Originally the work of lawyers, it’s a concept that’s spreading, aided by the immediacy and unfiltered nature of social media.
In short: When you use contradictory excuses/statements to make an argument. Freud used this example:
A man who was accused by his neighbour of having returned a kettle in a damaged condition. He offered three arguments in rebuttal.
“I returned the kettle undamaged”
“It was already damaged when I borrowed it”
“I never borrowed it in the first place”
This is a dumb way to win a logical argument, because without a doubt, you’re lying in at least some of these statements.
Kettle logic is actually a glimpse into how the emotional side of our brain works. And of course, the emotional side is 95% of our brain. It’s squirming and the words simply get spun out.
When a customer or colleague begins to use kettle logic, the useful response is to seek out the emotions behind it. Because dismantling the logic part of kettle logic does nothing to get you closer to what the person really needs to talk about.