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Author Topic: Law schools + religious right  (Read 2860 times)

LitDoc

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2006, 12:38:51 PM »
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even if the rhetorical part of the debate figures into 50% of the points awarded, a team could do really well on the non-rhetorical parts of the debate and still win with a mediocre rhetorical score.  Also, as has been pointed out, rhetorical does not necessarily equal emotional.

What, exactly, would a "non-rhetorical part of a debate" look like? As I understand "debate" and "rhetoric," a debate is 100% rhetorical. Am I missing something?
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nukelaw

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2006, 12:39:20 PM »
Uh, just a comment, y'all do understand that these are undergrads not law students, right?

Alamo

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2006, 12:47:18 PM »
Note my qualification "as is humanly possible."  I realize the power and practical usage of precedent (no need to reinvent the wheel), and the power of emotion to influence people.  I'm simply saying that in my view, logic should be the foundation. 

To the extent that an emotional reaction can be logically predicted (a Muslim state-owned company controlling our ports will anger our xenophibic population), emotion must be considered in our laws.  But emotion or custom should not trump logic. 

To the extent that precedent is founded upon currently accepted logic, it should be practically utilized.  To the extent it does not support currently accepted logic, it should be (and is on a regular basis by SCOTUS) discarded. 

Plessy v. Ferguson stood for nearly 60 years based solely on pathos and ethos.  I believe that it was overturned based on logic (granted, much of which was based on the emotional responses that would logically follow predicted from the ruling).

Maybe I am incorrectly interpreting ethos, but again, TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE, I favor a rule of law with logic and reason as its guiding lights.
I must admit that I may have been infected with society's prejudices and predilections and attributed them to God . . . and that in years hence I may be seen as someone who was on the wrong side of history.  I don't believe such doubts make me a bad Christian.  I believe they make me human . . .

Alamo

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2006, 12:52:28 PM »
Uh, just a comment, y'all do understand that these are undergrads not law students, right?

Touche; I don't think some people do.  The article does state that 75% of Liberty's debaters go on to be lawyers though.  I hope I do end up at school with one or two of them, I'd be interested to hear them in action.
I must admit that I may have been infected with society's prejudices and predilections and attributed them to God . . . and that in years hence I may be seen as someone who was on the wrong side of history.  I don't believe such doubts make me a bad Christian.  I believe they make me human . . .

allthatjazz

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2006, 01:05:22 PM »
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What, exactly, would a "non-rhetorical part of a debate" look like? As I understand "debate" and "rhetoric," a debate is 100% rhetorical. Am I missing something?

I suppose the rhetorical part of the debate would be "rhetorical ability" as termed by Lily.  According to her "old roomie" rhetorical ability can account for one-quarter to one-half of a team's score.  The balance of the points scored come from things that are not qualified as "rhetorical ability" I would guess.  Maybe quality of research (ie facts/statistics) presented, presentation of the argument, effectiveness of any rebuttal, etc.
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LitDoc

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2006, 01:32:36 PM »
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Litdoc, your point on the power of ethos is not lost on me - such as the reaction I felt when you stated that my response was "a little ignorant."  Angry  I started thinking, "Who is this a-hole with a PhD . . . " but then I realized you were just making a point, although I am still unable to divorce my anger towards your insulting my intelligence from my response, as I'm sure you'll notice below.

Alamo79, as I said, no offense was intended. I did NOT insult your intelligence. There's a huge difference between ignorance and stupidity. Saying that a desire to divorce law from ethos and pathos is "a little ignorant" is saying only that, in advocating this divorce, the role of ethos and pathos in law is insufficiently acknowledged and/or understood.

A bit of unasked for advice: in law school and throughout your career as a lawyer, people are going to attack your arguments (and your person) in ways much more potent than my previous post -- which wasn't really intended as an attack. You might want to develop thicker skin.

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I'm simply saying that in my view, logic should be the foundation.
... emotion or custom should not trump logic.

I don't think I disputed the idea that logic/reason should be the foundation, nor did I suggest that you yourself had said otherwise. And no one's claiming that emotion should trump logic.

