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Self-Sealing Argument

(also known as: vacuous argument)

Description: An argument or position is self-sealing if and only if no evidence can be brought against it no matter what.

Example #1:

Wherever you go, there you are.

Explanation: You can’t argue against that position, and as a result, it is vacuous, or meaningless. 

Example #2:

Tina: My life is guided by destiny.

Mary: How do you know that?

Tina: Whatever comes my way is what was meant to be.

Explanation: We have the same vacuity problem here, except this one is less obvious and protected by a philosophical belief system.  There is no possible way we can know what "destiny may have in store for us," thus no way to argue against it.  As a result, it is meaningless -- it is the equivalent of saying everything happens because it happens.

Tip: Realize that most superstitious beliefs are centered around self-sealing or vacuous arguments, that is why so many people refuse to let go of superstitious beliefs -- because they cannot be proven false.

References:

Blair, J. A. (2011). Groundwork in the Theory of Argumentation: Selected Papers of J. Anthony Blair. Springer Science & Business Media.



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