valuebasedrevalue-based reasoning and emotive language

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  • 8/13/2019 ValueBasedReValue-Based Reasoning and Emotive Language


    Value-Based Reasoning and Emotive Language


    There are emotively powerful words that can modify our judgment, arouse our emotionsand influence our decisions. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the structure of the

    reasoning underlying the inferences that they trigger, in order to investigate their

    reasonableness conditions and their effectiveness. The use of ethical! words in

    argumentation can be e"plained through the analysis of their twofold dimension, i.e. the

    logical, systematic process that is grounded on them, and the heuristic processes triggered

    by emotions that they arouse. #n the one hand, arguing using ethical words is shown to be

    based on value$based practical reasoning grounded on hierarchies of values and ma"ims ofe"perience for evaluative classification. #n the other hand, ethical words provide

    representations bound to the interlocutor%s e"periences and judgments, which trigger

    specific emotions yielding a particular reaction. This chain of judgments and reactions and

    the potential fallaciousness thereof can be investigated through the heuristic processes of

    reasoning, and e"amining the relationship thereof with the systematic ones.

    &'()#R*S+ argumentation schemes, value$based reasoning, central$peripheral process,

    emotions, heuristics, emotive words, persuasion, rhetorical strategies

    . -TR#*/CT-#

    The 012 -talian presidential election can be considered as a rhetorical battlefield. The

    different parties 3especially the right$ and left$wing coalitions4 focused more on attac5ing

    the alternatives than promoting constructive programs. -n this conte"t, a crucial role wasplayed by rhetoric and in particular by emotive words. The voters were not provided with

    slogans describing long$term plans, but mainly with terms crystalli6ing negative

    properties of the competing parties. -nstead of reporting and describing comple"

    reasoning or lengthy discourses, the newspapers 7uoted such emotive characteri6ationsand contributed to creating a war of epithets. This political e"ample highlights a

    fundamental argumentative strategy, the use of emotive or ethical terms. -f we leave for a

    moment the political and statistical considerations and analy6e this tactic from aphilosophical, argumentative and linguistic perspective, we are left with unanswered

    7uestions. The first one can be formulated as follows+ )hat ma5es a word emotive8

    There are words 9 or rather concepts 9 that do not simply describe a fragment ofpossible reality. Terrorist! is not simply used to refer to a person who commits specific

    actions with a specific intent. )ords such as torture! or massacre!, freedom! or

    peace! carry with them something more than a simple description of a state of affairs, amere conceptual content 3Stevenson :;;+ 014. These words have a magnetic! effect3Stevenson :2

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    are ethical. -n the modern psychological terminology, we can say that there terms carry

    emotional valence! 3?rijda @ es7uita, 0111+ ;:4. At the same time, they presuppose

    and trigger a value judgment that can lead to an emotion.-n politics and other domains of human communication, these terms play a crucial

    role 3Schiappa 0112 arefs5y 011;4. They change the evaluation of a state of affairs, and

    modify the interlocutor%s attitudes and choices concerning it. They hide the comple"ity ofa judgment on a comple" entity or event, providing the hearer with a pre$pac5aged

    suggested evaluation, an allegedly objective representation pointing out only specific

    ethical 3or rather evaluative4 dimensions. These powerful instruments of persuasion raiseproblems that e"ceed the domain of rhetoric and argumentation, but that are crucial for

    understanding the mechanism of the rhetorical effect that they trigger. Dow can a word

    be emotive8 Dow can value judgments be related to emotions8 )hy are emotions used to

    affect decisions8The answers to these 7uestions need to be searched for in the analysis of the

    comple" structure of emotions and the reasoning mechanisms that have been investigated

    under the label of heuristics! or peripheral processes! 3Eetty et al. 011; Eetty @

    Cacioppo :>=4.

