GE372 Week Nine and 10 Communicating Your Ideas: Formal Logic First let’s talk about your paper—in text citations and other stuff
Anticipating Negative Reactions The Target Audience - Everything written has an audience. Writing from specific publications always has a specific type of audience it’s geared to. - Each publication makes choices regarding their coverage, terminology, level of expertise, diction, tone, etc. What’s the difference in tone between US Weekly and USA Today? - What is the difference in age, education, and income between those who read the New York Times and those who read Ranger Rick?
Anticipating Negative Reactions The General Audience - Generalizations are very difficult in America without basically averaging demographic statistics. - “General Audience” : 30 years old, 2 years+ college, aware of news/current events, politically in the middle, middle class, know of Shakespeare (but can’t quote a play or name ten of his works).
Anticipating Negative Reactions Knowing Your Audience What is my audience’s gender, age, income, and education? What are their political, cultural, religious beliefs? What do my readers know/don’t know about the issue? How do I want the audience to view the issue? What do I have in common with the audience?
Anticipating Negative Reactions Adapting to different audiences - There are three broad classes of audiences distinguished by how they approach the topic you are writing on. - Friendly, Neutral, and Hostile audiences all require separate and unique strategies to be persuaded. BUT….don’t forget what our boy Toulmin said…
Anticipating Negative Reactions Friendly Audiences 1) Don’t appeal to stereotypes or make ad populum & ad hominem arguments. Treat your audience as intelligent individuals – not a mass of cookie cutter clones who all think and speak alike. 2) Remain friendly – don’t preach, antagonize, or lecture your readers. They’re already on your side – don’t send them to the other! 3) Offer new information or insights into the topic to further convince them. Give your audience reasons to solidify and recommit to their positions.
Anticipating Negative Reactions Neutral Audiences Provide background information on the topic so the audience understands its importance and relevance. Give a balanced picture – don’t cherry pick your arguments or ignore opposing viewpoints. Intelligent readers will know you’re being intentionally biased. Personalize the issues – give them some reasons to make direct connections between the topic and their everyday lives. Show respect – always remember the Golden Rule.
Anticipating Negative Reactions Hostile Audiences Seek common ground and values and emphasize them to the audience. Show you have more in common than in difference. Always convey a positive attitude – don’t give your audience more fuel for the fire. You attract more flies with honey than vinegar. Treat your audience with respect – you will learn from them and they can learn from you.
How Persuasion is Achieved The first crucial requirement in persuading others is to put yourself in their place and determine where they are likely to stand on the problem or issue—that is to say, to determine what they know, what they don’t know, and what they believe. Their views have been shaped by a variety of factors—age, gender, education, religion, income, race, nationality, and business affiliation.
How Persuasion is Achieved:Is your audience likely to have been influenced by popular misconceptions? This question does not suggest that your audience is stupid or uneducated. Many intelligent and educated people have fallen victim to ideas and attitudes that cripple their creative and critical faculties. Fun fact: the type of person that joins a cult is often a regular Joe—usually not an insane person.
How Persuasion is Achieved: Is your audience’s perspective likely to be narrow? This question directs you to consider how your audience's tendencies to mine-is-better thinking, face saving, resistance to change, conformity, stereotyping, and self-deception may interfere with their comprehension of your views.
How Persuasion is Achieved: Is your audience likely to be unobservant about important considerations? We learned in week six that many people giver up their curiosity at a rather early age and never fully regain it. If your audience has not made an effort at understanding the complexities of an issue, their observation might be careless, and they may have missed the subtleties that you have observed. By considering where the subtleties lie, you can determine what you need to explain more fully.
How Persuasion is Achieved: Is your audience’s understanding or the problem or issue likely to be as clear as yours? We have seen how many people rush into a problem with a only a vague notion of exactly what the problem is. You have learned the value of expressing the problem or issue in a number of ways and then selecting the best and most promising expression of it. Members of your audience may not have done so. It may help open them to persuasion if you discuss the various views of the problem or at least explain your view and its advantage over other views.
