Choose four fallacies and explain why they can be persuasive and appear to be logical. Give examples.
1. APPEAL TO AUTHORITY: Often at times, people embrace the beliefs of people in authority, like famous actors, athletes and so on without the understanding that these people in positions of authority do not necessarily have the expertise to put them in position to advise. And so, not minding this, we as consumers of products accept what the person in authority stands for. An example is when an athlete becomes the official spokesperson for a beer company. People tend to drink the same beer the person in authority is drinking in the advert because they believe if the athlete is drinking this beer, then it must be good. People in authority influence some of our thinking and decision making. But that does mean what is good for them is good for us.
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But the truth is as an adult, I know better not to do what everyone is doing just because they are doing it. Everyone is doing it, does not mean it is the right thing to do. I have my own mind to critically rationalize my decisions based on important reasoning now as an adult.
3. APPEAL TO PITY: I have experienced a lot of this fallacy thinking. Reasons to support the conclusion might be true in most cases, but are usually not relevant to the conclusion. The reasons are giving to appeal to our emotions that lead us to feel sorry for the person involved and usually we agree with the conclusion given. An example was when a student at school was asked why he did not turn in his homework and he gave an excuse that the reason was because he had lost his father six months earlier. I thought, “what?” yes, he had lost his father six months earlier at the 6th grade. The teacher felt sympathy, but that was not relevant at that point. We all felt sorry that he lost his father at that young age when we the rest still have our fathers with us, but that had nothing to do with him not doing his homework after six months of his loss. There was no relevance to this student not having his homework done; the homework was in the present at the time. If his homework was due at the exact time of his father’s loss, yes I would say he deserved pity, but that was not the case and there was relevance.
4. APPEAL TO IGNORANCE: This is a fallacy that is based on conclusion that has not been proven to be otherwise, and since the conclusion has not been disproved then it makes it true or false. But because a conclusion has not been disproved to be false does not mean that the conclusion is justified to be true. An example is when a man is said to be a faithful husband and that makes him a responsible husband. Because no one has proven that he is not a responsible husband, does not mean the conclusion is true.
Chaffee, J. (2012) Thinking critically (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning