MDIA2002 – Tute Prep 4: Claudia, Ruby, Luke

  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? 

McPhedran provides an evaluative argument.

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

This text provides significantly more argumentation than opinion.

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

McPhedran does not explicitly state his principal claim. The line that is closest to the principal claim is: “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”. This statement serves as a justification, which is why we think McPhedran doesn’t offer an explicit assertion of his principal claim.

  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? Answer in a few sentences.

Torture is a contentious term. In this text, McPhedran proposes a stipulative definition of torture where sleep deprivation—which only inflicts excessive stress on the body, not serious physical or mental harm—qualifies. The author presents argumentative support for his stipulative definition, employing an appeal to authority, namely the United Nations Committee Against Torture by way of his principal claim.

  1. What types of justificatory support (secondary claims) does the author employ and does he seem to favour one type of these? See if you can classify each of the justifications as involving one or more of the following justification types.
[Principal claim/primary position]
Sleep deprivation and those who support this technique is wrong because…
Justification 1: The United Nations Committee Against Torture specifically ruled that extended sleep deprivation constitutes as torture.
Type of Justification = appeal to authority (the UN Committee Against Torture), appeal to ethics (torture is wrong)
Justification 2: 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.
Type of Justification = appeal to “facts”, appeal to negative consequences (lack of oxygen in the brain puts excessive stress on the body, which may eventually lead to bodily harm)
Justification 3: The Australian Federal Police (AFP) deems the use of sleep deprivation as “unfair”.
Type of Justification = appeal to authority (the AFP), appeal to ethics (unfair tactics are unethical)
Justification 4: The Japanese subjected Australian gold diggers to sleep deprivation during World War II.
Type of Justification = appeal to precedent/customary practice
Justification 5: People (politicians) who support the use of sleep deprivation and don’t consider it as a form of torture have never experienced it.
Type of Justification = appeal to (a lack of) authority (those who support the use of sleep deprivation in interrogations but have not experienced it first-hand lack credibility)
Justification 6: We should not justify torture and therefore lower ourselves to the likes of our enemies.
Type of Justification = appeal to ethics (it’s wrong to resort to torture), appeal to emotions (we should be ashamed of ourselves if we stooped down to the level of our enemies)

McPhedran uses a range of appeals to support his principal claim. Due to the nature of the text’s principal claim and subject matter, the author favours appeals to authority and ethics.

  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.  
[Principal claim/primary position]
Sleep deprivation and those who support this technique is wrong because…
Justification 1: The United Nations Committee Against Torture specifically ruled that extended sleep deprivation constitutes as torture.
Type of Justification = appeal to authority (the UN Committee Against Torture), appeal to ethics (torture is wrong)
Warrant: Torture is wrong and should not condoned.
Justification 2: 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.
Type of Justification = appeal to “facts”, appeal to negative consequences (lack of oxygen in the brain puts excessive stress on the body, which may eventually lead to bodily harm)
Warrant: It’s bad to put someone under great physical and mental stress.
Justification 3: The Australian Federal Police (AFP) deems the use of sleep deprivation as “unfair”.
Type of Justification = appeal to authority (the AFP), appeal to ethics (unfair tactics are unethical)
Warrant: Unfair tactics should not be used regardless of circumstance.
Justification 4: The Japanese subjected Australian gold diggers to sleep deprivation during World War II.
Type of Justification = appeal to precedent/customary practice
Warrant: What the Japanese did during World War II was wrong and unethical.
Justification 5: People (politicians) who support the use of sleep deprivation and don’t consider it as a form of torture have never experienced it.
Type of Justification = appeal to (a lack of) authority (those who support the use of sleep deprivation in interrogations but have not experienced it first-hand lack credibility)
Warrant: It’s rude and disrespectful to talk about something you haven’t experienced.
Justification 6: We should not justify torture and therefore lower ourselves to the likes of our enemies.
Type of Justification = appeal to ethics (it’s wrong to resort to torture), appeal to emotion (we should be ashamed of ourselves if we stooped down to the level of our enemies)
Warrant: Our enemies are immoral.
  1. Does the text contain any informal fallacies? If so, list these and present your justification for negatively characterising them in this way.

