The Unseen Danger Fallacy

‘Commonly found in the more fevered corners of political ideology are the various fallacies of danger – those forms of argument that seek to stave off decision by conjuring up all manner of horrors that precipitate change might lead to (or, conversely, the disasters that delay will engender). The 19th-century political thinker and reformer Jeremy Bentham called this “the hobgoblin argument” since it warns of mythical horrors lurking unseen by all but the one kind enough to point them out to us.’

– “Can you spot a rhetorical fallacy?” The Guardian, 13 September 2013

The Limits of Debate Fallacy

‘An increasingly common variant of such a tactic takes the form of a self-designated umpire who joins in with online disputes by asserting their authority to police the limits of debate. They declare that if they (a typical, reasonable and fair-minded person) find something hard to understand then it must be wrong or mere sophistry; that if they find something too extreme it must be completely insane; that if they feel someone has gone too far then they must have.’

– “Can you spot a rhetorical fallacy?” The Guardian, 13 September 2013

Freedom of Speech Anecdote

When Dr Samuel Johnson had finished his great lexicography, the first real English dictionary, he was visited by various delegations of people to congratulate him including a delegation of London’s respectable womanhood who came to his parlour in Fleet Street and said ‘Doctor, we congratulate you on your decision to exclude all indecent words from your dictionary.’ Whereupon he said ‘Ladies, I congratulate you on your persistence in  looking them up.’

The Authority Fallacy

‘A lot of fallacious forms of argument cluster around the use of “authorities”. It is often necessary in argument to make use of some kind of authority – if only because we want to refer to facts and findings. But authorities can also be used as a way to bully opponents by suggesting that in failing to agree with some venerated source they must themselves be weak-minded, ignorant or wildly and dangerously at odds with common standards.’

– “Can you spot a rhetorical fallacy?” The Guardian, 13 September 2013

Gricean Maxims

According to the linguist Paul Grice, the cooperative principle is a norm governing all cooperative interactions among humans. The principle consists of four maxims:

  • The maxim of quantity, where one tries to be as informative as one possibly can, and gives as much information as is needed, and no more.
  • The maxim of quality, where one tries to be truthful, and does not give information that is false or that is not supported by evidence.
  • The maxim of relation, where one tries to be relevant, and says things that are pertinent to the discussion.
  • The maxim of manner, when one tries to be as clear, as brief, and as orderly as one can in what one says, and where one avoids obscurity and ambiguity.

“The greater the ambiguity, the greater the pleasure.” ― Milan Kundera

Death is #2

‘I saw a thing, actually a study that said: speaking in front of a crowd is considered the number one fear of the average person. I found that amazing. Number two, was death. Death is number two? This means, to the average person, if you have to be at a funeral, you would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.’

Seinfeld, J. (1998). I’m Telling You For The Last Time. Broadhurst Theatre, New York: Universal Records.

The Mental Disorders of Mr Bean

Mr Bean seems to be merely a child trapped inside a man’s body, looking at the world with a bright awe in his face, constantly doing silly things. Bean is never seen to question his actions, but accepts everything he does. What is going on behind that innocent grin and wide-eyed expression?

“Phil, you’re just an eight-year-old trapped inside a twelve-year-old’s body.” – Glen Cullen, The Thick Of It

Throughout the entire original series Mr Bean mostly speaks with mumbles, or one word responses like “Bean”. Monosyllabic word choice could link to possible autism, Asperger Syndrome, or possible Savant Syndrome as all of these are usually accompanied by lexical hindrances. Bean is Socially Awkward. His life-long friend is a Teddy bear and his closest human relationship is Irma Gobb, which is frosty at best. This furthers the theory of Bean registering somewhere on the Autism Spectrum, as he either struggles to form social relationships, or chooses not to. Mr Bean possesses an apparent vulnerability, he is innocent and sweetly naive yet selfish and highly vindictive when he wants to be. He switches between these two modes like a child in his pre-teens. And, like any child, his first duty to himself is look out for himself – scratch the surface and you will discover that Bean is a highly selfish character.

“I think Mr Bean is a very uncynical character, he is actually very open and entirely self-centred and a highly vindictive character when he wants to be. Not at all pleasant, but at the same time I do not think he has any malice in him.” – Rowan Atkinson

Whenever Bean encounters the blue Reliant Robin (a three-wheeled car) he has to damage it, overtake it, or even try to knock it over. This behaviour could be an example of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Bean often gets himself into all manner of scrapes. Now, while it is true that a lot of the time the problems he creates for himself are completely his own fault, he does manage to come up with spectacular solutions time and time again. His original thinking and problem solving abilities do certainly point to some sort sort of above-average intelligence. All things taken into account, Mr Bean’s main disorder – if you can call it that – is probably High Functioning Autism.

9/iv mmxv

There are more living organisms in a teaspoonful of soil than there are people on the Earth.

One fourth of all the milk produced in Ireland is used for producing Baileys.

During the entire Second World War, as far as we know, there were only two casualties on Greenland – a Danish and German soldier.

During conversations most laughter happens after banal comments, not funny ones. Only about 10-20% of comments before laughs are even remotely funny.

The ancient Romans sold pee collected from public urinals; those who traded in urine had to pay a tax.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts