Sleep Deprivation: War Interrogation – Francesca, Raiyan, Frances

  1. The text’s central argumentative point is that sleep deprivation is an immoral and torturous practice that goes against the ethical aim of war interrogation (to combat terrorism and enable world peace). The text is a combination of both factual and evaluative arguments. McPhedran passes judgement on the morality of the practice of sleep deprivation and the opinions put forward by members of the Australian Government and other significant figures. At the same time, factual claims such as the scientific facts about the physical harm caused by sleep deprivation were used by McPhedran to further generate his evaluations and arguments on Ruddock’s unwarranted opinion, and the immorality of sleep deprivation itself.
  2. The author puts forward more of an argumentation rather than general, personal opinion. This is evident through the author’s factual claims and evaluations of these significant figures that are followed by a causal link/statement that seeks to prove or make judgement. McPhedran uses these claims put forward by these figures, to generate debate on the topic (argumentative debates) and thus express the main claim. However, the author’s opinion is slightly echoed in the following sentence “Australian Federal Police boss Mick Keelty provided a better informed response.”
  3. The author does not explicitly state his central argument throughout the text, as he uses different personalities’ comments on the interrogation method to generate these arguments and underlying thoughts within the reader. However, the final paragraph can be seen as a summary of his central claim, and the underlying argument.
  4. I agree with the reading and believe that the author tries to give a stipulative definition of torture by including sleep deprivation within that definition to solidify his point. The central claim revolves around the understanding that sleep deprivation causes pain and pain is torture. Another contentious term with a stipulative definition is interrogation, McPhedran tries to construct the term’s definition to exclude torture in order justify his claim.
  5. Article’s primary claim here:Sleep deprivation is an immoral war interrogation method and form of torture that should not be usedJustification 1: (type: appeal to social norms)[because] it goes against the purpose of war interrogation which is to combat terrorism and promote world peace.

    Justification 2: (type: appeal to authority)

    And claims by those in favour of it lack the personal experience/authority to place such immoral judgement.

  6. Article’s primary claim here: Sleep deprivation is an immoral war interrogation method and form of torture that should not be used during warJustification 1: [because] it goes against the purpose of war interrogation which is to combat terrorism and promote world peace.Warrant for Justification 1: Sleep deprivation does not aid the quest for world peace, it shares common values with the enemy we are fighting.

    Justification 2: And claims by those in favour of it lack the personal experience/authority to place such immoral judgement.

    Warrant for Justification 2: Only those with credibility and authority can truly place opinion on the ethics of sleep deprivation.

  7. “Exactly what Attorney- General Philip Ruddock was doing even commenting is unclear, let alone supporting the practice as a means of getting information out of terrorist suspects. Ruddock has been a Liberal member of Parliament since 1973. Before that he was a Sydney solicitor. He has presumably enjoyed a comfortable night’s sleep, many of them at taxpayer expense, most nights for the past 33 years.”There is no textual correspondence or justification between Ruddock’s comments supporting sleep deprivation and the following retaliating paragraph. It is solely the author’s sarcastic and demeaning opinion on Ruddock’s ethical mindset. This can be seen as an example of Ad Hominem.

Sleep Deprivation Debate: Torture or Semantics – By Ryan Mahon and Jingxuan Chi

 

Question 1:

The central argumentative point is politicians should not support sleep-deprivation as a method of interrogating terror suspects as it is seen as a form of torture.

The article’s central argumentative point is based on a claim of evaluation as a value author of the article has passed judgement onto Phillip Ruddock and his assertions about sleep deprivation not constituting torture. McPhedran then contrasts Phillip Ruddock’s statement with a statement made by the Prime Minister of the time, John Howard, who does not support sleep deprivation in all cases of interrogation.

 

Question 2:

Opinion is used in terms of the character assassination of Phillip Ruddock, as the article repeatedly criticises him without backing up the claims with significant reference. McPherson only attributes a seven-word quote to Ruddock and based an entire article off of that quote. McPherson’s attack on Phillip Ruddock would have to constitute opinion.

An example of this is in the second paragraph when Ian says, “Before that he was a Sydney solicitor. He has presumably enjoyed a comfortable night’s sleep, many of them at the taxpayer’s expense, most night for the past 33 years”, he was making an assumption about Ruddock and implied that he would not understand the pain of sleep deprivation because he has a had a comfortable life thanks to the taxpayer.

