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Persuasive Writing by Peter Frederick

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11

Persuasion – the Dark Arts

I recently read The Duck that Won the Lottery by Julian Baggini. This contains 100 ‘bad’ arguments, i.e. arguments with a fundamental flaw. Whilst there’s no doubting all these arguments are flawed, some are still very persuasive if your reader doesn’t spot the fallacy at the heart of the argument.

This presents me with a moral dilemma – should I advocate the use of lies and deceit as a persuasive tool? Actually it isn’t much of a dilemma as these flawed arguments are used every day anyway, especially in politics and journalism. If you’re going to do it, you might as well understand what you are doing. This chapter pulls together a selection of interesting fallacious arguments from various sources and gives ...

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