Miram-Webster defines logic as:
Definition of logic
1: a science that deals with the principles and criteria of validity of inference and demonstration : the science of the formal principles of reasoning.
2: something that forces a decision apart from or in opposition to reason
It further defines logical as
Definition of logical
1a (1): of, relating to, involving, or being in accordance with logic
(2): skilled in logic
b: formally true or valid : ANALYTIC, DEDUCTIVE
2: capable of reasoning or of using reason in an orderly cogent fashion
I have always been guarded about allowing players to be Vulcan. I feel like it can take the whole team out of the scene if the player doesn’t really understand or embrace them. I understand that any race in Trek has its challenges, but I think to play a Vulcan, one must be “cast” as a Vulcan. That is to say that the Game Master, the Vulcan player, and the rest of the team agree that this person fits that character.
I want to clarify it’s not the emotional aspect of it, nor the hyper intellect. I’ve seen many players of all levels of acting experience deliver subtle, and very Vulcan-like performances. It really comes down to the logic. Most people equate “logical” to “reasonable”, but they are not exactingly synonymous.
Semantics can get in the way here as in our common language Reason and Logic are interchangeable. However, if you look at the definitions of each it shows that a reasonable conclusion is derived from logical facts. Something might be reasonable, and not logical, but something that is logical is, by its definition, reasonable, even if it doesn’t seem so. This however shouldn’t stop a game in its tracks and a quick dice roll can confer whatever the GM’s intention was in the scene or favor the facts to the PC.
Dice, rules and discussion all worked well for the first half of our STA campaign, and I am of the mind that a player that is reasonable is more than enough to play a Vulcan. That was true until Ronnie, our Vulcan Player decided to pursue Kolinahr, the purging of all emotions.
I decided to use this moment to add a little logic and reason to my game.
Star Trek Adventure core rule book states;
REQUIREMENT: Vulcan, or Gamemaster’s permission. You have undergone the ritual journey to purge all emotion. You reduce the Difficulty of all Tasks to resist coercion, mental intrusion, pain, and other mental attacks by two.
For the most part, Ronnie had done an outstanding job at portraying a Vulcan. In game terms it was just a matter of gaining an Arch Milestone for him to gain pure emotional suppression and get the benefits from the Talent.
I decided to add in a little bit more for his character to develop. I created an achievement list of logical fallacies that he had to use, in game. He would need to have a set amount of them used in scene and once he did, he could then take the time between games to go to Vulcan and return with Kolinahr on his character sheet.
Now, I realize that the purging of emotions isn’t synonymous with the use of logical thought, but I felt that one would come from the other. Perhaps not logical in and of itself, but reasonable at the least.
Below is the quick rule set I made for him. As usual, don’t kill me on grammar, most of this was ripped from various unattributed authors and random Google searches. It’s not meant to be sold, it’s just for fun.
A little about Savvik,
Ronnies Romulan/Vulcan character. Ripped directly from the Wrath of Kahn script, Ronnie was playing the character of Savvik. His character left Starfleet shortly after the Genesis incident and returned during the time of TNG.
Our game had a Spock allegory that Ronnie had played previously, named D’kion. We wanted to go with the story that we felt Star Trek two was going to tell about Savvik. It was how she was Romulan by birth, and her and D’kion’s experiences would lead to the foundations of the reunification story in TNG. Ronnies arch was designed to explore the dichotomy of the two cultures and eventually try to offer bridges through his character’s experience.
The Codex of Savvik
Savvik’s pursuit of logic is by personal choice, and she faces significant challenges to attaining any notable level of emotional control. Only by intense study can she apply for Kolinahr, the highest level of discipline in the Vulcan culture. Upon attainment she will gain +1 to control and will gain the Talent Kolinahr with the proper ceremony on Vulcan. She will also have a + 2 to her reputation
REQUIREMENT: Vulcan, or Gamemaster’s permission. Must present on Vulcan.
You have undergone the ritual journey to purge all emotion. You reduce the Difficulty of all Tasks to resist coercion, mental intrusion, pain, and other mental attacks by two.
To attain this Talent the character must point out 10 of the following logical fallacies during a scene in game and quote the foundations of logic, by siting them, in at least three separate games.
The Foundations of Logic by Surak
X is X : the law of identity
If the observation is true, then the statement is true.
It’s raining (if it is) then that’s a true statement
X is not NON-X The law of non-contradiction
Two separate things cannot be true at the same time. If it’s raining it cannot be equally “not raining”.
Either X or Non-X, Law of the excluded middle
It is either true or false No middle ground it is either raining or it isn’t.
Use the following fallacies in a scene to attain absolute emotional purging.
- Ad Hominem
- Strawman Argument
- Appeal to Ignorance
- False Dilemma
- Slippery Slope Fallacy
- Circular Argument
- Hasty Generalization
- Red Herring Fallacy
- Appeal to Hypocrisy
- Causal Fallacy
- Fallacy of Sunk Costs
- Appeal to Authority
- Appeal to Pity
- Bandwagon Fallacy
An ad hominem fallacy uses personal attacks rather than logic. This fallacy occurs when someone rejects or criticizes another point of view based on the personal characteristics, ethnic background, physical appearance, or other non-relevant traits of the person who holds it.
Ad hominem arguments are often used in politics, where they are often called “mudslinging.” They are considered unethical because politicians can use them to manipulate voters’ opinions against an opponent without addressing core issues.
“M’Dougaah roots for a Klingon spaceball team. Clearly, he’s unfit to be a security officer in Starfleet.”
A straw man argument attacks a different subject rather than the topic being discussed — often a more extreme version of the counter argument. The purpose of this misdirection is to make one’s position look stronger than it actually is.
The straw man argument is appropriately named after a harmless, lifeless scarecrow. Instead of contending with the actual argument, they attack the equivalent of a lifeless bundle of straw — an easily defeated puppet that the opponent was never arguing for in the first place.
Person A: Evolution is one possible explanation for the origins of life.
Person B: Don’t ignore the scientific evidence of evolution. It proves that man shared a common ancestor with apes, and that the Earth is over four billion years old.
Person A didn’t say that the theory of evolution is certainly untrue. However, that’s the straw man that Person B is arguing against. Person B has steered the conversation away from its original point — evolution being a theory, not a certainty — and now Person A will likely become defensive.
Appeal to Ignorance
An appeal to ignorance (also known as an “argument from ignorance”) argues that a proposition must be true because it has not been proven false or there is no evidence against it.
The argument can be used to bolster multiple contradictory conclusions at once, such as the following two claims:
“No one has ever been able to prove that extraterrestrials exist, so they must not be real.”
“No one has ever been able to prove that extraterrestrials do not exist, so they must be real.”
An appeal to ignorance doesn’t prove anything. Instead, it shifts the need for proof away from the person making a claim.
False Dilemma/False Dichotomy
A false dilemma or false dichotomy presents limited options — typically by focusing on two extremes — when in fact more possibilities exist. The phrase “The Federation: Love it or leave it” is an example of a false dilemma.
The false dilemma fallacy is a manipulative tool designed to polarize the audience, promoting one side and demonizing another. It’s common in political discourse as a way of strong-arming the public into supporting controversial legislation or policies.
“Either we go to war or we appear weak.”
“Either you love me or you hate me.”
A slippery slope argument assumes that a certain course of action will necessarily lead to a chain of future events. The slippery slope fallacy takes a benign premise or starting point and suggests that it will lead to unlikely or ridiculous outcomes with no supporting evidence.
You may have used this fallacy on your parents as a teenager: “But you have to let me go to the party! If I don’t go to the party, I’ll be a loser with no friends. Next thing you know, I’ll end up alone and jobless, living in your basement when I’m 30!”
Circular arguments occur when a person’s argument repeats what they already assumed before without arriving at a new conclusion. For example, if someone says, “According to my brain, my brain is reliable,” that’s a circular argument.
Circular arguments often use a claim as both a premise and a conclusion. This fallacy only appears to be an argument when in fact it’s just restating one’s assumptions.
“Smoking glitter is against the law because it’s wrong; I know it’s wrong because it is against the law.”
A hasty generalization is a claim based on a few examples rather than substantial proof. Arguments based on hasty generalizations often don’t hold up due to a lack of supporting evidence: The claim might be true in one case, but that doesn’t mean it’s always true.
Hasty generalizations are common in arguments because there’s a wide range of what’s acceptable for “sufficient” evidence. The rules for evidence can change based on the claim you’re making and the environment where you are making it — whether it’s rooted in philosophy, the sciences, a political debate, or discussing house rules for using the kitchen.
