Rhetoric and Milk

New Milk Jug Leads to Cost Savings and Spills - The New York Times

Interesting that the rational, logical arguments in favor of the new milk cartons are totally upended by aesthetic concerns about cleanliness (spills), appearance and general discomfort.

A wonderful case study for aesthetic argumentation, that is, when arguments are made beyond, to the side of, or underneath logic and rationality, and are still persuasive or convincing.

I also refer to this sort of argumentation as "non-propositional" argumentation, which throws some people for a loop. How can you have arguments without propositions?

Well, it's hard, but generally we might call the anti-milk carton folks arguments non-propositional, because in order to handle them we must first go in and construct a proposition that fits more with logic in order to have a traditional debate. Without it, every argument on our side would be countered with, "Yea, sure that's true, but it's just so weird! I don't like it." Or - "it spills; it's messy," nevermind the mess created by the misuse of plastics, extra shipping weight on trucks and refrigeration carbon footprints.