Sunday, June 04, 2006


SOPHISTRY. Sophists do not seek the truth but only victory in debate and are prepared to use dishonest means to achieve it. They are "captious or fallacious reasoners or quibblers," promoting myths to buttress their arguments, using rhetoric and oratory to sway their listeners They will reach conclusions based on carrying their arguments to their logical end with little regard for reality. They always work for some sort payment from those who set them up to publicize their arguments. They try to impress their audience and not infrequently expect to reach political and economic success by their performances. A good sophist may also be hired by some of the ruling families to train their offspring in the art of what might be called "rational obfuscation." Apparently reasoned arguments are really cover-ups for tradition and unreflecting faith. Sophists concentrate on words and shades of meaning to not clarify, but to muddy the waters. By concentration on an individual phenomenon as an example for the generality, they basically abandon the search for truth, since one example or incident can be used to prove anything and its opposite equally well.
Another favorite tactic of sophists is demonization. By calling some one "liberal," for example, no further explanation is needed. The person or idea referred to is obviously morally defective, since it has been established a priori that liberals are morally defective. It’s a circular argument. Anything that does not contribute to the good of the sophist, though it may be good
for another, (the right of others to vote, for example) is unwarranted. They advocate throwing off of all restraints for the self-interest and the desires of the individuals who think like they do, advocates of free rein in the pursuit of wealth. Sophists typically are hostile to science and the study of the physical world. They invoke a "higher law" to justify repression of human beings that they are not in agreement with. They very commonly see life in terms of a decline from an earlier golden age. They see human history in terms of progress from savagery to civilization, with themselves being the civilized people.
RHETORIC. Rhetoric can be persuasive if it is grounded in reality, but it can also be distorted if it is used manipulatively. It can be commonly found in broadcasting, communication, and propaganda. Its formulation is affected by its audience. Bad rhetoric has an intention, or agenda, behind a piece of discourse. Rhetoric generally is as involved with the process of interpretation, or analysis, as it is with the process of creation. Good rhetoric must show the difference bewteeen
knowledge and opinion,
persuasion and conviction,
reason and emotion.
Rhetoric is often used in a courtroom, where the specific intent to persuade is most obvious, whereby the interest, values, or emotions of an audience are engaged. Some rhetorical devices are;
like metaphor, a textural effect-(trope)
like allegory, a structural principle.- (scheme )
a comparison, sometimes announced by "like" or "as"-(simile) (metaphor)
attributing human qualities to a nonhuman being or object-(personification )
a discrepancy between a speaker's literal statement and his attitude or intent- (irony)
overstatement or exaggeration or understatement-(hyperbole) substituting one word for another which it suggests or to which it is in some way related as a part to the whole- (metonymy)
constructing sentences that resemble one another syntactically (parallelism) or, statements that say essentially the same thing-(congeries).
combining opposites into one statement—"To be or not to be, that is the question"- (antithesis)
turning from one's immediate audience to address another, who may be present only in the imagination -(apostrophe )
a loosely syllogistic form of reasoning in which the speaker assumes that any missing premises will be supplied by the audience- (enthymeme)
the "rhetorical" question, which is posed for argumentative effect and requires no answer-( interrogatio)
a progressive advance from one statement to another until a climax is achieved- (gradatio)
The weakness of rhetoric lies in the danger of compartmentalization and fragmentation into increasingly trivial matters. The way to avoid this is by cross-cultural studies—for example, the mingling of Malaysian and Western cultures in the political oratory of the Philippines, structure and intention in the oral literatures of Africa, or the communicative strategy of the Japanese verse form haiku, understanding the political economy of other lands can form the bases for dialogue across tribal and national boundaries. This "new rhetoric" can furnish a complementary tool to traditional logic, which is limited to the technique of demonstration, or necessary proof according to the rules of deduction and induction. This allows persons not only to verify and to prove their beliefs but also to justify their decisions and their choices. The new rhetoric, elaborating a logic for judgments of value, is indispensable for the analysis of practical reasoning. This is not going "outside the argument" but rather showing the commonalities that bind everyone in the world.
ARGUMENTATION. Aims at persuading or convincing the audience, so
it must be prepared with the audience in mind. The value of the argument also depends on the quality and competence of the minds whose adherence is sought. If the discourse is addressed to a non-specialized audience, its appeal will be to common sense and common principles, common values. Agreement about common values is general, but their object is vague and ill-defined. Thus, the appeal to universal values, such as the
good and the beautiful,
truth and justice,
reason and experience,
liberty and humanity,
will leave no one indifferent, but the consequences to be drawn from these notions will vary with the meaning attached to them by the different individuals. Therefore, an agreement about common values must be accompanied by an attempt to interpret and define them, so that the orator can direct the agreement to make it tally with his purposes.
arguments by example,
by analogy,
by the consequences,
a pari (arguing from similar propositions),
a fortiori (arguing from an accepted conclusion to an even more evident one),
a contrario (arguing from an accepted conclusion to the rejection of its contrary),
argument of authority.
associative arguments transfer the adherence from the premises to the conclusion by association.
incompatible—some appearances are illusory and may lead to error regarding the real. Real justice, democracy, and happiness can be opposed to apparent justice, democracy, and happiness.
It is not enough for an orator to speak or write; he must be listened to or read. Form is subordinated to content, to the action on the mind, to the effort to persuade and to convince. It is not regarded as an abstract and timeless dialectic that proceeds in a predetermined direction but as an argumentation that aims at universality at a concrete moment in history.
In deduction is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false. The truth of the premises of a cogent inductive argument, on the other hand, confers only a probability of truth on its conclusion: it is possible for the premises to be true while the conclusion is false.
FALLACIES. For an argument to be valid it is required that the terms occurring in the argument retain one meaning throughout. Subtle shifts of meaning that destroy the correctness of any argument.