However, I would consider McPherson’s arguments regarding the definition of sleep deprivation as torture or interrogation is grounded in research. The author quotes the United Nations, uses an analogy from a World War Two digger, attributes information from the Australian Federal Police and from the Prime Minister at the time. The primary purpose of this section of the article is the persuade the readership with an argument using information from the sources cited above. Therefore, we believe that generally, this article is more an argument than it is an opinion piece.

 

Question 3:

Yes, the author has explicit asserted the statement of the text’s principal argument, being that sleep deprivation is a form of torture. The author has most likely assumed that the readership would not all have a deep-enough knowledge on the subject, but that, given the global political climate at the time, would have been opposed to the notion of torture, but they may have been unaware of the semantics of what torture is.

In paragraph 4 McPherson wrote, “In 197, the United Nations Committee Against Torture specifically rules that the extended deprivation of sleep did indeed constitute torture” to indicate his stand in classifying sleep deprivation as torture. Since he associates sleep deprivation with torture, he is implying to his readership that he is opposed to all forms of torture, including sleep deprivation.

 

Question 4:

The key contentious definition in the article e was sleep deprivation as McPherson outlines the impact it has on the human body. This definition is heavily supported with McPhedran’s own justification as he alludes to what he constitutes as sleep deprivation several times throughout the article from the third par until the final par of the article.

A contentious definition in the article is torture. As the definition of torture would result in determining whether or not sleep deprivation can be categorised as torture. The definition that the author has used is one that is widely accepted by the international community, but it still one that is concordant with the views in his article.

Interrogation has also been loosely defined as a tool used when interviewing terror suspects. The definition provides a comparison between interrogation and torture with the assertion that interrogation is the, ‘lesser of two evils’ or a more humane option than torture in the war on terror.

 

Question 5:

Article’s primary claim: Sleep deprivation is considered a form of torture and governments should stop trying to justify it.

Justification 1: (type- Appeal to authority)

‘In 1997, the United Nations Committee Against Torture specifically ruled that the extended deprivation of sleep did indeed constitute torture.’ – The United Nations is a global authority and they should set a precedent for what countries can and cannot do.

Justification 2: (type- Appeal to ethical, legal or other social norms [negative consequences])

‘Interrogation is an important tool in the fight, but politicians shouldn’t try to justify torture and therefore lower us to the level of our enemies.’ – Notion that we as a society have civil and moral responsibilities to everyone in society, even those that we are detaining. There is an allusion to the golden rule.

Sub-Claim: Politicians are out of touch with society

Justification 1: (type- analogy)

‘…when politicians leave their ivory towers’- Implies that politicians are out of touch with their constituency.

Justification 2: (type- ethical norms)

‘NEW lows in political cant and hypocrisy have been reached in the debate over sleep deprivation and whether it qualifies as torture’ – Critiquing the ethical practices of politicians and how they reach their policy outcomes and how they form their outlooks on the world.

Question 6:

Justification 1 Warrant: We should trust the authority of the United Nations (as an IGO).

Justification 2 Warrant: It is wrong to torture people and hypocritical to try justifying it.

Question 7:

  • “Before that he was a Sydney solicitor. He has presumably enjoyed a comfortable night’s sleep, many of them at taxpayers’ expense, most nights for the past 33 years.” We believe that this is Ad Hominem argument because this is implying that he is justifying torture because Ruddock has never suffered any discomfort himself.
  • It would have to be the opinion of McPhedran that, ‘new lows in political cant and hypocrisy’ have been achieved because it would be something difficult to quantify and would depend on the view of the reader. The author has simply used this to try to add veracity to his argument, without backing up his claim.
  • The information regarding the effects of sleep deprivation have not attributable source, as I believe McPhedran would be assuming the readership would take this information in good faith. I do not believe that this would negatively impact on his argument.

Is Torture Fair Game? Analysis

  1. What is the nature of the text’s central argumentative point? Is it a claim of fact, causality, evaluation, interpretation or recommendation, or some combination of two or more of these – or something entirely different? (Provide a few sentences here.)

 

The text’s central argumentative point is that the interrogation techniques used by governments on terrorist suspects is akin to the torture methods used by Islamic fundamentalist —the very people the government is trying to differentiate from. The article employs a combination of fact, recommendation and evaluation.

 

  1. How much simple opinion (the expression of the author’s viewpoint without any supporting argumentation) is there is the text? Would you classify the text as being more opinion or more argumentation? (a few sentences)

 

The text is more argumentative than opinionated, as most of the author’s assertions are supported by quotes and factual evidence. Even lines such as, “He has presumably enjoyed a comfortable night’s sleep, many of them at taxpayer expense, most nights for the past 33 years”, avoid speculation through the employment of terms such as, ‘presumably.’

 

  1. Does the author offer an explicitly asserted statement of the text’s principal argumentative point? (briefly discuss)

 

No, the author does not offer an explicitly asserted statement of the text’s principal argumentative point. The author might assume the audience will largely share their viewpoint or worldview, which sleep deprivation should be banned because it is regarded as a torture.

 

  1. Are there any contentious terms in the text and, if so, does the author offer any stipulative definitions of these? To what extent are any such definitions supported with their own justification? (a few sentences)

 

‘Sleep deprivation’ may be regarded as a contentious term, as individuals such as the Attorney- General Philip Ruddock and PM John Howard, “don’t regard sleep deprivation as torture”, which contrasts the United Nations Committee Against Torture’s definition of torture. As such, the author offers a range of side-effects of sleep deprivation: “hinders the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen to the brain causing fatigue, lapses in memory, lethargy, muscular pain and, in severe cases, loss of consciousness.” While not a ‘definition’, the list does support the author’s justification that sleep deprivation is a form of torture.

 

  1. What types of justificatory support (secondary claims) does the author employ and does he seem to favour one type of these? (Express these justificatory claims as a single sentence and set out below in the order win which they occur in the text.) Also see if you can classify each of the justifications as involving one or more of the following justification types.

 

Article’s primary claim here: Sleep deprivation causes physical and psychological harm.

 

 

Justification 1: Appeal to ethical, legal or other social norms

 

 

Justification 2: Appeal to emotion

 

Justification 3: Appeal to facts

 

 

Primary claim: Sleep deprivation is an out-dated torture method used on Australian Diggers.

 

Justification 1: Appeal to precedent, customary practice

 

Justification 2: Appeal to comparison, analogy

 

 

Primary Claim: Politicians who claim sleep deprivation is not torture have not endured it themselves and therefore, don’t fully understand it’s mental and physical effects.

 

Justification 1: Appeal to emotion.

 

 

Primary Claim: Using sleep deprivation to interrogate suspected terrorists lowers us to the level of terrorists.

 

Justification 1: Appeal to comparison, analogy

 

  1. Take the list you have just presented as to the text’s justifications, and then state the warrant by which each justification supports or lead to the primary claim of the article. Indicate if any of these are explicitly stated. Also indicate if any of the warrants are supplied with their own argumentative support – i.e. with additional “backing” .

 

Justification 1: Sleep deprivation causes physical and psychological harm.

Warrant for Justification 1: Physical and psychological harm is undesirable.

à Not explicitly stated, no additional backing.

 

Justification 2: Sleep deprivation is an out-dated torture method used on Australian Diggers.

Warrant for Justification 2: Out-dated practices are often outmoded due to refined ethics and knowledge.

à Not explicitly stated, no additional backing.

 

Justification 3: Politicians who claim sleep deprivation is not torture have not endured it themselves and therefore, don’t fully understand it’s mental and physical effects.

Warrant for Justification 3: Personal, first-hand experience is essential when making decisions that affect other people.

à Not explicitly stated, no additional backing.

 

Justifications 4: Using sleep deprivation to interrogate suspected terrorists lowers us to the level of terrorists.

Warrant for Justification 3: Terrorists are immoral.

à Not explicitly stated, no additional backing.

 

 

  1. Does the text contain any informal fallacies? If so, list these and present your justification for negatively characterising them in this way.

 

Ad Hominem: “He has presumably enjoyed a comfortable night’s sleep, many of them at taxpayer expense, most nights for the past 33 years.”

Here, the author attacks Philip Ruddock’s lifestyle and career choice, rather than the argument he puts forth.

 

POLITICAL TORTURE

Stefanie Blanch, Helena Ladomatos, Caitlin Hely, Grace Parsons, Brianna Kerr

Pollies Need Wake-Up on Torture – Ian McPhedran

What is the nature of the text’s central argumentative point? Is it a claim of fact, causality, evaluation, interpretation or recommendation, or some combination of two or more of these – or something entirely different?

