Logical fallacies and skepticism

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Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby dbc » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:10 am

Hi - new to the forum. If there's a more specific category for this thread, please let me know...

My question is this: Where do logical fallacies and errors in reasoning fit into the domain of skepticism? Is there a "rhetorical" branch of skepticism? I'm asking because I hear people talk about skepticism, the scientific method, identifying pseudoscience, "woo" and the like, and separately I hear discussions relating to logical fallacies (pseudo-arguments), lack of coherence/cogency, verbal misdirection, etc. But the latter isn't typically (that I've heard) spoken about as "skepticism." To me though, it seems like something that should be certainly be part of a skeptical/critical-thinking education.

Any thoughts on how these two areas fit together, and/or why they're often treated separately? Thanks in advance...

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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby ElectricMonk » Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:09 pm

It's like the package and its contents: you might make an awesome argument, well presented and sounding very plausible BUT in the end your conclusions are just not supported by the available data.

Bear in mind that Skepticism in its original form is not trying to find the truth but only to demolish flawed thinking.

Fallacies are artifacts of our thinking heuristics that are (with some experience) easy to spot.
But just because someone fell prey to a fallacy does not mean he is wrong: sometimes there really is a snake in the grass between the gnarled roots.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby OlegTheBatty » Tue Aug 02, 2016 6:41 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:But just because someone fell prey to a fallacy does not mean he is wrong:

Exactly. A fallacy means that the conclusion is not supported by the argument. There may well exist an argument which does support the conclusion.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Matthew Ellard » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:01 am

dbc wrote: Is there a "rhetorical" branch of skepticism?
Rhetoric is a technique from oratory (public speaking). It poses an open question, without specifying an answer and therefore is ambiguous and not really part of science or deductive critical thinking.

Even in court, you cannot use rhetoric. A lawyer must specifically state what he is implying. "I put it to you that you drove the car at 9pm for the purpose of..." and so on.

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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Matthew Ellard » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:06 am

Rating: 33.3%

Electric Monk has been the first person to score 33.3 RPM under the new ratings system, and thus has the first post ready to be pressed as a LP vinyl record

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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:37 am

Gee Smart Matt: you are wrong. You give the definition of "Rhetorical Question"==>TWO WORDS. Not Rhetoric: Search Results
rhet·o·ric
ˈredərik/
noun
noun: rhetoric

the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.
synonyms: oratory, eloquence, command of language, way with words
"a form of rhetoric"
language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.

Its as obvious and objective as the difference between one and two. Between a noun and an adjective.

You aren't often so wrong.... which is a good thing.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Matthew Ellard » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:48 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Gee Smart Matt: you are wrong.
No Bobbo. I have no idea what you are even saying. Neither do you. :lol:

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote: the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.
......and?

A rhetorical question does not offer an answer. That is the entire point of a rhetorical question. The greater art of oratory also offers no systematic ability to critically assess a scientific claim. These are popular public speaking skills and nothing to do with scientific assessment.

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:You aren't often so wrong.... which is a good thing.
What are you raving on about?

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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:52 am

You define "Rhetorical Question" not Rhetoric. RQ is very specific type of Rhetoric technique or example. Its like saying all canines are dogs. simply: not correct.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Matthew Ellard » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:00 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:You define "Rhetorical Question" not Rhetoric. RQ is very specific type of Rhetoric technique or example. Its like saying all canines are dogs. simply: not correct.


No Bobbo. Rhetoric is a subset of Oratory, like using fables, elecutio and so on, It is an open ended point or question that the listeners inserts his own conclusion. A rhetorical question is a rhetorical question.

How do you distinguish between rhetoric and oratory?

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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:13 am

It goes Speaking==Oratory==Rhetoric==Rhetorical Question.

Like Mammals==Canines==Dogs.

Matt--you are sadly displaying the downfall of those otherwise so great: inability to admit to even the smallest misstatement.

