François-René Rideau (fare) wrote,
François-René Rideau

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Fallacy of the Day: "It's Mere Theory!"

When you make a logical demonstration, some people agree to it, then dismiss it as being mere theory and do the opposite. But There is no such thing as mere theory. Theory matters. Theirs is but an epistemological fraud.

Theory is all about understanding reality so as to practice appropriate action. Any action practiced is implicitly based on a theory that justifies said action with respect to its intended consequences. Theory can be right, and then lead to great blessings through successful action. And theory can be wrong, and bring dreadful consequences through counter-productive action. But what theory can't be is disconnected from reality, from action, from practice. Such theory is wrong if only by wasting time on irrelevant considerations that lead to no possible decision. Practice and sound theory always go together; any theory that says the contrary is wrong and goes against practice.

People who dismiss reasoning as mere theory are really promoting the wrong theory that whatever seems to please them is true without any possible justification or contradiction. They are promoting irrationnality. They are promoting the rule of the fiercest. They are claiming that Might makes Right. And they can't even back their arguments with either practice or theory.

For an illustration, including some Bastiat goodness see my earlier post in French: théorie, pratique. Note that said Bastiat goodness is also available in English.

Tags: en, epistemology, fallacies, theory
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