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Re: My favorite logical fallacy: (pursuit of happiness)

by Aristotle (Chancellor)
on Apr 02, 2003 at 13:38 UTC ( #247486=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to My favorite logical fallacy:

"The pursuit of happiness."

Which category is that in? I'm not sure..

Makeshifts last the longest.

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Re: My favorite logical fallacy:
by Anonymous Monk on Apr 04, 2003 at 13:01 UTC

    The "pursuit of happiness" is an early example of postmodernism (a.k.a., newspeak[1], or Humpty Dumpty[2] syndrome). The original wording was "pursuit of property", but that wording would have lead to an unfortunate lack of support from certain circles (i.e. the poor majority), so it was reworded to sound more innocuous. This is bog-standard postmodernist behavior: misuse and/or redefine extant terminology not by accident but deliberately, in order to mislead and confuse people into agreeing with you who otherwise don't. Reinhold Neibuhr mastered the technique so well that to this day a lot of folks think he was a Christian theologian, whereas he was in fact a secular philosopher with some really... unusual ideas, ideas that are highly inconsistent with Christianity. A lot of education textbooks make heavy use of this technique also; it's pretty scary if you examine it too closely.

    Incidentally, it is generally held to be Ben Franklin who came up with the wording that was ultimately used ("pursuit of happiness"). I'm not sure how we know that, though.

    Ώ] From George Orwell.

    ΐ] From Lewis Carol.

      Err, forgot to log in, but for the record that was me.

      Now that is interesting. Happen to have sources to name? However, though your points that fit the topic more closely, what I actually meant was something different.

      Happiness is not something you have, but something you are, a state to achieve. You cannot "pursue" it. No external influence can bring you happiness if you are not happy, nor can take it if you are happy, even though external forces may bring excitement or grief.

      Of course, assuming it was a rewording, it would be doubly ironic that this fallacy has been the ideal for many generations to follow..

      Makeshifts last the longest.

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