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Overview of This Unit. Verbal Strategies of Supportiveness and Defensiveness Why Argue About Pointless Matters ? Why do we Misunderstand?. Evaluation Control Strategy Neutrality Certain Superiority. Description Problem Solving Spontaneity Empathy Provisional Equality.

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overview of this unit
Overview of This Unit
  • Verbal Strategies of Supportiveness and Defensiveness
  • Why Argue About Pointless Matters?
  • Why do we Misunderstand?
defensiveness and supportiveness







Problem Solving





Defensiveness and Supportiveness
overview of this unit1
Overview of This Unit
  • Verbal Strategies of Supportiveness and Defensiveness
  • Why Argue About Pointless Matters?
  • Why do we Misunderstand?
factual v verbal disputes
Factual v. Verbal Disputes
  • Factual disputes involve propositions about facts and are settled only by getting more factual information
  • example:

Dave: Lincoln was born in Indiana. I learned that in the third grade.

Carl: No, he wasn’t. He was born in Kentucky. I says so in my college textbook.

factual dispute examples
Factual Dispute Examples
  • that two Soviet cosmonauts died in outer space in 1965
  • that John F. Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald
  • that the plurality of scientists has the aquarian astrological sign
verbal disputes
Verbal Disputes
  • Verbal disputes involve statements that people think involve controversies over objects named by their words, when they really involve arguments about the words themselves
  • Cannot be resolved by investigating facts
statements that involve verbal disputes
Statements that Involve Verbal Disputes
  • Analytic statements, tautologies, and definitions: the meanings for words
  • Contradictions, paradoxes, and oxymorons
  • Attitude axioms
  • Metaphysical statements
analytic statements tautologies and definitions1
Analytic Statements, Tautologies, and Definitions

statements that assert that one term may be


for another

the meanings for words

analytic definition and tautology proposition examples
Analytic, Definition, and Tautology Proposition Examples
  • Samuel Clemens is Mark Twain
  • A yard is three feet long
  • The law is the law
  • All bachelors are unmarried
standard for verbal disputes
Standard for Verbal Disputes

If no sense experience could verify or falsify a statement, then it is simply not about the world we experience with our five senses

contradictions paradoxes and oxymorons
Contradictions, Paradoxes, and Oxymorons
  • Contradiction: a statement that always must be false
  • Oxymoron: a contradiction in terms
  • Paradox: a statement that declares itself in contradiction
contradictions and oxymorons
Contradictions and Oxymorons

statements that must be false due to their very construction

a noisy quiet

fresh frozen

jumbo shrimp

anti-abortion protestors

original copy


The statement in this square is false


Paradox of the Barber

The statement in this square is false

attitude axioms
Attitude Axioms

statements that reveal how the speaker feels about things


The worst day of fishing is better than the best day of work

I love what you do for me--Toyota

metaphysical statements
Metaphysical Statements
  • Statements about things that cannot be observed in this life
  • Examples:

There is a God in heaven

There is life after death

There are seven astral planes

The Jones house is haunted

some examples verbal or factual
Some Examples: Verbal or Factual?
  • Bigfoot exists
  • My Grandmother is in heaven.
  • All humans are born equal.
  • God created Himself.
  • “Nothing ever dies. Science tells us that. Nothing ever dies, it just changes form.” -- Shirley MacLaine
  • Abortion kills babies.
  • A: “The human embryo, even at the age of 14 days, has developed fingers and toes. My philosophy teacher told me that.”B: “That’s not true. At that point the embryo doesn’t even have limbs. You can look that up in any competent biology textbook.”
overview of this unit2
Overview of This Unit
  • Verbal Strategies of Self Disclosure
  • Overcoming Superstitions About Language
  • Why Argue About Pointless Matters?
  • Why do we Misunderstand?
why are there misunderstandings
Why Are There Misunderstandings?

We forget that:

1. Language creates a social reality

Whorf-Sapir hypothesis

We forget that:

2. Language is, by its very nature, incomplete

the hazy claim

ungrammatical incompleteness

the incomplete comparison

the non exclusive claim

weasel words

We forget that:

3. Language reflects culture

take a break
Take a Break!

We will resume in 10 minutes