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Book of Rationalism

A book of modern fables that addresses cognitive biases and rhetorical fallacies
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In my philosophy class I remember there being some scoffing at the idea of fables. "How can a fable teach morality?" was the implicit question (to my recollection anyway).

But fables serve a purpose of encapsulating ideas in a memorable phrase, for example: "sour grapes" or "the grass is greener".

One way we can tease out the importance of a good catch-phrase is by this example: fables without a memorable and universal phrase firmly attached are awkward. The story of the scorpion and the fox (or frog or turtle) is a good example of this. With no phrase attached to this story, people feel compelled to tell the whole story each time they want to quote the idea, to the great impatience of people who have heard the tale before.

With this concept in mind we construct the Book of Rationalism.

The book contains stories (small stories that form a larger story arc) that highlight either a cognitive bias (confirmation bias, blind spot bias, availability bias) or a rhetorical fallacy (wishful thinking, slippery slope, ad hominem, appeal to authority) and (crucially) label the story with a tidy and unique phrase to label the idea.

Now this shouldn't be done in a cheesy way (like 80's sitcoms that would have a moral at the end of an overly contrived plot) but instead in a nerdy/cool way (like the way that new Battlestar Galactica deals with moral issues like torture).

(By rhetorical fallacy I mean "any argument that people find convincing that they really shouldn't.")

talldave, Apr 20 2008

Wikipedia: Affirming the consequent http://en.wikipedia...ming_the_consequent
A -> B; B; therefore A (wrong!)
The DNA may have gotten there some other way. [jutta, Apr 20 2008]


       It's odd that your Philosophy class should object to fables because they are widely used in Philosophy, for instance the parable of the Chinese room and the myth of eternal recurrence, among countless others.   

       I like the idea but i'm not sure it hasn't been done. I hope it hasn't though...
nineteenthly, Apr 20 2008

       So a logic version of Confucious?
MisterQED, Apr 20 2008

       More like Aesop. For example, demonstrating affirming the consequent by a detective story about DNA being found at a crime scene being used to convict someone wrongly, to use a rubbish example from my knackered brain.
nineteenthly, Apr 20 2008

       Can it have a book of religious myth, a book of conscientious fabrication, a book of ethical legend, book of fantastic folklore, book of unjustifiable misnomer and all the rest that anyone here in halfbakery can think of? Let’s make it into a Testament of Rationalism… oh, [nineteenthly], that would be a book of CSI blunder…
rotary, Apr 20 2008


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