flewellyn: (Default)
[personal profile] flewellyn
I've found that I am becoming more and more irritated by the common-in-some-circles debate trope of "answering a series of rhetorical questions". You know the form, no doubt: "Is this X? Well, does it resemble X? Yes. Could it be said to be related to X? Maybe. Is it definitely X? No." Or what have you. When I see someone engage in this trope, I find myself rolling my eyes, and it makes me less interested in their argument.

Why? Well, I've noticed that the people who tend to do this are those arguing that an observation by an oppressed person about their oppression, isn't really true because XYZ. The questions themselves tend to be of the "temporary tactical concession" type, where the arguer will admit that something may sort of be somewhat like what the original person said in some way, but surely it's not really exactly like that. It's a dismissive tactic, used for dismissive arguments.

And, well, the pattern I've observed is that the people who do this "pose rhetorical questions and then give quick, decisive answers to them in rapid succession" thing, generally don't have a real argument to present to begin with. It's not the same as asking a rhetorical question, or even a set of them, and then taking the time to carefully respond in detail to each one, coming up with a reasoned, factually-based response. This is just rapid fire, single word dismissals. If anything, I find it a sign of intellectual laziness.

Date: 2010-08-12 11:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cacahuate.livejournal.com
Hmm, I haven't noticed a correlation between that trope and oppression-faily arguments or the lack of an argument. Though I do think it can be a sign of lazy writing.

Date: 2010-08-13 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pixxelpuss.livejournal.com
It's less a trope, to my mind, than a simple rhetorical device. I admit that I use it fairly regularly. But I don't think that I use it in that particular context. Maybe I do. Is it really the structure that bugs you, or the dismissive bullshit? Or both?

Date: 2010-08-14 07:23 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-08-16 05:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] happiestsadist.livejournal.com
Hmm, this is a very good observation.


flewellyn: (Default)

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