Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Why do we always jump to Murder and Hitler?

This is a logic post that for some reason never got published when we initially did the unit so I’m posting it now, sorry for the Inconvenience!

I’ve noticed that during discussions of any ethical debate the topics of Murder and Hitler always come up when a comparison is needed. At first i thought we were all being just a bit dramatic for effect when trying to conduct a persuasive argument,and although this may be true in some cases, there may be more to this than I had originally thought. I think they key in any logical argument is that there needs to be a point of reference. and what I mean by this is that there needs to be reference to something that your audience is already familiar with, so they can compare and contrast your ideas on a familiar scale. So when talking, especially about ethical issues we often need to compare our topic with something that the audience is already familiar with as extremely bad or immoral, therefore I can see why people would often use things such as murder or Hitler to use as comparison topics. It is engrained into the brain of every human being on the planet, from countless sources, including our justice system, that murder is absolutely wrong and will be met with severe punishment. And one of the other truths we are taught is that Adolf Hitler is arguably the most evil man in history. These are two truths that are familiar to any general audience, regardless of race, religion, gender, etc. In other words, your audience will immediately know exactly how they feel about those two topics as soon as they are mentioned, so they are easy to use as comparison references.When we were talking about the cultural genocide of the First Nations Peoples, I realized that I didn’t really have a huge understanding of that topic, or how horrible it really was. But when people started comparing events to things Hitler did, I was immediately able to understand how extremely bad things were, and sympathize much more with the First Nations peoples. This is the importance of having a familiar point of reference when conducting an argument, It makes the audience much more aware of exactly how bad (or good if we were to use different comparison references) your topic is.

Based on what we talked about in class, a very simple argument could be constructed in this form:


The First Nations people are being segregated and killed.

Hitler took much inspiration from the way settlers treated the First Nations

Both the Jews and the First Nations befell the same crimes and genocide.



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