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How to Win Every Argument: The Use and Abuse…
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How to Win Every Argument: The Use and Abuse of Logic

by Madsen Pirie

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Ha ha, this is shit. For an adaption of what was likely a better book The Book of the Fallacy (which at least would have done what it said on the tin--althought what kind of person wants to "win every argument" anyway?), Pirie went full vaudeville, contradicting himself from pompous entry to wokka-wokka example to sneery baggy-pants commentary. All kinds of snobbish opinions that are unwelcome in what had potential to be a good simple glossary. A world inhabited by Spanish peasants, patent medicines, Pirie Torying it up in 2007. He wears a bowtie.

The guy never heard that reasoning is heuristic, is what it is--thinks we work by evaluating propositions syllogistically and acting on their basis. Never heard of a inguistic turn, even though 90% of the fallacies he presents here are mere careless speech. Rubbishes gun ownership as a cause of gun death (it's almost too hard to pick one example of his shit) by mentioning Switzerland, but quite evidently, you add "in the USA" to your argument and that's all it takes. What's the Latin for "pretended noncomprehension of your opponent's argument"?

The best thing was I lerned the meanings of some words, like "equivocate" and "prevaricate" and "tergiversate" all kind of go in the same bucket until you find out that the former means "make two words mean the same thing, illegitimately," and they you're like okay I'll give that a home. Learning the Latin is less fun than you think, mostly because you're like "oh, post hoc ergo propter hoc is just what Aquinas said when he wanted to say "correlation is not causation." I can say that in English." And then he's all "oho! the exception that proves is the exception that TESTS the rule! my father says everything's negotiable! I went to St Andrew's! have some more claret" but that's a fucked-up thing to try to prove anybody wrong on because he knows very well that the exception that proves the rule means something like "the exception despite which we maintain that the rule generally holds." How do you function without probabilistic thinking? It's easy to see the connection with the market logic that Pirie, the president of the Adam Smith Institute, espouses. You starve, you fail, you die, because the market, because market logic trumps all other concerns because growth.

Formal logic is limited in its scope. We are rhetorical beings, and also formed by the culture and biases the study of which Pirie rubbishes. Enough. ( )
  MeditationesMartini | Dec 21, 2012 |
How to call a spade a spade. Or, more pertinently, how to intellectually eviscerate somebody when they don't. Bravo. ( )
  jontseng | Nov 13, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0826498949, Paperback)

<b><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1> </font></b> <br/><div align=left><b><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1>Publisher's warning: </font></b><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1>In the wrong hands this book is dangerous. We recommend that you arm yourself with it whilst keeping it out of the hands of others. Only buy this book as a gift if you are sure that you can trust the recipient. </font></div><br/><div align=left> </div><br/><div align=left><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1>In this witty and infectious book, Madsen Pirie provides a complete guide to using—and indeed abusing—logic in order to win arguments. He identifies with devastating examples all the most common fallacies popularly used in arguments. We all like to think of ourselves as clear-headed and logical—but all readers will find in this book fallacies of which they themselves are guilty. The author shows you how to simultaneously strengthen your own thinking and identify the weaknesses in other people arguments. And, more mischievously, Pirie also shows how to be deliberately illogical—and get away with it! This book will make you maddeningly smart: your family, friends and opponents will all wish that you had never read it.</font></div><br/><div> </div><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1> </font> <br/><div align=left><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1>The book includes entries on:<br/></font><font face=Arial size=1>• </font><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1>Affirming the consequent</font></div><font face=Arial size=1> </font> <br/><div align=left><font face=Arial size=1>• </font><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1>Blinding with science<br/></font><font face=Arial size=1>• </font><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1>Conclusion which denies premises</font></div><br/><div align=left><font face=Arial size=1>• </font><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1>Emotional appeals</font></div><br/><div align=left><font face=Arial size=1>• </font><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1>The Exception that proves the rule</font></div><br/><div align=left><font face=Arial size=1>• </font><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1>Half-concealed qualification</font></div><br/><div align=left><font face=Arial size=1>• </font><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1>Poisoning the well</font></div><br/><div align=left><font face=Arial size=1>• </font><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1>Positive conclusion from negative premise</font></div><br/><div align=left><font face=Arial size=1>• </font><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1>Shifting the burden of proof</font></div><br/><div align=left><font face=Arial size=1>• </font><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1>Trivial questions</font> <br/><div><font face=Arial size=1>• </font><font face=Arial color=#231f20 size=1>Wishful thinking</font></div></div>>

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:39 -0400)

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This is the work your friends will wish you had never read, a witty guide to arguing successfully. Each entry deals with a fallacy, explaining what it is, analysing an example and showing how you can penetrate it to win an argument.

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