Sunday, February 03, 2008

Fallacious Speakers

I recently got into a political debate amongst a group of people at school and I found that as we each defended our presidential candidate/political parties we started using more and more fallacies in our arguments, except you could tell how invalid we sounded which led to the end of our debate. What I am wondering is: What differentiates the fallacies used by professionals (ex: politician's speeches) and those used everyday (ex: my debate)? Is there a difference? Which one makes it easier to believe the fallacies as truth?


katrina337 said...

Professionals generally have people writing their speeches for them. Speech writers study human habits and know what the public wants to hear, and how they want it delivered. Thus, the speech writers can write the fallacies in such a way that people believe it as truth, because that's what they want it to hear, and the professionals sound like they actually know what they're talking about.
That' take on it.
You guys didn't have speech writers planning out your debates, no one sat with you beforehand and told you what points to avoid and how to argue about this (I'm assuming, I could be wrong and you did have all of this, which would destroy my point), thus your fallacies sound more...ridiculous, I guess.

ZoeW said...

Good point about the writers, but what about those times when you notice the fallacies (especially name calling in debates ( ad hominem) or simplifying arguments (straw man))? What makes you notice those ones and not others? Do you only notice them in the opposition's ideas? Just a thought to give a counter example.

JuliaC. said...

I think it has to do with how people view the speaker. Classmates are equals and probably see themselves as such. When an authority figure, like a politician, or another important person is speaking they are more likely to be trusted because they are supposed to know what they're talking about. You could both has fallacies in your points, whether or not people still trust you is a matter of how they perceive you.

Rachel said...

When we debate at school, fairly little rides on the outcome. For presidential candidates, the next four years depend on it. When we debate, it is to get to the bottom of a perplexing conundrum. When political figures debate, it is to make themselves look the most intelligent, most conscientious, most charismatic. Plus, "the professionals" are pros at manipulating logic, emotion, language, and sense perception, where as we've only presented one to three persuasive speeches in our entire lives. So even though they are probably using more fallacies (remember, they have to convince as many of the American people as possible, whereas we are going against single digits) they are called "professionals" for a reason.