Rationale and Thomas Aquinas III

I’ve continued my exploration of argument mapping with Rationale, the browser-based argument mapping tool, using Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways to prove the existence of God as my subject matter. I reached the point where I have base versions of the argument maps for each way.

In this post, I will be sharing the maps and commenting further on Rationale as a software tool.

Bacon Sarnie

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If Not Rationale, What?

I have written several posts about Rationale argument mapping software. In the last post, I complained about:

Bloody Instant Zooming
This is where the zooming behaviour of Rationale maps became a real PITA. Zooming is activated by a two-finger drag on either my magic Mouse or my trackpad. Normally, in Safari two-fingered dragging scrolls the web page up or down, and zooming is activated using a pinch gesture. It is very, very, very easy to inadvertently zoom in or out when you are trying to navigate a map. The problem is exacerbated because the map very quickly zooms to be either too small or too large.

In a fit of pique, I wondered whether I could apply the same process using different software. I immediately thought of iThoughts from Toketaware. This is a really excellent program available for both OSX and IOS. iThoughts is a mind mapping program. Argument mapping can be considered as a sub-topic within mind mapping, so the choice was pretty obvious.

(NOTE: that in the last day or so, Rationale’s zooming behaviour has been modified. A two-fingered drag now produces vertical scrolling; shift-drag scrolls the map horizontally. This gives a much better user experience.)

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More on Argument Mapping with Rationale

In a previous post, I gave an overview of Rationale, the browser-based argument mapping software. In the diagram below, you can see summaries of the structure. The top half uses the Advanced Reasoning toolbox and, the bottom half is displayed in the standard reasoning toolbox. The significant difference is that the advanced structures allow for multiple premises within a reason; obviously, the premises must be related to each other.

Rat05 adv simp

Argument Map Structure—at the top, Advanced Reasoning layout. At the bottom, standard Reasoning. Click for larger image.

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Argument Mapping with Rationale

One of my current personal projects is to work on improving my critical thinking skills. During the course of my web peregrinations, I stumbled across Rationale. It is a web-based tool for diagramming the structure of an argument: building an argument map. It is aimed largely at education and is intended to help teach critical thinking.

What is Argument Mapping?

Wikipedia defines argument mapping:

In informal logic and philosophy, an argument map is a visual representation of the structure of an argument. It includes the components of an argument such as a main contention, premises, co-premises, objections, rebuttals, and lemmas. Typically an argument map is a “box and arrow” diagram with boxes corresponding to propositions and arrows corresponding to relationships such as evidential support.


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Do Goals Prevent Success?

Effectuative thinking, unlike causal thinking, is bottom-up. It doesn’t start with a final goal in mind. Instead, as Sarasvathy explains, “it begins with a given set of means and allows goals to emerge contingently over time.”

via Do Goals Prevent Success? – Study Hacks – Cal Newport.

This post touches upon a topic that I have written  about before here and here. Newport discusses the work of Saras Sarasvathy into entrepreneurship. The quick summary:

Sarasvathy identifies four main principles to approaching your work in this manner:

1. Start with what you already know how to do well.
2. Filter your efforts to avoid big downsides not to select for big upsides.
3. Work with other people who bring new abilities to the table.
4. Take advantage of the unexpected.

Think Like A Freak

I confess that despite the popularity of the authors’, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, previous books—Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics—I haven’t read them. However, I watched a video of a short interview with Levitt and Dubner—for obvious, reasons they use surnames a lot—about their new book and decided to hit the Buy with 1-click button on Think Like a Freak: How to Think Smarter about Almost Everything.

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Building The Next Pixar

Fast Company spoke with more than a dozen executives, entrepreneurs, and storytellers from all eras of Pixar’s three-decade history, all of whom have moved on but attest that Pixar’s influence over their ongoing work is invaluable and profound.

via Building The Next Pixar | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.

Terrific read.

Thanks to Shawn Blanc.

The Universe of a Single Task

Bow when you’re done

via The Universe of a Single Task : zenhabits.

This post particularly resonated with me.


An Animated Argument Against Passion

An Animated Argument Against Passion – Study Hacks – Cal Newport.

I’ve been reading old posts on Cal Newport’s blog since I found it. For the background, read this post. This one contains a really great animation on the topic of work and passion.

Passion Is Bullshit

A recent post on Farnam Street drew my attention to a video of a talk by Cal Newport, ‘Follow Your Passion’ Is Bad Advice. I was reminded of Scott Adams’ book, How To Fail, etc. that I recently reviewed. Scott rather more bluntly (and with greater entertainment value, hence, my chosen title) writes “passion is bullshit”. While Scott writes about his own life, Cal according to the blurb about his book, distilled his ideas from talking to people from many different occupations. There’s a great deal of consonance in their thinking.

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