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Fallacies Essay

1267 words - 6 pages

U.S. Diversity
Danielle Lake
Basic Fallacies

Hurley, Patrick J. A Concise Introduction to Logic, 9th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2006.

• A defect in an argument that is not simply a false premise (false information).
• Mistake in reasoning
• Creation of an illusion that makes the argument appear stronger than it is

Formal Fallacies
• Identifiable by examining the FORM of the argument alone
• No need to examine the content (examine the actual truth of the premises)
• EX. All cats are mammals. Form: All A are B.
All dogs are mammals. All C are B.
Therefore, All cats are dogs All A are C.

Informal Fallacies
• Detectable by ...view middle of the document...

Appeal to the People
• Uses everyone’s wish to belong, appeals to things we want (love, admiration, value) to get the listener to accept a conclusion.
• This can take place at a rally or (2) be directed at a single person by appealing to her wish to belong or be admired.

Argument against the Person
• Two arguers, one person advances a particular argument and the other tries to refute the argument by actually refuting the person or the circumstances the person is in
• They can do this by either verbally abusing the person, appealing to her circumstances, or noting that her argument is hypocritical
• The purpose of this argument is to discredit the opponent in order to discredit the argument

• This fallacy happens when a general rule is applied to a particular situation that doesn’t fall under the rule
• Contains accidental feature that makes it an exception to the rule it is trying to be applied to

Straw Man
• Arguer distorts an opponent’s argument for the purpose of more easily attacking it
• He then demolishes the distorted argument and concludes that the real argument has been torn apart

Missing the Point
• The premises of an argument support one particular conclusion, but a different conclusion from that one is drawn
• The different conclusion is vaguely related to the real one
• If you suspect this fallacy is being committed you should be able to identify the real conclusion
• EX. Crimes of theft and robbery have been increasing at an alarming rate lately. The conclusion is obvious: we must reinstate the death penalty immediately.

Red Herring
• Arguer diverts the attention of the reader or listener by changing the subject to a different, related subject, then finishes by drawing a conclusion from this changed subject or presuming one to be drawn

Appeal to Unqualified Authority
• Occurs when the cited authority or witness lacks credibility
• Reasons for lacking credibility: lack expertise, biased or prejudice, motive to lie or disseminate, lack ability to perceive or recall events

Appeal to Ignorance
• When the premises say that nothing can be proved one way or another, but then the arguer still makes a conclusion about the thing
• Usually involved something that is not provable (God)
• EXCEPTIONS: if qualified people do research and turn up no evidence about a phenomenon, then it counts as positive evidence against the phenomenon existing. In a courtroom a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. So, there is a positive assumption without positive support.

Hasty Generalization
• Occurs when there is a reasonable likelihood that the sample is not representative of the generalization that the arguer is trying to make (too small or not randomly selected)

False Cause
• Link between premises and conclusion depends on some imagined causal...

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