[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Return to main CEDA-L Archive Page
Re: a short note on fiat
> From: "Kenneth T. Broda-Bahm" <E7S7BRO@TOE.TOWSON.EDU>
> "Resolved that warming would cause the sea level to rise." This proposition
> is focusing on the effects rather than the propensity of warming. Hence,
> addressing it would require that the fact of warming be taken as a given of t
> the debate, no matter how low the propensity. Warming would be brought into
> the debate based on the necessary role it plays in the consideration of the
> question, not based on its ability to be proven or its propensity. I
> call this ability to take the subject of the proposition being brought into
> existence, hypothetically, for the purpose of argument, "fiat."
Ken, for the life of me, I can't imagine why fiat is needed for the
purposes of debating the resolution example you provide. There are
some undergirdding assumptions which should be examined:
First, why do all resolutions require the act of fiat? I can (kind
of) deal with the problems of imaginary actions in resolutions of
policy (or even quasi-policy, whatever that mutant is), since there
is a need to somehow sidestep the forces that are presently blocking
implementation of the solution (inherency). Why do resolutions of
value or fact (as your example seems to be) require fiat at all?
Second, what is the role of fiat in your example? I don't understand
what is being fiated. The resolution simply asks us to establish the
validity of a scientific relationship. Whether warming takes place in
reality or the imagination is totally inconsequential to the
resolutional question. Nothing is being adopted. Forgive my stupidity
but this just doesn't seem to require fiat in any fashion. Why
shoehorn a concept into a place where it's entry isnt needed?
> I think that
> it is exactly the same move that one takes when one brings an act of congress
> into existence - even if I can't prove it would happen or its propensity is low
> - to debate a proposition.
Wow. This doesn't seem analogous at all. Policy resolutions require
fiat because something obviously has stopped us from adoptingthe
policy. What barrier must be sidestepped to prove your warming
resolution? You might argue that the barrier of whether or not
warming would really occur is what must be fiated around. Wrong! This
resolution doesnt seem to involve the actual occurrence of warming at
all. Your resolution may more properly be thought as a scientific
hypothesis than a policy analysis. The actual occurrence of warming
has nothing at all to do with whether or not warming might cause sea
level rises. Think about it.
> When you say fiating warming is 'magic' and
> 'non-educational' I think that you are making a presumption about what the
> resolution says (i.e. if the focus were on congress, it would be not simply
> magic or non-educational; it would be irrelevant to fiat warming), but it
> is precisely my point to argue that what the resolution says should be our
> first consideration in evaluating fiat - not a side issue.
Well, actually, I didn't say it was non-educational, I simply asked
you to explain the educational benefits of fiating natural processes.
Unfortunately, your answer sidesteps that challenge. Why from, an
educational perspective, is fiat required at all for resolution of
scientific, as opposed to policy, hypotheses? I still don't see a
> I don't think you have to understand anything about counterfactuals to
> understand this. What do you think? Does this make sense and address your
> concern? Ken Broda-Bahm, Towson State U.
Weber State University
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Return to main CEDA-L Archive Page