PROVE ME WRONG: I GAVE YOU a web found definition: Find a link to any site giving your definition of rhetoric.

Really infantile on your part, ........... not to admit to a simple misstatement. Man up... it ain't no thang.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Matthew Ellard » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:39 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:It goes Speaking==Oratory==Rhetoric==Rhetorical Question.
You are never going to get it Bobbo.

Rhetoric is an open ended oratory technique. It does not offer an answer or solution. A rhetorical question is a question posed that anticipates no answer.

You didn't answer my question. What do you claim distinguishes Oratory from Rhetoric? ( I already know the answer) :lol:

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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:47 am

Oratory: a more general category than rhetoric...eg including soliloquy, Rhetoric and more general category than Rhetorical Question ..eg including Sophistry.

Matt: please don't just double down on your misstantement and your false pride. PROVIDE ANY LINK to a definition you continue to push for. So stupid..... I assume you think you are "being cute." But there are enough idiots who post just as you are now. Give them a bettter example.

LINK PLEASE.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby dbc » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:57 am

Thanks for your responses. Incidentally, I've since discovered that Skepdic.com has a Critical Thinking section which covers logical fallacies. So there is some acknowledgement of the crossover.
ElectricMonk wrote:But just because someone fell prey to a fallacy does not mean he is wrong

Right, and the belief that the conclusion is necessarily wrong is itself a fallacy! Check out Wiki / Argument from fallacy:
If P, then Q.
P is a fallacious argument.
Therefore, Q is false.

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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Matthew Ellard » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:57 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Oratory: a more general category than rhetoric...eg including soliloquy, Rhetoric and more general category than Rhetorical Question ..eg including Sophistry.


No. Try again.

You, yourself said Rhetoric was a sub-set of Oratory. What are the other sub-sets of Oratory that are not Rhetoric? Does Rhetoric require the presentation of facts?


bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Matt: please don't just double down on your misstantement and your false pride.
No Bobbo. I debate and know these terms and how to use them. You don't have a clue. :lol:

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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Gord » Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:21 am

Somebody named Jim Aune gave this definition for "rhetorical skepticism" on a blog post: http://rsa.cwrl.utexas.edu/node/541

Principles of rhetorical skepticism: 1. A rejection of foundationalism--especially the rejection of all formalistic decision procedures. 2. A reluctance to discard existing institutions and traditions--Edmund Burke's Presumption, Prescription, Prejudice--yet a willingness to tinker with them, occasionally supporting radical reform (Disraeli's Red Toryism, for instance). "For where but in custom and ceremony is beauty and innocence born?" (Yeats). 3. A recognition that at least two sides of the question can always be defended, making the rule of law, especially judge-made common law, an effective rhetorical means of preserving community through controlled controversy. 4. A preference for religious tolerance--especially for kicking disputes about metaphysical questions in to the private sphere, where their damage can be limited.

I know nothing about rhetorical skepticism, I just like to google things.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Scott Mayers » Wed Aug 03, 2016 6:50 am

dbc wrote:Hi - new to the forum. If there's a more specific category for this thread, please let me know...

My question is this: Where do logical fallacies and errors in reasoning fit into the domain of skepticism? Is there a "rhetorical" branch of skepticism? I'm asking because I hear people talk about skepticism, the scientific method, identifying pseudoscience, "woo" and the like, and separately I hear discussions relating to logical fallacies (pseudo-arguments), lack of coherence/cogency, verbal misdirection, etc. But the latter isn't typically (that I've heard) spoken about as "skepticism." To me though, it seems like something that should be certainly be part of a skeptical/critical-thinking education.

Any thoughts on how these two areas fit together, and/or why they're often treated separately? Thanks in advance...

You ask a good question. (And no, I'm not intending to sound like a politician for saying that :lol: )

Logical Fallacies was something that I thought was defaulted to be taught as a standard in Universities. It used to be but they've dropped this as a 'universal' and often each area 'rhetorically' opts to use area-specific types of teaching rhetoric, the appropriate subject for fallacies. But I was surprised when "The Demon Haunted World" by Dawkins came out with what I thought was highly Kindergarten rhetoric and that many thought was profound.

Philosophy proper covers the depths of rhetoric including fallacies that apply everywhere else. So obviously this includes skepticism. But where one might have some different background, they may have different labels for the particular fallacy in mind. Some are more prevalent in certain subjects to occur. So, to answer your question, and to add to those above, skepticism IS an act based on questioning another person's reasoning but while this should then be considered simply Philosophy proper, "Skepticism", as a name has evolved more distinctly to appeal to those skeptical of what USED to be the more religious ways of thinking competing against science or anything that we cannot SHARE based on our common experiences or potential to experience. But now even some who are religious also consider themselves 'skeptics' and so nowadays, it is simply the process of inquiry for any 'secular' defaulted people. "Humanism" is simply a common denominator everyone would be hard to deny here. But as "skeptics" , we tend to believe that the default nature to understanding anything is to at least 'pretend' no posited views if for the sake of argument but to contest others or our own views that are often relatively odd, unusual, or highly varied (like religions).
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Aug 03, 2016 6:27 pm

Oratory: Addressing an audience formally (usually a long and rhetorical address and often pompous)

Rhetoric: the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.
synonyms: oratory, eloquence, command of language, way with words
"a form of rhetoric"
language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.

Rhetorical Question: A statement that is formulated as a question but that is not supposed to be answered

Ha, ha....if I weren't so focused on Rhetoric NOT meaning "Rhetorical Question" I would have noticed rhetoric was a synonym for Oratory and slightly altered my response. The problem with synonyms is that they can be very close in meaning or somewhat far away depending on the exact elements of comparison. In the definition of Rhetoric you see the subordinate class that includes Rhetorical Questions which is "figure of speech."

So...not to be mislead by your switching subjects: the issue is not the distinctions between oratory and rhetoric which we can discuss later as you please but rather the distinction between Rhetoric and Rhetorical Question. The definitions are above. You offer no third party reference....only your willingness if not inability to be anything other than: obstinate. it won't be a "debate" until you provide a link to any source that supports your position.

I'll wait.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Scott Mayers » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:44 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Oratory: Addressing an audience formally (usually a long and rhetorical address and often pompous)

Rhetoric: the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.
synonyms: oratory, eloquence, command of language, way with words
"a form of rhetoric"
language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.

Rhetorical Question: A statement that is formulated as a question but that is not supposed to be answered

Ha, ha....if I weren't so focused on Rhetoric NOT meaning "Rhetorical Question" I would have noticed rhetoric was a synonym for Oratory and slightly altered my response. The problem with synonyms is that they can be very close in meaning or somewhat far away depending on the exact elements of comparison. In the definition of Rhetoric you see the subordinate class that includes Rhetorical Questions which is "figure of speech."

So...not to be mislead by your switching subjects: the issue is not the distinctions between oratory and rhetoric which we can discuss later as you please but rather the distinction between Rhetoric and Rhetorical Question. The definitions are above. You offer no third party reference....only your willingness if not inability to be anything other than: obstinate. it won't be a "debate" until you provide a link to any source that supports your position.

I'll wait.

He only posted twice and may not even come back. Maybe it was too much information for him/her?

"Rhetorical" as the adjective for a type of "question" is an metaphorical use, like how some say "religious" to also mean, "one who is very devout" rather than "one who believes in some religion."

