Tautology

An argument which uses the premise from which it starts as proof that the premise is true. This is a form of begging the question, but it is more insidious because it does not even acknowledge that the question exists. It comes in the form:

We have to be competitive, and therefore we have to be competitive [and now we have established that reason is on our side we can say anything we like].

This is effective because of its escape from reason: in defence of a blazing certainty you can go straight into the heights of hyperbole and indignation:

We reject all morality which has not a human, class perspective. We affirm that it is a fraud, a deceit and a form of brainwashing imposed on workers and peasants in the interest of plutocrats and capitalists. We declare that our morality is entirely subordinate to the interests of the working class in its struggle. Our morality is dedicated to the benefit of the class war . . .

And this is why we say so: for us, morality detached from human society has no existence: it is a fraud. For us, morality is subordinate to the proletariat’s class struggle.

Vladimir Lenin, 1920.T5

As Françoise Thom notes, the language of the tautology simulates logical progression but remains completely motionless and reduced to an echo of itself.T6

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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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