Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Argumentum ad Misericordian

How do we obtain knowledge? Or, more accurately, how should the typical person discern between the various sides of an issue? To answer that, we must explore the different types of arguments that are made to advocate positions.

Today, we shall look at Argumentum ad Misericordian.

The most important aspect of Argumentum ad Misericordian is that, like most other academic concepts, it is in Latin. Do you understand Latin? Of course you don't. Which is why I will explain it for you: This is an appeal to the most valuable reasoning tool we possess: Emotions.

Let's look at an example. Here we have two arguments: Pro-labor and pro-business. Let's see if we can determine which argument is correct.

Argument #1, Pro-Labor: Workers are honest and suffering. Their average lifespan is 27.

Argument #2, Pro-Business: Business owners are appallingly rich and lazy, and regularly rape their female employees.

The winning argument is #1 because it demonstrates how the working class suffers. They hurt, so we hurt, and pain is all the evidence we need. Feelings are evidence.

Let's try another. Here are arguments, pro and con, for slavery reparations.

Argument #1, Pro-Reparations: In today's Amerikkka, black people are routinely held in bondage, have their babies taken from them, and are routinely hanged in our National Parks. White people therefore owe them reparations.

Argument #2, Anti-Reparations: In today's Amerikkka, black people are starving, arbitrarily confined in prisons, and are drafted to die in Bush's Oil Wars. White people therefore should be exterminated.

This is more difficult than the first example, because the evidence is overwhelming in both arguments. What to think? Well, therein lies the problem.

That is, thinking is a cold male-oriented device that only leads to social injustice. So let's emphasize our feminine qualities and feel our way to a conclusion. Then the problem becomes easy. Our emotions tell us that both arguments illustrate sufficient suffering to both be correct, and we therefore conclude that white people should pay reparations and then be exterminated.

Let's do one more: The current Middle East conflict.

Argument #1: Israel has created a new Holocaust, is massacring children, and no one knows how many are buried.

I won't tell you which argument is correct here. Instead, you'll need to figure it out on your own.

1 comment:

shlemazl said...

The post seems to have no ending... I am not going to try guessing.

"white people should pay reparations and then be exterminated". Is that what they call a "win-win"?

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