Where LOGIC is the means to argue with validity and accuracy, RHETORIC is the practical function to sell any idea convincingly, whether logically valid or not, whether 'true' or not. Socrates complained of those teachers (Sophists) selling their services to teach rhetoric because they focus on how sales people, lawyers, or politicians can convince anyone of things using psychological tactics rather than logic. So this subject has a bad rap for the similar reasons people distrust those professions. (Athens was in the midst of a form of democracy that required half its 'owning class' citizens to function as a part of government. They did this in large conventions where someone would go onstage to either suggest new policies where the 'audience' voted OR to anyone who desired to make a charge or defend themselves. These 'conventions' were both a Court and their Legislation Body.
Empowering people without caution by those Sophists is like how we frown on empowering con artists. Modern Motivational speakers, Network Marketing and Cults are how we think of those inappropriately using rhetoric and where the derogatory "rhetorical question" came from, since it implies one is NOT actually asking a question but using the form of it to make the audience THINK the speaker is concerned of their listeners.

You know what I mean, right? ...Don't answer that!
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:57 pm

Smart Matt is in a different time zone...I assume he'll answer when awake and falls across the subject again....I see no reason for him to track the issue....satisfied with himself as he is.

I don't think Rhetorical Questions as derogatory. More the opposite: by not giving the answer, the good ones are designed to urge people to think for themselves. course...as you note...they can be used for any purpose whatsoever.

BUT---any subset of any whole does not mean the whole. It only means the subset.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Matthew Ellard » Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:13 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:I'll wait.
You can wait as long as you want Bobbo. You never heard of oratory and Rhetoric until three days ago. You are now trying to lecture someone who specifically wrote how court rules do not allow rhetoric in court and explained why, as a lawyer.

And no. Despite changing your mind again, rhetoric does not mean the same as oratory,

How would you sub categorise an oratory, that only offered facts and didn't use any rhetorical devices? :lol:

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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Matthew Ellard » Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:28 am

Scott Mayers wrote: "Rhetorical" as the adjective for a type of "question" is an metaphorical use, like how some say "religious" to also mean, "one who is very devout" rather than "one who believes in some religion."


It has dawned on me that neither of your two have heard of Marcus Tullius Cicero
cicero 2.jpg

How did Aristotle argue rhetoric was a science discipline of investigation and how did Cicero argue rhetoric was not a scientific discipline. Why do modern court rules follow the guidance of Cicero in advocacy?
Cicero.jpg
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:23 am

Matt: Link Please.

Your obstinacy over something so minor and simple really does not do you well.

Be honest, direct, learn from your mistakes.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Matthew Ellard » Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:38 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Matt: Link Please.
I just did. See the book?

What were your text books to study Oratory and rhetoric? :lol:

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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Aug 04, 2016 2:08 am

No Matt, the Link to any definition of Rhetoric that is at all close to your definition. Recall: YOUR definition of Rhetoric is actually the definition of Rhetorical Question. Not the same concept at all.

A simple misspeak you so far have been incapable of recognizing. Try again.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Matthew Ellard » Thu Aug 04, 2016 2:18 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:No Matt, the Link to any definition of Rhetoric that is at all close to your definition.
No Bobbo. I already asked you three times to distinguish oratory from rhetoric. You ran away and then came back and said they were the same thing. They are not the same thing. :lol:

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Recall: YOUR definition of Rhetoric is actually the definition of Rhetorical Question. Not the same concept at all.
Quote me saying that. Does Rhetoric require the use of facts in advocacy? Yes or No? :lol:

You now want me to set out Cicero's "De Oratore" in some easy form, that you can understand, when you never heard of oratory and rhetoric until three days ago. :lol:

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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Aug 04, 2016 2:41 am

Matt displaying 2 or 3 negative aspects of being the brightest bulb in the pack asks nay challenges as if he has no memory of his own posting at all and is too lazy to look it up himself: "

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Recall: YOUR definition of Rhetoric is actually the definition of Rhetorical Question. Not the same concept at all.

Quote me saying that. Does Rhetoric require the use of facts in advocacy? Yes or No? :lol:


You raised the issue yourself in a response to dbc above:

Matthew Ellard wrote:
dbc wrote: Is there a "rhetorical" branch of skepticism?
Rhetoric is a technique from oratory (public speaking). It poses an open question, without specifying an answer and therefore is ambiguous and not really part of science or deductive critical thinking.