The texts central argumentative point is both evaluative and recommendatory. It evaluates the use of sleep deprivation and whether it constitutes as torture as well as evaluating the role politicians play in making decisions about integration tactics. Furthermore, it is recommendatory in the sense that it uses first-hand accounts of sleep deprivation and facts to entice or endorse a change of behaviour from the government. There is also an employment of fact with the use of medical information and UN statistics.

How much simple opinion is there in the text? Would you classify the text as being more opinion or more argumentation?

There is minimal simple opinion in the text as it is more argument focused, however elements of subjectivity are still present. McPhedran makes comment on Ruddock’s behaviour (“he has presumably enjoyed a comfortable night’s sleep, many of them at taxpayer expense”… “the Government’s self-appointed hard man in the war against terrorism.”) which indicates a lack of objectivity and thus opinion. However, the majority of his assessment is well founded and supported by justification which makes the majority of the article classifiably argumentative.

Does the author offer an explicitly asserted statement of the text’s principal argumentative point?

The texts principle argumentative point – that sleep deprivation is torture and it should not be used as an interrogation technique by the government – is explicitly stated throughout the article. McPhedran does not assume that the reader is attuned to his standpoint and thus he constantly and overtly reiterates his central claim.

Are there any contentious terms in the text and, if so, does the author offer any stipulative definitions of these? To what extent are any such definitions supported with their own justification? 

There are clearly contentious terms within the article, with the author stipulatively defining the concept of ‘torture’ to include ‘sleep deprivation’.  To support his stipulative definition, McPhedran employs a supportive justification; a fact from the United Nations. This appeal to authority indicates McPhedran’s recognition that the term is contentious and that the intended audience may need to be persuaded to align with his argument.

What types of justificatory support (secondary claims) does the author employ and does he seem to favour one type of these? Also see if you can classify each of the justifications as involving one or more of the following justification types.

PRIMARY CLAIMS JUSTIFICATION TYPES
New lows in political cant and hypocrisy have been reached in the debate over sleep deprivation and whether it qualifies as torture. Appeal to ethical, legal or other social norms (torture and human rights issues)

AND

Appeal to precedent, customary practice

(NEW lows have been reached)

Ruddock is incompetent and his opinion should not respected because he has never experienced sleep deprivation. “He has presumably enjoyed a comfortable night’s sleep, many of them at taxpayer expense, most nights for the past 33 years.” Appeal to popular opinion (politicians and taxpayers money – common phrase that initiates reaction)
According to the United Nations Committee Against Torture, extended sleep deprivation is constituted as torture. Appeal to authority (the UNCAT ruling)
War veterans – people that have experienced forced sleep deprivation – believe it is torture. “You don’t know whether you are coming or going. You don’t know whether you are going forwards or backwards”, Mr Gilbert said. Appeal to emotion (detail of extenuating circumstances)

Take the list you have just presented as to the text’s justifications, and then state the warrant by which each justification supports or lead to the primary claim of the article. Indicate if any of these are explicitly stated. Also indicate if any of the warrants are supplied with their own argumentative support. 

PRIMARY CLAIMS JUSTIFICATION TYPES WARRANT
New lows in political cant and hypocrisy have been reached in the debate over sleep deprivation and whether it qualifies as torture. Appeal to ethical, legal or other social norms (torture and human rights issues)

 

Appeal to precedent, customary practice

(NEW lows have been reached)

Sleep deprivation is harmful and should be constituted as torture

(explicitly stated)

Ruddock is incompetent and his opinion should not respected because he has never experienced sleep deprivation. “He has presumably enjoyed a comfortable night’s sleep, many of them at taxpayer expense, most nights for the past 33 years.” Appeal to popular opinion (politicians and taxpayers money – common phrase that initiates reaction) People without primary experience should not make comment on serious issues

(implicitly stated)

According to the United Nations Committee Against Torture, extended sleep deprivation is constituted as torture. Appeal to authority (the UNCAT ruling) The United Nations is trustworthy

(implicitly stated)

War veterans – people that have experienced forced sleep deprivation – believe it is torture. “You don’t know whether you are coming or going. You don’t know whether you are going forwards or backwards”, Mr Gilbert said. Appeal to emotion (detail of extenuating circumstances) People that have experienced sleep deprivation should be allowed to make comment (explicitly stated)

Does the text contain any informal fallacies? If so, list these and present your justification for negatively characterising them in this way.

