An Argument to End All Arguments!

Consider an argument of this form:

Since the intellect of any person is of finite value, it means that a person of greater intellect might detect a logical flaw in his arguments. This implies that any argument advanced by any person has a logical possibility of being wrong, the logical flaw being visible only to a person of greater intellect. The only argument that would have no possibility of being wrong is that which would be given by a being of infinite intellect. Since there is no such being, it follows that one can never be 100% certain that a particular argument is correct.
The interesting thing is that this argument leads to a paradox. If all arguments have the possibiltiy of being false, then it means that this very argument also has the possibility of being false, and hence the conclusion that one can't be 100% certain of any argument is also not 100% certain!

Comments

Ali Faruqi said…
Quite interesting, Awais!
The argument, on the face of it, appears to be quite well constructed and cogent. However, (pardon me for this) one need to analyze it a bit more.
A few questions pop in my mind:

1: Is there a universal yardstick with which we, humans, can gauge various intellects and the ability to construct arguments?

2: How can we ensure that such a yardstick- after all, being a construct of a human mind or a bunch of human minds- does not suffer from the same defect outlined in your argument?

3: What do the words "finite" and "infinite" mean with respect to intellect?

4: Most importantly- Is intellect a quantifiable entity, capable of being determined and, hence, expressed mathematically?

Looking forward to your answers! ;)

In anyway, as we've discussed earlier and to quote you, "... 'subjective reasoning' disposes off any use of argument."
Awais said…
@ Ali Faruqi

The argument was deliberately a bit superficial, as it was more intended as a 'logical game' than a serious philosophical argument.

1: Is there a universal yardstick with which we, humans, can gauge various intellects and the ability to construct arguments?

No, i don't think such a yardstick exists. One of the problems is of defining intelligence/ intellect. This is a difficult problem in itself. However, in the context of this post, i would define intellect as 'the ability to think logically'.
Apart from the issue of gauging intellect, it is nevertheless a observation that some people have a greater ability to think logically, and some people have less.

The argument rests of the assumption that the ability to think logically can be increased ad infinitum. This, of course, an unproved assumption. There might be a limit to how much logical a thinking can be. For example, making an analogy: can you make a circle more circular? Maybe just as a circle cannot be made more circular, then maybe certain propositions cannot be made any more logical. [Can 1+1=2 be made any more logical?]

Secondly, umm, i don't think the argument presupposes the existence of a universal yardstick of measuring intellect to work. Even if we can't measure intellect, we can still make a hypothetical case of a being having a greater intellect.

3: What do the words "finite" and "infinite" mean with respect to intellect?

'Infinite', as i understand the word, is not an entity in itself, but rather is meant to show a progression that never ends. In this sense, it is absurd to talk about a being having "infinite intellect" [or infinite love, or infinite power]. I used this term in the term just for convenience... strictly speaking, i believe it to be absurd.
Awais said…
4: Most importantly- Is intellect a quantifiable entity, capable of being determined and, hence, expressed mathematically?

I do not know. I tend to believe that it is logically possible to quantify intelligence, however it would still be practically very difficult to measure it accurately. We all know the controversies associated with IQ tests in psychology. It is a controversial issue.
Qasim Aziz said…
Absolute knowledge is an impossibility,thats what philosophy teaches us .

Robert Browning used this uncertainity of knowledge to ethical use by a very ingenious argument.For him this uncertainity is necessary for moral growth as absolute knowledge will take away the liberty of human choice.
Awais said…
@ Qasim

Browning's view is certainly very interesting... i need to think over it.