Even in court, you cannot use rhetoric. A lawyer must specifically state what he is implying. "I put it to you that you drove the car at 9pm for the purpose of..." and so on.


I know you think you are being clever, but its just tedious.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Matthew Ellard » Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:09 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote: I know you think you are being clever, but its just tedious.


No Bobbo. You are looking for a fight in a topic that you have knowledge about, and you wan't me to summarise Cicero's entire work into one easy to understand paragraph. (My sympathies to Cicero)

I ask you again. Can you distinguish between oratory and rhetoric? If not, then how the hell are you going to understand anything I am posting concerning oratory?

"Brevity is the best recommendation of speech, whether in a senator or an orator."
Cicero

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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Aug 04, 2016 5:44 am

Silly Matt.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Scott Mayers » Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:03 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Scott Mayers wrote: "Rhetorical" as the adjective for a type of "question" is an metaphorical use, like how some say "religious" to also mean, "one who is very devout" rather than "one who believes in some religion."


It has dawned on me that neither of your two have heard of Marcus Tullius Cicero

How did Aristotle argue rhetoric was a science discipline of investigation and how did Cicero argue rhetoric was not a scientific discipline. Why do modern court rules follow the guidance of Cicero in advocacy? Cicero.jpg

"Rhetoric" is just the human communication techniques and study used to optimize one's power to MOTIVATE others through words in some way. Aristotle AND Marcus didn't confuse these and agree. I'm not sure why or how the word lost its regular use today but believe that it is no doubt related to the fact that since it DOES advocate for ANY position arbitrarily, it has less respect as Socrates interpreted teachers who taught this in their day. That's why I compared it to motivational speaking methods. In motivational speaking, for instance, many 'sell' their successes based on the very success of the audience's purchasing tickets to see the secret of how they succeeded. And people truly ARE fooled by it and can't recognize it.....even, sometimes the supposed motivational speaker themselves.

But I think it is both a science and an art. You might think of 'logic' as a subset of rhetoric on the basis of its intention to convince others (motivate them) to think or act in some way. But since the 'formal' style lacks the effective way to EASILY communicate among people in practice, it is not always the most effective for some particular goal. Logic is thus specific to finding some least common truth focusing on its FORM, where it treats initial input propositions (axioms) as requiring rhetoric to 'prove'. Rhetoric maximizes human stereotypes of 'kinds' of FORMS based on our human interactions, most particularly of the induced kinds.

"I have a default natural affinity for listening to and preferring to occupy more time to anything musical" [Very 'logical' and lacks emotional appeal]
versus,
"I love music!" ['Rhetorically' simple but potentially ambiguous or otherwise obscure.]

Rhetoric may be maximized when simply worded but often insufficiently informative, contrary to others potentially deceived by it. This is because it is optimal to use words that have AMBIGUITY, for instance, if your goal is to appeal to a large judging audience. So the lyrics of pop music are generally of this type of rhetoric, as is most poetry.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Scott Mayers » Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:11 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Matt: Link Please.
I just did. See the book?

What were your text books to study Oratory and rhetoric? :lol:


"Oratory" is the rhetoric that focuses on SPOKEN communications. "Rhetoric" is just more broad to include ANY forms of communication, including writing, literature, persuasion, etcetera.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Aug 04, 2016 4:20 pm

Scott: you are diving deep on this subject touching nuances of all sorts.

