Talk:Circular argument

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midian says

The Circular argument page says:

"Redefining marriage to allow gay people to marry would be a bad idea because what's to stop us from redefining it again to something even worse?" The ending phrase presumes the conclusion that gay marriage is bad, with no supporting argument.

This is a bad example, since it isn't presuming gay marriage is bad, but that redefining terms is bad.

Redefining terms waters down not only our language, but everything based on our language, such as the law.

Analysis...

(Hi midian, and welcome back!)

Hmm, interesting point. The speaker is saying, in effect, "if we allow X, then we'll have to allow something even worse" which clearly implies that X is bad, where X is "defining marriage to include gay marriage".

You are saying, if I understand rightly, that what the statement is identifying as "bad" is the redefining of marriage – the changing of its definition, not so much what it is being changed to.

Although it's possible to read the statement this way, it's not really consistent with the "redefining it again to something even worse" part, which seems to be more alarmed about the new definition than about the act of redefinition; if it were, I would expect the end to be phrased more like "what's to stop us from redefining it again and again, until nobody knows what it means anymore?" which (as you suggest) is more a slippery slope argument than a circular argument.

Your interpretation may, however, be more in line with what anti-gay activists are actually arguing when they say things like that, although so far I haven't come across anything else which seems to agree with your interpretation. Your final comment about redefining words would be very relevant to the issue of gay marriage, but it doesn't really damage the validity of this example as far as I can tell. --Woozle 16:42, 26 December 2006 (EST)

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