Kafkatraps, Cults, and Conspiracy Theories

by Robert Gressis ___ I talk with Kevin Currie-Knight (East Carolina University) about Kafkatraps. Kafkatrapping is a rhetorical technique where an objection to a particular charge will be used as evidence of that charge. (Are you a communist? If you say "no," that just shows how sneaky a communist you are.) Rob and Kevin talk... Continue Reading →

further thoughts on kafkatraps

by Kevin Currie-Knight ____ I’ve written about Kafkatraps before, but there is so much more to say about these deceptively powerful rhetorical devices. In my previous article, I proposed a new way to think about Kafkatraps and what they do. Here, I want to think about how Kafkatraps are often used in groups that seek... Continue Reading →

The KafkaTrap

by Kevin Currie-Knight ____ In 2010, author and computer programmer Eric Raymond coined the term “kafkatrap.” It was his attempt to characterize a nasty style of argument that seemed to rely on a certain trick. Someone is alleged to be guilty of something in a way that anything short of acknowledgement by the other is... Continue Reading →

Self-Knowledge, Self-Alienation, and the Curious Case of NXIVM

by Kevin Currie-Knight ___ “What does it mean to be afraid?” Sarah Edmonson recalls Lauren Salzman saying this to strengthen Sarah’s resolve right before Sarah was to be branded with a cauterizing gun. Sarah was understandably scared. Lauren asked her to think about what that fear meant. Sarah didn’t interpret it as most would; i.e.... Continue Reading →

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