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Responding to a Charge of Inconsistent Application

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While a charge of inconsistent application of principles can be problematic, there are a variety of ways to reply. Some of these go beyond the domain of good logic and include such tactics as lying and rhetoric. Other ways to reply fall within the realm of good reasoning and I will discuss those. To focus the discussion, I will present an example that will be used to illustrate the various options. Suppose that Barbara and Bill are watching a TV news segment about male-only country clubs. A devoted feminist, Barbara argues that this exclusivity is morally wrong and that these clubs should be legally required to admit women. Shortly after Barbara finishes her argument, an ad for a gym that is exclusive to women appears on TV. A look of inquiry on his face, Bill turns to Barbara. Powered by righteous fury, she claims that women should be allowed to work out in spaces that exclude male gawkers. If Barbara’s principle is that exclusion based on sex is immoral, then she is not applying the. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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