accident- in which some special circumstance makes the rule inapplicable. The truth that "men are capable of seeing" is no basis for the conclusion that "blind men are capable of seeing."
argues improperly from a special case to a general rule. Thus, the fact that a certain drug is beneficial to some sick persons does not imply that it is beneficial to all people.
when the premise that the parts of a whole are of a certain nature is improperly used to infer that the whole itself must also be of this nature (a story made up of good paragraphs is thus said to be a good story. If it walks like a duck.)
irrelevant conclusion -is committed when the conclusion changes the point that is at issue in the premises.
speaking against the opponent rather than to the issue, in which the premises may only make a personal attack on a person who holds some thesis, instead of offering grounds showing why what he says is false, to attack the premises of an argument by personal attacks on the character of the proponent.
an appeal to the people, which, instead of offering logical reasons, appeals to such popular attitudes, which may be bigoted.
an appeal to pity, as when a trial lawyer, rather than arguing for his client's innocence, tries to move the jury to sympathy for him/her.
an appeal to awe, which seeks to secure acceptance of the conclusion on the grounds of its endorsement by the powerful whose views are held in general respect,
an appeal to ignorance, which argues that something (e.g., extrasensory perception) is so since no one has shown that it is not so,
the argument ad baculum (an appeal "to force"), which rests on a threatened or implied use of force to induce acceptance of its conclusion, such as threatening the audience.
begging the question, occurs when the premises presume, openly or covertly, the very conclusion that is to be demonstrated (example: "John always votes wisely." "But how do you know?" "Because he always votes Independent."), in which the speaker presupposes that the audience accepts a thesis that actually is contested by them.
a vicious circle, (arguing in a circle), occurs in a course of reasoning typified by the complex argument which lacks any power of conviction, since no one could concede the premise if they questioned the conclusion.
false cause and effect -after which hence by which, mistakes a time sequence for a reason something, as when a misfortune is attributed to a "malign event," like the dropping of a mirror.
One might say "That man is tall," and the sophist will reply; "He’s short compared to the building." The audience will think; "That’s true." However, the audience may not realize that the sophist has gone outside the argument, because the original statement wast talking about something else. Sophists are fond of going outside the argument by means of metaphors.
argument by analogy proceeds from the premise that two objects are observed to be similar to the conclusion that the two objects are also similar with respect to another attribute. The strength of such arguments depends on the degree to which the attributes in question are related to each other.

