Category Archives: General discussion

Anything else.

Slamming

                      Here’s an unproductive exchange between Paul Krugman and Joe Scarborough on the subject of the changes by the Census Bureau in the way it evaluates health care information.  First, … Continue reading

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Conservativeface

I’ve encountered a fair number of people who do not understand satire (some of them here).  For them, satire is just a sneaky way of straw manning someone–only to say “I’m kidding, jeez” at the end of it, as if … Continue reading

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Das Eisernes Kreuz

There’s a strategy to going ad hitlerum–at least I imagine there is (but I’m not sure I hope there is). It’s difficult to break through the enormous media clutter without bringing in the rhetorical heavies.  The subtleties of tax policy … Continue reading

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Everyone deserves property

One oft-invoked criticism of “Critical Thinking” texts is that they use arguments no one would ever make.  Well, in the first place, there’s pedagogical value to that.  Second, people make all sorts of crappy arguments.  Here’s a laughably silly textbook … Continue reading

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Friendly fire

One major purpose of critical argument analysis is evaluating other arguers: other arguers’ arguments are bad and they should feel bad.  There is nothing wrong with this, in fact, it’s helpful to us to have this kind of information.  Arguing … Continue reading

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jus post argumentum

There exist times when arguments have winners and losers–well, winners in a practical or legal sense.  This distinction is important, because the vanquished will continue, at least some of them, to resent the victors, to continue to believe in the … Continue reading

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Straw manning and logical implication

Michael Medved has argued at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference and in print (almost four years ago) that it’s a “liberal lie” that states have “banned” gay marriage. Now that you’re done laughing, here’s the argument in print … Continue reading

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Persuasive explanations – Part 2

In more “They oppose us because of their dogmatism, we oppose them because of our principles” news, the Rutgers faculty opposition to Condoleeza Rice’s commencement address has been explained by Republican New Jersey assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini (here): [It is] … Continue reading

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Million-dollar man

Students of Critical Thinking 101 know (or ought to know) that not all instances of the tu quoque are fallacious.  After all, someone’s hypocrisy on an issue is relevant insofar as it reveals that her proposal is insincere or too … Continue reading

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Persuasive explanation

Persuasive or rhetorical explanation is the non-argumentative strategy of increasing critical scrutiny on one side of an issue by way of explaining a disagreement or situation in terms of some failure on the other side.  So, for example, if we … Continue reading

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