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The Skill of Discourse PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Abdun Nur   
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While arguments attempt to show that something is, will be, or should be the case, explanations try to show why or how something is or will be.

Deductive arguments are better viewed as valid or invalid, not true or false, as people are biased by their preconceived beliefs in the truth or falsity of propositions, if an argument is valid, and its (propositions) premises are proved true, the conclusion must be true: a valid argument cannot have true premises and a false conclusion, but may have false premises and so a false conclusion, this is known as a fallacy.

Example of a fallacy:Spiders crawl into an open mouth; you eat one spider each year while you sleep” (a false premise so a false conclusion)

The premise (proposition) is either:

A priori (meaning from that which comes before); knowledge or justification that is independent of experience.

Example of a priori premise:Some politicians tell lies as easily as they steal.” (It expresses a statement that one can derive by reason alone)

A posteriori (meaning after the fact) knowledge or justification that is dependent on experience or empirical evidence.

Example of a posteriori premise: “All politicians have sworn an oath to the Crown corporation, not the people they subjugate.” (It expresses an empirical fact unknowable by reason alone)

The relationship of claims, premises, warrants, relations of implication, and conclusion –is not always spelled out and immediately visible, to understand and be able to analyse deductive argument is an essential skill we must all develop, being a requirement of establishing common/natural law.

The three forms of argument.

Sophistry: a specious (pleasing to the eye but deceptive) argument used for deceiving someone.

Example of sophistry:"I am a news broadcaster and make a business out of only telling the truth" (plausible, pleasing and reassuring to the mind by absolutely false)

This form of Superficially plausible argument is defeasible when additional information (such as new counter-reasons) can have the effect that it no longer justifies the conclusion, so destroying the premise.

Sophistry has many methods of application beyond the completely fabricated premise;

Taking negative details and magnify them, while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation.

Example:“Immigrants are involved in crime, are lazy and take from the tax payers” ( Overgeneralization through small negative incidents to support the distorted conclusion)

A single detail may be picked out, and the whole event becomes colored by this detail.

Example:Muslim terrorists all follow Islam, so Islam is evil” (Global labelling generalizes a judgement so ignores all contrary evidence.

This form of deceptive argument is used primarily in the media, but also in politics and education.

Dialectic debate: The art or practice of logical discussion as employed in investigating the truth of a theory or opinion, based on conflicting ideas. Rhetoric is the art of using language to communicate effectively and persuasively

Devils advocate based debates are commonly utilised by politicians, in which both sides are committed to their viewpoint, as a debate of persuasion, not reasoned conclusion. This encourages polarised thinking which prevents the considering of alternative ideas.


Example:“We must protect the environment by taxing people, and industry, and legislating to restrict abuses to make them reduce their pollution.


We must not restrict industry with environmental protection legislation and environmental taxation, it will stop it from competing in the world market.” (Politicians present no true dichotomised choice, only debate)

Critical Discourse:(to run to and fro) arguments through spoken or written debate from different standpoints and there conclusions to resolution.

This is a formalized way of thinking, and expressing, based upon testing, and critical consideration of evidence and propositions, the real measure of argument is through honest and critical discourse.

Understood as a medium to valid conclusion, discourse functions as a powerful tool through which linguistic conventions social and political beliefs and practices, ideologies, subject positions, and norms can all be mediated.

Discursive practices are needed to establish purpose, knowledge and judgement, making this form of argument an essential tool in life.

Common/Natural law

Once you have mastered and are practised at critical discourse the identification and establishment of true conclusions can be achieved with confidence.

This is important within common/natural law, as it is based, not on corporate or cannon law, but a twelve peer committee of plea system, assembly and deliberation in the constitution of fairness through tort remedy, this being the true method of operation of the common/natural law of the land.

This natural structure has no place for the dictates of judges or any other administrators of a court, but requires the sound consideration of twelve peers to conclude a reasoned judgement, and then the establishment of a tort (wrongful act) remedy (through the remedy of previous examples similar to the case decided).


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