Thought-terminating cliché:

Tactical Fallacy
Definition Example
When a commonly heard and accepted phrase is rhetorically introduced as a substitute for an actual argument. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Humans will never overcome their violent nature in spite of recent claims of progress.
  Notes
It is usually difficult to find a catchy phrase that adequately captures the nuances of the concept. Aphorisms may assist in the remembering of the basic notion, but the aphorism can not be logically prior to the concept itself. Reality trumps linguistics. The aphorism needs to be faithful to the concept it is commissioned to reflect.

Case Study One

The phrase “Only God knows” is often interjected at the end of a discussion to imply that no one is justified in taking a position on the issue, or to assume the evidence is balanced on both sides.


Case Study Two

Sometime the phrase “Freedom is not free” is used to justify initiating or entering a war.


Case Study Three

Christians often quote the verse “The fool has said in his heart, ‘there is no God’” sometimes as if this is a justification for belief in God, and sometimes simply as a thought-terminator.


Case Study Four

When having their expectations questioned, older people often, due to either having no real answer or having no interest in giving an answer, say “When you’re my age, you’ll understand.”


Keep in mind that a fallacious argument does not entail an erroneous position.


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2 Responses to Thought-terminating cliché:

  1. Pingback: An Alleged Hillary Shill Talks About Being Paid To Smear Bernie Sanders | Bertrand Media Center

  2. Pingback: “Double Ententres” are a symptom | kb3ojg

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