Category: Rhetoric and Composition

Fallacy

What would be considered a fallacy in a dialectical argument becomes a tactic

Fallacies arise whenever an argument, meaning a cogent line of terms, propositions and conclusions, is somehow diverted into an unprofitable stream.   In one point of view, this is unfortunate and profitless.  To the pursuer of the dialectic, for example, the failure to develop the discussion in a revealing way that surfaces truth is a good reason to abandon a discussion.  Those who insist on this sort of distortion are practitioners of contention, believing there is no truth to be found in the first place, or disputation, enjoying the control of a discussion more than its profitable results.  In ancient times, these were designated ‘sophists’.

In another point of view, an argument may be more intended toward persuasion than discovery.   This is the chief characteristic and purpose of rhetoric.  When engaged in rhetoric, the idea of competing goods arises.  In this setting, the rhetor is attempting to move the auditor toward one of several goods.   What would be considered a fallacy in a dialectical argument becomes a tactic, a means to steer the stream of meaning toward a pre-conceived goal.   In rhetoric, it is quite possible to conceal a logical weakness (fallacy of form), an ethical breach (fallacy of distraction), or a lapse of intuition (a material fallacy).  This does not make a purposeful inclusion of this sort of device ethical, but these tactics are effective.

There are so many fallacies, it is tempting to think of Aristotle’s target of ethical behavior: There are infinite paths to failure, but only one to success.  In itself, this idea may be a material fallacy, owing to the meaning of the word success, where there is only one correct choice available to ‘success’.   However, it may be true that all fallacies of argumentation may be of three genera.

Fallacies of Form

  • post hoc ergo propter hoc
  • petitio principii
  • enthymeme (covering a weak premise by mere implication)
  • ad ignorantium  (all propositions must be about something, not nothing)

Fallacies of Distraction – properties include ‘non sequitur’, ‘ignoratio elenchi’

  • ad hominem
  • ad baculum
  • ad verecundiam
  • ad misericordiam
  • ad ignominiam
  • ad populum
  • ipse dixit (fallacy of authority)
  • Fallacies of Procedure (as per Peter Kreeft in Socratic Logic)
    • refuting the argument but not the conclusion
    • refuting the conclusion but not the argument
    • Ignoring the argument
    • Answering another argument (rather than the one given)
    • Shifting the burden of Proof
  • Straw Man
  • Hyperbole

Material Fallacies – properties include, like the fallacies of distraction, ‘non sequitur’ – but in this case due to a failure of intuition, the first act of human reason.

  • amphiboly
  • complex question (could be considered formal fallacy)
  • equivocation
  • emphasis
  • Metaphysical Fallacies
    • Reductionism (typically substituting the material cause for the formal)
    • Fallacy of the Accident (confused with Essence)
    • Confusing quantity with quality
    • Misplaced Concreteness

 

 

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Herodotus

Herodotus is known as the original Historian, attempting to relate causes in the aftermath of the victory and ascendence of the Athenians over the Persian Empire and the Aegean sea.

The History, a work of the ancient world, is remarkable for its scope, naturalistic explanations, and multiple viewpoints.  Herodotus is known as the original Historian, attempting to relate causes in the aftermath of the victory and ascendence of the Athenians over the Persian Empire and the Aegean sea.

We read of the Greco/Persian War here, and the entire book is written as an explanation of historical events that led to that point.

Book I

Herodotus concerns himself with the origin of the conflict between Persia and Greece which began with King Croessus of Lydia, who was overcome by the Persian king Cyrus.  Meanwhile, in Athens  a democracy forms against the rise of Pisistratus, and in Sparta a strict order of state gathers control of the Peloponnesus.  Cyrus, who overcomes the Medes and Scythia/Cimmeria alliance that overthrew the Assyrian Empire, captures Babylon and campaigns in Scythia against the Massagetae, where he is killed in battle.

herodotus-book-i

Book II

Cambyses comes to power and plans to enlarge the Persian empire in Egypt.  Herodotus provides a description of Egyptian history, customs and geography.

Book III

Cambyses defeats the son of Amasis in Egypt, continuing his campaign of conquest against the Ethiopians and Ammon.   He loses a large army in the desert west of Egypt, and goes mad in Egypt where he kills his brother and leaves Persia in confusion under the rule of the Magi (false Smerdis) at his death.  The Spartans interfere with the Island of Samos under Polycrates.   Herodotus, following the adventures of Darius who overthrows the Magi, meditates on the far east (India).  Darius, now firmly in command, conquers and subdues Samos, and reconquers Babylon which had revolted in the Persian chaotic interregnum.

Book IV

Darius begins an attack on the Scythians to the north of the Black Sea.  Herodotus explains the history of the Scythians, and speculates on Geography.  Darius, forced to retreat from Scythia, leaves his general Megabazus in Thrace, while he campaigns in Libya and against Cyrene.

Book V

While Megabazus subdues Thrace, a revolt, lead by Aristagoras breaks out against Otanes in Ionia.   Aristagoras seeks aid first from Cleomenes in Sparta (refused), and then in Athens.  Athens sends ships to aid the Ionians in their failed insurrection, angering Darius against the Athenians.

Book VI

Securing the Chersonese (Hellespont), the Persians gather the Greek cities and the Island of Aegina preparing for an assault on Athens.  Darius places Datis and Artaphernes in command, bringing Hippias back to reassume control of Athens.   Miltiades at the command of an Athenian and Plataean army routes the Persians at Marathon.