Care to opine on the bobbo/Matt dispute? I see a simple misspeak by Matt defining Rhetoric as if it was only the definition of Rhetorical Question. He later shifts this a bit trying to confuse the issue with comparison to Oratory and then Cicero. But its quite objectively right there.

do you agree or have some nuance to divert us further?
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby ElectricMonk » Thu Aug 04, 2016 4:35 pm

Oratory, from the Latin oratorium, based on Latin orare: ‘pray, speak’

Oratory definitely refers to spoken arguments. Cicero and others have often been called great Orators because of their speeches. Their arguments were copied down, but they were always meant to be spoken in front of an audience.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Matthew Ellard » Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:07 am

Scott Mayers wrote: "Oratory" is the rhetoric that focuses on SPOKEN communications. "Rhetoric" is just more broad to include ANY forms of communication, including writing, literature, persuasion, etcetera.


That's very insightful of you Scott and Bobbo. :lol:

Would you like to explain all the other electronic and written communication devices available to Cicero in 55BC when he wrote his dissertation on oratory and rhetoric?

Are you thinking of the internet? emails? Radio perhaps? Television? Local and national newspapers?

Have either of you actually read Cicero's works? Do either of you know what Cicero did in the Curia (Roman parliament) and where he advocated for clients?
cicero giving speech.jpg
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Scott Mayers » Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:40 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Scott Mayers wrote: "Oratory" is the rhetoric that focuses on SPOKEN communications. "Rhetoric" is just more broad to include ANY forms of communication, including writing, literature, persuasion, etcetera.


That's very insightful of you Scott and Bobbo. :lol:

Would you like to explain all the other electronic and written communication devices available to Cicero in 55BC when he wrote his dissertation on oratory and rhetoric?

Are you thinking of the internet? emails? Radio perhaps? Television? Local and national newspapers?

Have either of you actually read Cicero's works? Do either of you know what Cicero did in the Curia (Roman parliament) and where he advocated for clients?

rhet·o·ric
ˈredərik/

noun

(1) the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.

synonyms: oratory, eloquence, command of language, way with words
"a form of rhetoric"

(2) language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.
"all we have from the opposition is empty rhetoric"
synonyms: bombast, turgidity, grandiloquence, magniloquence, pomposity, extravagant language, purple prose;

[Google Search definition]


From Wikipedia:
Rhetoric

Rhetoric (pronounced /ˈrɛtərɪk/) is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the capability of writers or speakers to inform, most likely to persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the European tradition.[1] ...


I honestly hadn't noticed you and bobbo's particular concern and was only adding from my own background. That Wikipedia page may help both of you guys out to see what Aristotle and Cicero interpreted of the study formally. I'm not sure its a big deal how you define it but as you can see above in the first quote, there actually is a second definition which mentions the 'derogatory' definition as an extension that evolved only by the way the subject lacks taking a stance on whether one 'should' use those techniques or not. It's a matter-of-fact subject of WHAT is persuasive, not what is appropriate.

By the way, for both you and bobbo (and everyone here, I guess), I recommend Robert Greene's works where he demonstrates an example of discussing factors that work by practice to empower people in some way WITHOUT concerning itself of whether it is or is not 'good'. I was initially shocked when I first started reading his, "48 Laws of Power", because its ideas tend to appear as lacking concern of its uses but THAT the techniques work alone. I was recommended to read it by a family member who I was always bothered by his obsession (my interpretation) of trusting motivational books. But I was wrong on this author when I actually read. Although it goes beyond simple communication that involves rhetoric, it covers some of this AND the concern by many to how some use rhetoric in relatively undesirable ways. It also disarms you FROM others who might use this tactic for deceptive purposes. And thus why it is good for us here to take note.

But no, Matt, I have NOT read anything particular about Cicero as I understood him to BE an 'orator' which doesn't speak of his quality of wisdom, only to his appeal for speaking. Toast Master groups, though, would likely take interest and to those like yourself as it aids you in speaking effectively in court. I think it interesting but am somewhat disarmed personally from one's speaking skills rather than to their message. But the subject is still worthy to learn. I understand it well but find myself resisting using it unless it adds value to something logical for the concerns of how it is often abused.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Scott Mayers » Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:54 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Scott: you are diving deep on this subject touching nuances of all sorts.

