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Is personality a stronger attribute in argumentation than logic?

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Some people believe that who ever looks more persuasive, or comes off as appearing to be more persuasive, would do better at actually being more persuasive than someone who only has sound logical reasoning in their arsenal. When ricahrd nixon was running against John F Kennedy for the presidency, they had a presidential debate that was watched on television and heard on the radio.The majority of people who watched the debate on television believed John F Kennedy won the debate. But those who listened to the debate on the radio believed that Mr Nixon won the debate. This lead some to ponder whether the visual aspect of the debate somehow seemed to give Mr Kennedy an advantage that had nothing to do with sound logical reasoning, and more to do with a more aesthetically appealing show of argumentation.

In the 90s there was a progressive metal band named tool (they happened to also be the first band I ever saw in concert). They had an interesting "song" that was just someone speaking in German in a dominating manner that was seeped in conviction, which was an obvious attempt to sound like adolf hitler. A lot of my friends who were fans of this band actually took the time to figure out what the speaker on the song (Maynard James Keenen) was saying. We were all kind of perplexed to find out that it was nothing more than a recipe for Mexican wedding cookies. We didn't understand why there was so much passion and frenzy put into the voice who was saying nothing of any importance to anybody except maybe those who may be planning a wedding. Then one day it hit me what the message of the song was. It doesn't matter what you say, it only matters how you say it. The words of the speaker of the song were of no importance, he was basically saying nothing. How he said it made it seem so important that people were going out of their way to find out what he was saying.  Perhaps that is how hitler could convince an entire nation of intellectual might to follow a disastrous policy of governance. 

This begs the question, is personality a more important tactic than logical reasoning?   

        



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  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 3849 Pts   -  
    @piloteer I guess that depends on what the goal is. If the goal is to convince people of things, then yes charisma, appearance, and mannerisms are all very important, whereas if you are trying to be right about something then logic and reason are the main game in town. It's why people like Trump, Ben Shapiro, Greta Thunberg, and AOC are often made central figures in the public sphere despite having S*** for arguments. They all look and act the part they are trying to convey, as well as giving their message in a way that sounds good to or "resonates" with the people they are trying to appeal to.

    Meanwhile, the nerds who are really behind all of this stuff are pushed to the side in obscure blogs and discussions to come to a consensus that will never get any mainstream traction because people are either to ignorant or to impatient to learn about any of this or think about it critically.
    piloteerDebater123smoothie
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • piloteerpiloteer 1111 Pts   -   edited December 2020
    @Happy_Killbot

    That all may be true, but I wonder if we all are susceptible to fall victim to the cult of personality. I sometimes wonder how many good responses I get on this site because people believe I appear "witty and insightful", when in fact it is nothing more than a sleek and humorous argument that is actually devoid of any real logic. In other words, are the people who we look up to because of their insight or intellectual integrity able to say something that is not at all logical but we would still consider it to be simply because of who they are?  (not to say anybody looks up to me here)
  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 3849 Pts   -  
    @piloteer ;
    That all may be true, but I wonder if we all are susceptible to fall victim to the cult of personality. I sometimes wonder how many good responses I get on this site because people believe I appear "witty and insightful", when in fact it is nothing more than a sleek and humorous argument that is actually devoid of any real logic.  
    Appealing to people's emotions is really powerful. Doubly so if they have no idea that it is happening. In fact, the best way to manipulate someone is to say just enough that people fill in the blanks on their own, so that they make the fallacious points to themselves that you don't have to yourself. Jordan Peterson is an expert at this. He will say something borderline, then when someone accuses him of saying something fringe he dials it back and explains he means something else more moderate. His viewers of course don't notice and will happily accept the actual fringe belief, but this vindicates Peterson of any wrongdoing.

    Everyone who is not a psychopath is susceptible to emotional manipulation. The best you can do is to learn about this stuff and then build your own defenses and counters to it.
    piloteerDebater123smoothie
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • piloteerpiloteer 1111 Pts   -   edited December 2020
    @Happy_Killbot

    I do agree. I made an argument against xjL_dolphin in the debate about hate crime. I willfully pointed out that one aspect of my argument was an appeal to emotion and that was the portion of the argument I used against them. Dolphin actually ended up marking my argument as a great argument and has not retorted since. The problem is that my counterargument was not complete and could be dissected and shown to be incomplete or even incorrect. But regardless of me being totally forthcoming with the fact that it was nothing more than an emotional appeal, that person turned around and marked my argument against them as a great argument. That exchange was actually the inspiration for this thread.

    Dolphin tried arguing that since hate speech is protected by law, then it means that hate crime is not a more severe crime than a regular crime. Admittedly that is an incomplete argument in and of itself, but my retort was equally incomplete, and yet it was still marked as a great argument by the very person I used it as a counterargument against. My counterargument was that since we as a society have the capability to consider sexual crimes against children to be especially egregious and therefore more severe, then we also have the capability to consider hate crimes to be especially egregious criminal actions and therefore more severe. That is an absolutely incomplete logical reasoning. 

    First off, it is a difficult argument to retort to because now someone may be put into a position of having to fend off being tied to a social stigma (in this case, pedophilia). But a skilled debater could actually have pointed out that we as a society have the capability to consider some crimes more severe than others, so in other words, we as a society have the capability to perceive certain crimes as more severe. Since our perception as a society is not necessarily static, that means purpose perception can be changed by using persuasion. Beyond that, it doesn't necessarily stand to reason that if someone is against considering hate crimes more severe, it doesn't mean they are then against considering sexual crimes against children to be more severe. Especially if somebody is the victim of a sexual abuse as a child and they definitely have a hatred of people who have sexually abused a child and they do not want hate crimes against pedophiles to be considered more severe.

    I wonder if somebody were to go that thread and point out that my argument is not complete, that they could actually be persuasive against my unsound argument. Admittedly, just because one person on this site has been bamboozled into believing an unsound argument it doesn't mean you are wrong, but I still wonder if even the most mentally strong people in society are susceptible to being persuaded by unsound or illogical reasoning simply because of who it is persuading them, or how they persuaded them.

    Jordan Peterson uses sociology in his argumentation which automatically rules his arguments out as reliable to me because sociology is not a viable science.      
    Happy_Killbot
  • xlJ_dolphin_473xlJ_dolphin_473 1131 Pts   -  
    @piloteer
    I have now responded, but which part was an emotional appeal? I'm not sure I understand it. Also, emotional appeal is a valid argumentative tactic, as you have your ethos (appeal to ethics), logos (appeal to logic) and pathos (appeal to emotion).
    piloteer
  • piloteerpiloteer 1111 Pts   -  
    @xlJ_dolphin_473

    I agree that an emotional appeal can be effective, but it doesn't need to be entirely accurate whereas an appeal to objective facts should be accurate.  
  • IdeaoftheEndlessIdeaoftheEndless 129 Pts   -  
    @piloteer
    Objective facts are not necessarily accurate. There is room for error, there is a possibility that we may discover something new which disproved it, there is a possibility that the more we understand about something the more the truth changes. What does research exist for? What makes you believe you know everything perfectly or understand everything perfectly? Oh the self righteous hubris. (random rant, don't mind it)
    piloteer
  • piloteerpiloteer 1111 Pts   -  
    @IdeaoftheEndless

    @piloteer
    Objective facts are not necessarily accurate. There is room for error, there is a possibility that we may discover something new which disproved it, there is a possibility that the more we understand about something the more the truth changes. What does research exist for? What makes you believe you know everything perfectly or understand everything perfectly? Oh the self righteous hubris. (random rant, don't mind it)
    This is true with all forms of proof, or logic, to some degree, but if the scientific method is used with care, then the parameters of what is not known about a certain phenom will be stated so. When the scientific method is used correctly, then the scientists will admit to not having the data to understand something completely.

     But I don't think the theory of relativity will be disproved, just as that theory didn't disprove the theory of gravity. It updated it. There may be room for error in some details, but when the scientific method is applied correctly, then a theory will stand on solid objective truths.

