Talk for Article "Argument check: John Hickenlooper about consequences of not disavowing socialism"

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    To the note “This is not checkable. It is merely an opinion. Checking it is folly” by which Mike substantiated tagging the article with “Consider deletion”:
    I totally agree: of course, opinion cannot be checked. But the article makes expressively clear, that it does not check the opinion: It does not question whether the statements in the if-clause respectively the consequence are true., it does not judge whether the Democrats have to avoid being called “socialist” or not.
    The article analyzes the inner logic of the claim on a formal level.

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    I feel this article would benefit from some context to the quote. Did Hickenlooper literally mean that the Democratic Party should publish something outlining how their policies are not socialist, or did he mean they should steer clear of policies which too closely resemble what one could call socialism? I feel like that would matter for the subsequent check.

    Edited: 2019-08-07 13:28:07 By Lars Dorren (talk | contribs) + 60 Characters .. + 19% change.‎‎ (Note | Diff)

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      Thank you, Lars, for your deliberation and suggestion!
      I read from articles which appeared before the “debate” that both is true. Hickenloopers’ position really is as fuzzy.

      Here he argued on the image level:
      Referring to Fox News “which has devoted hours of coverage to the rise of socialists inside the party”. Hickenlooper said: “I think what it says is that we are having that discussion as Democrats, and my hope is that we will clearly say, a result of those broadcasts, that Democrats are not socialists”.
      Also, in the same article: “’We’ve got to clearly show that we reject socialism,’ Hickenlooper said. ‘We’ve got to do that because Republicans will try to make us into socialists even if we’re not. If we’re not willing to draw a bright line and say we’re not socialists, we could quite possibly reelect this president’.”

      Here he was talking about concrete policy, aiming to avoid to get the image as socialists:
      “‘I don’t think we’re going to address climate change by guaranteeing every American a federal job, … I don’t think we’re going to address the spiraling inflation in health care by forcibly telling 150 million people that we’re going to take away their private insurance. These are what a lot of Americans look at as facets or aspects of socialism.'”

      Here it becomes clear that he himself is an opponent of democratic socialism:
      “… John Hickenlooper, who just months ago stumbled over whether he identifies as a capitalist, strongly denounced socialism …”
      “‘But I fundamentally disagree that we should do away with the democratic, regulated capitalism that has guided this country for over 200 years.'”

      I think these quotes support the uncertainty which is expressed in the subsequent check (“The actual meaning of the claim is not clearly indicated.”) as well as the suspection that he is “instrumentalising the Reps for his own issues.” What do you think?

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        Thanks for the elaborate clarification! I wonder though, whether checking the claim for internal logical coherence is then the most fitting check (do we ever?)? Did the speaker aim for logical coherence when he made the claim? I’d say not per say, I think it’s more of a statement that refers to a belief the speaker holds which is multifaceted. Wouldn’t it be possible for this statement to connect to multiple beliefs?

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          Hi Lars, this concernes your 2nd and 3rd question:

          You really may be right in that the speaker didn’t deliberately aim at logical coherence and with your thesis of multiple beliefs. But:

          Both issues are about what the speaker had in mind. In various contexts this is an important aspect, but for the argument check it is at most of peripheral significance because the check does not analyze what the speaker had in mind or meant to say. It analyzes the message as it had been communicated to the listener.

          If I understand you right (do I?), you would mean that it is only the check which draws a line between the claim and the policy statements and understands the first in the light of the latter (point 3 of the check), whereas for the speaker, both are true independently from each other, and thus that the speaker simply is worried about the socialism accusation by the Reps.

          But for the listener who has both statements right before his eyes, the following is plain to see: on the level of a verbal action and with an anti-socialist stance, there is the “define” statement referring to the opinion of the opponent political party. Later on, it is evident that the speaker has the same stance, now on the practical level of concrete policies. How this could be interpreted in respect of what the speaker had in mind when he made the claim, is up to the listener.

          Thus, your objection lead me to come to the provisional rule that subject of the argument check is the message exactly as it is reached the recipient. What the originator possibly meant by it is another question. Thank you for your suggestion!

          The rule is only an attempt and has still to be thought through by the community, of course!

