Thursday, April 22, 2021

Do masks save lives?

I've seen a number of anti-masking posters/stickers appear in my local area. This particular example was on a postbox. I'm sorry it's not the clearest picture - I did try going back for another, but it had been removed by then.

I don't teaching critical thinking/informal logic, but it strikes me that this would be a useful example of bad reasoning.

It may be that someone is telling porkies, but that certainly isn't a logical consequence of the preceding claims, without at least some implicit premise.

This seems to be questioning whether masks save lives, but the mere fact that someone who hasn't worn a mask hasn't died doesn't show that they don't. By way of analogy, I haven't worn a seatbelt, crash helmet, or parachute at any point in the past year. But the fact that I haven't died doesn't cast doubt on the claim that these things save lives.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Joint Sessions

Another conference that I'll be speaking at (virtually): the 2021 Joint Sessions. Besides my own paper, on voter qualifications, I'm interested in the first of the keynote symposia, on Mill on free expression. I've read a couple of recent articles on this subject lately - here and here - so it seems quite topical.