    The scientific study of physics is constantly demonstrating that the more we know, the more we know we don't know. Nobody is claiming to know everything perfectly or understand everything perfectly.             
    IdeaoftheEndless
  • IdeaoftheEndlessIdeaoftheEndless 129 Pts   -  
    @piloteer
    That's great to hear, actually I was lashing out on people who think they can predict everything, know everything and it'll go exactly as they say because of this mathematical model or statistical model they made as if they could ever even know all the variables concerning it, much less be able to enter sufficiently accurate data to predict such chaotic systems. The objective truth talk and the so called facts have always make me irksome. It's my personal issue, I recognize now that when you said objective facts you merely meant that it would be more accurate and not truly accurate as the words appeared to have conveyed. Cheers  ;) 

    piloteer
  • piloteerpiloteer 1111 Pts   -   edited January 3
    @IdeaoftheEndless

    I agree, but there are those who reject any notion of the existence of objective truth altogether. I find this to be just as irksome. It's true that empirical evidence can stand alone by itself whereas objective truth must have an empirical starting point to begin with. But only going on empirical evidence and denying objective truth means to deny that truths actually occur outside of our spectrum of experience. Empiricism means evidence that can be verified by experiencing it for ourselves (seeing it, hearing it, smelling it, or feeling it).

    Objective evidence goes beyond experience and finds truths beyond our capability of experience. When someone says something like "you can't prove a negative", they are usually making an appeal to empirical evidence alone. But when we dissect that statement, we find that that statement can not even be proven empirically. Someone would have had to have been in every single place in our universe since the beginning of the universes existence to know that it is an empirical fact that we cannot prove a negative. If the entirety of existence has not been personally experienced by the person making that claim, then they cannot actually know that a negative has never been proven.          

    Empirical evidence can be confirmed to be indisputably true because it can be witnessed occurring first hand. Objective proofs work on a principal of probability rather than indisputable fact. But the two complement each other when used in conjunction which is what the scientific method attempts to do. 

    Denying the existence of objective truth (like David Hume did) puts one on a slippery slope that could end in nihilism. If someone denies objective truth, then they either deny that truths actually occur outside of our spectrum of experience, or that those truths are actually impossible to verify. That's just a few shades away from solipsism (the idea that nobody exists but yourself). And from there, why not just go full throttle and go all the way nihilistic (the idea that nothing matters or even exists). I try not to adhere to overconfident hubris. But I also try not to adhere to nihilistic logic and accept that there are truths that we ourselves cannot experience, and we have the capability to have some semblance of verification on those truths.         
    IdeaoftheEndless
  • IdeaoftheEndlessIdeaoftheEndless 129 Pts   -   edited January 4
    @piloteer
    That's a nice thought. So the ideal theory to work with would be the perfect balance between the two opposite sides of the spectrum. Yes I agree that neither extremes would be reasonable. I personally am a very theoretical person who makes theories of everything around me so I'm not that much of an empiricist but here is my dilemma. I have come across a few hypotheses of mine which are definitely true, all the data I have ever observed confirms it. However I simply can't prove it no matter how much i try using the current axioms. Now here comes the dilemma. Should i declare it as an axiom? Maybe but I haven't seen all of infinity and can never. However what if I have not seen enough data to be able to call it an axiom? I can't say, but if it is true then i can't prove it or disprove it yet based on all the data I have observed. So now comes the main question, what is it that we can consider axiomatic and when?
    In my position would you declare it as an axiom or would you say it is just a maybe and leave it at that since you were unable to prove it from any existing axioms? Have fun thinking. 
    Cheers  ;)
    piloteer
  • IdeaoftheEndlessIdeaoftheEndless 129 Pts   -   edited January 4
    @piloteer
    Basically saying what I said above with more brevity my query is when is it that we can axiom our way out of a proof if all the empirical data we have observed supports it, however none of the current axioms are sufficient to prove it. Basically when can we decide something to be an axiom with no proof except we have seen a lot of data? This is something i constantly struggle with. What are your thoughts?

  • piloteerpiloteer 1111 Pts   -  
    @IdeaoftheEndless

    That's a lot to take in. Give me a couple days on that one. There's some things to consider there.  
    IdeaoftheEndless
  • smoothiesmoothie 414 Pts   -  
    I would say they can be equally important. We like to think of logic as more important but ethos/pathos can overpower logos at times.

