Eristic is a derivative of the Greek phrase eris, which means “to create strife,” or “to wrangle.” It is defined as a literary device in which the writers and speakers engage in a heated argumentation without achieving a end or solving a particular issue. Also, this device has been used as a way of argumentation in classical texts, which are usually based on specious reasoning and poor conclusions. It is also regarded as “discordia.”
Difference Between Eristic and Dialectic
According to Plato, there's a mild difference between eristic and dialectic. Dialecticians observe right divisions and distinctions to the situation being argued, whilst eristics do no longer practice such distinctions, considering that they comply with verbal oppositions.
Examples of Eristic in Literature
Example #1: Macbeth (By William Shakespeare)
“How now, my lord, why do you hold alone,
Of sorriest fancies your partners making,
Using those thoughts which ought to certainly have died
With them they assume on? Things with out all remedy
Should be with out regard: what’s accomplished, is accomplished …
To bed, to bed! There’s knocking on the gate:
come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What’s
achieved cannot be undone.—To bed, to bed, to bed!”
Lady Macbeth uses eristic arguments in these lines. In her arguments together with her husband, she states that what has been carried out is completed and can't be undone.
Example #2: Why I am Not a Christian (By Bertrand Russell)
“It is an clean argument to parody. You all understand Voltaire’s remark, that glaringly the nose changed into designed to be together with to match spectacles. That form of parody has grew to become out to be no longer nearly so huge of the mark as it might have regarded in the eighteenth century, due to the fact for the reason that time of Darwin we apprehend much higher why living creatures are adapted to their environment … but that they grew to be appropriate to it, and that is the basis of adaptation. There isn't any proof of design approximately it …”
Russell explains why he does no longer believe in God, and his doubt over Jesus’ existence. He argues advert absurdum, and objectives at triumphing the argument.
Example #3: Of Truth (By Francis Bacon)
“… guys’s minds, vain opinions, flattering hopes, fake valuations … and the like … it'd leave the minds, of some of men … complete of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves …”
In the above passage, Beaverbrook attempts to provide possible reasons why men prefer to tell lies than inform the truth. There are such a lot of causes, and not a unmarried or a specific reason can solve this issue.
Example #4: Waiting for Godot (By Samuel Beckett)
“No no, he does well to ask. Do I want the bones? (He turns them over with the quit of his whip.) No, for my part I do no longer need them any more. (Estragon takes a step in the direction of the bones.) But … however in principle the bones visit the carrier …”
“Mister … excuse me, Mister …”
“You’re being spoken to, pig! Reply! (To Estragon.) Try him again.”
“Excuse me, Mister, the bones, you won’t be looking the bones?”
Mister! (Lucky bows his head.) Reply! Do you need them or don’t you? They’re yours … I don’t like it. I’ve never acknowledged him to refuse a bone before … Nice enterprise it’d be if he fell sick on me!” (He puffs at his pipe.)
This is one of the super examples of eristic argument. The characters are discussing bones and their functions for human survival. All of them make different arguments, however find no solution in this discussion.
Function of Eristic
A close study the above eristic examples could lead one to effectively to anticipate that the main cause of eristic argumentation is to extend a conflict, rather than solve it. Though it turned into commenced by Sophists, it's far now used in cutting-edge literary texts, speeches, and contentious topics of political debate. The purpose is to confuse the opponent. Hence, it is hired for the sake of conflict, and may contain comic effect and conspiracy concept. Besides, by means of looking eristic argumentation, critiques find out literary weaknesses. As a result, critics will be inclined to distort the writers’ intentions. The aim is to win arguments, and a clean solution is often not provided.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw