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It's Tradition

image loading... by Bo Bennett, PhD, Social Scientist, Business Consutlant
posted Friday May 24, 2013 12:00 AM

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Bo Bennett, PhD

Social Scientist, Business Consutlant

About Bo Bennett, PhD

You can read my full bio at http://www.BoBennett.com.

This morning my kids will wake up and find the baskets of candy we hid for them. We will have a big breakfast together, and they will finish coloring eggs. These are traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation in our families. When it comes to traditions in general, all we can say is that they are the transmission of customs from generation to generation. We cannot say any the following:

1) That a tradition is morally, ethically, or legally right.

2) That a tradition *should* be practiced today.

3) That a tradition is based on historical events.

4) Because our ancestors practiced a tradition, they must have had good reasons.

5) A traditions that was once necessary or beneficial is necessary or beneficial today.

Claiming any of the above is a form of the appeal to tradition fallacy, which is essentially making unwarranted claims about a tradition just because it is a "tradition."

It would be equally as fallacious to claim, based only on the knowledge that something is a tradition that it is wrong, shouldn't be practiced, non-historical, no good reasons to practice, or not beneficial.

To make any of the preceding claims, we would need more information besides "it's tradition."

Enjoy your traditions. Traditions are a way to celebrate our past and share similar events with our children. Many traditions are fun, bring families and friends closer together, and are harmless, but it might not be a bad idea to look at the traditions you practice with a critical mind and have your own reason for practicing a tradition besides, "because that's what my parents did."


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