Chapter one is about the evaluation of persuasive acts. As the author explains, this means being able to recognize and examine different tactics that people use when convincing others whether or not to believe an argument.
One section of the reading that I thought was especially interesting was the inductive reasoning section. Pullman describes inductive reasoning as a form of logical explanation. He explains that often times just one vivid example can influence an argument. This reminded me of the “one bad experience” idea. Pullman offers the examples of a dog attack and restaurant food poisoning to further explain and he recognizes how powerful these examples can be. I found his explanation to be particularly moving because I recognize this reasoning frequently in my life. In my family, we call it a bad “memory stick.” While we can recognize that it is irrational, it does not change our minds. Even if other people continue to eat at “restaurant A” and walk away healthy, my sister will not because of the one time she did not walk away healthy. Or maybe someone had a bad fall while at a hiking trail and he or she is now afraid to go back to that trail because of the bad experience. Pullman himself calls it a once-bitten error. In reality, it could simply be considered a traumatic, or at least relatively upsetting experience, that made someone swear off of something forever. These experiences follow the idea of inductive reasoning, where one event leads to a conclusion, but overall, inductive reasoning does not provide enough evidence to support an argument.
This illogical reasoning can easily be connected back to the psychological aspect of persuasion. Many times people cannot disconnect their own fears or beliefs to truly examine something rationally and this is what leads to inductive reasoning or, additionally, what the chapter covers as fallacies. One fallacy listed was wishful thinking. While wishful thinking may seem like a good thing in some cases, Pullman points out that it can be an error in developing a persuasive argument. Fear, another fallacy the chapter highlights, has times when it is useful but also times when it is wrongfully used to persuade someone. Both fallacy examples are deeply connected to psychology because they are strong emotions, hope and fear, that are rooted within us. This suggests that the psychology of emotions and traumatic events is linked to persuasion as whole because we are unable to separate the two.
Furthermore, the chapter reveals that one has to recognize these psychological influences, or “logic” and fallacies, in order to delve deeper into a persuasive argument. It is easy to believe a convincing argument, but it is harder to analyze and question the argument in a way you would have never thought to before.