Debaters needing to add that extra little oomph to their presentations now have an additional tool at their disposal, thanks to a decision by the International Committee on Rhetorical Standards. They can always burst into tears.
The prolapsis ad lacrimas maneuver permits debaters to have a deeply emotional outburst near the end of the debating period, augmenting their argument by portraying their opponents as cruel and unreasoning monsters.
Long considered as a questionable if highly effective rhetorical device rather than a line of serious philosophical inquiry, the maneuver was approved in the proceedings of the Committee’s 82nd quadrennial conference as a legitimate method of reaching truth and general understanding.
“This is genuinely exciting,” said Professor Ernst Heltvildt of the College of Experimental Epistemology, who sponsored the resolution. “It’s the first new logical approach we’ve endorsed in decades. It’s vital for debaters to have this important tool in the new age of Emotional Intelligence.”
In the final debate on the resolution, opponents pointed out that prolapsis ad lacrimas is a close cousin (and frequent associate) of the ad hominem fallacy, which transforms debate about an issue into a debate about the debaters. “Surely this is just legitimizing the playing of the ‘victim’ card,” said Dr. Dee Vernunft of the University of Pomme de Terre’s Advanced Philosophy faculty in closing arguments on the matter. “Making your opponent look bad may change the flavor of the debate, but it doesn’t change the facts presented. Endorsing the prolapsis ad lacrimas will reduce the search for truth to a question of who can throw the biggest hissy fit.”
The record of the debate then indicates that Prof. Heltvildt, who was arguing in support of the resolution, then burst into tears, explained how close to his heart the resolution was, and accused his opponent of “heartlessly perpetuating a strictly rational outlook with an irrational hatred of emotional influences.”
The resolution then passed by a 10-to-1 margin.
The move to adopt an emotional outburst as a legitimate tool of logical analysis has attracted some comment in epistemological circles. “The relationship between emotion and logic has always been rather tenuous,” said Professor Mitt Kopfschmerzen of the University of Punxsutawney’s College of Applied Philosophy. “While emotion can sometimes provide important insights on issues, it has certain limits as an analytical tool. These days we seem to be observing a growing distrust of logic as such, and a growing emphasis on ’emotional truth,’ which seems to be interpreted in different ways. Do they mean a) facts about one’s emotional state at a particular time or b) things that one believes to be true because one feels strongly about them?
“There’s a vast difference between the statements ‘It is true that I feel very strongly about this’ and ‘This must be true because I feel it to be’–or, for that matter, ‘You should be convinced of my opinion simply because I feel so strongly about it.’ I fear adopting the prolapsis ad lacrimas will only confuse the matter further.”
In other news, shares of companies that manufacture facial tissues and eye drops surged in late trading for no obvious reason.