McPhedran uses an ad homien argument when he attacks the provided views of Ruddock. He says “he has presumably enjoyed a comfortable night’s sleep, many of them at taxpayer expense, most nights for the past 33 years.” This makes the assumption that Ruddock is not qualified to comment on this issue.

Tute prep Week 5- Darcy, Josie, Mac

  1. What is the nature of the text’s central argumentative point? Is it a claim of fact, causality, evaluation, interpretation or recommendation, or some combination of two or more of these – or something entirely different? (Provide a few sentences here.)

It is an evaluative/recommendatory claim because it evaluates comments of the politicians and makes recommendations on the use of sleep deprivation as an interrogation technique.

  1. How much simple opinion (the expression of the author’s viewpoint without any supporting argumentation) is there is the text? Would you classify the text as being more opinion or more argumentation? (a few sentences)

Although it contains opinions, the article is argumentative overall, as it provides facts and quotes to back up the statements.

  1. Does the author offer an explicitly asserted statement of the text’s principal argumentative point? (briefly discuss)

Yes, the closing paragraph explicitly states the argumentative point.  “Interrogation is an important tool in the fight, but politicians shouldn’t try to justify torture and therefore lower us to the level of our enemies.”

4. Are there any contentious terms in the text and, if so, does the author offer any stipulative definitions of these? To what extent are any such definitions supported with their own justification? (a few sentences)

‘Torture’ and ‘sleep deprivation’ are contentious terms in the text, and while they weren’t explicitly defined, the writer uses the UN quote as a justification to explain his view on what the terms mean.

5.What types of justificatory support (secondary claims) does the author employ and does he seem to favour one type of these?

Primary Claim: Politicians can’t justify the legitimacy of sleep deprivation as a method of interrogation because it’s a form of torture.

  1. Politicians have not experienced sleep deprivation (authority)

warrant: Without expertise, opinion is irrelevant

2. International group have declared it as a form of torture (ethical, legal, social and authority)

warrant: International organisations should be trusted

3.Because it causes physical harm (ethical)

warrant: purposefully causing physical harm is unethical

  1. Used in WW2 and we would be wrong to mirror this practise (precedent, emotion)

warrant: We should not mirror practises used to harm Australians

  1. Because we shouldn’t stoop to the level of terrorists (consequences, ethical)

warrant: To use torture would put us on the level of terrorists, we are better than our enemies.

5. Informal Fallacies

Ad hominem- attacking ruddock

Strawperson- saying that Ruddock wants America to operate outside of Australian law

Presumptuous evaluation- opening sentence

Either/or or possibly false analogy- If we allow sleep deprivation we will be as bad as terrorists.

 

MDIA2002 Argumentative Analysis: The Politics of Torture

By Julian Rizzo-Smith, Sebastian Quinn & Roberta Wang

  1. What is the nature of the text’s central argumentative point? Is it a claim of fact, causality, evaluation, interpretation or recommendation, or some combination of two or more of these – or something entirely different? (Provide a few sentences here.)

The nature of the text’s central argumentative point is a combination of evaluation, causal and recommendation. McPherdan evaluates the Attorney-General’s demand for continued support towards sleep deprivation and claims that it isn’t a form of torture, while arguing the potential consequences of using similar inhumane methods of interrogation as the Islamist fundamentalists McPherdan argues Australia is fighting; before ending the piece recommending that we try more humane approaches to interrogation.

  1. How much simple opinion (the expression of the author’s viewpoint without any supporting argumentation) is there is the text? Would you classify the text as being more opinion or more argumentation? (a few sentences)

There is a surprisingly little amount of simple opinion in the text as McPherdan uses facts and appeal to authority in referencing Prime Minister John Howard and others to affirm his view. He also uses an analogy from a World War Two veteran who was a prisoner of war and victim of sleep deprivation to stress his point that sleep deprivation is a form of torture rather than humane interrogation that Australian politicians shouldn’t be advocating we use to fight terrorism. In this way, the text is more argumentation than opinion.

  1. Does the author offer an explicitly asserted statement of the text’s principal argumentative point? (briefly discuss)

While McPherdan doesn’t explicitly assert the principal argumentative point of his text – that sleep deprivation is a form of torture rather than humane interrogation that Australian politicians shouldn’t advocate for to fight terrorism – until his closing paragraph, he uses quotes from authorities, analogies from World War Two prisoners of war victims and informal fallacies by including details about the Attorney-General that clash with his comments (for instance, describing him as a “badge-wearing member of Amnesty International” following the politician’s belief that sleep deprivation isn’t a form of torture and shortly before a definition from the United Nations Committee Against Torture identifying the method as such).

