Bloviating For The Public Good

Dudebros on the internet like to retreat into “Socratic logic” styles of argumentation to justify all kinds of awful opinions. Once you get to “You’re being irrational” or “Is what I said not logical?” or “That’s not an argument,” you know you’re in for some bullshit.

After four years inside of a philosophy department and three years at law school, I have a pretty okay bullshit detector when it comes to discourse (I wish this applied to poker as well, but it turns out those are completely different talents). As far as I can tell, 99% of these “logical arguments” are riddled with fallacies, assumptions, switch-and-bait redefinitions, inconsistencies, and just plain old willful stupidity. And a lot of the time, this written garbage is used to justify misogyny.

But sometimes bloviated pontification can be productive. Here is a particularly excellent example of great discourse from the great philosopher A.J. Ayer, known best for his work on logical positivism:

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Quasi-scientific logical long-windedness is good for many things, though its primary effects are to delay and to confuse. Use those powers for good, my friends. E.g., to stop rape. 

Alfred_Jules_Ayer

Bless you, Professor Ayer.