24 | CCN: 32221

Freshman Seminars

Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular "Logic" on TV Judge Shows

Instructor: Daniel Melia,

1 Units

W 11:00am-12:00pm, 7415 Dwinelle

TV "judge" shows have become extremely popular in the last three to five years. A fascinating aspect of these shows from a rhetorical point of view is the number of arguments made by the litigants that are utterly illogical, or perversions of standard logic, and yet are used over and over again. For example, when asked, "Did you hit the plaintiff?", respondents often say, "If I woulda hit him, he'd be dead!" This reply avoids answering "yes" or "no" by presenting a perverted form of the logical strategy called "a fortiori" argument ["from the stronger"] in Latin. The seminar will be concerned with identifying such apparently popular logical fallacies on "Judge Judy" and "The People's Court" and discussing why such strategies are so widespread. It is NOT a course about law or "legal reasoning." Freshmen who are interested in argument and persuasion in a television and courtroom setting.