    0. TD' E#)'R A* TD' /S'S #? '#T-F' )#R*S

    Attac5ing the competing parties and politicians is a strategy that is fre7uently used during

    the elections in many countries. Dowever, in the 012 -talian presidential elections thenumber and the originality of the attac5s were unusual. As a matter of fact, three

    individuals dominated the scene, showing an incredible creativity in forging new epithets

    for depicting their 3possible4 rivals in a negative manner+ Beppe Grillo, leader of the

    ovimento H Stelle, Silvio Berlusconi, the politician who ruled the country for the last >years, and ario onti, the outgoing prime minister. )hile the political campaign of

    Grillo was centered on public speeches, organi6ed as polemic and comic shows,

    Berlusconi heavily relied on advertisements and programs on the several mass media ofhis property 3TF channels, newspapers, maga6inesI4 and ads sent by ordinary mail.

    ?inally, onti did not organi6e a massive political campaign, but rather released

    interviews in which he e"plained his program.The communication tactics of the three parties mirror the type of strategy adopted,

    and the type of ethos, or rather communicative character, of the person representing them.

    Grillo acted as a comic actor and polemical public spea5er, defending his positions by

    pointing out the critical issues of the political and economic behavior in -taly in a funnyand entertaining fashion. onti, as a famous professor and economist, underscored the

    economic problems of the country, proposing a program to face them. Berlusconi acted

    as the victim of a conspiracy aimed at discrediting him and, at the same time, he alsoembodied the prototypical ideals of the stereotypical -talian male.

    The attac5 strategies grounded on emotive words varied noticeably depending on

    the politician. Grillo used the strategy of amplification 3Juintilianus, Institutio Oratoria,F-, 0, 02$21 Calboli ontefusco 011;4, namely the classification of an entity or an event

    using indignant language 3Aristotle,Rhetoric--, 0;, 24, based on a slight manipulation of

    circumstances or facts that are or can be commonly accepted. Juintilian illustrated this

    tactic with the e"ample of a dishonest man turned into a robber!, or the wounds of


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    another transformed into a simple injury 3Institutio Oratoria, F---, ;, 4. The strategy of

    distorting reality is based on the similarity between the altered image of reality and what

    is commonly regarded as real. The effectiveness of this dialogical move can be enhancedby combining the distortion with other communicative tactics. Grillo e"ploits in

    particular one of them, the use of the comic role. Dis characteri6ation of the opponents

    are funny, e"aggerated, and at the same time they place the interlocutor in a scenario inwhich the boundary between reality and fiction is blurred 3eyer 0111 Smith @ Foth

    01104, and lead the interlocutor to a negative judgment based on a limited dimension of

    the issue. ?or instance we can consider his description of the left$wing opponent, EierKuigi Bersani+

    Case Bersani is not a fascist. De is only a loser. But - accuse him of having made

    arrangements with former fascists and masons for twenty years, sharing among them also

    the bones of this Country.!

    -n this case, his attac5 is highly emotional and based on heavy e"aggerations. De uses

    words such as fascist! and mason!0, he describes him as a loser! and depicts his

    actions as sharing the bones of a country!. Dowever, the grounds of his attac5 are or canbe shared by the audience, as Bersani directly or indirectly supported members of the

    Earliament having strong right$wing positions or connections with masonic organi6ations

    3illegal in -taly4. A similarly charged description is provided on the right$wing 3Kegaord4 politician, Roberto aroni+

    Case 0De is a dreaming barbarian. De always dreams of fooling us.

    -n this case, Grillo amplifies the poorly refined manners of the politician and its party in

    general, adding a comment on his real intentions. The strategy of reducing a person tofew adjectives the negative traits allows the audience to draw an easy value judgment on

    him, grounded on li5ely facts that can be also un5nown to someone in the public. ?or

    instance, he describes the ?iat C'#, Sergio archionne 3a figure e"tremely relevant for

    the -talian economy and employment, often involved in political discussions4 ta5ing forgranted the fact that he has his residence in Swit6erland. -n this fashion, Grillo depicts

    him as a foreigner plunderer+

    Case 2A Swiss citi6en who wears a cashmere jersey and pursues the policy of disintegrating the

    -talian industry.

    These descriptions are e"treme and funny. They provide a clear clue for an easy value

    judgment, based on the emphasis on few negative traits 3other of his descriptions involve

    calling Berlusconi the bouncing dwarf! and onti father errin!, the priest in the'"orcist4 and the omission of other positive achievements or 7ualities. Dowever, the

    1 http+LLwww.ilgiornale.itLnewsLinterniLebetino$fallito$salma$tutto$grillo$insulto$insulto$>2;2:=.html

    3Retrieved on ; arch 0104.2asonry is illegal in -taly, and fre7uently related with high$level criminal organi6ations.


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    audience e"pects the use of such e"travagant epithets from a showman 5nown for his

    comic$political shows. The force and grounds of the attac5 are considered in a type of

    dialogue different from the real one, mar5ed by jo5es and e"aggerations aimed atentertaining.

    A completely different approach can be found in onti%s statements. De is not

    jo5ing at all on the contrary, he acts pursuant to his character and his role of economist,statesman and intellectual. De grounds his attac5s, mostly directed against Berlusconi, on

    emotional and sour descriptions. ?or instance we can consider the following statement 2+

    Case ;Berlusconi continues ma5ing promises, trying to buy the votes of the -talian people withthe money of the -talian people.! MIN According to onti, this can lead to popularity,

    but this would be a challenge for a Country that is basically without memory. - do not

    want to believe that the -talians do not remember their past.!

    Dere, onti accuses Berlusconi of buying the votes of the -talians, and at the same timepoisons the well of his possible supporters, classifying them as people without memory!

    3referring to the disastrous conditions of -talian economy left by Berlusconi%sgovernment4. -n another interview he e"plicitly pointed out the mismanagement of his

    predecessor, claiming to be distressed when some jac5asses say that they have left -talyin good conditions in 01.! ;This attac5 is aimed at arousing both anger against his

    opponent 3Berlusconi is deceiving and stealing for his own interest4 and contempt

    towards the supporters thereof 3people without memory are li5e puppets4. The emotion ofanger is combined with fear in the following similitude drawn between Berlusconi and

    the Eied EiperH+

    Case HAccording to the outgoing prime minister, the promises made by Silvio Berlusconi are

    similar to the Eied Eiper of Damelin who lures away the mice. The fact that the -talianscan believe to some words stated by that mouth reminds me of the Eied Eiper, who ta5es

    the mice to drown!, said the professor. De admits+ Berlusconi has already deceived the

    -talian people three times. The first time - was also deceived.!

    Dere, onti underscores the deceitful and treacherous character of Berlusconi by

    describing his promises as aimed at luring! the -talians to disaster and deceiving! them.

    De points out his unjust and detrimental actions against the people to trigger anger, whilethe story of the Eied Eiper is intended to underline the danger through the fear for the

    possible conse7uences.

    The reaction of Berlusconi to this attac5 follows the character that he plays,

    characteri6ed by victimi6ation 3he is the victim of an injustice and a conspiracy4 and

    3 http+LLwww.unita.itLitaliaLmonti$nega$nessuna$spaccatura$su$voto$disgiunto$.;>002;1.shtml8

    uuidOAb0sd/D3Retrieved on 2 arch 0104.5http+LLwww.repubblica.itLpoliticaL012L1L;LnewsLmontiPsitua6ionePgravePcolpaPdiPchiPhaP


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    closeness to hisidea of the stereotypical -talian man 3aggressive, womani6er, vulgar and

    soccer fan4 3emphasis added4=+

    Case =)ho claims this is ascumbag this is an action of ascumbag, as the spread is something

    that is independent from everything. These are the claims of the left wing these are lies,

    it is not the truth!. Berlusconi raises his voice and states again that this this part of the

    conspiracy, as they wanted to clear a government away in order to pursue the interest of

    the other 'uropean countries.! And then concerning the pied piper!+ -, a pied piper8 De

    also deceivedus, and this is a real hoaxand we have been all deceived. )e hoped that

    this man were what he appeared to be. Erobably he also wants to ta" my pipe!I!

    The vulgar and ungrounded epithets 3in another interview he called onti a madman!

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    an emotive reaction. This reaction is interconnected with a value judgment, in the sense

    that at the same it presupposes such an evaluation and leads the interlocutor to draw it

    through the emotion. Dowever, this tactic is not as simple as it appears to be. The threepolitical characters use the same instrument of persuasion within different more comple"

    strategies. The emotional epithets were accepted within Grillo%s comic role as part of

    hilarious caricatures. onti%s sour remar5s are grounded on his presupposed andcommonly shared authority and superior 5nowledge. Berlusconi uses emotive words to

    turn the political confrontation into a street fight, where the criticisms against his political

    figure become attac5s against himself as an ordinary man:. Dis acting mirrors theimpulsive and indignant reaction of an unjustly offended person.

    'motive words can have a noticeable impact on the audience%s judgments and

    decisions. -n order to analy6e their effectiveness, it is necessary to ta5e into consideration

    two distinct and connected dimensions of this instrument+ their logical function asimplicit and condensed arguments, and their rhetorical effect consisting in arousing


    2. TD' ARG/'TAT-F' STR/CT/R' #? '#T-F' )#R*S

    Stevenson defined emotive words as words that involve a wedding of descriptive andemotive meaning , and have the power of directing attitudes 3Stevenson :;;+ 014.

    These words are used to refer to a fragment of reality, but at the same time they have the

    tendency to encourage future actions 3Stevenson :2>+ ;:$H14 and lead the hearertowards a change by affecting his system of interests 3Stevenson :;;+ 014. This

    tendency amounts to a disposition of such terms to be used to achieve a specific effect, to

    move the hearer and change his attitude towards action. Stevenson%s account can be

    analy6ed from two distinct perspectives. #n the one hand, it is possible to investigate thestructure of the reasoning leading from the predication of a word to a reason to act. #n

    the other hand, it is necessary to analy6e what ma5es a word magnetic! 3as Stevenson

    describes the emotive meaning4, namely strongly encouraging a course of action.

    3.1. Choices and judgments

    The first step consists in in7uiring into what lin5s a word to a possible choice, and for this

    reason we need to build on the logical approaches to ethical judgments 3Toulmin :H1

    von )right :=2a :=2b Dare :=2 &upperman 01104. #n this view, ethical

    judgments are means to lead the interlocutor to action on the basis of common 5nowledge3a commonly accepted rule of behavior4 and criteria of classification 3what is a good

    action, a good goal, or more simply a good car, etc.4. These two components are strictly

    combined 3Dare :=2+ 0;4+

    Ket us imagine a society which places a negative value upon industry there seemto be such societies in the world, in which the industrious man is regarded as a

    mere nuisance. Such a society could never 3if it spo5e 'nglish4 e"press its moral

    standards by using the word industrious, li5e us, for commending people, only

    with a totally different descriptive meaningi.e. commending them for totally

    9This tactic was also used when he e"plained he some open criticisms to his politics as attac5s from the

    supporters of Uuventus 3they must be supporters of UuventusV!4, the rival of the team he owns.


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    different 7ualities, for e"ample that of doing as little wor5 as possible. -f they did

    that, we should say that they had changed the meaning of the 'nglish word

    industrious. The descriptive meaning of industrious is much too firmly attached

    to the word for this sort of thing to be allowed these people would be much more

    li5ely to use the word in its normal descriptive meaning, but neutrally or

    pejoratively i.e. to give it no, or an adverse, prescriptive meaning.

