24 | CCN: 24649
Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular "Logic" on TV Judge Shows
Instructor: Daniel Melia
Location: Dwinelle 7415
Date / Time: M 1pm-2pm
TV “Judge” shows are all over daytime TV. Are these shows presenting a perversion of our legal system or a look into that system? A fascinating aspect of TV judge shows from a rhetorical point of view is the number of arguments made by the litigants that are utterly illogical, or are 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 woulda been dead!” This reply avoids answering “yes” or “no” (just to start with) and offers a perverted form of the logical strategy called an “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 common. It is NOT a course about law or “legal reasoning” Students who are interested in logic, argument, TV, and American popular culture will probably be interested in this course. I emphasize that it is NOT, except in passing, about the application of law or the operations of the court system in general.