Post
by **therealchips** » Thu Sep 04, 2003 11:27 am

I would be utterly frosted if a post of mine were deleted. Even the possibility is a chilling threat. I post here, beyond the reach of censorship.

Hocus, as I understand it, your argument runs like this:

1. If SWR analysis omits a relevant factor, the analysis is invalid and its conclusions are incorrect.

2. Conventional SWR analysis omits valuation levels.

3. Valuation levels are a relevant factor in SWR analysis.

4. Therefore, conventional SWR analysis is invalid and its conclusions are incorrect.

I have demonstrated in other posts that these factors are also relevant in determining withdrawals:

a. The planner's life expectancy

b. The utility function for money, or the value that the planner assigns to money

If I have stated your argument correctly and it is valid, then so will this one be:

1. If SWR analysis omits a relevant factor, the analysis is invalid and its conclusions are incorrect.

2. Hocus' SWR analysis omits both life expectancy and the personal utility of money.

3. Both life expectancy and personal utility of money are relevant factors in SWR analysis.

4. Therefore, Hocus' SWR analysis is invalid and its conclusions are incorrect.

A formal logical analysis of the first argument, as I gave it and attributed to Hocus, concludes that it is in fact a **valid argument**. Its first premise happens to be false, but that does not make the argument invalid. It only makes the argument's conclusion unsupported, even though premises 2. and 3. happen to be true. The formal logical point is that a falsehood among the premises of a valid argument does not prove the falsehood of that argument's conclusion.

Valid reasoning from false premises can easily lead to true conclusions. For example:

1. All apes are philosophers.

2. Socrates was an ape.

3. Therefore, Socrates was a philospher.

The argument is valid; the premises are false; the conclusion is true. The falsehood of the premises does not show that the conclusion is false nor that the argument is invalid.

I suggest you (Hocus) have only a few choices:

You can revise the first premise and the conclusion of your argument thus:

1. If SWR analysis omits a relevant factor, the analysis is **incomplete** and its conclusions are **not so well substantiated as we wish**.

4. Therefore, conventional SWR analysis is **incomplete** and its conclusions are **not so well substantiated as we wish**.

Alternatively, you can assert that I have totally misunderstood and misrepresented your position, and perhaps impugn my intellect and motives too, just for sport. Maybe John is better suited to that task.

Another alternative is a response so long-winded and unclear that no one knows what your position is.

Another alternative is to deny or ignore my claim that life expectancy and personal utility functions for money are relevant to SWR analysis. That might make for an interesting discussion.

Another alternative is to include those two factors in Hocus' SWR analysis. That would certainly make for interesting discussions.

Other alternatives for Hocus escape me at the moment.

Yours for brevity, clarity and respect for logic,

He who has lived obscurely and quietly has lived well. [Latin: Bene qui latuit, bene vixit.]

Chips