Logic Part 2: Modus ponens, modus tollens and Chuck Norris

In Logic Part 1 I wrote about the use of basic Aristotelian syllogisms and their fallacies. I am now going to talk about propositional hypothetical logic. Sounds scary, right? Don’t worry! As with the basic syllogisms, it’s also pretty easy!
Propositional hypothetical logic

This is it…

If P, then Q

There you have it! If P, then Q, easy-peasy! ‘If P, then Q’ is called a hypothetical proposition.

Continue reading “Logic Part 2: Modus ponens, modus tollens and Chuck Norris”

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Death by PowerPoint

Imagine it is August 28th 1963 and you have traveled to Washington DC to hear Martin Luther King Speak. He’s 30 minutes into his presentation and he says, ‘now as you can see on section C of slide 37….’ It just wouldn’t be the same. This is because slides ruin good speeches. In fact, countless good speeches have been butchered by the pestilence known as PowerPoint. I’ve sat through many ‘talks’ in which the speaker at some stage or other started reading the illegibly small text from slide 42 with their back facing an unenthused audience who can barely conceal their boredom. Ironically, in most cases, PowerPoint is neither powerful nor to the point. Continue reading “Death by PowerPoint”

The European Speechwriter Network Conference comes to Cambridge

I am very privileged to have been asked to chair the next  European Speechwriter Network Conference which will be taking place on my home turf in Cambridge at King’s College. The European Speechwriter Network organises a number of high-profile conferences and attracts speakers and delegates from all over the world.

The conference speakers will include the former speechwriter for Barack Obama as well as the speechwriters for the Prime Ministers of the Netherlands and Sweden. You can read more about the conference and the speakers online.

As well as chairing the three day conference I was asked to take part in this promotional video. David Attenborough, eat your heart out…

Guest Blog: The Eloquent Pedants – Guy Doza

Here is a short piece I wrote for Imogen Morley’s blog, ‘Language, Communication and Collaboration’. The piece is all about whether or not linguistic correctness matters!

Imogen Morley

A festive treat today in the form of a guest blog from my friend and colleague Guy Doza. Guy is an experienced speechwriter and consultant with a Master’s degree in rhetoric from Royal Holloway’s Centre of Oratory and Rhetoric. His research focusses on the application of classical rhetoric in the modern day. Guy’s post today is about the controversial subject of grammar and “correct” language in speeches and communication.

In his own words:

“As a non-partisan writer I have worked with officials from the Conservative, Labour, SNP, LibDem and Green parties. Outside of Parliament, I have worked with a number of Charities and NGOs ranging from BP to the BBC.

I often write for scientists and research groups who want to communicate their work to a mass audience. In the past I have written about chemistry, economics, astrophysics and more. On one occasion I was even asked to write a…

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Winning the Toastmaster District 71 Humorous Speech Contest

I was recently crowned the District 71 Champion for the Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest. District 71 is made up of Scotland, Ireland and the majority of England and Wales.

The objective of the competition is simple: deliver a 5-7 minute humorous speech. Be funny. Make people laugh. Try not to embarrass yourself too much…. Sounds easy, right? Continue reading “Winning the Toastmaster District 71 Humorous Speech Contest”

A write up of what went down at the ESN conference in Leuven

Last week I went to attend the European Speechwriter’s Network Conference in Leuven. Twice a year a collection of Europe’s top speechwriters gather for a conference to share ideas at one of the world’s most prestigious conferences for Speechwriters. This year the conference was chaired by Alexander Drechsel who is an Interpreter at the European Commission.

The first day of the conference was divided into three groups of training. I went to a workshop run by John Yorke to discuss how Hollywood screenwriters create a winning story and what speechwriters can learn from this. Continue reading “A write up of what went down at the ESN conference in Leuven”

Logic Part 1: Fun, fallacies and a dead flamingo

Logos (logic) is known to many people but understood by few. The danger with logic is that all it takes is a subtle distortion to produce a flawed, but very convincing argument. To understand logic properly we have to go back to the very basics.

Basic logical syllogisms

An argument using logic is often called a logical syllogism. Basic logical syllogisms will have a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion…

Major premise: All A is B

Minor premise: X is A

Conclusion: Therefore, X is B
Continue reading “Logic Part 1: Fun, fallacies and a dead flamingo”