  1. Are there any contentious terms in the text and, if so, does the author offer any stipulative definitions of these? To what extent are any such definitions supported with their own justification? (a few sentences)

McPherdan defines sleep deprivation with the biological affect it has on the human body to reaffirm the United Nations Committee Against Torture’s findings that it is a form of torture, in doing so, highlighting his claim that it’s an inhumane practice the Australian government shouldn’t be supporting even if fighting against terror.

  1. What types of justificatory support (secondary claims) does the author employ and does he seem to favour one type of these? (Express these justificatory claims as a single sentence and set out below in the order win which they occur in the text.) Also see if you can classify each of the justifications as involving one or more of the following justification types.
  1. Appeal to ethical, legal or other social norms
  2. Appeal to consequences (good or bad)
  3. Appeal to emotion
  4. Appeal to precedent, customary practice
  5. Appeal to popular opinion
  6. Appeal to authority
  7. Appeal to comparison, analogy
  8. Appeal to “facts”

Article’s primary claim here:

Sleep deprivation is a form of torture rather than humane interrogation that Australian politicians shouldn’t be supporting use of to fight terror.

Justification 1: (type                     Appeal to authority                    )

References the United Nations Committee Against Torture’s study on sleep deprivation as a form of torture to further credit his view. The United Nations are seen as reliable and a credible source, strengthening his claim.

“In 1997, the United Nations Committee Against Torture specifically ruled that the extended deprivation of sleep did indeed constitute torture.”

 

Justification 2: (type               Appeal to “facts”                        )

Defines the affect sleep deprivation has on the human body to further position it as a form of torture, reaffirming his claim.

“Sleep deprivation hinders the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen to the brain causing fatigue, lapses in memory, lethargy, muscular pain and, in severe cases, loss of consciousness.”

 

Justification 3: (type               Appeal to analogy)

Uses an analogy of a World War Two digger and prisoner of war who experienced sleep deprivation to position his audience to empathise with the digger, in doing so, alienating the Attorney-General’s view and reaffirming his own that the practice is inhumane.

“DURING World War II, Australian Diggers were subject to sleep deprivation when captured by the Japanese. The victim is kept awake for days on end by being either shaken awake or forced awake by noise or light.

The 86-year-old former PoW Cyril Gilbert said he was tortured by the Japanese on the Thai-Burma border using sleep deprivation. “You don’t know whether you are coming or going. You don’t know whether you are going forwards or backwards”, Mr Gilbert said. “I was lucky that I was only kept awake for a couple of days at a time. Others were kept awake a lot longer than that.”

And what did he make of Ruddock’s support of the technique? “He’s never experienced anything, has he?” Mr Gilbert asked rhetorically.”

 

Justification 4: (type           Appeal to negative consequences)

Ends the piece by arguing that using sleep deprivation as a means of interrogation will “lower [Australian society] to our enemies”, pointing out the potential negative consequences of the counterpoint to the author’s claim.

 

Take the list you have just presented as to the text’s justifications, and then state the warrant by which each justification supports or lead to the primary claim of the article. Indicate if any of these are explicitly stated. Also indicate if any of the warrants are supplied with their own argumentative support – i.e. with additional “backing” .

Article’s primary claim here:

Justification 1:

References the United Nations Committee Against Torture’s study on sleep deprivation as a form of torture to further credit his view. The United Nations are seen as reliable and a credible source, strengthening his claim.

“In 1997, the United Nations Committee Against Torture specifically ruled that the extended deprivation of sleep did indeed constitute torture.”

Warrant for Justification 1:

That the United Nations are a reliable and credible source.

Justification 2:

Defines the affect sleep deprivation has on the human body to further position it as a form of torture, reaffirming his claim.

“Sleep deprivation hinders the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen to the brain causing fatigue, lapses in memory, lethargy, muscular pain and, in severe cases, loss of consciousness.”

Warrant for Justification 2:

That harm to the body whether mental or physical, internal or external is bad.

Justification 3:

Uses an analogy of a World War Two digger and prisoner of war who experienced sleep deprivation to position his audience to empathise with the digger, in doing so, alienating the Attorney-General’s view and reaffirming his own that the practice is inhumane.