concluding that a statement is false if its addition to a set of premises leads to a contradiction. This mode of reasoning can be correct—e.g., concluding that two lines do not intersect if the assumption that they do intersect leads to a contradiction. What is required to avoid the fallacy is to verify independently that each of the original premises is true.
many questions - consists in demanding or giving a single answer to a question when this answer could either be divided such as in answer yes or no, or refused altogether, because a mistaken presupposition is involved (Have you stopped beating your wife?).
it does not follow when there is not even a deceptively plausible appearance of valid reasoning, because there is an obvious lack of connection between the given premises and the conclusion drawn from them.
equivocation occurs when a word or phrase is used in one sense in one premise and in another sense the past week Joan has been living on the heights of ecstasy.And what is her address there?.
when the grammar of a statement is such that it can have several distinct meanings.
when a statement can bear distinct meanings depending on which word is stressed
when the premise of a collective whole is improperly used to infer that a part of this whole must also be of this nature (example: in a speech that is long-winded it is presumed that every sentence is long).
denial of the antecedent, in which one mistakenly argues from the premises If John is a man of good faith, he can be trusted; but John is nota man of good faith; therefore, John cannot be trusted.
affirmation of the consequent, in which one mistakenly argues from the premises -If Amos was a prophet, then he had a social conscience; he had a social conscience; hence, Amos was a prophet").
They typically assign to any argument a counter argument that negates it, implying that both are equally true. This tactic is used to silence an opponent by making his position seem self-contradictory, or used mechanically to negate any proposition put forward in debate, and can be used to pretend to be "on the same side" in order to destroy the opposing argument. Warring nations will point out that they have suffered greatly, but the questions is who is the aggressor. (In fact, while two or more contradictory things may be true, one always has greater weight than the others at any given time. One aspect has to be ascending while another is declining. Otherwise life would stagnate and disappear. )
illicit premise, which violates the rules for "distribution." (A term is said to be distributed when reference is made to all members of the class. For example, in "Some crows are not friendly," reference is made to all friendly things but not to all crows.) The fallacy arises when a term that is undistributed in the premise is distributed in the conclusion (example: "All tubers are high-starch foods [undistributed]; no squashes are tubers; therefore, no squashes are high-starch foods [distributed]").
There are four main types of categorical proposition:
A:universal affirmative All As are Bs.
E:universal negative No As are Bs.
I:particular affirmative Some As are Bs.
O:particular negative Some As are not Bs.
The validity of a syllogism depends on the relations among the classes referred to by the terms of the argument. If all of one class is contained in a second class and none of the second class is in a third, then none of the first class is in the third either. Using this principle and others like it, logicians have been able to establish which syllogisms are valid and which are not.

DIALECTICS. Dialectical materialism means that the material world, perceptible to the senses, has objective reality independent of mind or spirit. It does not deny the reality of mental or spiritual processes but affirms that ideas arise only as products and reflections of material conditions. Materialism is the opposite of idealism, which any theory that treats matter as dependent on mind or spirit as capable of existing independently.
Dialectics considers things in their movements and changes, interrelations and interactions. Everything is in continual process of becoming and ceasing to be, in which nothing is permanent but everything changes and is eventually superseded. All things contain contradictory sides or aspects, whose tension or conflict is the driving force of change and eventually transforms or dissolves them. Individuals can gain knowledge of things only through their practical interaction with things, framing their ideas corresponding to their practice; and social practice alone provides the test of the correspondenceof idea with reality—i.e., of truth.

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