Assertion and Denial

Assertion

When several things are asserted, the author is presumed to have individually asserted them all. For example:

The prosecutor asserts that the defendant, a Mr Sweeney Todd, killed his victim with a razor while administering him a shave, then dismembered and disposed of the victim’s body in various locations, including grinding and baking some parts into meat pies, for the purpose of collecting a life insurance death benefit on the decedent’s life.

The dozen or so claims in the assertion are all either true or false, and the truth of one assertion doesn’t necessarily affect the truth of the others.

Denial

A skillful denial, on the other hand, can appear to refute the entire assertion, even if only a detail is untrue. Mr Todd, for example, can honestly refute the assertion even if he murdered and benefited from the death of the decedent but not exactly in the way asserted. For example, if he chopped but never ground the victim’s body parts before baking them into pies, he can honestly say this:

The defendant, Mr Sweeney Todd, denies having killed the decedent with a razor while administering him a shave, then dismembering and disposing of the victim’s body in various locations, including grinding and baking some parts into meat pies, for the purpose of collecting a life insurance death benefit on the decedent’s life.

On what other bases could Todd deny the assertion?

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About davidbdale

Inventor of and sole practitioner of 299-word Very Short Novels. www.davidbdale.wordpress.com
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