“DURING World War II, Australian Diggers were subject to sleep deprivation when captured by the Japanese. The victim is kept awake for days on end by being either shaken awake or forced awake by noise or light.

The 86-year-old former PoW Cyril Gilbert said he was tortured by the Japanese on the Thai-Burma border using sleep deprivation. “You don’t know whether you are coming or going. You don’t know whether you are going forwards or backwards”, Mr Gilbert said. “I was lucky that I was only kept awake for a couple of days at a time. Others were kept awake a lot longer than that.”

And what did he make of Ruddock’s support of the technique? “He’s never experienced anything, has he?” Mr Gilbert asked rhetorically.”

Warrant for Justification 3:

  • That World War Two veterans and prisoners of war are reliable sources.
  • That people care about war veterans and former prisoners of war.

Justification 4:

Ends the piece by arguing that using sleep deprivation as a means of interrogation will “lower [Australian society] to our enemies”, pointing out the potential negative consequences of the counterpoint to the author’s claim.

Warrant for Justification 4:

That we don’t want to see Australia become like our enemies or act in terror.

 

  1. Does the text contain any informal fallacies? If so, list these and present your justification for negatively characterising them in this way.

McPherdan distracts his audience by describing the Attorney-General as a “badge-wearing member of Amnesty International” as he points out his view that sleep deprivation isn’t torture to reaffirm how farfetch his claim is and how unreliable his opinion is, representing a group interested in human rights and an abolishment of torture but debating whether a form of torture can be defined as such (shortly before McPherdan points out the United Nations Committee Against Torture’s findings that it is a form of torture).

McPherdan also uses a strawperson argument in his closing paragraph by alluding that Australian politicians should be trying to uphold the values and beliefs that terrorist groups are trying to destroy by using forms of interrogation that aren’t methods of torture, attacking a similar view to the Attorney-General’s.

Sleep deprivation should not be used in interrogation

  1. The central argumentative point is that politicians should not support sleep deprivation as a method of interrogating terror suspects as it is a form of torture. The central claim is largely factual however the author provides evaluative and recommendatory justifications throughout the text.
  2. The text is primarily argumentative by way of factual justifications but also includes a significant amount of simple opinion as if evident in his negatively geared statements about politicians.
    – ‘…politicians leave their ivory towers and speak out on matters of which they have no experience.’
    – ‘…new lows in political cant and hypocrisy.’
  3. He implicitly clarifies at the beginning of the text that sleep deprivation is a form of torture but does not make any further explicit statements til the very end: ‘…Politicians shouldn’t try to justify torture and therefore lower us to the level of our enemies.’
  4. The author does offer a stipulative definition of torture, specifically a form of torture (sleep deprivation), by not explaining precisely what it is but rather explaining the effect it has on your body. By defining the affects, the author is using this justification to assist the reader in making a judgement of whether they regard the negative affects as enough grounds to consider sleep deprivation as torture.
  5. Justification 1: Because sleep deprivation is a form of torture (which is wrong)
    – appeal to ethical, legal or social norms
    – appeal to factsJustification 2: Because the United Nations Committee Against Torture specifically ruled have specifically outlined sleep deprivation as a form of torture
    – appeal to authority (UN has high regard)
    – appeal to facts

    Justification 3: The effects of sleep deprivation are sadistic
    – appeal to ethical, legal or social norms
    – appeal to emotion

    Justification 4: Because politicians with no experience/expert knowledge regarding torture tactics are not in a place of authority to endorse such methods
    – appeal to authority (politicians are not qualified to weigh in on the matter)
    – appeal to consequences (bad outcomes may occur when unqualified people make specialist decisions)

    Justification 5: Because the Australian Federal Police believe such tactics are ‘unfair’ and are prevented by law from applying such methods
    – appeal to ethical, legal, social norms
    – appeal to authority
    – appeal to facts

    Justification 6: Because if we employ sleep deprivation, we are no better than our enemies
    – appeal to popular opinion (our ‘enemies’ are bad people)
    – appeal to consequences (we will become as bad as them)
    – appeal to emotion (we do not like our enemies, so we do not wish to be like them)

    Justification 7: Because rendition is ‘notorious’ and unethical, and politicians should not support it
    – appeal to ethical, legal, social norms
    – appeal to popular opinion (rendition is frowned on: hence ‘notorious)

Justification 8: it’s hypocritical of the Government to resort to such methods that contradict the reason behind the war against Terrorism
– appeal to ethical, legal or social norms
– appeal to authority
– appeal to analogy/comparison

6.
Justification 1: Because sleep deprivation is a form of torture Warrant: Torture is wrong (it is not ethical)

Justification 2: Because the United Nations Committee Against Torture have specifically outlined it as a form of torture Warrant: The UN committee are experts in this field (so are to be trusted).

