Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Reflection on Logical Fallacies Activity

This week in class we learned about logical fallacies and their role in invalidating arguments through flawed reasoning. There are numerous logical fallacies and some include but are not limited to Ad Hominem, Slippery Slope, Bandwagon, and Strawman. The existence of these fallacies in arguments indicate the unsound nature of said argument. For this project, my partner, Saba, and I further investigated the slippery slope fallacy. We defined the fallacy as the argument that claims that one event must result from one or more initial events. Slippery slopes are very common in everyday life. My partner and I were able to identify them in speeches, political cartoons and advertisements. The first of the pictures posted shows a quote by Donald Trump which displays this fallacy quite clearly. In the quote Trump goes from stating the worst of Mexican people to saying they're not all bad. This shows the rather illogical manner of slippery slope fallacies. The other image is an ad that calls for an end to animal abuse. The slippery slope aspect of the argument is evident because the ad was asserting that stopping animal abuse and domestic violence are interconnected. These examples show how slippery slopes are easily disguised for the manipulation of the people, making it all the more effective.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Reflection of the article "Don’t Fight Flames With Flames Social Media Arguments: Can’t-Win Propositions"

The article, "Don’t Fight Flames With Flames Social Media Arguments: Can’t-Win Propositions" by Nick Bilton argues that social media arguments cannot be won and that people are better off not commenting their opinion. The purpose of this piece was to persuade the audience to believe that social media arguments are pointless and have no valuable outcome. The author deployed a colloquial tone which contributed to a sense of casualness and trust. He wrote with authority on the subject - as a frequent social media user. Bilton made his argument by providing a personal anecdote about giving one's opinion on social media. He stated " Emotions were running high. O.K. — deep breath — last year I got into an argument with a group of people on Twitter about Trayvon Martin". Bilton's use of diction is evident here as he makes painfully clear his shame for posting his opinion on social media. He went on to describe how his friend saw the situation and told him to "ABORT" and how he was pelted with hate-filled comments. Bilton supports his claim by providing several pieces of evidence proving that social media arguments can't be won. He mentions journalists whose advice was to never engage in conversation. Despite using several pieces of evidence to support his claim, the author never points out any good that can come out of social media arguments. In fact, he portrayed the argument as if that was the only side to the story. While the author fails to mention the positives he did however make some valid points about the motive and the speed of the arguments. However, from a wider perspective, it should be noted that social media is increasing awareness of current events. People can learn about current events from watching a short clip on Facebook as opposed to watching the news or reading the newspaper.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Reflection on The Wisdom of Psycopaths

In the text The Wisdom of Psychopaths Kevin Dutton argues that psychopaths possess qualities that set them up for success throughout their life. Dutton, a British psychologist, asserts that psychopathic traits are an advantage in certain fields. The author mentions that qualities such as fearlessness, ruthlessness and being charming and focused are all attributes that allow a psychopath to take charge and function appropriately in high stress situations. The author lists occupations such as bomb-disposal operatives, surgeons, and CEOs and states that many of these people possess psychopathic qualities. To display the validity of his claim the author provides several studies conducted by several universities. For instance, he describes a study done by Lilianne Mujica-Parodi at Stony Brook University in which they collected fear sweat and regular sweat and made volunteers inhale the sweat with the help of a device. The results showed that people who inhaled the fear sweat were more alert and had more brain activity as opposed to those who breathed in the regular sweat. This allowed the researches to come up with the conclusion that fear is "contagious" and prompted them to inquire about immunity to this apparent biological component that makes stress contagious. After conducting more experiments, the researchers found that psychopaths were unfazed by the fear sweat and thought rationally, without allowing the anxiety to get to them. This study illustrates how psychopaths have a biological component that allows them to be more focused, making them suitable for certain positions. This article was effective as it provided numerous pieces of evidence to support its claim of fact. I took a great liking to this text and it reminded me of one of the characters, Mona, from the show Pretty Little Liars. Mona, who was administered to a sanitarium for psychological treatment, showed the aforementioned qualities of ruthlessness and manipulative charm as well as the the ability to function rationally in high stress situations. Due to this connection, the text seemed more compelling and unique in its categorization of psychopaths as people of success.