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”

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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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”

Is it ok to interrupt a speech?

A political party speech is an opportunity for party leaders to talk about their views and policies. It gives politicians a platform to rally their supporters and inform the public. It is therefore an important part of our political process and indeed of democracy.

The Prime Minister yesterday was speaking in a hall with thousands of people who wanted to hear what she has to say. Her colleagues in Brussels wanted to hear what she had to say. People across the United Kingdom wanted to hear what she had to say.

It is for that reason that I am not entirely comfortable with Simon Brodkin’s stunt to hand Theresa May a P45 document during the middle of her speech. People have told me that protest is part of the democratic process, and I would completely agree. However, there are proper and appropriate ways to protest that don’t interfere with the public’s right to be informed. Continue reading “Is it ok to interrupt a speech?”

Netanyahu’s Speech to the United Nations 2017

The Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu had some strong words for Iran at his recent speech at the United Nations. Mirroring Churchill’s famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech Netanyahu spoke about the ‘Iranian curtain’ which is spreading terror across the Middle East. “Iran spreads this curtain of tyranny and terror over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere, and it pledges to extinguish the light of Israel. Today, I have a simple message for Ayatollah Khamenei, the dictator of Iran: The light of Israel will never be extinguished”. Continue reading “Netanyahu’s Speech to the United Nations 2017”