The Art of Persuasion continuing on from the second post I made the other day, using the art of rhetoric within the art of persuasion. I wrote about the elements Logos, which is argument by logic. I’m going to continue on that with the final part of Logos and persuasion using Logos which is Logical Fallacies.
You need to be able to detect these whilst engaged in the art of rhetoric especially when they are being used in persuasion as a tactic against you. Of course you could also use them yourself.
We’ll start with Bad Proof, the commonplace or principle of the argument is wrong or the example used it really bad.
You have False Comparison – Because A does this and B does that too, they must be the same
All Natural Fallacy – It has only natural ingredients, natural is healthy therefore this is healthy as anything natural must be healthy
Appeal to Popularity – Because everyone else has it, it must be good for me too
Misinterpreting the Evidence – Uses exceptions to claim they prove the rule
Ignorance Fallacy – If it’s not proven true, it must be false
Bad Conclusion in persuasion can be used against, you are given too many choices, or there aren’t enough, or you are given an irrelevant conclusion.
Straw Man – Well known fallacy, which the opponent uses to change the issue
False Dilemma – Offered a series of options when none exist
Red Herring – Use of something totally irrelevant to provide a distraction
Fallacy of Antecedent – Assuming that the present moment is identical to something in the past
Disconnect between Proof and the Conclusion is when the proof is there but it does not lead to the conclusion, another fallacy of persuasion.
Tautology – This is when the proof is exactly the same as the conclusion – It’s a redundancy used in politics mainly to decieve.
Reductio ad absurdum – Reducing the choice of someone to an absurdity – “Society must have laws, otherwise there would be chaos.”
Slippery Slope – The prediction of a set of negative events that will arise from the conclusion. “if machine guns are banned, then cops will start shooting hunters”. Concession is great to use against this fallacy.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc: Assumes that if a certain action occured after a previous action than the second must have been a result of the first. “Government cuts are ruining our kids education” – Because the Government have made cuts, these are ruining our kids education. Though there is no direct link between cuts and kids getting bad grades.
Finally we move onto Rhetorical Fouls, these are used to kill off an argument and stop it from progressing, to stop the act of persuasion dead in its track, either with intentional offence or by mistake.
Switch of Tense – This is used to steer the discussion away from future tense which is used in deliberative arguing, trying to focus on the present or past. “The cost of looking after old people is rising very fast, we need to make sure in future that we can still help look after them” “You just want to get rid of the senior citizens to save money!” Yeah, that’s just killed the argument there.
Inflexible Insistence on The Rules – Just a plain refusal to listen to the other side, it’s similar to the use of God against evolution
Humiliation – It’s not about making a choice, it’s the foul of arguing just to put down someone
Innuendo – Planting negative ideas in the audiences head. Nixon when running against Brown in the 60’s would deny repeatedly that Brown was a communist. Brown would then deny this too but it would just repeat Nixon’s innuendo. Was Brown really a communist?
Argumentum ad baculum – This is threatening, denying the audience a choice. “You’ll eat your vegetables and you’ll like them”
Finishing off with Nasty Language & Signs and Utter Stupidity – Normally a middle finger or a fuck you two finger salue to kill dead any argument or just a plain simple fool. Never argue with a fool they say, I’ll finish off Logos, the art of persuasion by logic with the following classic Monty Python sketch.
M: Oh look, this isn’t an argument.
A: Yes it is.
M: No it isn’t. It’s just contradiction.
A: No it isn’t.
M: It is!
A: It is not.
M: Look, you just contradicted me.
A: I did not.
M: Oh you did!!
A: No, no, no.
M: You did just then.
M: Oh, this is futile!
A: No it isn’t.