On the question of "custom," though, I think you may run into a briarpatch. An important legal consideration is what might be called "custom." That is, judges decide cases all the time based on prevailing customs and attitudes. You refer to the SCOTUS and its overturning of precedents -- one of the best arguments for doing so is to make the current law conform to current customs, attitudes, social values, etc. On strictly logical grounds, rooted in the doctrine of stare decisis, overturning precedent would be much more difficult.

Put succinctly, "custom" often trumps logic. And sometimes it should.

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Plessy v. Ferguson stood for nearly 60 years based solely on pathos and ethos.

This simply isn't true. Every legal argument, including this one, has logic/reason behind it (along with ethos and pathos). You continue to privilege logos over ethos and pathos, as though it is "more right" or "more reliable" or "less questionable" -- and this just isn't so. Logic is a rhetorical tool, just like appeals to emotion and to authority. It is always subject to questioning, revision, embrace or abandonment -- just like the others. Plessy had its reason -- we simply (finally) abandoned that logic.

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I favor a rule of law with logic and reason as its guiding lights.

I think we all do -- and I wasn't trying to suggest otherwise. Saying that law cannot be independent of ethos and pathos (my original response to your previous post) is NOT the same as saying ethos and pathos should outweigh logic/reason. You go overboard in your indignation at what I'm saying. We're in agreement that reason is to be preferred, at least in theory, to appeals to emotion and authority, when it comes to the law.

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Enjoy whatever crappy school you get into with that pathetic GPA.  A**hole.

This sounds like an overly emotional response, for someone so concerned with logic and reason. Again, I apologize for the offense. It wasn't intended. And thanks for your voice of support.  ;)
"There is no was." -- William Faulkner

University of Texas, Class of '09

LitDoc

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2006, 02:02:22 PM »
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I can't really find anything to disagree with you on, so I will simply wish you the best of luck.

Good luck to you, too.
"There is no was." -- William Faulkner

University of Texas, Class of '09

LitDoc

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2006, 02:43:03 PM »
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And if you think our country can't be run effectively if it favors emotion over reason, then it hasn't run effectively for decades and decades and decades

Yup.

I agree, it hasn't -- but not (only) because we've favored emotion over logic.

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However, if it [logic] were only a rhetorical tool, it would have no uses outside debate.  Logic seems to be much broader: it's a mental skill that's used to analyze virtually everything.

Well, this depends on what we mean by "rhetoric" and "rhetorical tool," and I would also say that you're equivocating a bit on the definition of "logic." As I mean it, and have been using it here -- a means of persuasion appealing to reason -- it is only or solely a rhetorical tool (rhetoric being the art of persuasion, and logic being one of the tools of that art). But as you're using it -- "a mental skill that's used to analyze virtually everything" -- you seem to be talking about a way of thinking, what we often call "critical thinking." And that's not the same as what I was talking about when I referred to "logic." A way of thinking and a means of persuasion are not the same thing.
"There is no was." -- William Faulkner

University of Texas, Class of '09

Happy_Weasel

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2006, 02:51:48 PM »
Gee, I wonder with right wing extremists begining to completely take over the system if liberals can start touting more populism.

LitDoc

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Re: Law schools + religious right
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2006, 05:47:41 PM »
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I'm not equivocating: I'm pointing out that there are two definitions that overlap, but aren't quite identical.  My problem with your post was that it seemed to be using the narrower definition to address a post by someone who seemed to be using the broader definition.

Okay. But I guess I would contend that the broader definition shouldn't be used here. The study & practice of law is largely a rhetorical endeavor -- the reading of arguments, and the making of arguments. And this thread is about debate, which is entirely a rhetorical endeavor. To talk about "logic" outside of rhetoric, in the sense of "critical thinking," is too broad -- critical thinking permeates all ares of academic study, not just law, and it entails more than an attention to logical formulations. I'm not sure how this broader definition of logic is useful here.

The point of my posts has been to undermine the privileging of logic over appeals to emotion and authority -- a privileging that is in part manifested in the tendency to generalize "logic" into broader notions of critical thinking. Narrowing the definition of "logic" and putting it back into its rhetorical place is part of de-privileging it.
"There is no was." -- William Faulkner

University of Texas, Class of '09