Rhetorical deception/valid uses

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Use of a rhetorical tool does not automatically invalidate the substance of the argument in which it is used.


If you are the audience for an argument that employs a rhetorical deception, its presence should be taken as a signal that the argument should be examined and handled with extra care.

Once a deception has been identified:

  • It may be called out. (This may or may not be productive, depending on circumstances.)
  • The argument should be evaluated as if the rhetoric were not present.

The presence of a rhetorical deception without an accompanying rational justification is a red flag.


If you are making of an argument, rhetorical deceptions should only be used as a supplement to arguments of a more rational nature – persuasive dressing on a rational salad.

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