the responses his fictional characters give are not reflective of any argument that an actual pro-choice individual of any intellectual standing would make. It is easy to win the debate when you make up arguments for the other side.
The real question is are his character's answers TRUE. Granted, there is a controlled laboratory to work this dialogue in but the book is not meant to be an exhaustive issues debate. It's meant to apply certain Socratic methods to the abortion question and that's all. From that standpoint, I agree with you that he did 'fine'.

Again, I'd suggest you try Trefil and/or Morowitz as a start if you are interested in tackling the debate honestly.
I appreciate the advice. I've looked into both. The issues of 'potential life', 'parthenogenesis', and 'blue print, not the building' are interesting but really have some holes and philosophical/logical leaps that make those position untenable imo. At any rate, I thought it was a cleverly written book that addresses the bottom floor of the abortion debate in an unconventional way.

Last edited by Smiling Assassin27; 07-24-2007 at 04:53 PM..
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