The negating philosophy of "IF"
The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.
After 2 votes and with 10 points ahead, the winner is...
- Publication date
- Last updated date
- Number of rounds
- Time for argument
- Two days
- Max argument characters
- Voting period
- Two weeks
- Point system
- Multiple criterions
- Voting system
“IF’ ‘is the most useless word in any language because it acknowledges only that which is currently not true. The argument of “if” almost always begins by stating “if,” and it is virtually always directly followed by a wish as if it were true only for the wishing, which implies, of course, that the thing wished for is not a current truth.
Is this really supposed to be a positive way to being an argument? Well, I just did, didn’t I? But my premise did not follow with any matter that is currently not true. Remember, my premise stated that In fact, the premise is true and I challenge anyone to demonstrate otherwise. ”If” is “almost always” followed by something not true; I did not say it was always followed by truth.
Is this really supposed to be a positive way to being an argument? Well, I just did, didn’t I? But my premise did not follow with any matter that is currently not true. Remember, my premise stated that In fact, the premise is true and I challenge anyone to demonstrate otherwise. ”If” is “almost always” followed by something not true; I did not say it was always true.
Beginning an argument with “if” is not the same as proposing a theory to explain natural phenomena not yet proven by the empiric method, such as either proposing or negating the existence of anything yet unseen, but may, in fact, be true. I don’t want this debate to enter the arena of religious entities. That just results, at best, in agreeing to disagree. There is no point in using those examples. I suggest using a completely different construct, such as the current accuracy of DNA profiling by regional origin of ancestors, or any subject of your choosing. This is not a debate regarding the particular facts or theories of any construct, but rather the relative stability of any “if” argument.
I contend that use of the word, other than as used to propose a scientific theorem, which is difficult to discuss by any other construct than if/then, is generally fruitless because of the resulting condition I applied in the first paragraph.
- "Supposing that, assuming that, in the circumstances that; used to introduce a condition or choice.
- (computing) In the event that a statement is true (a programming statement that acts in a similar manner).
- Supposing that; used with past or past perfect subjunctive indicating that the condition is closed.
- Supposing that; given that; supposing it is the case that.
- Although; used to introduce a concession.
- (sometimes proscribed) Whether; used to introduce a noun clause, an indirect question, that functions as the direct object of certain verbs.
- (usually hyperbolic) Even if; even in the circumstances that.
- Introducing a relevance conditional."
- Sometimes, IF is used to concede a minor point
- ex. He was an unskilled, if enthusiastic lover.
- Both conditions are true- unskilled, enthusiastic. IF does not only indicate that which is not yet true
- Sometimes IF is strictly contemplative and uninterested in any eventual or particular truth
- ex. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
- IF here indicates a philosophic conditional. The statement only suggests one remedy when relevant but does not indicate any condition that is not yet true.
"However, “most” is not an ultimate descriptive. One might use “most” as “Dogs are the most useful domesticated animals, because they offer unconditional love.” That is an acceptable statement, both by cultural heritage, and by practical experience. It does not negate the possibility that someone has a “most useful domesticated animal” for an entirely different purpose."
- Superlative adjectives always use "the"
- PRO and CON agree that Truth is NOT the only measure of a word's usefulness PRO here concedes my R1 argument, "there are other measures by which a word's use may be tested and PRO has
not addressed those measures. PRO has failed to falsify alternatives." That is, PRO concedes that the 'not yet true' aspect of ifness is not the sole criteria by which to judge a word's use. In fact, there are many criteria for use: brevity is a quality to be admired in word usage (particularly in 5000 char/round debates) and IF is a most brief word. Poetic potential is an excellent criteria by which to judge a word's use. IF rhymes with cliff and shares with cliff a narrative horizon of poetic potential.
- For PRO to justify MOST USELESS, PRO must survey alternative criteria and show a convincing case for uselessness across criteria.
- CON hopes readers will recall CON's R1 note:
- "Readers will note that CON has inserted the major premise as an implied,
necessary syllogistic bridge between PRO's single premise and
conclusion. If truth is not the only measure of a word's usefulness,
then PRO's argument must fail."
- PRO has invalidly argued against the suggested addition to PRO's argument.