    *epending on what is considered to be desirable for a given community, the

    classification of a state of affairs, an action or a behavior as good! varies. Thisperspective is rooted in the Aristotelian ethical system, which regards every decisions as

    always aimed to a goal, which amounts to what is good 3or better4, or what appears to be

    good 3or better4 3icomachean !thics2a H4, for everything aims at the good! 3the

    desirable, WXYXZ[\4 3"opics =a, > see Burnyeat, :>1, p. >24. This accountunderscores the crucial importance of the principles of inference 3specific loci4 that we

    use to judge something as desirable or more desirable, or, on the contrary, undesirable or

    more undesirable 3Rhetoric, 2=0b 0$>4. Together with the ideal and philosophicalprinciples of value judgments, based on what shall be considered as proper for the nature

    of man, Aristotle provides more practical, or rather rhetorical, criteria, grounded on whatis usually the case among people. #n this view, values, or principles of choice, arestructured in hierarchies 3Eerelman @ #lbrechts$Tyteca :H4 depending on a man%s

    culture and personal dispositions+

    ?urther, a man of a given disposition ma5es chiefly for the corresponding things+

    lovers of victory ma5e for victory, lovers of honour for honour, money$loving

    men for money, and so with the rest. These, then, are the sources from which we

    must derive our means of persuasion about Good and /tility. 3Rhetoric2=2b $


    -n the same way also it is in certain places honourable to sacrifice ones

    father, e.g. among the Triballi, whereas, absolutely, it is not honourable. #r

    possibly this may indicate a relativity not to places but to persons+ for it is all the

    same wherever they may be+ for everywhere it will be held honourable among

    the Triballi themselves, just because they are Triballi. Again, at certain times it isa good thing to ta5e medicines, e.g. when one is ill, but it is not so absolutely

    3"opicsHb :$0

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    3.#. $trategies of classification and commitments

    The first type of reasoning can be described as a passage from the commitment to a

    specific abstract goal 3honesty shall be praisedLsought after4 to the commitment to a

    specific one 3this man shall be praisedLsupported4. This transfer of commitments can bethought of as a passage from some 7ualities of the state of affairs to its classification

    according to a value, and another, proceeding from values, from the commitment to an

    abstract desire to a concrete one. The first reasoning process is the most important one, asit yields a classification of the entity that is directly and prototypically associated with a

    value judgment. -n the e"amples mentioned above it is possible to notice different

    strategies of value$laden classifications+

    . Attribution of a negative habit

    a. Bersani is a loser 3case 4.

    b. MaroniN is a dreaming barbarian 3case 04.

    0. entioning previous actionsa. MBersaniN made arrangements with former fascists and masons for

    twenty years, sharing among them also the bones of this Country 3case4.

    b. Berlusconi has already deceived the -talian people three times. The

    first time - was also deceived.! 3case H4.2. etaphorical or analogical predications 3prototypes4

    a. MBerlusconiN reminds me of the Eied Eiper, who ta5es the mice to

    drown 3case H4.

    b. The judges of the court of ilan are horrible defamation machines3case

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    which is often hard to show. onti%s inductive generali6ation based on Berlusconi%s

    previous behavior can represent this type of reasoning. Dowever, when the spea5er

    cannot provide evidence of the victim%s past actions or wants to yield a strongerconclusion less subject to rational assessment, he can avail himself of more rhetorically

    effective tactics. A common instrument for supporting the attribution of a negative habit

    is the mentioning of ungrounded generali6ations containing indignant language 3sharingthe bones of the Country fascists and masons4, which are hard to disproof and at the

    same time can lead to immediate emotive reactions 3hatred4.

    The third strategy consists in the use of metaphorical e"pressions or thecomparison with entities that are prototypically bound to a specific value judgment. The

    clearest case is onti%s description of Berlusconi as the Eied Eiper, who is prototypically

    considered to be a deceiver, a person luring people to a disaster. -n this case, the

    reasoning is by analogy, as the two entities are simply compared. Another similar tactic isthe use of metaphorical e"aggerations 3defamation machines!4, which convey the

    negative judgment through a classification that can be judged as non$serious.

