This Ruthless World

Adventures in absurdity

Archive for the category “philosophy”

How Not To Be A Demagogue, Part II: Deconstructing The Emotional Appeal Fallacy Fallacy

It is a well-known fact in the legal profession that good lawyers almost never use legalese. Indeed, it’s one of the first things you learn in law school. Sure, sometimes custom and practice require arcane word formulas, but any lawyer worth his salt knows not to offer “therein’s” and what not in the body of an argument. Packing your writing or your speech with that garbage only serves to insult the court’s intelligence by signalling that you are a pretentious asshat who is using fifty-cent words to mask your lack of a good argument. If you can’t convey your point in normal, clear, non-ritualistic language, then you have no point to convey. Read more…

Eight More Stupid Things People Say All The Time

This is a follow-up to my earlier post, Now Not To Be A Demagogue: Ten Stupidest, Most Dishonest and Most Cowardly Arguments People Make All The Time. A good chunk of my (very) rough draft for that post did not make it into the final version due to the fact that some of the things I originally listed are not, strictly speaking, demagogic or displays of bad faith. For the most part, they are just plain stupid. So here is the list of gems that did not make it into the previous entry. Every time I hear one of these, I cringe. Enjoy. Read more…

The Nature of Happiness

All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (edited to correct)

Over at Slate, I allowed myself to become embroiled in a pointless argument over the relative levels of happiness of those who have children and those who do not — and whether the former is maliciously trying to make the latter miserable. The discussion predictably degenerated into a glorious mudfest –not the least because the original article, while touching on some valid points, was relentlessly nasty, condescending and rife with ludicrous insinuations. The gravest flaw, however — especially unforgivable on the part of the author — was failing to adhere to that time-honored Platonian principle, that for any discussion to be productive, we first have to define the terms. In the context of that particular topic, the term was, of course, “happiness”. Read more…

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