- METAPHOR: Imagine CON saw PRO with a two legged stool and offered PRO a stick to balance the stool but PRO magically polymorphed the stick into a rabbit. The question of where PRO shall sit is left outstanding.
- What's so useless about being not true? Fiction is not true but useful. Religion is not true but useful.
- PRO dropped my main counterargument: "PRO omits a necessary major premise and offers a minor premise that is
only sometimes true. PRO has failed to support this conclusion.
"When meaning is ambiguous usefulness declines."
"That your “Floccinaucinihilipilification” may be less useful than “if” is accepted out of hand, but...."
"we cannot assume to know which of many candidate words is the absolute least useful word with any statistical accuracy."
Is there really any word in that string that begs to be defined in order to understand the entire phrase in its simplicity?
- Yes. In fact, after 3 rounds of clarifications we are still trying to discover PRO's formal intent.
- In R1, PRO argued that:
- IF only acknowledges that which is not true
- (but also) ”If” is “almost always” followed by something not true
- (PRO's thesis being one example)
- (excepting scientific theorems)
- In R2, PRO argued that:
- MOST USELESS might have meant "very" as in "a most useless word" [P1]
- (and/or) that MOST might have meant a majority as in "51 is “most” of 100 [C2]
- Magritte's "The Treachery of Images" is "an example of the wide gap between language and meaning," which PRO calls the "conundrum of language." [P1]
- In R3, PRO argued that:
- IF is NOT the most useless word in any language, rather he meant that the idea of conditional conjunctions generally is useless regardless of language.
- Now, PRO wants to claim his resolution is unambiguous after relying so heavily on thematic ambiguity in prior arguments.
“Useless” is interpreted by my opponent as a function of mere frequency of use, and not recognized by my opponent as a function of unaccomplished purpose, arguing merely that “floccinaucinihilipilification” is a word used less often than “if.”
- Quite false.
- CON argued that Floccinaucinihilipilification [SEE => R1, C2, P2] is useless because
- too long
- too obscure (frequency of use)
- too difficult to
- In R2,P1, poetic potential was identified as a criteria for useful words and CON advised that there were many other criteria which PRO had failed to falsify.
- That's 5 criteria by which FLOCCINAUCINIHILIPILIFICATION fails to be as useful a word as IF. PRO's claim is falsified.
“If” has its adequate, and equivalent words in each of those languages, and others, and in other languages, “if” has the same consequence as I propose in English, which is why I included their mention in the premise.
- PRO's statement is entirely unproven and false by varying degrees depending on the language. As CON showed in R1, IF has multiple meanings that translate into many different words.
- For example, Greek has multiple words that roughly translate as IF in the "supposing that" sense: αν, εάν, άμα , ει but no word that translates well for the "although" concession sense of IF.
- Further, if IF translates to many words in some languages, (and not at all in a few other languages) not all of those translations can simultaneously qualify as PRO's superlative: "THE most useless word."
- Worse for PRO's case, the conveyance of the conditional and subjunctive moods in most languages relies more on modifying the verb than on any conditional conjunction.
- That is, with most languages you change or add to the verb to make it "not yet true" rather than necessarily connecting a consequence to a condition via conjunction.
"[this debate] is about the functional uselessness of “if,” considering that, among other conditions that are not under discussion in this premise, it acknowledges only that which is currently not true"
- So, IF only means "not yet true" but also means other things PRO doesn't want to discuss. PRO and CON seem to agree that IF has multiple meanings, even if PRO only wishes to discuss one of those meanings. If we do agree that IF has multiple meanings, we have refuted that IF only means "that which is currently not true" and PRO's case must fail.
- Ultimately, PRO is blaming the wrong part of speech. What PRO is talking about is the subjunctive mood.
- IF is a commonly associated conjunction but IF is not the part of speech that makes the sentence indicate "not yet true."
- ex. "If I were a butterfly", I would have wings. The indicative, the statement of fact would use "I was a butterfly, I am a butterfly"
- We can indicate the subjunctive mood without using IF.
- ex. "I wish I were a butterfly; I would have wings."
- In English, we modify the verb to indicate the unreality of the grammatical mood. PRO is finding fault with IF for changing the mood to "not real" when PRO ought to blaming the verb.
- Since PRO can't argue that all verbs in the subjunctive mood are alike in uselessness, PRO's argument must fail.
I look forward to future debates!
