History of Philosophy Book Club Message Board › Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Antiquity / Tradition

Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Antiquity / Tradition

A former member
Post #: 67
Appeals to antiquity assume that older ideas are better, that the fact that an idea has been around for a while implies that it is true. This, of course, is not the case; old ideas can be bad ideas, and new ideas can be good ideas. We therefore can’t learn anything about the truth of an idea just by considering how old it is.

Example

(1) Religion dates back many thousands of years (whereas atheism is a relatively recent development).
Therefore:
(2) Some form of religion is true.

Conservatives of the 18th and 19th century such as Edmund Burke used this idea a lot. They felt tradition should be respected because the past has showed that the old ideas, irrespective of their faults, work as a whole. They are good ideas in the sense that society is held together and anarchy does not ensue.

This idea is very interesting with respect to Marx when considering his concept of species being. Is human nature a set state or by nature transformative? If it is transformative, then what truth does the past hold in helping us really know and comprehend what human nature is now? Eg. Human nature in Roman times may not be akin to contemporary times for the reasons that Marx specifies in his metaphysics (to be discussed in group).
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