“People nowadays only vote with their emotions instead of their brains.”
A red herring is an argument that uses confusion or distraction to shift attention away from a topic and toward a false conclusion. Red herrings usually contain an unimportant fact, idea, or event that has little relevance to the real issue.
Red herrings are a common diversionary tactic when someone wants to shift the focus of an argument to something easier or safer to address. But red herrings can also be unintentional.
Human Daughter: “I’m so hurt that Todd broke up with me, Mom.”
Human Mother: “Just think of all the starving children on Bajor, honey. Your problems will seem pretty insignificant then.”
Appeal to Hypocrisy
An appeal to hypocrisy — also known as the tu quoque fallacy — focuses on the hypocrisy of an opponent. The tu quoque fallacy deflects criticism away from oneself by accusing the other person of the same problem or something comparable.
The tu quoque fallacy is an attempt to divert blame. The fallacy usually occurs when the arguer uses apparent hypocrisy to neutralize criticism and distract from the issue.
“Great sirs, I know you used nuclear weapons when you were a young civilization, so how can you tell us not to do it?”
Causal fallacies are informal fallacies that occur when an argument incorrectly concludes that a cause is related to an effect. Think of the causal fallacy as a parent category for other fallacies about unproven causes.
One example is the false cause fallacy, which is when you draw a conclusion about what the cause was without enough evidence to do so. Another is the post hoc fallacy, which is when you mistake something for the cause because it came first — not because it actually caused the effect.
“Jimmy isn’t at school today. He must be on a family trip.”
“Every time a rooster crows, the sun comes up. Crows must be the creators of the universe.”
A sunk cost fallacy is when someone continues doing something because of the effort they already put in it, regardless of whether the additional costs outweigh the potential benefits. “Sunk cost” is an economic term for any past expenses that can no longer be recovered.
For example: Imagine that after watching the first six episodes of a TV show, you decide the show isn’t for you. Those six episodes are your “sunk cost.” A sunk cost fallacy would be deciding to finish watching anyway because you’ve already invested roughly six hours of your life in it.
Appeal to Authority
Appeal to authority is the misuse of an authority’s opinion to support an argument. While an authority’s opinion can represent evidence and data, it becomes a fallacy if their expertise or authority is overstated, illegitimate, or irrelevant to the topic.
For example, citing a foot doctor when trying to prove something related to psychiatry would be an appeal to authority fallacy.
Equivocation happens when a word, phrase, or sentence is used deliberately to confuse, deceive, or mislead. In other words, saying one thing but meaning another.
When it’s poetic or comical, we call this a “play on words.” But when it’s done in a political speech, an ethics debate, or an economics report — and it’s designed to make the audience think you’re saying something you’re not — that’s when it becomes a fallacy.
“His political party wants to spend your precious tax dollars on big government. But my political party is planning strategic federal investment in critical programs.”
“I don’t understand why you’re saying I broke a promise. I said I’d never speak to my ex-girlfriend again. And I didn’t. I just sent her some pictures and text messages.”
Appeal to Pity
An appeal to pity relies on provoking your emotions to win an argument rather than factual evidence. Appealing to pity attempts to pull on an audience’s heartstrings, distract them, and support their point of view.
Someone accused of a crime using a cane or walker to appear more feeble in front of a jury is one example of appeal to pity. The appearance of disability isn’t an argument on the merits of the case, but it’s intended to sway the jury’s opinion anyway.
“Professor, you have to give me an A on this paper. I know I only turned in a sentence and some clip art, but you have to understand, my grandmother suddenly died while traveling in the Northern Yukon, and her funeral was there so I had to travel, and my parents got divorced in the middle of the ceremony, and all the stress caused me to become catatonic for two weeks. Have some pity — my grandmother’s last wish was that I’d get an A in this class.”
The bandwagon fallacy assumes something is true (or right or good) because others agree with it. In other words, the fallacy argues that if everyone thinks a certain way, then you should, too.
One problem with this kind of reasoning is that the broad acceptance of a claim or action doesn’t mean that it’s factually justified. People can be mistaken, confused, deceived, or even willfully irrational in their opinions, so using them to make an argument is flawed.
“Almost everyone at my school will be at the party Friday night. It must be the right thing to do.”