Formal Logic: How to be a rockstar at cocktail parties Just knowing about logical fallacies isn’t good enough for 372 students. Formal logic is the study of the principles of reasoning. Its main concerns are the structure of arguments and the process by which conclusions are derived from premises. Its focus is not on statements as such, but on the relationships between them. In other words, the question, “Are the statements in this argument true or false?” is less important than the question, “Is the conclusion in this argument validly drawn?”
Formal Logic Three basic principles underlie the subject of logic: 1. The principle of identity: If a statement is true, then it is true. 2. The principle of the excluded middle: A statement is either true or false. 3. The principle of contradiction: No statement can be both true and false.
Formal Argument The traditional way of expressing a logical argument is in a syllogism. A syllogism is a kind of verbal mathematics: a + b= c (or 1+2=3). It is composed of three statements: the major premise, the minor premise, and the conclusion. E.g.: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
Formal Argument Because logicians like to focus on structure instead of content, they often substitute names for symbols, commonly P, Q, and R. E.g.: All P are Q. R is P. Therefore, R is Q.
Common Errors in Syllogisms Before we turn to specific errors, it is necessary to clarify the concept of the distribution. Distribution means making an assertion about every member of a class. Thus, in the statement, “All colleges offer degrees, “ the subject is distributed. However, in the sentence, “Some colleges offer degrees,” the subject is undistributed.
Common Errors in Syllogisms There are four errors that frequently occur in syllogisms, and two related errors that, though technically not syllogistic, are similar in form: The undistributed middle Illicit process Affirming the consequent Denying the antecedent Converting a conditional Negating antecedent and consequent
The undistributed middle Each middle term in a syllogism must be distributed at least once. If it is not distributed in either of the premises that it is intended to connect, the error of the undistributed middle exists and the reasoning is invalid. E.g.: All P are Q All hamsters are mammals All R are Q All elephants are mammals Therefore, all P are R Therefore, all hamsters are elephants Both the premises are true: both hamsters and elephants are mammals. But that shared quality is not sufficient reason to concluded that they are identical species.
Illicit Process Any term is a syllogism that is distributed in the conclusion that must also be distributed in the premise in which it occurs. If either the major or the minor term is distributed in the conclusion but not the premise in which it occurs, the error of illicit process exists. E.g.: All P are Q All Dalmatians are spotted No R are P No goldfish are Dalmatians Therefore, no R are Q Therefore, no goldfish are spotted Having spots is indeed a characteristic of Dalmatians, but they do not own that characteristic. Other species have spots too. So the fact that goldfish are not Dalmatians does not mean that goldfish cannot have spots.
Affirming the Consequent: If P, then Q. If I try hard, I succeed. Q. I succeeded today. Therefore, P. Therefore, I tried hard today. The first premise doesn’t say that trying hard is the only way to succeed. It just says it is one way. There may be other ways.
Denying the Antecedent If P, then Q. If Agnes knows, then Marie Knows Not P. Agnes doesn’t know. Therefore, not Q. Therefore, Marie doesn’t know. The first premise asserts only that Marie knows when Agnes knows. It leaves open the possibility that Marie may also know when, as in this case, Agnes doesn’t know.
Converting a conditional If P, then Q. If the star retires, the show will be cancelled. Therefore, if Q, then P. Therefore, if the show is cancelled, the star will retire. The first premise asserts that there is a necessary connection between the star’s presence on the show and the show’s continuation. The meaning conveyed is that the star is such an important factor in the show’s success that it could not continue to succeed without him or her. The conclusion asserts that because the star is so important, he or she cannot continue to be successful apart from the show. That is absurd.
Negating Antecedent and Consequent If P, then Q. If I go to graduate school, then I’ll get a high-paying job. Therefore, if not P, then not Q. Therefore, if I don’t go to graduate school, I won’t get a high-paying job. Graduate school, the premise suggests, guarantees on a high-paying job. But since the premise does not say that this route is the only one to such a job, the possibility remains open that one can get a high-paying job without going to grad school.