Care to opine on the bobbo/Matt dispute? I see a simple misspeak by Matt defining Rhetoric as if it was only the definition of Rhetorical Question. He later shifts this a bit trying to confuse the issue with comparison to Oratory and then Cicero. But its quite objectively right there.

do you agree or have some nuance to divert us further?

Yes, I agree. But Matthew may be thinking something deeper on the philosophic details of the subject. That link to the Wikipedia page appears to discuss both Aristotle and Cicero and may be of interest to check out.

It also might help you understand why I tend to resist 'appealing' to communicating in ways that may be less 'friendly' and rather cold, as you've pointed out before. [remember you thought I was lacking humor, for instance?] I also have a brother who tends to do JUST the opposite who focused on the 'way' I speak rather than on its content. It became distracting because although I agree to its extended advantage, I felt the rhetoric was less significant to focus on rather than to the logic. BUT, in time, we improve rhetorically because it IS an 'art'. We can learn the techniques well but lack any natural way to use it without coming across awkward. Some people are already naturally good at communicating this way. But they also more often than not, have a deficit in logic by contrast. Rhetoric is to "beauty" as Logic is to "what's actually inside", where we value truth as a virtue. But truth is not always relevant to reality.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Matthew Ellard » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:01 am

Scott Mayers wrote:But no, Matt, I have NOT read anything particular about Cicero as I understood him to BE an 'orator' which doesn't speak of his quality of wisdom, only to his appeal for speaking.
Cicero was a highly intelligent man who teased Caesar for wanting to become dictator, and yet Caesar left him alone as Rome's leading intellectual, and actually asked Cicero to join the first Triumvirate, with himself, Crassus and Pompey.. Augustus had him executed. Cicero is one of the prime sources for this history.

From Pompey we get the word "Pomp" "pompous".
From Crassus we get "crass"
However Cicero, is his nick name which simply means "chickpea".

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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Matthew Ellard » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:05 am

Scott Mayers wrote: Yes, I agree. But Matthew may be thinking something deeper on the philosophic details of the subject.
Not really. In formal university debating you use the techniques of oratory and rhetoric in advocacy. In law at university, you learn that you may not use these same techniques as you must stick to the facts, due the the interrelationship with the laws of evidence.

It's simply two different ways of thinking. How can one advocate for a scientific experiment? Either it works or it doesn't.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Scott Mayers » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:46 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Scott Mayers wrote: Yes, I agree. But Matthew may be thinking something deeper on the philosophic details of the subject.
Not really. In formal university debating you use the techniques of oratory and rhetoric in advocacy. In law at university, you learn that you may not use these same techniques as you must stick to the facts, due the the interrelationship with the laws of evidence.

It's simply two different ways of thinking. How can one advocate for a scientific experiment? Either it works or it doesn't.
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First, thank you for the post before that added historical roots of the terms.

On this post, I'm not sure what you are saying or differentiating. I already agree that advocacy is what rhetoric is about as I pointed out that it doesn't concern itself with the 'integrity' of the MEANS to serve some purpose. Lawyers are often interpreted as derogatory BECAUSE they represent the function of advocating. But I'm not sure how you interpret rhetoric as whole as somehow not allowed in law. It is just the opposite and why I think that unless you personally are misinterpreting your own laws, it is universally understood that rhetoric IS a the DEFAULT understanding of lawyers for just the reason debate functions to advocate some position without concern to whether it is or is not 'true' in reality. It is practical to convince others for some position where morality itself may be actually non-existent to nature itself. As such, competing to appeal to specific audiences is the aim of rhetoric which does NOT require accepting it to BE logical but to 'work'.

Debate often requires each 'side' to ALSO require defending the opposite of their position proposed initially to test their SKILL at rhetoric to convince regardless of what is or is not 'true' or sincere of the circumstances. This is the proof of whether one is or is not most effective to defend some point of view and NOT to what is or is not true or appropriate. As such, these represent the skill of those who would become our lawyers and politicians and advertisers. They don't CARE whether the particular matter is logically sound or not...only that they achieve the goal of doing what it intends...to get others to 'agree'.

So I am confused at your take that law itself makes it illegal to actually USE rhetoric. While realistically and potentially hazardous, most believe that people have to have a right to the most EFFECTIVE defense regardless of its apparent potential to be disrespectful of some interpretation of 'logic'. Since what is 'law' at the time can be as dismissive of nature, no moral assumption has superiority. As such, people deserve the right to compete to appeal to whatever the crowd appeals to even if it is not 'correct' nor logical by nature.

So to some law you might have against rhetoric must specify some particular limited definition that is NOT of the broad interpretation of its originators. Rhetoric IS by default a function of all courts without respect to logic. Logic is a subset of rhetoric in the function of competing to convince others of some very real practical act in things like law or judgments. It sucks a lot. But if 'illegal', it offends even the potential of those 'fit' to nature's 'truth' to succeed given some power that acts offensively for their own delusional thinking.
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Aug 05, 2016 2:04 am

Scott: yes I remember. Still appears to be true. Humor being a very effective tool of rhetoric? BUT I post to quibble a bit on your overly dismissive characterization of Oratory. Certainly THE BEST oratory contains the most logical arguments? You only resort to "empty rhetoric" when there are no good arguments/logic/facts on your side...that calls for the Best of Attorneys. I mean... look at Matt. I assume he thinks he's even getting away with being vacuous and off topic?

but he has no peremptory challenge on this forum to get rid of those who can follow an argument.

Sucks to be Matt...so stuck in his rut he has no comfort level outside of it. Good sense of humor though. Ain't that ......... a counterpoint?
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Re: Logical fallacies and skepticism

Postby Scott Mayers » Fri Aug 05, 2016 2:35 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Scott: yes I remember. Still appears to be true. Humor being a very effective tool of rhetoric? BUT I post to quibble a bit on your overly dismissive characterization of Oratory. Certainly THE BEST oratory contains the most logical arguments? You only resort to "empty rhetoric" when there are no good arguments/logic/facts on your side...that calls for the Best of Attorneys. I mean... look at Matt. I assume he thinks he's even getting away with being vacuous and off topic?

but he has no peremptory challenge on this forum to get rid of those who can follow an argument.

Sucks to be Matt...so stuck in his rut he has no comfort level outside of it. Good sense of humor though. Ain't that ......... a counterpoint?

I'm not 'against' your take on preferring the practical (pragmatic). I respect things like humor because it IS what we naturally appeal to emotionally. I was just pointing out that you hadn't understood that my concern to resist attending to humor in the past with you was more about the fact that most use it to offend indirectly when or where they feel they lose to some logical argument. As such, it can act as a cheap shot against others by appealing to the nature of us all to prefer favor to our emotional side rather than the logic. So, in context here, I PREFER to be non-emotional and specifically logical if only because the emotional appeal is defaulted to everywhere in practice and why we have most people using the emotionally laden forms of argument to justify why they act.

"Terrorisim", for instance, is an emotionally laden 'rhetorical' word used to emotionally associate their listeners to FEEL based on their own interpretation of what IS "terroristic" regardless of whether others agree to some act as such. The rhetoric is intended to beg us to FEEL, not to think. As such, even if you might actually disagree to someone who might be accused of BEING terrorist, to defend some act considered such also effectively makes you require digressing into removing the emotional impact of the word to point out the logical nature of the term. But such effort also is less affective to appeal when most naturally default to presume what is "terrorist" is UNIVERSAL in understanding when it is NOT. So we have to pay attention to the 'HOW' of the way people speak if only to intellectually respond over our natural disposition to favor the logic of the situation. But noticing the significance of rhetoric, such as humor as of one part of this, requires understanding also how our default to emotional appeal is also less of the norm and very risky to accept without caution.
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