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The Phi Kappa Literary Society is a debate society at the University of Georgia. We meet every academic Thursday at Phi Kappa Hall on North Campus at 7 p.m.

All with an insatiable appetite for knowledge and oratory are welcome.



Fallacy Friday: Appeal to Authority

Appeal to Authority 

An appeal to authority is perhaps one of the more insidious fallacies around since it is not illogical to listen to authorities at all. The fallacy in the appeal is dependent on argument construction. Citing an expert’s stance and saying it must be true is an invalid claim and is equally invalid when using it to dismiss an opponent’s argument. The empirical reasons for the expert’s stance is what is important. For example, John cites an expert in psychology who says that homosexuality is a mental disorder. If the expert cited is actually an expert, the claim is still false based on a body of psychological research that includes replicated experiments. To determine if your appeal is not fallacious, it needs to pass several tests. You need to ask if the expert is qualified to speak on the subject at hand, if there is expert consensus on the subject in question, and if the expert does not have a personal bias/interest. If the answer is no to any of these, the use is fallacious. If the expert is not identified, the use can also be said to be fallacious based on omission. As part of our curiosity, Phi Kappans debate on many issues of importance that fall outside of our own personal expertise so using authorities is necessary, but there is a proper way to avoid a illogical argument. The key is good judgment. The next time you use an expert’s opinion ask yourself a few questions first. 


Is social media activism ineffective?

Please join the Phi Kappa Literary Society as we debate the effectiveness ofsocial media activism this Thursday at 7pm at Phi Kappa Hall on North Campus!

First Affirm will be Brother Ryan Mikulka and First Negate will be Brother Graham Hord


The Phi Kappa Literary Soceity Presents: 100 Books


Fallacy Friday: The Straw Man


The infamous Straw man is a common fallacy seen in politics, littering TV in attack ads around elections. The fallacy rests on misrepresenting an opponent’s argument and then attacking the misrepresentation. In logical construction, straw man arguments are fallacious because they have not refuted the proposition, only replaced it. For example, a politician characterizes a House bill introduced for proposed budget cuts in military spending as “An unpatriotic bill that threatens national security and endangers the lives of members of the armed services through deprivation.” In its common forms, straw man arguments oversimplify a proposition to circumvent the burden of actually creating a well-constructed argument or they quote a source devoid of context to distort the source’s position in what is called contextomy. Of course, the straw man is only successful if appealing to an uninformed audience. While crafting a straw man is an easy way to sway an audience, Phi Kappans should always strive to listen and give opponents the credit they deserve while pushing to create an airtight, logical argument. If you are not confident about a speaker’s point, ask a question to clarify before assuming. We are at our best when we handily destroy someone’s logic, not men made of hay.


Is it less harmful for a group to be misrepresented by the media than underrepresented?

Please join the Phi Kappa Literary Society this Thursday February 5th at 7pm on at Phi Kappa Hall on North Campus as we take on the resolution BIHR: It is less harmful for a group to be misrepresented than underrepresented by the media. 

First Affirm will be Sister Hammond, and First Negate will be Sister Owens.

We will be using the following definitions: 


  • less harmful: causing fewer damages comparatively, especially in social, political, and mental repercussions
  • group: a marginalized number of people considered or classed together based on a similar characteristic such as, race or gender
  • misrepresented: portrayed in a false or misleading way; images and representations do not account for a variety types in the group.
  • underrepresented: insufficient or inadequate in quantity (of representation) 
  • media: means of mass communication (including but not limited to television, radio, newspaper, and websites)