GNED-135 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Fly Fishing, Hasty Generalization, Argument From Analogy
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“Of Pain, Predators and Pleasure”: Critique
Torture for Pleasure
In “Of Pain, Predators and Pleasure” (which appeared in Essay Essentials by Sarah Norton)
Walter Isaacs considers the issue of whether fish feel pain when hooked by angler, and supports the
idea that fish in spite of some scientific researches, experience extreme stress after being caught by
human. Moreover, Isaacs supports his claim by using a combination of personal experience and
evidence obtained from scientific studies. Author, regardless of his understanding of “mortal
distress” of the fish, attempts to find an acquittal for his enjoyable actions. Furthermore, he explains
his pleasure in catching the fish by predator instinct compares the harm for the fish from fly fishers
and the real sea predators in favor of first, also emphasizes his contribution efforts in order to
produce more fish as a result. The author concludes that there is no way to avoid harming the
creatures, but “recognizing and respecting” the harm that everybody cause by catching the fish give
anglers the credit of good intentions in this matter.
Although Isaacs sounds very persuasive when he skillfully appeals to emotional part of the issue
and shows his sympathy for causing the fish distress and “pain” as results of the fly fishing acts.
However, “Of Pain, Predators and Pleasure” fails on logical and supportive levels which are
essential for convincing an audience of author’s claims. First, the title of the article is very
confusing for the reader as it’s appear in the form of list and doesn’t reflect the main idea of the
article or author’s position. Isaacs starts his argumentation referring to the “published scientific
studies” (without any explanations or details) and at the same time it’s only one reference to the
authoritative kind of evidence at the article, further the only support of the arguments is author’s
amateur, nonprofessional experience. Since Isaacs only touches upon scientific studies, in order to
support his arguments and make his article more vivid, he should provide any of neurobiologists’,
behavioral ecologists’ or fishery scientists’ researchers about considering problem. The reader can
easily define that the author doesn’t explore the problem or topic scrupulously since he does not
explain effectively any of his claims and uses a lot of indefinite characteristics (somewhat,
somewhere, some…) Furthermore, he totally fails to persuade his audience when agrees that he is
not convincing in his own points of view at the conclusion and doesn’t provide sufficient refutation.
Isaacs’ predominant tone is sympathetic and suggestive; moreover he dedicates three article
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