Popular Fallacy Essays

Popular Fallacy Essays-73
But as the course of logical theory from the late nineteenth-century forward turned more and more to axiomatic systems and formal languages, the study of reasoning and natural language argumentation received much less attention, and hence developments in the study of fallacies almost came to a standstill.Until well past the middle of the twentieth century, discussions of fallacies were for the most part relegated to introductory level textbooks.This fallacy ascribes a causal relationship between two states or events on the basis of temporal succession.

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” is a fallacy because either response implies that one has in the past been a member of the Klan, a proposition that may not have been established as true.

Some say that this kind of mistake is not really a fallacy because to ask a question is not to make an argument. There are a number of fallacies associated with causation, the most frequently discussed is , (after this, therefore because of this).

On another reading what is meant is that the police were told to stop others (e.g., students) from drinking after midnight. The analysis of this fallacy is that the general premise could not be known to be true unless the conclusion is known to be true; so, in making the argument, the conclusion is assumed true from the beginning, or in an older mode of expression, the arguer has committed the fallacy of begging the question.

If that is the sense in which the premise is intended, then the argument can be said to be a fallacy because despite initial appearances, it affords no support for the conclusion. The fallacies of Here it is ‘excellence’ that is the property in question. Whately (1875 III §13) gave this example: “to allow everyman an unbounded freedom of speech must always be, on the whole, advantageous to the State; for it is highly conducive to the interest of the Community, that each individual should enjoy a liberty perfectly unlimited, of expressing his sentiments.” This argument begs the question because the premise and conclusion are the very same proposition, albeit expressed in different words.

In the following essay, which is in four parts, it is what is considered the informal-fallacy literature that will be reviewed.

Part 1 is an introduction to the core fallacies as brought to us by the tradition of the textbooks.Although many of the informal fallacies are also invalid arguments, it is generally thought to be more profitable, from the points of view of both recognition and understanding, to bring their weaknesses to light through analyses that do not involve appeal to formal languages.For this reason it has become the practice to eschew the symbolic language of formal logic in the analysis of these fallacies; hence the term ‘informal fallacy’ has gained wide currency.Academic writers who have given the most attention to the subject of fallacies insist on, or at least prefer, the argument conception of fallacies, but the belief conception is prevalent in popular and non-scholarly discourse.As we shall see, there are yet other conceptions of what fallacies are, but the present inquiry focuses on the argument conception of fallacies.A variation of , known under the name of the straw man fallacy, occurs when an opponent’s point of view is distorted in order to make it easier to refute.For example, in opposition to a proponent’s view that (a) industrialization is the cause of global warming, an opponent might substitute the proposition that (b) all ills that beset mankind are due to industrialization and then, having easily shown that (b) is false, leave the impression that (a), too, is false.Additional details about some of the fallacies are found in Sections 2 and 3. That the same set of words is used twice conceals the fact that the two distinct meanings undermine the continuity of the reasoning, resulting in a is, like the fallacy of equivocation, a fallacy of ambiguity; but here the ambiguity is due to indeterminate syntactic structure.As an initial working definition of the subject matter, we may take a fallacy to be an argument that seems to be better than it really is. The fallacy of is an argument which exploits the ambiguity of a term or phrase which has occurred at least twice in an argument, such that on the first occurrence it has one meaning and on the second another meaning. In the argument: The police were told to stop drinking on campus after midnight.It was only when philosophers realized the ill fit between formal logic, on the one hand, and natural language reasoning and argumentation, on the other, that the interest in fallacies has returned.Since the 1970s the utility of knowing about fallacies has been acknowledged (Johnson and Blair 1993), and the way in which fallacies are incorporated into theories of argumentation has been taken as a sign of a theory’s level of adequacy (Biro and Siegel 2007, van Eemeren 2010).


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