Question for Logicians

Hey readers, quick question.  I am familiar with logic (the discipline, of course), but I was wondering if there was an “official” informal fallacy that deals specifically with the tone with which an argument is verbally stated.  Just curious.

7 responses to “Question for Logicians

  1. The cite “Logical Fallacies” has a taxonomy and lists the category of “relevance” including arguments that “are usually psychologically powerful, however, even if they don’t have any evidential value.” I think this would include various types of “tone” such as sarcasm, ridicule, superciliousness, etc. Richard Dawkins is pretty good at the use of tone, but I don’t think he measures up to Christopher Hitchens.

    The Nizcor project lists appeals to “emotion, fear, flattery, ridicule, spite, poisoning the well,” and many others that would probably come under the heading “tone.”

    But can a fallacy really be logical?

    My local logician says, if you don’t like Johnny Cash you can’t be a real philosopher.

  2. Partly related–have your heard about the Psalms 109-Obama Bumper Stickers? I think it is seriously evil to pray for the assassination of a president. Valerie Tarico has asked why Rick Warren has not spoken out against it. I think we all need to speak out against it.

  3. How about sarcasm or faciciousness?

  4. More seriously, if one is being sarcastic, I could see that being categorized as an ad hominem. But obviously, sarcasm does’t necessarily lead to this end. It’s all in the context.

    • A,

      Yes, context is key, but more than that, I am thinking more specifically about the speakers intent in the sarcasm. I understand context is crucial here as well, but depending on the intent in the (sub)vocalization, the context could still be interpreted either way.

  5. Whoops, I cited a site above, but misspelled the word “site”.

    So, how can you trust someone to think logically, who doesn’t even know how to spell?

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