Sunday, 3 May 2015

Deploying A Logical Fallacy To Deceive The Reader

Martin (1992: 108-9):
In between these outer poles is the contrast between [nonparticular] and [particular] reference.  This opposition predicts that the relevant deixis in [3:26] and [3:27] codes participants less central to the text than those in [3:28] and [3:29].
[3:26] The boy passed /some/ rock (or other) and then went down to the pond.
[3:27] The boy looked around and saw trees, bees and grass, but no frog.

[3:28] There was one frog there (in particular) that the boy liked…
[3:29] There were /some/ frogs there (in particular) that the boy liked …

Blogger Comments:

[1] This misconstrues a rebranding of non-specific partial Deictics some and one (in [3:26], [3:28] and [3:29]) and the absence of deixis (in [3:27]) as serving a referential function.  That is, it confuses the Deictic classification of a Thing (rock, frog, frogs) — and the lack of such a classification — with the presentation of an element as identifiable; see Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 623).

[2] This is misleading.  The feature opposition does not "predict" that the deixis "codes" participants in terms of their varying centrality to the text.  This is a bare assertion unsupported by textual evidence or argument.

To be clear, Martin has merely constructed instances that do not appear in text [3:88], a child's retelling of Mercer Mayer's Frog, Where Are You?, and used instances of the title character frog for the participant he claims to be "coded" as more central.  Using a title character to argue for its centrality to the text is not just circular reasoning, a logical fallacy, but an attempt to deceive the reader.

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