[e2e] Protocols breaking the end-to-end argument
David P. Reed
dpreed at reed.com
Sun Oct 25 10:13:48 PDT 2009
On 10/25/2009 12:10 PM, L.Wood at surrey.ac.uk wrote:
> > So let's not study wars and battles. Let's study architectural
> > principles and their application.
> So it is a principle after all, then?
> (It strikes me that if one is aspiring to be Darwin one shouldn't
> also have to be Dawkins.)
To be precise, the end-to-end argument refers to a class of arguments,
with a few free variables. Jerry and I (and perhaps Dave) have long
been students of a thing called "rhetoric". In classical rhetoric (a
la Aristotle), one discusses what kinds of arguments are valid. Logic
is a part of rhetoric, but rhetoric as a whole includes many other
aspects of argumentation.
Linking rhetoric to formal logic, the end-to-end argument would be one
of a set of "rules of inference" - acceptable combinators that take
other factors into account and provide new valid statements.
Substituting for the free variables in the end-to-end argument provides
a large set of implied valid statements.
Now rhetoric includes the mechanisms for argumentation where there is
not one "truth". In fact, in general, rhetoric handles cases where one
line of argumentation supports a particular decision, and another line
supports a different decision. Therefore, rhetoric has been part of the
general set of tools that lawyers use for argumentation - there is no
guarantee that all laws are consistent, nor are their set of valid
arguments complete in the sense of deciding every case.
Architecture is like that: it is why good systems architects need to
understand rhetoric in all of its glory.
Examples of rhetoric:
The much misunderstood "ad hominem argument" - which is an argument that
makes claims based on who is making a particular claim. The term has
been redefined in popular culture to mean "insult", but in fact it was
The argument "post hoc ergo propter hoc". That is the idea that
"correlation equals causation" - John Day's argument that because of the
date of publication, Jerry Dave and I must have invented the argument as
part of some contemporaneous battle about network adoption.
I commend study of rhetoric to all. It helps decode the rather strange
logics that pervade discourse today.
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