Motte and Bailey

Philosophy, 2005

The Imposter’s Debating Playbook.

In his 2005 paper for Metaphilosophy, philosopher Nickolas Shackel observes 5 disingenuous tactics employed by postmodern “scholars” and their apologists when engaging in deceitful trickery during argument: Troll’s Truisms (a mildly ambiguous statement by which an exciting falsehood may trade on a trivial truth), Motte and Bailey Doctrines (switching between an easy-to-defend “motte” and a hard-to-defend or controversial “bailey”), Equivocating Fulcra (presenting multiple terms as if they are already established), the Postmodernist Fox Trot (substitution of vague terminology in place of standard rational terminology), and Rankly Relativising Fields (the combined aggregate effect). It would have been a brilliant companion to “Higher Superstition”.