Justification 3: The effects of sleep deprivation are sadistic
Warrant: These kinds of physical consequences are wrong

Justification 4: Because politicians with no experience/expert knowledge regarding torture tactics are not in a place of authority to endorse such methods
Warrant: People with no experience with torture (like politicians) are unqualified to endorse/justify sleep deprivation as an interrogation method

Justification 5: Because the Australian Federal Police believe such tactics are ‘unfair’ and are prevented by law from applying such methods
Warrant: Things that are unfair are bad (unethical). Warrant: Things that are prevented by law (are done so for a reason) and should be respected.

Justification 6: Because if we employ sleep deprivation, we are no better than our enemies
Warrant: Our ‘enemies’ are bad people (and we don’t want to be like them).

Justification 7: Because rendition is ‘notorious’ and unethical, and politicians should not support it
Warrant: Rendition is an unethical way of obtaining information.

Justification 8: it’s hypocritical of the Government to resort to such methods that contradict the reason behind the war against Terrorism
Warrant: the war is about defending our lives and values and we are harming those values by using sleep deprivation as a form of torture on our enemies.

7.  1. ‘Ruddock has been a Liberal member of Parliament since 1973. Before that he was a Sydney solicitor. He has presumably enjoyed a comfortable night’s sleep, many of them at taxpayer expense, most nights for the past 33 years.’

1a. Informal fallacy: Ad hominem (against the arguer > Latin ad hominem means “to the man”) – The idea that Ruddock is somehow less qualified to weigh in on the subject because he has had a cushy life. One could sleep in a comfortable bed every night and still be an expert in this field (though not the case for this example)

1b. Informal fallacy: Non sequitur (claims a logical relationship between a claim and its support where none exists) – Claims that his lifestyle is somehow related to his expertise.

2. ‘”I don’t regard sleep deprivation as torture,” the badge-wearing member of Amnesty International said’

2a. Informal fallacy: Non sequitur (claims a logical relationship between a claim and its support where none exists) – Being an amnesty member does not necessarily mean you must subscribe to any particular view. One can support the organisation and still hold individual opinions that may differ from the organisations.

 

Tute Exercise MDIA2002 H12A – Sleep Deprivation Article

Meredith Weaver, Nabihah Reza, Nicole Baumli and Sophie Gobbo

1 – We concluded that this article’s central argumentative point is of a hybrid nature, both incorporating evaluative and factual points.

 

2 – Opinion or argumentative?

 

There is simple opinion expressed in this article, mainly concerning the credibility of the politicians commenting on the issue. Even though his writing is emotive, we would consider the article more argumentative as he does provide a fair amount of supporting argumentation in the form of factual evidence and precedence (e.g. the 1997 UN committee against tortures rulings).

 

3 – Does the author offer an explicitly asserted statement of the text’s principal argumentative point?

 

It was not explicitly stated that sleep deprivation is torture and shouldn’t be legal. Rather, the author goes to great lengths to prove that it is such by incorporating opinions with others that he aligns himself with.

4 – Does the author offer an explicitly asserted statement of the text’s principal argumentative point?

 

At no point does the author provide his own personal definition of what “torture” is and furthermore, where sleep deprivation fits on the scale. Rather, he references the “United Nations Committee Against Torture,” using their 1997 ruling that sleep deprivation was in fact a form of torture. In this instance, he is aligning his definition with that of the UNCAT, expecting his readers to believe that this is a credible source for information and therefore, he is correct in assuming this definition is the most reliable.

 

 

5 –

Claim – Sleep deprivation is a form of torture and should not be legally allowed.

 

J1 – The UN Committee against torture ruled in 1997 that sleep deprivation IS a form of torture. (Appeal to authority)

 

J2 –  Australian Diggers who were subjected to sleep deprivation believe it is a form of torture. (appeal to analogy)

 

J3 – The politicians who believe in sleep deprivation aren’t experts because they have no experience and their opinion is therefore invalid. (appeal to popular opinion/lack of authority)

 

J4 – Justifying torture lowers Australians to the level of their enemies. (appeal to ethics and negative consequence)