With only 30 minutes remaining in the voting, I don't think I'm going to acquire the points necessary to overtake your lead. Therefore, my congratulations to you on an enjoyable, lively debate. I hope we have opportunity to debate again. In the meantime, my friend, good luck in other endeavors.
I'll set it up and set you as opposing argument
I'd be happy to debate you on this topic.
Thanks for voting
Uselessless: you like my opponent, gravitated to addressing "Useless" as a matter of frequency of use of a word. No, I explained in round 3 that "'Useless' is interpreted by my opponent as a function of mere frequency of use, and not recognized by my opponent as a function of unaccomplished purpose, arguing merely that “floccinaucinihilipilification” is a word used less often than 'if'"
Did you miss that?
You said "Pro never challenges the fact that there are 8 definitions for the word "if". This argument stands."
My round 2 argument:
"[Opponent's] Arg #1: 'Any word with multiple meanings…” [a polyseme] “…is more useful than a word with only one meaning.'
"My opposing proof: Polysemes, particularly when they are also homonyms [polysemes with the same spelling, and usually the same sound] have the disadvantage of being ambiguous. When meaning is ambiguous [as your eight definitions show proof] usefulness declines. How useful is that? It goes for virtually “any” polysemic homonym."
Did you miss that, too?
Doesn't help the process if you don't read with comprehension, and then vote by your limitations. Thanks.
No, I've decided citation is the better part of valor. I'm no Plato, but I do admire the man greatly, taught by my older brother who was a huge fan, but is now dead. I put his copy of The Republic in his hand in his casket. But thanks for the kind words.
Given your dislike of sources, I highly suggest using the choose winner voting method in future.
I do look forward to reading future debates from you. You are very skilled at language.
You certainly did trounce me with sources. I know better, but I wanted to man the helm myself. I'm a stingy sailor. Set my own heading and didn't want to use a map. Ragnar really let me have it. Thanks, my friends. I am sufficiently ashamed on myself. [A turn of phrase my daughter spun when she was about five. Now has two children, nine and eleven, herself].
This debate reminds me of arguments for if C or K is the most useless letter.
My opponent wants you to believe my argument centers on a conditional conjunction. Those of you who know what that is, raise your hands. I’ll wager many do not without looking it up. Go ahead, there’s no shame in learning more today than you knew yesterday.
Conditional conjunctions are not the enemy in language and they do not, on their own merit, support an always false conclusion, as my opponent claims. They exist because of what they are: a two-clause [it may be more, but my premise is a two-clause] statement, the first of which describes an action that occurred, or will occur if the other clause is a satisfactory conclusion. That if is what makes the conditional state, and only if the second clause is not satisfied is the condition a false statement.
Now, read my conditional conjunction: “If is the most useless word in any language, because it acknowledges only that which is currently not true.” The condition is, “if” is a useless word [I contend the most useless word] and will occur... “if.” The satisfaction clause is that only ‘not true’ occurs, and only in a current tense: Now.
If that were true, then perhaps people would stop using it. :D
I see your point though, as "if" is used sometimes to cover up reality when someone wants to ignore another's argument. Say a flat earther stating that "if" Nasa is covering the moon landings up in order to ignore photographs of earth. But I can say that "if" is important in thinking because it helps us to understand what we do not yet grasp. A scientist for example might use "ifs" in his hypothesis for gravity, not knowing what exactly gravity is, in order to help him study the origins and possibilities/applications of gravity.
So assuredly there is room on both sides to argue for if, but only if one side presents the superior case should the winner be declared. ;)
The thesis is "if... because" not "if... or" Read the thesis to the end, yeah? However, if you want to argue the point, enjoin the debate. This is not the place to do that, and I will not respond otherwise.
Is the thesis
"IF is the most useless word in any language,"
"IF only acknowledges that which is currently not true?"
I think I can find many words less useful than a conditional conjunction. Conjunctions are pretty important words.
I also think I can find exceptions to "only not true."
For example, "If you feel like drinking, there's some vodka in the freezer." The statement does not acknowledge that the guest doesn't feel like drinking, it only acknowledges (or at least pretends to acknowledge) that the host is unaware of the guest's preference. There's nothing that is necessarily untrue and given that the vodka is chilled, a fair possibility that the statement is true.