Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Student Loan Forgiveness 1: The Anger Argument Against It

Philosophy News image
Long ago, when I was a student, people often took out loans to pay for college. While these loans could be substantial, most found them manageable. Over the years, the cost of college has increased dramatically, and student loans have become increasingly burdensome. There is also the issue of predatorial for-profit schools—which is an issue in itself. Because of this debt burden, there have been proposals to address the student loan problem. Some have even proposed forgiving or cancelling student loans. This proposal has generated some hostile responses, although Roxane Gay has advanced some well-reasoned arguments in its defense. I paid my loans long ago, so my concern with this matter is a matter of ethics rather than pure self-interest. In this essay and those to follow I will consider the ethics of student loan forgiveness and provide some logical assessment of various relevant arguments. As Gay noted in the New York Times, Damon Linker tweeted that “I think Dems are wildly underestimating the intensity of anger college loan cancellation is going to provoke. Those with college debt will be thrilled, of course. But lots and lots of people who didn’t go to college or who worked to pay off their debts? Gonna be bad.” I think Linker is right. Even if there is not genuine grassroots anger at student loan forgiveness, many Republicans and the right-wing media will endeavor to generate rage against this notion. But is there any merit to the anger argument? Put a bit simply, the anger argument against student loan forgiveness would be that because federal student loan forgiveness would make many people angry, then it would be incorrect to do it. This is obviously the appeal to anger fallacy; a fallacy in which anger is substituted for evidence/reasons when making an argument. Formally, the fallacy looks like this:   Premise 1: X would make people angry. Conclusion: X is wrong or incorrect.   This is bad logic because the fact that something makes people angry. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: A Philosopher's Blog

blog comments powered by Disqus