The text contained the following informal fallacies:

  • Ad Hominem Argument: McPhedran attacka Ruddock on a personal level, rather than analysing and critiquing his policies – “He has presumably enjoyed a comfortable night’s sleep, many of them at taxpayer expense, most nights for the past 33 years.”
  • Circular Argument: John Howard is quoted: “Prime Minister John Howard, also an expert, adopted a more wary stance than his tough-guy attorney, leaving the door open to the use of sleep deprivation to “some degree.” This complete quote is then reiterated again, the same argument is repeated.
  • Evaluative Presumption: There is a lot of value laden language in this article, particularly expressed here: “Understandably, war veterans get pretty hot under the collar when politicians leave their ivory towers and speak out on matters of which they have no experience. Mr Gilbert and his mates suffered terrible torture, including sleep deprivation, at the hands of their captors.” This sentence presumes that politicians all have an extremely removed perspective to any of these experiences, and that war-veterans have had horrific experiences.
  • Also: “The war against terrorism is about defending a way of life and a set of values that we argue sets us apart from the Islamist fundamentalists we are fighting. 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.”
  • Phrases such as ‘enemies’, ‘set of values’ and ‘lower us to the level of our enemies’ is all extremely emotive and evaluative language.

 

MDIA2002- Tute Prep 4: Danielle, Ben, Siobhan

  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 primary claim of the article is both evaluative and recommendatory. The author expresses his opinion, often without factual evidence to support his viewpoint. Further, the overall viewpoint is that sleep deprivation is a form of torture, with the argument supporting the recommendation that sleep deprivation should not be used as a form of torture.

It argues that sleep deprivation is a form of torture and we (especially politicians with no experience with the matter) should not try and justify using it for 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)

It is a combination of opinion and argumentation; however, we would argue that it leans towards argumentation. Each point raised in the article is almost always supported by a rationale i.e. facts and anecdotal evidence are used as a justification

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

I would say that the principal argumentative point is inferred rather than explicitly stated. The author alludes to his argument that sleep deprivation is a form of torture utilizing evidence and quotes. The most direct he gets is in the final line of the article which articulates the principal argument the most: “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.”

 

  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)

The term ‘torture’ is used throughout the article and can be considered a contentious term. The author argues for a definition of torture that is inclusive of the concept of ‘sleep deprivation’. Further, the author supports his stipulative definition of the contentious claim by using evidence from the United Nations to appeal to authority.

5. and 6 Justification and Warrants

Justification 1: Ruddock is not an expert in torture and therefore his recommendation should not be taken seriously (type: appeal to authority( he has none), appeal to customary practices/precedent)

Warrant for Justification 1: Only people who are experts/ have significant experience in a field can give educated recommendations.

Justification 2: In 1997, the United Nations Committee Against Torture specifically ruled that the extended deprivation of sleep did indeed constitute torture.  (type: appeal to authority)

Warrant for Justification 2: We should accept the laws that the United Nations, as a governing body, set.

Justification 3: 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. ( type: appeal to facts, appeal to ethics)

Warrant for Justification 3: The above symptoms are bad.

Justification 4: it is against the law to use sleep deprivation techniques in Australia. (type: appeal to authority, appeal to precedent)

Warrant for Justification 4: the law is to be obeyed

Justification 5: the Japanese probably justified these sleep deprivation techniques at the time so if we did this we would be like the Japanese during WWII (appeal to emotion, appeal to negative consequences, appeal to comparison)

Warrant for Justification 5: the Japanese were the enemy in WWII, it was largely agreed that their actions were wrong.

 

  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 Argument: “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.” Specifically targets Attorney General Phillip Ruddock.

