Black box argument

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A black box argument is any argument where key components of the argument (e.g. the premises and reasoning) are not open to debate. It is a form of rhetorical deception in that the lack of falsifiability means that emotional arguments are much more likely to be effective in convincing the audience to agree.

The phrase "black box" refers to the systems concept of a system component whose internals are not up for discussion.

Types of black box arguments:

Types of arguments that are not black box:

  • the appeal to consensus: a true consensus involves discussion of lines of reasoning which can be further examined by those outside the consensus. If those lines of reasoning are not available for examination, then the consensus becomes simply an unsubstantiated belief.