    Idiots who have no idea what they are talking about can come off as smart just because of how they act and present themselves. We see it all the time, great examples on this website in fact. A great way for making unknowing others believe you are credible is to just come off as very confident in what you say, even when those you are debating note failing logic.
    why so serious?
  • xlJ_dolphin_473xlJ_dolphin_473 1131 Pts   -   edited January 6
    @smoothie
    smoothie said:
    I would say they can be equally important. We like to think of logic as more important but ethos/pathos can overpower logos at times.
    That is definitely true: while logic is a more accurate argument, ethos and pathos can be far more persuasive. That could be because logic requires people to think carefully about the argument, and our brains are efficient: i.e. they tend to think as little as possible. Ethos and especially pathos do not require that level of thinking, and therefore can be more effective to certain audiences.
    smoothie said:
    Idiots who have no idea what they are talking about can come off as smart just because of how they act and present themselves. We see it all the time, great examples on this website in fact. A great way for making unknowing others believe you are credible is to just come off as very confident in what you say, even when those you are debating note failing logic.
    Ah yes, the phenomenon of "Confident B S" as I like to call it. I'd say that persuading people is at least 50% how you say things, rather than what you say.
    piloteersmoothie
  • piloteerpiloteer 1111 Pts   -   edited January 12
    @IdeaoftheEndless

    It would be difficult to say whether declaring specific points of your theory as axioms would work without me seeing the full scope of said theory. I would say that even though there's a lot of relativity in philosophy, axioms tend to not be the place for that. Axioms should be chosen carefully, and to be honest, it doesn't really seem like the kind of thing that can be tossed around and speculated on. Axioms are arguments that are as generally accepted as possible (and there will always be detractors). Axioms are really already set as is. The reason axioms are generally accepted is because they are virtually impossible to refute adequately. You can claim this or that is an axiom, but if it is not generally accepted as such, then you'll need to go back to the drawing board. Ideally, all theories of that nature would hope to base as much of it as possible on already generally accepted axioms, and leave as little as possible up to mere speculation. You could entertain the idea of creating new axioms, but there's a lot of work involved in that, and don't count on those new axioms being accepted in your lifetime.       
    IdeaoftheEndless
  • IdeaoftheEndlessIdeaoftheEndless 129 Pts   -   edited January 13
    piloteer said:
    @IdeaoftheEndless

    The reason axioms are generally accepted is because they are virtually impossible to refute adequately.
    Hasn't been refuted yet. Think it is possibly virtually impossible to do so...
    piloteer said:
    @IdeaoftheEndless

    You could entertain the idea of creating new axioms, but there's a lot of work involved in that, and don't count on those new axioms being accepted in your lifetime.       
    Yes I agree but wish we had a crystal clear way to know what to make an axiom or know what an axiom is. You know?

    Yah I do understand that but we have a lot of computing power to check nowadays and shouldn't there be some specific huge amount of data where in it becomes acceptable?

    That's all okay, but how much work exactly...what is the actual minimum requisite? A million digit number? A trillion digit number of the data? This is the issue...I mean I would need a supercomputer or several...but the issue remains, what is enough?

    There are quite a few problems which are unsolved or unsolvable using current axioms so I mean, they could all be resolved by making them axioms if we only knew the minimum requisite of data sets...quite a few irrefutable ideas exist...with massive amounts of data supporting it...but no clear logic behind it...just one idea or truth...

    Well, I just think that a lot of truths are being hidden and buried just because they're not as easy to accept...even if we have overwhelming amounts of data supporting it and nothing to disprove it...piloteer said:
    @IdeaoftheEndless

    Axioms should be chosen carefully, and to be honest, it doesn't really seem like the kind of thing that can be tossed around and speculated on.  
    Yet at one point they must have been to make them axioms although I completely agree with everything you're saying...however...

    piloteer said:
    @IdeaoftheEndless
     Ideally, all theories of that nature would hope to base as much of it as possible on already generally accepted axioms, and leave as little as possible up to mere speculation.   
    Ideally yes, however we do not know if we know all the axioms which are necessary and making it generally accepted is just a matter of people...I don't consider logic to be a democracy...although I do agree with you...that is indeed how it works...

    I just think there is something inherently wrong about this system, it possibly has room for improvement in being more rigorous...no?
    If it were just a little more well defined we could be able to speed up our quest for knowledge and gain it faster possibly...I just personally have some qualms with this and perhaps lack some understanding myself, however I think this system does too...
    There is yet some more room for improvement, accuracy and more axioms perhaps...it is my opinion though...you may have different views on the matter...this is my argument...
    piloteer
  • IdeaoftheEndlessIdeaoftheEndless 129 Pts   -  
    @piloteer
    Ah yes, very practical advice. Thank you. 
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