Devil’s Voice

The tactic of maintaining an argument on the ambiguous borderline between serious and “only joking”. This allows the commentator to back both horses in a two-horse race: If the argument is accepted as sound, she can take the credit for it; if it is thought to be completely ridiculous, that’s all right, because she’s only joking (but it does make the point). “To make the point” is a popular but insidious form of argument: it hovers between material truth and untruth, allowing a detachment, an absence from grounded discussion, whose main expression is noise.

 

Related entries:

Hyperbole, Quibble, Reductio ad Absurdum.

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David Fleming
Dr David Fleming (2 January 1940 – 29 November 2010) was an economist, historian and writer, based in London. He was among the first to reveal the possibility of peak oil's approach and invented the influential TEQs scheme, designed to address this and climate change. He was also a significant figure in the development of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement and the New Economics Foundation, as well as a Chairman of the Soil Association. His wide-ranging independent analysis culminated in two critically acclaimed books, Lean Logic and Surviving the Future. A film about his perspective and legacy - The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation? - was released in 2019, directed by BAFTA-winning director Peter Armstrong. For more information, including on Lean Logic, click the little globe below!

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