CMNS 304W Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Cluster Munition, False Dilemma, Informal Logic

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Lecture 4, CMNS 304W
Rhetoric & Argumentation
Medieval Liberal Arts education began with the trivium (literally, the three ways or
roads); consisting of
o Grammar: the craft of written language
o Logic: the craft of reasoning
o Rhetoric: the craft of effective communication
Logic: the Greek logos, liteall a od, ootes logi as fo of speakig ad
reasoning
Ex; Mailing scams
Rhetoric the art of persuasion
Many of the ancient notions of rhetoric are still relevant, Any one or any combination
of these can constitute a frame for a critical analysis of a text:
o The form of an argument,
o The power or force of the person making the argument
Ex; Actor being a professor who introduces themselves as a Masters vs
PHD
o The context
o The expectations created by the rhetor or imposed by the audience
A simple tool for textual analysis. Ask the following:
Who is the author/rhetor? Must be able to look at them in a good light and a critical light
Background
Status or rank
Biases, education
Personal, political, and social agendas
Allies and enemies
What is his/her position? Must be able to agree with your enemies and disagree with your
friends
What does this person argue for or against?
What does this person claim to be true or false?
What solutions or actions are recommended?
What does this person want you to do, think or believe?
What is the argument?
How does this person argue for a particular position or against other?
What facts and logic are used?
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An example of faulty informal logic:
A horse is a mammal. It has two hind legs in the rear, and forelegs in the front. Two plus
4 equals six. Now, six is certainly an odd number of legs for a mammal. However, six is an even
number. The only numbers that are both odd and even are zero and infinity. Since six, two and
four are known to be greater than zero, it therefore follows that a horse has an infinite number
of legs.
“uliiall eates this patte of saig es ad leaes ou uleale to ase es
to the last question.
Rhetoric
Example 1 G.W. Bush (2001): Eithe ou ae ith us, o ith the teoist
Example of a false dichotomy, it frames it as either/or
Beause oe ould espod that thee ot ith us o the teoist
Example 2 B. Obama (2009): As fo ou common defense, we reject as false the choice
between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely
imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded
by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for
epediees sake. Ad so to all the othe peoples ad goeets ho ae athig toda,
from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is
a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and
digit, ad e ae ead to lead oe oe. 
Recreates a dihoto,  saig that thee goig to e a e ideal politial pat
Alliteatios of Fs leaes us uleale to aept hat hes saig afte.
Example 3 B. Obama (2013): We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans
are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change,
knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. (Applause)
Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating
impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.
Uses true stateets to suppot a ipliatio that hast ee fatuall poe to
persuade the audience.
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September 1988 Playboy Magazine interview with Yasser Arafat.
PLAYBOY: What sort of weapons?
ARAFAT: The concussion bomb. The phosphorus bomb, The gas bomb.
PLAYBOY: You're claiming that the Israelis used gas weapons on the Palestinians?
ARAFAT: Yes, gas bombs. The fuel bomb. The cluster bomb. The cluster bomb, on our people!
Unbelievable! And many other bombs.
PLAYBOY: And you're saying that this gas is made in the United States?
ARAFAT: Yes. In this present uprising, the Israelis are using gas from the United States. Made in
the U.S.A., 1988. Why? We have the right to ask! Why does the U.S. support Israel in this way,
turning our people into an experiment for new weapons? We did not harm anybody.
[A UN official's charge that Israeli tear gas was responsible for Palestinian miscarriages and
deaths has been denied by Israel. The U.S.manufacturer has stopped shipments.-Ed.]
Arafat is implying that the US is suppotig iial afae etee the Isaelis usig
gas weapons on the Palestinians
Talkig to piail ale Aeias sie thee the ai deogaphi that eads
playboy magazines
“teppig out ito a lage fae a ake ou itiue hats tue ad hats ot. Also
hats eig iplied.
Logical Fallacies
The use of precise, but not necessarily accurate numbers.
Ex: According to Statistics Canada, 87% of all Canadians know a woman who has been
sexually abused. This survey is considered accurate to within 1 percentage point, 19
times out of 20.
o Precise is something re-occurring in the same place multiple times
o Although % ay see preise it does’t ake it aurate.
Proofiness: the at of usig ogus atheatial aguets to poe something that you
know in your heart is true-ee he its ot.
The use of polls that confuse opinions with facts.
Ex 1: 95% of all Bitish Coluias eliee that X (e.g. a depletio of the ozoe
layer, a rise in gas prices) will happen. This poll, conducted between Oct. 16th and Oct.
18th, surveyed 1,000 adult Canadians. With a sample of this size, the results are
considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
o Based on what people think will happen effects how people go about the issue.
o Ex; if gas is supposed to go up in the future people will buy more gas today
Ex 2: 67% of those surveyed think candidate will be elected [as opposed to how they
voted, or intended to vote]
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