The ​'Motte & Bailey' meme reveals what's wrong with political arguments in 2020

This medieval-themed meme highlights a shady yet all too common rhetorical move people make in arguments.

Credit: MotteAndBaileyMemes/Big Think
  • The "Motte and Bailey Doctrine" was developed by philosopher Nicholas Shackel.
  • It describes a rhetorical move in which an arguer advances an indefensible opinion, but when challenged falls back upon a similar yet easier-to-defend opinion.
  • Motte-and-baileys have become a weapon of choice in political and culture-war arguments.
Keep reading Show less

5 things that happen to your brain when you learn a new language

Never has the bar to entry been so low and the recognized benefits so high.

Credit: Digital_Art_Studio / Shutterstock
  • Learning a new language has been shown to sharpen your cognitive abilities while helping stave off dementia as you age.
  • A University of Chicago study found that businesspeople make better decisions when weighing problems in a non-native tongue.
  • Juggling multiple languages lets bilingual speakers switch between tasks with less stress and more control than monolinguists.
Keep reading Show less

This is how you overcome a language barrier

Don't worry about grammar rules at first. They'll only trip you up.

  • Learning a language can be a tricky process, but it's important to remember that it is a process.
  • Having learned 20 languages so far, Canadian polyglot and LingQ founder Steve Kaufmann's advice is to not focus on the grammar. Constantly thinking about the rules while attempting to speak only makes it harder.
  • Investing time (often several months) into listening, reading, and practicing words before trying to speak a language will help you feel more comfortable with it. You will make mistakes, but you will learn from them and people will be patient with you.
Keep reading Show less

Learn a new language—super fast. Here’s how.

According to a man that knows more than 20 languages, the key is to start in the middle.

  • Canadian polyglot Steve Kaufmann says there is indeed a fast track to learning a new language. It involves doubling down on your listening and reading.
  • By taking the focus off grammar rules that are difficult to understand and even more difficult to remember, you can instead develop habits by greater exposure to the language. Kaufmann likens the learning process to a hockey stick.
  • In the beginning you make major progress as you climb the steep hill of the hockey stick, whereas the long shaft of the stick is the difficult part. Because you're not seeing day-to-day changes, you might lose motivation. So, stay the course by consuming content that interests you.

Why demonizing Trump supporters destroys democracy

There are ways to engage with someone with whom you don't agree.

  • When you have pre-conceived ideas about a group whose views oppose your own, you risk closing the door to meaningful discourse before it begins.
  • "When you demonize those who voted against you then there's no chance of a democratic debate," argues Yanis Varoufakis, former finance minister of Greece and founder of DiEM25. "You've lost it completely. Then you go into a state of civil war."
  • Varoufakis says that there are two ways of approaching a difference of opinion: external and internal critiques. Focusing on internal critiques as the more fruitful method, Varoufakis explains how using logic to work through one's assumptions to see if they lead to the same conclusions can open up a pathway to conversation.

Keep reading Show less
Quantcast