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Some Logical Fallacies. Fallacies are standard forms of flawed reasoning that seduce and often persuade us, but that are not logically sound and will lead to faulty conclusions. Some Logical Fallacies. False Dilemma (Hobson’s Choice)

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some logical fallacies
Some Logical Fallacies
  • Fallacies are standard forms of flawed reasoning that seduce and often persuade us, but that are not logically sound and will lead to faulty conclusions.
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Some Logical Fallacies
  • False Dilemma (Hobson’s Choice)
  • The arguer claims that there are only two options and one is unacceptable so we must accept the other. However in actuality there are other alternatives.
    • Either we ban negative ads or we let them run amok on our television stations.
    • “Either the Saudis control the US government, or they don’t” – Chris Hitchens
    • If Guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.
    • Daisy Girl Ad
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Some Logical Fallacies
  • Straw man
  • The arguer makes her own position appear stronger by misrepresenting her opponent’s position.
    • Mr. Goldberg has argued against prayer in public schools. Obviously Mr. Goldberg advocates atheism. But atheism is what they used to have in Russia. Atheism leads to the suppression of all religions and the replacement of God by an omnipotent state. Is that what we want for this country? I hardly think so. Clearly Mr. Goldberg’s argument is nonsense.
    • Is this really what Goldberg was arguing. Almost certainly not.
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Some Logical Fallacies
  • Slippery Slope
  • The arguer states that given a series of cases 1,2,3...n and given that the differences between each case is insignificant, the difference between any two of the cases is insignificant. Here the arguer fails to realize that insignificant differences, when added up can make for a significant difference.
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Some Logical Fallacies
  • Slippery Slope Example
  • Attempts to outlaw pornography threaten basic civil rights and should be summarily abandoned. If pornography is outlawed, censorship of newspapers and news magazines ins only a short step away. After that there will be censorship of textbooks, political speeches, and the content of lectures by university professors. Complete mind control by the central government will be the inevitable result.
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Some Logical Fallacies
  • Slippery Slope Example
  • The government is thinking of keeping serious sex offenders behind bars to protect the public, next thing, we’ll be keeping those convicted of manslaughter indefinitely. This will inexorably lead us to a police state where the six year old who steals a piece of bubble gum will wind up in jail and society will throw away the key.
  • We cannot wait for certainty about WMD because our answer might come in the form of a mushroom cloud. (Condoleeza Rice)
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Some Logical Fallacies
  • Hasty Generalization
  • Any argument that draws a generalization based on a small or unrepresentative sample size.
    • 75% of the people who responded to our Poll via e-mail have some college education, so 75% of all Americans have some college education.
    • You can't speak French; I can't; =>no one at FLC can
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Some Logical Fallacies
  • Red Herring: When the arguer changes the subject and take the listener down a different, unrelated path.
    • Environmentalists are continually harping about the dangers of nuclear power. Unfortunately, electricity is dangerous no matter where it comes from. Every year hundreds of people are electrocuted by accident. Since most of the accidents are caused by carelessness, they could be avoided if people would just exercise greater caution.
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Some Logical Fallacies
  • Appeals to force/fear
  • The arguer tries to get you to accept their view on the grounds that you will be harmed if you don’t. They use attempt to motivate you from fear rather than logically persuade you.
    • So you’re an animal rights activist. I’d consider changing my views if I were you because most of us here on the prairies are beef farmers and we don’t care too much for your kind.
    • Willie Horton Ad
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Some Logical Fallacies
  • Faulty appeal to authority
  • The arguer appeals to an authority who’s area of expertise is irrelevant to the issue at hand, or appeals to a person who is famous but not an expert.
    • Madonna is against animal testing. So animal testing is probably an unethical practice.
    • Noted psychologist Dr. Frasier Crane recommends thatyou buy the EZ-Rest Hot Tub.
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Some Logical Fallacies
  • Ad hominem attack (Poisoning the well)
  • The arguer suggests that her opponent’s view is unacceptable because of some negative character trait. Attack the person rather than the argument.
    • People who say that hazing in the military is wrong are just a bunch of wimps.
    • He’s a liar so there’s no reason to listen to him.
    • …But Ginsberg’s arguments are nothing but trash. Ginsberg was a marijuana-smoking homosexual and a thoroughgoing advocate of the drug culture….
    • Humphrey Ad
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Some Logical Fallacies
  • Ad hominem : circumstantial
  • The arguer suggests that her opponent’s view is false because the opponent has something personal to gain if it is accepted.
    • Of course France opposed the war on Iraq; they’ve got millions of dollars of contracts at stake.
    • We should disregard that scientist’s argument because they are being funded by the logging industry.
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Some Logical Fallacies
  • Ad hominem :: tu quoque (‘You too’)
  • The arguer suggests that her opponent’s position is inconsistent with their own beliefs or actions and therefore the position is false.
    • You’re telling me to stop speeding on the highway? You’ve received more speeding tickets than I have.
    • Gore is a hypocrite on Campaign finance issues – he’s raised as much money as anyone.
    • You say I shouldn't drink, but you haven't been sober for more than a year.
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Some Logical Fallacies
  • False Analogy: comparing situations that are different
    • Students should look at textbooks during exams because lawyers have briefs
    • If we can put a man on the moon, we should be able to eliminate poverty
    • His/Her ideas sound a lot like what we saw in Nazi Germany…
non sequitur
Non Sequitur
  • A statement that follows another but is unrelated to or does not have any connection to the preceding statement.
  • Example: “There is a full moon tonight and many babies were born tonight.” A full moon is not related to the number of births on that particular night.
  • “You don’t want to be caught sweating! Use Super-Duper-Dry antiperspirant.”
  • “Water is a liquid and liquids are for drinking.” Not all liquids are meant to be consumed.
  • “You have to eat your peas because your mom said you should.”
  • “Either the man saw a spaceship, or he’s a liar.” The man may have simply mistaken an airplane for a flying saucer.
  • “There is a full moon tonight, and many babies were born tonight.” A full moon is not related to the number of births on a particular night.
  • “Do you really want Randall Smith as mayor? He leaves his holiday decorations up until April every year!”
  • “We have to stop the tuition increase, or the university will start charging $80,000 a semester!”