Analysis Of Logical Fallacies In Debates Regarding Gender Issues In The 16th Lok Sabha

Abstract
The 543 members of the Lok Sabha are supposed to replicate the voice of 133 crore Indians. The unparalleled importance of the Lok Sabha makes it important for us to scrutinize the nature and form of arguments presented in it. This paper uses the concept of logical fallacies to do the same. It picks up the debates on four different bills, spread across five days of Lok Sabha sittings. The debates on the chosen bills – the Maternity benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018, the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2018 and the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill 2014, mark out the most important Lok Sabha discussions on gender and gender related issues in the first five years of Sri Narendra Modi’s Prime Ministership. The paper points out the logical fallacies committed in them, tries to understand why they were committed and explores what those fallacious arguments indicate with regard to the beliefs and ideologies of the parliamentarians. It shows how the chains of logic in the representatives’ arguments break down as a result of their preconceived notions and biases, lack of information and most importantly- deep seated patriarchy.

Key Words: logical fallacy, gender, parliament, debate, women, transgenders, society

Introduction
During discussions on bills, members speak for a bill, against a bill, or a take a position which is somewhere in between the two. Whichever the case, the members attempt to justify their positions using arguments. These arguments mostly contain valid reasonings or follow a proper logical chain where the premises lead to the conclusions. Sometimes however, the arguments are invalid- the premises in them might not logically lead to the conclusions, they might involve improper assumptions, or they might try to divert the attention from the point of concern. When there are such problems in the reasoning in an argument, the argument is called logically fallacious. Work in the field of pointing of out logically fallacious arguments and classifying them started with Aristotle [i] , and the field has expanded and developed since. “A fallacious argument, as almost every account from Aristotle onwards tells you, is one that seems to be valid but is not so” (Hamblin 1970: 12). In these arguments, the premises don’t lead to the conclusions and there is a mistake in reasoning (Copi, et. al. 2014: 109-110). These arguments have been classified into types considering their individual natures and scopes [ii]. A most common type for example, often found in political arguments is the Ad Hominem fallacy . Here the argument is aimed against the people holding the differing opinion and not the opinion in itself, although “the character of an adversary is logically irrelevant to the truth or falsity of what that person asserts, or to the correctness of the reasoning employed” (Cohen and Nagel 1998: 107).

It is mostly manifested in the form of personal attacks, or as it is called in the political arena-‘mudslinging’. Parliamentarian Shri Tathagata Satpathy for example, in the debate on the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016, dated 9th March 2017 says, “We have been kind of overburdened, bored and sick of this Government just throwing these economy-related Bills on the House and on all of us: the torture of making business easy for a few handful people, who will make money to be paid to political parties, and we are bearing the brunt of passing all those laws which will help a handful of Indians, not the large number of Indians” (130). Regardless of the truth or falsity of his claims, the kind of economic policies pursued by the government has no bearing on the merits/demerits of the bill at hand. The parliamentarian, by saying the above is trying to discredit the character of the supporters of the bill but provides no arguments for or against the bill in itself. Again, during the debate on the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018 dated 30 July 2018, Professor Saugata Roy said, “I thought for one day, whether what they were saying is right, whether we are proving ourselves to be blood thirsty, thirsty by asking for death penalty for rapists. Then, my conscience told me, no. Those who rape children of 16 or 12 years, do not deserve any mercy. Let them die, if it is proved. That is why, I support this bill. This is not being blood thirsty. This is being just” (244). There might be good enough reasons for supporting capital punishment for serious crimes but here Prof. Roy relies solely on his feelings and what he thinks his ‘conscience’ told him. Such arguments appeal to the hearer’s emotions more than their reasoning, and commit the fallacy called ‘appeal to emotion’ (Wrisley 2018: 98-101). While emotions might be important parts of arguments, an argument solely resting on the waves of emotions and lacking any concrete base of logical reasoning is deemed to be fallacious.
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De Bananeneter van Romainville ~ Veganisme in een anarchistische kolonie

Anarchistische kolonie Terre Libérée

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In het begin van de vorige eeuw ontstonden in Frankrijk de eerste anarchistische leefgemeenschappen, ook kolonies genoemd, die vaak ook het veganisme propageerden en in praktijk brachten. De kolonie in het dorpje Romainville bij Parijs was in de jaren tien een van de vele kolonies in Frankrijk. Het leven in de kolonies kon naar eigen wil en keuze worden ingevuld, al zal niet overal geëxperimenteerd zijn de vergaande vormen van veganisme zoals in Romainville.
Initiatiefnemer was de fanatieke veganist André Lorulot (1885-1963), rond 1910 redacteur van het tijdschrift l’anarchie. Niet alle bewoners van de leefgemeenschap deelden zijn enthousiasme voor de extreme vorm van veganisme die hij propageerde en die hij als wetenschappelijk beschouwde.

André Lorulot

Vegetarisme bestaat al sinds de oudheid. Pas in de negentiende eeuw ontstond met name in Frankrijk een beweging die het veganisme propageerde – ook al kwam de term pas later in gebruik – en in het begin van de vorige eeuw ontstonden een aantal veganistische leefgemeenschappen. De bewoners waren voor het merendeel afkomstig uit het anarchistische milieu. Voor de Eerste Wereldoorlog telde Frankrijk zo’n tiental van deze leefgemeenschappen, verspreid over het land, die voor korte of langere tijd hebben bestaan. In die jaren, waarin veel plattelandsbewoners naar de steden trokken, moet het niet moeilijk geweest zijn ergens een leegstaand buurtschap of enkele lege boerderijen te vinden. Het aantal bewoners per kolonie bedroeg meestal enige tientallen.

Veganisme in Frankrijk
De eerste anarchistische kolonie in Frankrijk was gevestigd bij het dorpje Vaux (dep. Aisne), tussen 1903 en 1909. In 1911 ontstond in Bascon, een dorp in de buurt, een naturistische, veganistische kolonie. Stichter van deze communes was Louis Rimbault (1877-1949). De belangrijkste propagandist van deze kolonie was Jean Labat (1892-1932), vanwege zijn lange haar en baard plaatselijk bekend als Jezus Christus. Hij maakte foto’s van de kolonie en haar bewoners, die hij als ansichtkaarten verkocht.
Een andere belangrijke propagandist van het veganisme was George Butaud (1868-1926), die in 1923 in de kolonie in Bascon ging wonen. Daarnaast begon hij in Parijs een veganistisch restaurant, het Foyer Végétalien (40 Rue Mathis), waar ook een slaapzaaltje en een bibliotheek waren gevestigd en waar cursussen Esperanto, scheikunde, natuurkunde en Frans werden gegeven. Samen met Rimbault en de anarchiste Sophie Zaïkowska (1880-1939) stichtte Butaud in 1923 bij Luynes in het departement Indre-et-Loire, een zelfvoorzienend veganistisch dorp: Terre Libérée. Ongeveer twintig mensen woonden permanent in de kolonie, per jaar kwamen er tussen de twee- en driehonderd bezoekers, o.a. voor cursussen. Ondanks diverse interne ideologische conflicten en de oorlog, bleef de kolonie tot 1949 bestaan.

Anarchistisch tijdschrift
In 1911 had Louis Rimbault het wel gezien met het communeleven in Bascon. Bij lokale arbeiders in de omgeving had hij weinig belangstelling ondervonden voor zijn opvattingen over anarchistisch federalisme. In Parijs vond hij een baantje in een garage en maakte hij kennis met een aantal anarchisten die betrokken waren bij het tijdschrift l’anarchie. De redactie daarvan was gevestigd in een pand in de Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, vlakbij de Sacré-Coeur, waar ook de drukpers stond en lezingen konden worden gehouden.
L’anarchie was in 1905 opgericht door de typograaf en actieve anarchist Albert Libertad (pseudoniem van Albert Joseph, 1875-1908), die in die tijd in Parijs populaire lezingen over het anarchisme hield. In l’anarchie – oplage zo’n vierduizend exemplaren – pleitte hij voor een individualistisch anarchisme en verzette hij zich tegen de bestaande maatschappijvorm, loonarbeid, huwelijk, dienstplicht, verkiezingen, roken, alcohol en het eten van vlees. Hij was tegenstander van het anarchosyndicalisme omdat deze strijdwijze slechts tot lotsverbetering van de arbeiders zou leiden, en aan de bestaande maatschappelijke ongelijkheid niets zou veranderen.

Illegalisme
De sinds zijn geboorte kreupele Libertad was door zijn agitatie en propaganda een voortdurende doorn in het oog van autoriteiten, politie en justitie. Op een avond werd hij door agenten zo hard in elkaar geschopt, dat hij aan de gevolgen ervan overleed. Het redacteurschap van l’anarchie ging over naar Maurice Vandamme (1886-1974), die al eerder bijdragen voor het blad had geschreven onder het pseudoniem Mauricius. Deze zette het redactionele beleid van Libertad voort, samen met zijn vriendin Rirette Maîtrejean (1887-1968). Zij schreef felle artikelen waarin zij de maatschappelijke positie van vrouwen
bekritiseerde en pleitte voor vrije liefde, iets wat zij ook in praktijk bracht. Een andere medewerker was de fanatieke alcoholbestrijder en veganist André Roulot, die schreef onder het pseudoniem André Lorulot. Mauricius en Lorulot waren pleitbezorgers van individuele en gemeenschappelijke, indien nodig gewelddadige verzetsdaden tegen de heersende maatschappelijke orde. Dit illegalisme, waarbij anarchisten ook inbraken en overvallen pleegden met het doel de maatschappelijke orde te ondermijnen, zorgde ook voor financiële armslag voor de anarchistische beweging. Read more

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James Baldwin Debates William F. Buckley (1965)

 

The legendary debate that laid down US political lines on race, justice and history

In 1965 at the University of Cambridge, two of the foremost American intellectuals were challenged with the question: ‘Has the American Dream been achieved at the expense of the American Negro?’ From William F Buckley’s highly stylised posturing and pointing, to James Baldwin’s melodious rhetorical flourishes and memorable scowls, what’s become known as the ‘Baldwin-Buckley Debate’ now stands as one of the archetypal articulations of the dividing line between US progressives and conservatives on questions of race, justice and history. Baldwin, the famed African-American writer, whose reputation as a progressive social critic and visionary Civil Rights activist has only risen in the intervening decades, argues that the very foundation of US society is built on the dehumanisation of its African-American population. Meanwhile, Buckley, the leading US conservative intellectual of the period, argues that African Americans would be best served by exploiting their country’s many freedoms and opportunities, rather than pointing a collective finger at discriminatory structures and institutions. In both cases, their positions presage contemporary divisive debates in the US, though one wonders whether such an event could happen in today’s political environment.

While usually reduced to short clips, the full hour-long debate – presented here in its entirety – is a remarkable historical document in its own right. Conducted in front of a large, almost entirely white and predominantly male audience at the Cambridge Union, the encounter offers a sense of campus intellectual life in the mid-1960s through the atmosphere in the room, the things that made people laugh, and the particular references made by the debaters. After the always eloquent Baldwin evokes his personal experience to describe a perpetually disorienting and demeaning existence for African Americans, Buckley responds with facts and figures – as well as an ad hominem shot at Baldwin’s speaking voice – to argue that there’s an American Dream available to all those who would pursue it. In the end, Baldwin prevailed, earning an ardent standing ovation and a landslide victory in the Union’s vote on the motion raised.

From: https://aeon.co/the-legendary-debate-that-laid-down-us-political-lines-on-race-justice-and-history

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The Abuse Of The Right To Sexual And Reproductive Health In Nigeria: The Way Out

Photo: en.wikipedia.org

Somewhere in Osun State, Nifemi, a three-year old baby, has been put under the knife for her clitoris to be cut off. Somewhere in Zamfara, thirteen-year-old Aisha has been betrothed to a 65-year-old Alhaji. Somewhere in Lekki, ten-year-old Ayoola is being sexually abused by his uncle. Somewhere in Zamfara, new mother, Aisha, just drew her last breath after bleeding profusely due to the negligence of the medical practitioners that handled her childbirth. Each of these people are victims of the failed healthcare system which Nigerians are constantly being subjected to. For a long period of time, the issue of the abuse of the right to sexual and reproductive healthcare in Nigeria has been ignored like a slowly growing pimple. However, the previous pimple has now developed into an unavoidable boil ridden with pus and blood. Much to the chagrin of the powers that be, the ripple effects of the poor handling of sexual and reproductive health in Nigeria, can no longer be swept under the carpet.

The World Health Organisation defines reproductive health as: “A complete state of physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity in all matters related the reproductive system, its functions and its processes” [1]. The right to sexual and reproductive health has slowly garnered recognition over the past five decades. From the World Population Conferences in Rome and Belgrade held at 1958 and 1965 respectively [2], to the Beijing Conference of 1995 [3]; reproductive and sexual health has constantly been reaffirmed as a sine qua non in the lives of both men and women. In Nigeria, several Acts, and policies alike, have been enacted in order to guarantee this right to every Nigerian. They include, amongst others: The HIV(Anti-Discrimination) Act, 2013; the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, 2015; and the National Strategic Framework for the Elimination of Obstetric Fistula in Nigeria (2019-2023) [4].
However, the Nigerian situation seemingly sings a different tune. In spite of the existing legal framework, there have been numerous cases bordering on the flagrant abuse of the right to reproductive and sexual health in Nigeria- ranging from child marriage to sexual violence.

Currently, Nigeria has the highest number of child brides in Africa [5]. Over 20% of global maternal deaths occur in Nigeria with a staggering 600,000 maternal deaths enumerated from 2005-2015 [6]. In the same vein, over 25 percent of Nigerian women have been circumcised, with Osun State hosting the highest prevalence rate of 77 percent [7]. Each of these violations have negative effects on victims, hence, the global attention which the right to reproductive and sexual health has attracted. For example, there has been no report on the health benefits triggered by Female Genital Mutilation; however, numerous studies and research works have reported the harmful effects of female genital mutilation which could range from immediate complications which include: shock, haemorrhage and genital tissue swelling; to long-term complications which include: pain during sexual intercourse, urinary tract infections and menstrual problems [8].
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Leonid Andreyev ~ The Seven Who Were Hanged

Leonid Andreyev 1871-1919 Portrait: en.m.wikisource.org

Foreword by Herman Bernstein
Leonid Andreyev, who was born in Oryol, in 1871, is the most popular, and next to Tolstoy, the most gifted writer in Russia to-day. Andreyev has written many important stories and dramas, the best known among which are “Red Laughter,” “Life of Man,” “To the Stars,” “The Life of Vasily Fiveisky,” “Eliazar,” “Black Masks,” and “The Story of the Seven Who Were Hanged.”
In “Red Laughter” he depicted the horrors of war as few men had ever before done it. He dipped his pen into the blood of Russia and wrote the tragedy of the Manchurian war.
In his “Life of Man” Andreyev produced a great, imaginative “morality” play which has been ranked by European critics with some of the greatest dramatic masterpieces.
The story of “The Seven Who Were Hanged” is thus far his most important achievement. The keen psychological insight and the masterly simplicity with which Andreyev has penetrated and depicted each of the tragedies of the seven who were hanged place him in the same class as an artist with Russia’s greatest masters of fiction, Dostoyevsky, Turgenev and Tolstoy.
I consider myself fortunate to be able to present to the English-reading public this remarkable work, which has already produced a profound impression in Europe and which, I believe, is destined for a long time to come to play an important part in opening the eyes of the world to the horrors perpetrated in Russia and to the violence and iniquity of the destruction of human life, whatever the error or the crime.

Introduction by Leonid Andreyev
I am very glad that “The Story of the Seven Who Were Hanged” will be read in English. The misfortune of us all is that we know so little, even nothing, about one another—neither about the soul, nor the life, the sufferings, the habits, the inclinations, the aspirations of one another. Literature, which I have the honor to serve, is dear to me just because the noblest task it sets before itself is that of wiping out boundaries and distances.

As in a hard shell, every human being is enclosed in a cover of body, dress, and life. Who is man? We may only conjecture. What constitutes his joy or his sorrow? We may guess only by his acts, which are oft-times enigmatic; by his laughter and by his tears, which are often entirely incomprehensible to us. And if we, Russians, who live so closely together in constant misery, understand one another so poorly that we mercilessly put to death those who should be pitied or even rewarded, and reward those who should be punished by contempt and anger—how much more difficult is it for you Americans, to understand distant Russia? But then, it is just as difficult for us Russians to understand distant America, of which we dream in our youth and over which we ponder so deeply in our years of maturity.

The Jewish massacres and famine; a Parliament and executions; pillage and the greatest heroism; “The Black Hundred,” and Leo Tolstoy—what a mixture of figures and conceptions, what a fruitful source for all kinds of misunderstandings! The truth of life stands aghast in silence, and its brazen falsehood is loudly shouting, uttering pressing, painful questions: “With whom shall I sympathize? Whom shall I trust? Whom shall I love?”

In the story of “The Seven Who Were Hanged” I attempted to give a sincere and unprejudiced answer to some of these questions.

That I have treated ruling and slaughtering Russia with restraint and mildness may best be gathered from the fact that the Russian censor has permitted my book to circulate. This is sufficient evidence when we recall how many books, brochures and newspapers have found eternal rest in the peaceful shade of the police stations, where they have risen to the patient sky in the smoke and flame of bonfires. Read more

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Hunter S. Thompson: His Last Shotgun Art. No More Fear And Loathing In Woody Creek.

Uncleduke

Uncle Duke
From: Gary Trudeau – Doonesbury

Hunter S. Thompson, the counter culture ‘gonzo’ journalist, died on February 20, 2005 by a weapon of his choice. The inventor of Shotgun Art and Shotgun Golf fatally shot himself at his Owl Creek farm in Woody Creek, Colorado. He was 67.
‘Prince of Gonzo’ he called himself, ‘Doctor Gonzo’, ‘Doctor of Journalism’, ‘Outlaw Journalist’, ‘Doc’, ‘The Duke’: Hunter Stockton Thompson (Louisville, Kentucky, 1939).

Rock star of the written word.
And as with rock stars meeting one is never an easy task. But we managed, once, after endless waiting and drinking our way into the local bar, The Woody Creek tavern. The sun was already sinking behind the Rocky Mountains, bathing the area around the Tavern in a chill and cheerless light, when finally the great Doctor made his appearance. Five in the morning would have been a more approriate time.

Word had it that Thompson was burned out. That, battle weary, he’d given up on the Gonzo cause. Gonzo comes from the French-Canadian word gonzeaux which means something along the lines of shining path. Hunter Thompson was that path; the only fully fledged grand master of Gonzo. His Gonzo style was often confused with New Journalism, made famous by Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese. But that is quite incorrect. Wolfe and the like attack the truth with the techniques of the novelist. They lose themselves in the minds of their subjects. Thompson lost himself in his own mind, and traced only his own madcap, hallucinatory journey through the many events in his stories. “It’s essentially a ‘what if’,” as P. J. O’Rourke, another Rolling Stone celebrity, quoted Thompson. Read more

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