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Fallacy Files, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and Politics

2016-10-31

I haven’t endorsed many websites, in fact, I have hardly endorsed any.  That is about to change.

The Fallacy Files is a website devoted to fallacies, explaining them, helping the reader to avoid them, and thoroughly documenting them in general.  In addition to the main files, which describe almost all of the known fallacies used in logical and illogical argumentation as well as advertising, there is a weblog or “blog.”

Here is a quote from Jeremy Bentham, a justly famous philosopher, dates 1748-1842:

Without a popular assembly taking an effective part in the government and publishing its debates, and without free discussion through the medium of the press, there is no demand for fallacies. Fallacy is fraud; and fraud is useless when everything is done by force.

Source: Jeremy Bentham, Bentham’s Handbook of Political Fallacies (Apollo Editions, 1971), p. 246.

Jeremy Bentham is known as the father of utilitarianism, which can be succinctly described as, “The greatest good for the greatest number” or the philosophy of the Star Trek character Spock.  John Stuart Mill (dates 1806-1873) was one of his best-known contemporaries; Mill was known as a philosopher and an early proponent of equal rights for women.  Mill is also famous, forever fixed in my mind, as having said,

“That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”

and, most importantly,

Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.”

 

(All facts and quotes are from Wikipedia)

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