Following up on my stated wish to collect recurrent question types, this post aims to focus on the question “Is X a good argument”?

Here is one example, please add more via edits or comments:

Is non-physicalism reasonable?

This happens enough that I suggest Article i:

Article i: It is natural, understandable, acceptable, and pedagogically and theoretically valuable, to ask if a certain argument, theory, or belief, is a good one.

This is followed by the observation that this question is born of the right motivation but might fail to actually achieve something useful, for a philosophy QA site:

Article ii: The problem with this kind of question is it is not very answerable. (See question, “What is answerability?”) While it may be for a variety of reasons one could have a complex discussion about, a couple simple, canonical reasons why are, i) it is a yes-no question, so it technically begets a trivial response; and ii) it seems apparent that it could invite an unbounded number of distinct answers, all of which reflect the personal convictions of each respective answerer. (See question, What is canonicity?)

Which leads me to the highly tentative:

Article iii: Like the identifiable and named ‘XY-question’, this type of question could be tagged as a ‘value judgment question’, and routinely rephrased as, ‘What are the arguments for X?’ This is better than ‘closing as opinion-based’, which sounds like a forceful rejection of the question without a clear lead on how to revise it.

Thus we might introduce a simple rule that “Is X good?” questions become “What are the arguments for X?”

All of the above claims are not beliefs I hold, they are suggested conjectures meant to stimulate conversation, for their dialectical value, to help us try to refine a picture of what factors are at play here.


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