Book VII

Darius’ death means he will never get his vengeance against the Greeks.  Xerxes, succeeding to the throne, organizes a massive campaign against his father’s enemies.  The Persians face a naval disaster at Sepias, and march through Thrace and Macedon to face king Leonidas of the Spartans in the Battle of Thermopylae.

Book VIII

Beginning with the naval battle of Artemisium, the Greeks retreat toward Athens, deciding between the Isthmus (Corinth) and the bay of Salamis.  The battle of Salamis results in a defeat for Xerxes.   Alexander of Macedon is sent by the Persian king to bargain for the surrender of Athens, and we read of the heritage of Alexander the Great.

Book IX

The finale of Herodotus is mostly concerned with Mardonius (the Persian general) and the Battle of Plataea (1st battle).  The Persians are defeated and also driven from the Chersonese.

 

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Hosea

Hosea:  “The Lord Saves” Hosea cannot bear to speak of judgement without speaking of redemption.   For this reason, we think of Hosea as the prophet with the biggest heart….

Hosea:  “The Lord Saves”

Hosea cannot bear to speak of judgement without speaking of redemption.   For this reason, we think of Hosea as the prophet with the biggest heart.

Continuing a theme detected in Amos, Hosea expounds on the ripening evil of the Kingdom of Israel, and is commanded to take a harlot as his wife, to illustrate with his life amidst his countrymen the pain of estrangement that exists between God and his people.

We encounter the three children:  Scattered, Unpitied, and Stranger.

In Chapters 1 and 2 we see fine examples of Chiasm, Chapter 3 clarifies and specifies the situation in Hosea’s immediate future.

The Chapters 4 through 10 are meditations on the events of Hosea’s day.

 

The Circumstance of Hosea’s prophecies

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Narratio

This is the body of topicality for a persuasive essay or speech.  Following the exordium, it tells us enough, but not too much, of the fundamental issues of the matter…

This is the body of topicality for a persuasive essay or speech.  Following the exordium, it tells us enough, but not too much, of the fundamental issues of the matter at hand.

Sometimes the Narratio is translated as “The Statement of Facts”.

Aristotle on Rhetoric discusses the Narration in Book III, chapter 16.

Stasis is an excellent tool for the invention of the narratio.

Quintilian’s Institutio Oratia, in Book III Chapter 4 begins a discussion on Indefinite questions as leading to the definite.   We may consider this as the development of a Thesis that encompasses an Hypothesis.

Following discussions of Status would appear to develop the Narratio in the following way:

  1. The case that something is so. A proposition must be made, usually in the affirmative that a thing exists.
  2. This thing must be somehow defined, either by a recourse to the 4 causes, a narrative structure, an example. etc.
  3. That this thing is somehow good or bad. In most deliberative/ and therefore hypothetical rhetoric, this gives us the basis for the final stage. Here we have a last chance to demonstrate a theoretical conclusion as we prepare to move into the special nature of our work. Another way of thinking about this is that we have settled the ‘General’ question here, before we move on to the ‘Specific’. The hear of our Thesis resides here. This ends the ‘Theoretical’ part of our narratio. (We may reply to this later in our Amplification).
  4. We move here into the specific, or hypothetic realm of our presentation. It has two parts concerning action:
    1. What is possible to do (or think).
    2. What we will do (or think).

 

Additional work on the Narratio includes decisions on brevity and necessary length for thoroughness.  Refer to Quintilian in Book IV.

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Proof I

Sample Proof I – Friday Week 8 A prospective particular supporting the main proposition as it exists at the moment, this supporting argument will be understood as an inductive proof…

Sample Proof I – Friday Week 8

A prospective particular supporting the main proposition as it exists at the moment, this supporting argument will be understood as an inductive proof or a deductive demonstration.   It should draw on some of the stated research plan, and elevate interest in the Hypothesis.  Reference to the research needed should be included in initial notes, here compiled as ‘end notes’ in the Chicago format.

Construct this proof using the rules of Stasis.

In Week 12 you will produce and hand in a Research Paper covering this proof.

 

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Research Plan I

Research Plan I – Friday Week 6 The research plan will eventually evolve into the arguments and grammatical material (logic and grammar) of the Thesis. Beginning with an invention sheet…

Research Plan I – Friday Week 6

The research plan will eventually evolve into the arguments and grammatical material (logic and grammar) of the Thesis. Beginning with an invention sheet based on the Working Hypothesis, the student conducts an ‘A.N.I’ (affirmative, negative, interesting) assessment based on the Five Common Topics. These results, mostly questions, will indicate the direction of research.

The Five Common Topics are:

Definition
Comparison
Circumstance
Relation
Authority

Arrange your questions by these categories, approaching each as a positive, a negative, and an ‘interesting’ aspect of the question.

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Rhetoric

Marcus Fabius Quintilian (35 A.D. – 98? A.D.) defines rhetoric as “a good man speaking well” .   The concerns of Rhetoric may be grouped into Aristotle’s three modes of…

Marcus Fabius Quintilian (35 A.D. – 98? A.D.) defines rhetoric as “a good man speaking well” .   The concerns of Rhetoric may be grouped into Aristotle’s three modes of invention:  Forensic, Epidiectic, and Political.

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