Loki's Wager

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Loki's Wager is the unreasonable insistence that a concept cannot be defined, and therefore cannot be discussed.[1][2] It has become a common way of deflecting arguments on the Internet.[3]

According to the Prose Edda (Skáldskaparmál ch. 35), Loki once made a bet with the dwarf Brok, and wagered his head. He lost, and in due time the dwarves came to collect. Loki had no problem with giving up his head, but insisted they had absolutely no right to take any part of his neck. Everyone concerned discussed the matter; certain parts were obviously head, and certain parts were obviously neck, but neither side could agree exactly where one ended and the other began. So Loki kept his head indefinitely,[2] although his lips were stitched shut as punishment for getting out of the bet with tricky wordplay.

The fallacy may be overcome either by establishing a reasonable, working definition of the term in issue, or by showing that the other party is being unreasonable and avoiding the argument.[4]

It is a recent[citation needed] (c. 2010) term for a form of continuum fallacy called the Sorites paradox.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mills, Michael S. (2010). Concise Handbook of Literary and Rhetorical Terms. Lexington, KY: Estep-Nichols. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-615-27136-1.
  2. ^ a b Boudry, Maarten (January 2014). "Loki's Wager and Laudan's Error: On Genuine and Territorial Demarcation". Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem. University of Chicago Press: 79–98. doi:10.7208/chicago/9780226051826.003.0006.
  3. ^ Inglis-Arkell, Esther (January 14, 2015). "Loki's Wager is Why You Can't Win Arguments on the Internet". io9.
  4. ^ "Loki's Wager". Toolkit For Thinking.