    The use of metaphors and indignant generali6ations are e"tremely effective both

    from a reasoning and dialogical perspective. The spea5er leads the interlocutors to aconclusion based on an emotion, and at the same time hedge the ris5 of being critici6ed

    for an incorrect or ungrounded judgment. -n case of Grillo his comic character justifiesthe use of e"aggerations, while Berlusconi plays the role of the offended person acting

    out of just indignation or anger. -n both cases the rhetorical part that they are playing is

    used strategically to avoid criticisms.?rom a reasoning perspective, the three strategies are all aimed at attributing a

    specific habit to an entity. This classification constitutes the starting point for the

    comple" relation between judgment and commitments, which e"plains both the

    dialectical and rhetorical effects of this move. The first step consists in the analysis of therelationship between a classification and a value judgment, which can be represented

    with the following scheme 3)alton, Reed @ acagno 011>+ 2:4+

    Argumentation scheme + Argument from classification

    ?or instance, if a man ruins willingly his own country, he will be classified as evil! or

    contemptible!, while if someone fights for improving it, he can be classified ashonorable!. *epending on what is considered to be desirable or contemptible 3see the

    second boo5 of Aristotle%s "opics4, the habit will lead to a value judgment on the entity.

    This value judgment can be directly bound to the desirability or undesirability of theentity or the state of affairs, depending on whether the habit is directly associated with a


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    value judgment 3cowards are contemptible4 or, rather, with a more generic moral habit

    3deceivers are untrustworthy4. This scheme can be applied to the analysis of case H


    This type of reasoning is bound to a distinct one, representing the passage from a value

    judgment to a commitment to bring about a specific state of affairs. A dangerous oruntrustworthy person can be negatively judged 3he is bad4, but a subse7uent step is

    needed to lin5 a judgment with a commitment, or a potential disposition, to act

    accordingly. ?or this reason, the idea of reasoning from values is crucial, as it leads from

    a generic and commonly accepted reason to act to its specific instantiation. ?or instance,untrustworthiness is a reason for disapproving of a person, or not believing in him. The

    passage from the instantiation of a value to the specific commitment concerning it can berepresented as follows 3)alton, Reed @ acagno 011>+ 204+

    Argumentation scheme 0+ Argument from Falues

    The generic shared value is a reason to act accordingly. This reason needs to be specified

    in order to become a principle triggering a specific behavior or action, i.e. an assent to

    an evaluative impression! 3Brennan 011H+ >

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    This reasoning step binds the judgment to a specific commitment. Falues are considered

    to be reasons to act, and need to be specified according to the predication. This type of

    reasoning e"plains also the rhetorical effect of classifying a person according to acommonly shared value, which leads to a commonly accepted commitment. The value

    judgment binds the interlocutor, belonging to a certain community, to the behavior that is

    commonly accepted to be the most appropriate in the given circumstance.The attribution of a value judgment to an entity can be described according to two

    distinct types of reasoning. The first pattern leads from a habit, a characteristic, a

    behavior, or a comparison to a judgment. This judgment corresponds to a more generic

    positive or negative habit or an evaluation of the subject%s desirability or undesirability.The second type of reasoning describes the commitment structure of the predication of

    value judgments, yielding a commitment to a generic behavior concerning a specific

    entity, based on generally accepted relations between commitment and values.

    3.3. %udgments and actions

    The second component of ethical reasoning is the passage from moral judgment to acommitment to a specific action. The decision$ma5ing process can be thought of as a

    pattern of reasoning connecting a desired action, or rather a declaration of intention! orcommitment to bringing about a state of affairs 3von )right :+ 4. A spea5er can reason in two distinct fashions 3von )right :=2b+

    = :=2a+ Ch. F---4. The first reasoning is from a commitment to bring about a specific

    state of affairs to the commitment to the productive or necessary means to bring it about3what Abelard would call the consensus, i.e. the decision to engage in a specific 3good or

    bad4 activity, aimed at pursuing a specific 3good or bad4 goal, see Abaelardus, !thica,

    =2= A4+

    Argumentation scheme 2+ Eractical reasoning


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    ;. '#T-#S A* )#R*S

    Dow can some words trigger emotions8 Dow can an instrument that represents concepts,commonly used to refer to reality, bring about an emotional state8 A possible answer can

    be found in the cognitivist approaches to emotions. These studies focus on the rational, or

    rather conceptual, dimension of emotions, showing how they are strictly interwoven3Eugmire ::>+

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    the criteria for the evaluative judgment 3see ?rijda @ es7uita ::>4. #n this

    perspective, an emotion is in part culture$dependent, as it is a system of concepts,

    beliefs, attitudes, and desires, virtually all of which are conte"t$bound, historicallydeveloped, and culture$specific! 3Solomon 0112+ >4. The Stoics pointed out the strict

    dependence of the cognitive component and the evaluative one in emotions. They showedthe relation between the perception 3or imagination4 of a specific state of affairs

    3phantasia4 and the emotion itself, which consists in a false judgment of assent to anevaluative impression 3Brennan 011H+ >

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    \]X^WX_`W[ and it is a power which all may readily ac7uire if they will. MIN

    - am complaining that a man has been murdered. Shall - not bring before my eyes

    all the circumstances which it is reasonable to imagine must have occurred in

    such a conne"ion8 Shall - not see the assassin burst suddenly from his hiding$

    place, the victim tremble, cry for help, beg for mercy, or turn to run8 Shall - notsee the fatal blow delivered and the stric5en body fall8 )ill not the blood, the

    deathly pallor, the groan of agony, the death$rattle, be indelibly impressed uponmy mind8

    The mechanism of emotive words is twofold. #n the one hand, words can be used totrigger emotions on the other hand emotions have an epistemic effect, altering our

    perception of the described events. The words and descriptions that Juintilian mentions

    have an effect that goes beyond the mere outcome of informing us of an event. Theydepict a scene that we can imagine, compare with our memories, and judge. ?or this

    reason, they can ma5e us e"perience a specific emotion, something we can perceive as

    real, an apparent reality! that becomes present to our senses and we cannot doubt of

    3?rijda @ es7uita 0111+ =: Clore @ Gasper 0111+ 0=4. The audience cannot doubt of

    the anger that it feels against the merciless assassin described by Juintilian. ?or thisreason, his deeds, his cruelty, his hatefulness become apparently real. The li5elihood of

    the event becomes perceived as real because of the emotions e"perienced. As 'lster put it3::;+ 0;4, a crucial fact about the emotions is that they have the capacity to alter and

    distort the cognitive appraisal that triggered them in the first place.! #n this perspective,

    emotive words can be used to instill beliefs! and generate emotions that are irrational,!as grounded on beliefs that not based on the total available information 3'lster ::;+ 2=4.

    By providing the audience with an emotional representation of a person, a group or an

    issue, it is possible to arouse an emotion, and in this fashion give the interlocutorsomething more powerful than sheer information or truth+ the sensation or the appearance

    of truth.

    *epicting individuals, groups, or issues from an emotional perspective or asactors in emotional events evo5es emotions, and the emotions instill the beliefconstituting its appraisal dimension into the hearers 3?rijda @ es7uita 0111+ ;

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    H. '#T-#S A* E'R-ED'RAK R'AS#-G

    'motions can be instrument for instilling beliefs. They create an apparent reality,

    something that we perceive as real even if it is not. They lead us to act on an amount of

    information that often is not optimal 3'lster ::;+ 024. )hen we fear a person thatdeceived the citi6ens, we strengthen or commit ourselves to that belief. )hen we feel

    contempt for a leader, we are led to hold his inferiority as true, even if no evidence is

    provided. )hen we hate the officers of a public institution, we do not need further proofsto judge their actions as unjust. 'motions provide us with a picture of reality that is more

    li5ely than the one supported by data and proofs.

    The reasoning triggered by emotions was clearly described by Juintilian. #n his

    view, the orator should amplify a description to arouse a passion, because passionstrigger a form of reasoning that is different from the systematic one. The judge, when

    overcome by passions, abandons all attempts to en7uire into the truth of the arguments,

    is swept along by the tide of passion, and yields himself un7uestioning to the torrent!

    3Institutio Oratoria, F-, 0, =4. 'motions, as seen above, presuppose and provide the agentwith an appearance of reality, an appraisal that is not the result of a careful assessment,

    but the outcome of an immediate and simplified perception, an interaction between theindividual%s concerns and the object 3Clore @ Gasper 0111+ 214.

    'motions ma5e us jump to conclusion, trigger generali6ations based on single

    e"periences 3?rijda @ es7uita 0111+ HH4, resulting in attributing a single episodiccharacteristic 3he loo5s dangerous!4 to inner, essential properties 3he his evil4, or

    e"tending an event 3he behaved badly!4 over time 3he has always been bad!4. Such

    beliefs are strong, as they are felt, and what is present to the senses cannot easily be

    doubted to e"ist! 3?rijda @ es7uita 0111+. =

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    'motional thin5ing is e"tremely powerful because it re7uires little processing effort by

    the agent. De has not to carefully evaluate all the evidence concerning comple" issues

    and syntheti6e it a momentary feeling can trigger empirical generali6ations, leading tostrong and persistent value judgments 3&eltner @ Kerner 011+ 224.

    'motional reasoning has been analy6ed as different from the central! or

    systematic type of reasoning, which re7uires effort, time and information 3Chen @Chai5en :::4. 'motions provide the individual with easily accessible information,

    namely mental contents that immediately come to mind 3&ahneman 0112+ =::

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    #nce an emotion is e"perienced, the system no longer operates as a scientist,

    carefully weighing the pros and cons of the belief implied by the emotion.

    -nstead, the emotional person acts li5e a prosecutor or a defense lawyer see5ing

    by any means to find evidence for the belief. Eresumably, the e"periential aspect

    of the emotion is itself responsible for this process of interrupting the flow,

    providing information, and, through associated beliefs, guiding attention.

    )ea5 arguments are perceived as stronger when the attention needed for the systematic

    processing lowers 3Eetty et al.011;4.#n this perspective, emotive words are instruments of decision ma5ing that can be

    e"tremely effective. Dowever, just li5e all powerful instruments, they can be also

    e"tremely dangerous. The fragment of reality that they bring to the interlocutor%sattention, the apparent reality that they provide can be a synthesis or a mas5. 'motive

    words can provide a symbolic, summari6ed reason for a conclusion, but at the same time

    they can act as strategies for prevent a careful assessment of a situation.Clearly, when the evidence that such words are simply lies or e"aggerations is too

    clear, the strategy itself ris5s turning against the spea5er. ?or this reason, other tactics areused to prevent possible criticisms or increase the burden of an attac5. Grillo acts in a

    comic environment, where e"aggerations are regarded as instruments for triggeringhumor and entertainment. Accusing him of distorting reality with his epithets would be

    li5e accusing him of being entertaining. Berlusconi plays between two roles, acting as a

    light$hearted and mundane entertainer and a serious politician according to hiscommunicative purposes. oreover, by turning political attac5s into a fight of personal

    insults and playing the indignant and angry role, he manages to shift a debate into a

    7uarrel, twisting the intentions of his opponents.

    =. C#CK/S-#

    -n the late$medieval dialectical theory, fallacies were described according to two criteria+their reason for the semblance, the plausible appearance that ma5es the people assent to

    the argument, and a reason for the failure, for their being wea5 or invalid 3&ret6mann,

    &enny @ Einborg :>0+ 0;4. 'motive words provide an appearance of reality, aperception of a state of affairs that ma5es them instruments for easily drawing a value

    judgment in conditions of lac5 of time, resources or information. Dowever, the same

    semblance of reality can be used to replace it with a distorted image, and lead theinterlocutor to a judgment based on irrelevant or false attributes. The inner rationality of

    these words fades away when peripheral thin5ing ta5es the place of the systematic one.

    'motive words are powerful and dangerous instruments, both for the audience

    and for the spea5er. ?or this reason, they are often combined with side tactics that leaveunaltered their rhetorical 3persuasive4 effect while affecting their dialectical and

    dialogical force. A comic actor cannot be accused of e"aggerating or being irrelevant, an

    angry man cannot be blamed for being aggressive or voicing his personal opinions 3evenif publically and when acting as a public figure4.


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