Quote: “We need to not rush into it. But we also need not to ignore it.” Hank Greely, Stanford Law professor, in the March issue of the California Bar Journal.
Figaro of Speech: antisagoge (an tih sa GO gee), the Tevye figure. From the Greek, meaning “balancing arguments.”
No, Figaro does not puruse state bar journals in his spare time. Today’s quote comes from Steve, who in Ask Figaro noted that some scientists say they can use MRI scans to tell a person’s honesty, innocence, or potential violence.
Figaro believes that all neuroscientists and law professors should study rhetoric. Brain scans have merely proven what our pals Aristotle and Gorgias knew already. For example, when you use a balanced figure like a chiasmus or one of the repetition figures, your audience’s brain fires up to complete the thought. (“Either we can control figures, or figures can…”) Acting agreeably jingles the pleasure center of the brain. Showing anger fires the audience’s amygdala, the fear and impulse center.
But the problem with brain scans is that they don’t define the terms. And how can you measure something you can’t define? Come up with a machine that can precisely parse “the truth” or “innocense,” and you’ll have Figaro’s rapt attention.
Prof. Greely is employing an antisagoge - - the on the one hand, on the other hand figure of thought. It makes you sound reasonable and fair-minded. Combine it with the reluctant conclusion (see p. 73 of Figaro’s book), and you can steer your audience without their even knowing it.
Snappy Answer: “Let us rush to ignore it. “