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            An interesting approach, but doesn’t that assume that recipients of his message are (1) a homogenous group, and (2) do not contextualize his message? He did say this addressing an audience of party members, am I right?

            Edit: as an example: coming from the Netherlands, I am not familiar with the internal politics of the Democratic Party, you clearly are. Hence to me, his statement has more possible meanings than that it seems to have to you.

            Edited: 2019-08-18 08:22:36 By Lars Dorren (talk | contribs) + 233 Characters .. + 105% change.‎‎ (Note | Diff)

            1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

              The argument check isn’t about what the recipients have in mind – or in your words: which possible meanings the statement has for them – either. It is about the logic of the message itself, only. E. g., the following:
              “for the listener … is plain to see: on the level of a verbal action and with an anti-socialist stance, there is the ‘define’ statement referring to the opinion of the opponent political party. Later on, it is evident that the speaker has the same stance, now on the practical level of concrete policies.”
              should be true independently from the meaning which the statement has for the recipient.

              It would be realy interesting if you could contribute meanings the statement has for you (or might have for somebody else), which prove my thoughts wrong. We are testing this method of debunking fake news!

              As far as I understand, the speech is adressed to the U.S. citizens: the voters. As a German I am not familiar with the issue, too. Wikipedia says that the Presidential election “is an indirect election in which citizens of the United States … cast ballots not directly for those offices, but instead for members of the U.S. Electoral College, known as electors.” and “The debates are targeted mainly at undecided voters … Presidential debates are held … after the political parties have nominated their candidates.”

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                In terms of possible meanings, I would connect this to discussions in the Dutch social Democratic Party on ‘how left wing’ they should be. So the first meaning that popped up in my head when reading his statement was that he was worried about current developments in the party, and that people like Bernie Sanders would transform the party into some socialist obscurity which would be torn apart by the Republican Party during the next election.

                With regards to the ‘independent of the speaker’s intentions/audience perceptions’-point: I find it difficult to see meaning as something existing independently from sender and receiver (but this might get a bit theoretical). For example, the word ‘socialist’ has a different meaning in Europe than it has in the US. In Europe, it’s normal to have a socialist party in parliament, whereas in US discourse, it seems to be equated with communism.

                Edited: 2019-09-02 16:50:51 By Lars Dorren (talk | contribs) + 4 Characters .. + 0% change.‎‎ (Note | Diff)

        2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

          Now I come to your 1st question:

          I don’t know whether internal logical coherence is the most fitting approach and it certainly would be very interesting if somebody tried another method additionall !

          As far as I know we carried out such kind of a check never before, and for me, it is an experiment, too.

          The overall topic is fighting fake news. I found a systematic analysis of the issue of fake news and fighting them (1). It makes a difference between a “knowledge-based” and a “style-based” study of fake news, both focussing on the content of the news. Studying fake news from a knowledge-based perspective, it says, is done by fact-checking whereas the style perspective means “deception analysis and detection”. And here we are!

          Fact checking obviously is the mostly used approach, but it is not applicable in case of opinion statements. But if we want to cover the whole range of fake news, I think additionally to fact checking, we should also explore the method of “deception analysis and detection”:


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            FYI: I’ll get back to your reply to this question when I have the time in a few days!

          2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

            Thanks for the link to that article. From reading it, I get the idea that they don’t talk about content and style as two different forms of fake. Rather, it seems that they explore whether or not style is a good predictor for fake content. E.g: does fake news have a certain distinct style that can be used to detect it? I don’t think the article proposes that you can see the style dimension independent from the content dimension. What would be ‘fake’ about ‘fake style’?

            I think this is also where the ‘consider deletion’ tag comes from: I think you can analyze style to see how people sell fake news or perhaps assess whether something is likely to be fake. Nevertheless, you’d still need to determine whether or not what they are selling is fake, and that is difficult if not impossible to do with an opinion, imo.

            I understand your point about checking internal logic, but the added value of checking internal logic as opposed to content is not very clear to me, to be honest, as unlinking style and content seems a bit artificial to me.

            Edited: 2019-09-02 16:38:31 By Lars Dorren (talk | contribs) + 229 Characters .. + 27% change.‎‎ (Note | Diff)

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