I have been blogging here at Faculty of Language now for a little over 6 months. An unexpected pleasure has come from reading the comments. Most have been cogent and provocative, and even when I did not fully agree with the point advanced, I found it helpful to think through (at least in part) what background assumptions motivated the comment and how these related to what I tend to hold true (or true enough to explore). However, the real pleasure has come not from these edifying remarks. Some (in the logical sense of ‘at least one’) commentators have granted me a new discovery: there exists a very robust new rule of inference that seems as natural to some as their accents – modus non sequitur (MNS). MNS has the intriguing form first theoretically identified by Sid Morgenbesser over 35 years ago; if P why not Q. This is a very powerful argument form, licensing any conclusion from any set of premises. Furthermore, it provides all the structure needed for vigorous comment. Masters of this principle of reasoning can go on (seemingly) forever tying apparently inconsistent propositions together into a marvelous colorful skein of mangled thought. Magical realist literature has more logical glue than these productions, and, for sheer entertainment value, I cannot recommend them highly enough. Fortunately, those blessed with this turn of mind feel it is an almost holy obligation to weigh in on most every topic at great length, spreading joyful confusion all around. I had hoped this blog would promote reasoned discussion of topics central to contemporary Generative Grammar. I did not expect it to also showcase some of the finest examples of contemporary stream of consciousness “thought.” So thanks: both to the thoughtful and, especially, to the entertaining. The former for making me think and the latter for making me laugh and laugh and laugh. Thx.
Why would anyone come up with a mode of argumentation which you refer to as "modus non sequitur" in a hallowed tongue? One obvious reason seems to be that your entertaining commentator doesn't agree with your premises. If you set the rules and insist that everyone play the game by your rules and aggressively put down questions about the rules themselves, then the field will remain to be populated by people of a certain type, where people with other "accents" will stop playing. Good luck.. please carry on with your game.ReplyDelete