    Distraction / Evaluative Presumption: “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.” Providing a distraction from the central argumentation – an extension upon the Ad Hominem.

    False Analogy: “No doubt, the Japanese army’s political masters would have justified it as valid in the context of world war.” Allowing sleep deprivation makes us the same as the Japanese and how they treated POW in WWII.

MDIA2002 Tute Prep 4 Edit (Elycia Paredes and Elise Ives H12A)

MDIA2002 Tute Prep Week 5 #2

Elycia Paredes and Elise Ives H12A

  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 article is a claim of evaluation and interpretation due to the central direction of the argument as sleep deprivation is torture. The author positions his own opinion in contrast to those of authority in attempt to influence reader perspective to a moral understanding

  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 argument is argumentative because it highlights the opinions of official personalities justified by authority and facts. It is also opinion based as it uses author perspective and moral consequences without supporting factual justification

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

The author offers a very one sided argument in debate against sleep deprivation as a reasonable tactic for enemies rather than a torture, although he uses statements and facts to support his argument.

“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”

“The war against terrorism is about defending a way of life and a set of values”

The author argues over the definition of torture, constructing a readership to possess the same opinions and ideas on sleep deprivation

  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)

By appealing to authority as argumentative support, the author uses the United Nations definition to contrast his own understanding and opinion.

“The war against terrorism is about defending a way of life and a set of values that we argue sets us apart from the Islamist fundamentalists we are fighting”

The author promotes morality and striving to better the situation in handling the problem in a different way than enemy practise

  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.
    Appeal to ethical, legal or other social norms
    Appeal to consequences (good or bad)
    Appeal to emotion
    Appeal to precedent, customary practice
    Appeal to popular opinion
    Appeal to authority
    Appeal to comparison, analogy
    Appeal to “facts”

Article’s primary claim here: Using sleep deprivation as a form of torture lowers us to the level of our enemies and should not be justified

Justification 1: appeal to facts

Sleep deprivation causes negatives physical and mental affects on the human body

Justification 2: appeals to ethical and social norms

We should not become as bad as the Islamist fundamentalists we are fighting

  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” .

Article’s primary claim here:

Justification 1:

Warrant for Justification 1: Interrogation that causes negative affects on the human body is torture

Justification 2:

Warrant for Justification 2: Islamist fundamentalists are wrong in their form of torture

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

Slippery slope: arguing that if sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture, we too become as bad as terrorists

Ad hominem argument: in the context of sleep deprivation of torture as the primary argument, the author states that Ruddock has no real knowledge of the situation as he has not experiences such things

MDIA2002 Tute Prep 4 – Ben, Bede, Lachlan and Georgia

Collaborative Tute Prep 4: By Ben, Bede, Lachlan & Georgia :))

  1. Mostly evaluative, although also recommendatory and factual.
  2. We agreed to disagree.
  3. YES in the last sentence.
  4. YES “unfair tactic”
  5. Claim: Politicians aren’t qualified to make decisions on the use of sleep deprivation as an interrogation technique.Justification 1: Because the UN Committee ruled that it constituted torture (appeal to ethical, logical or social norms).Justification 2: Because torture is illegal under Australian law (appeal to authority, precedent/customary practice).Justification 3: Because the Attorney-General and politicians in general have had no experience with the method and therefore have no right to comment on the matter (appeal to ethical, logical or social norms).Justification 4: Because the war on terror is about defending certain values and by defending barbaric interrogation methods we are stooping to their level (appeal to ethical, legal or social norms; appeal to popular opinion).
  6. Warrant 1: The UN should be highly considered when speaking on human rights/Torture is against human rights.Warrant 2: People shouldn’t advocate things that are illegal in Australia.Warrant 3: People have to have experience with something to have knowledge about it.Warrant 4: Upholding our values is of paramount concern.
  7. Ad hominem, hasty generalisation