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Archive for September 22nd, 2009

Argument From Ignorance

September 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Taxonomy – Where am I?

Argument From Ignorance

classification : informal – fallacies of distraction

An error of presumption in which one ignores all other reasonable alternatives.

A logical fallacy of irrelevance occurring when one claims that something is true only because it hasn’t been proved false, or vice versa.

Foundations

A claims truth or falsity depends upon supporting or refuting evidence to the claim in favor of an alternative view. Not knowing that a statement is true is taken to be proof that it is false.

Examples

Jim said he is smarter than David but failed to prove it. Therefore his argument ( assertion ) is logically flawed. Claiming something does not make it true.

Failing to prove that Unicorns do not exist, affirms that they do exist

If such actions were not illegal, then they would not be prohibited by the law.

Other Names:

lack-of-knowledge inference

negative evidence

default reasoning

Categories: Logic

False Dilemma

September 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Taxonomy – Where am I?

False Dilemma

classification : informal – fallacies of distraction

An error of presumption in which one ignores all other reasonable alternatives.

Expanded Definition

Foundations

Failing to state a range of options; an incomplete argument sometimes predicated on extremes.

Examples

Someone who labels other people as all good or all bad.

Every person is either part of the problem, or part of the solution.

My country right or wrong.

Other Names

either-or

black and white fallacy

Stacking the deck

Hobson’s Choice

Pascal’s Wager

Categories: Logic

Anonymous Authority

September 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Taxonomy – Where am I?

Anonymous Authority

classification : informal – causal fallacy

The authority in question is not named thus making it impossible to confirm that the authority is an expert.

Foundations

Argument is fallacious when the person in question is not an expert. In such cases the reasoning is flawed because the fact that an unqualified person makes a claim does not provide any justification for the claim.

The claim could be true, but the fact that an unqualified person made the claim does not provide any rational reason to accept the claim as true.

Examples

Experts agree that the best way to prevent nuclear war is to prepare for it.

It is held that there are more than two million needless operations conducted every year.

Other Names

Appeal to rumor

Argument from respect

Hearsay

Categories: Logic

Slippery Slope

September 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Taxonomy – Where am I?

Slippery Slope

classification : informal – fallacies of distraction

An error of presumption in which one ignores all other reasonable alternatives.

Assertion that any change from the status quo in a given direction will produce a cascading effect leading to an undesirable outcome.

Commonly stated as an assertive imperative in the form: balancing precariously on a slippery slope.

Foundations

The argument contend that event A will trigger a chain reaction of events leading, eventually, to an undesirable event. Considered fallacious if it is used as the primary tool to prove a point. When the proposition within an argument claims, but fails to explain, how change will cause a reversal, or cascade into a series of unwanted events.

Examples

Best never to give anyone a break. If you do, they’ll walk all over you.

We have to stop the tuition increase! The next thing you know, they’ll be charging $100,000 a semester.

Other Names

Argument of the Beard

Fallacy of the Beard

Camel’s Nose fallacy

Categories: Logic

Attacking The Person

September 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Taxonomy – Where am I?

Attacking The Person

classification : informal – changing the subject

Attempts to counter a claim or conclusion by attacking the person, rather than addressing the argument itself.

Foundations

Three major forms of Attacking the Person;
1. attack the person who made the argument;
2. attack the relationship between the person making the assertion and the person’s circumstances and,
3. attack on the person because he does not exemplify or practices what he preaches, or has no stronger case than one has oneself.

Examples

A prosecutor asks the judge to not admit the testimony of a burglar because burglars are not trustworthy.

You say I should give up alcohol, but you haven’t been sober for more than a year yourself.

Other Names

Argument against the man

Ad hominem argument

Categories: Logic

Prejudicial Language

September 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Taxonomy – Where am I?

Prejudicial Language

classification : informal – appeals to motive in place of support

Loaded or emotive terms are used to attach value or moral goodness to enhance believability of an otherwise unfounded proposition.

Foundations

Disagreeing with the conclusion does not make one “wrong thinking” or “unreasonable”.

Examples

A reasonable person would agree that our income is too low.

I’ve found typographical errors in your poem, so the poem is neither inspired nor perceptive.

Other Names

Stacked Deck

Loaded Language

variant imagization

Categories: Logic

Appeal To Popularity

September 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Taxonomy – Where am I?

Appeal To Popularity (argumentum ad populum)

classification : informal – appeals to motive in place of support

A proposition is argued to be true because it is widely held to be true — predominately, by those of great authority.

Foundations

The basic idea is that a claim is accepted as being true simply because most people are favorably inclined towards the claim. More formally, the fact that most people have favorable emotions associated with the claim is substituted in place of actual evidence for the claim. A person falls prey to this fallacy if he accepts a claim as being true simply because most other people approve of the claim.

Examples

Everyone knows that the Earth is flat, so why do you persist in your outlandish claims?

Smoking is a healthy pastime, since millions of people do it.

Other Names

Appeal to the masses

Appeal to belief

Appeal to the majority

Appeal to democracy

Argument by consensus

Consensus fallacy

Authority of the many

Appeal to Emotion

Bandwagon fallacy

Categories: Logic

Appeal To Pity

September 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Taxonomy – Where am I?

Appeal To Pity (ad misericordiam)

classification : informal – appeals to motive in place of support

An argument based on pity without foundation or logical merit.

Foundations

Pity does not serve as evidence for a claim or otherwise support a logical conclusion. 

Captioned as the Galileo Arguement; the attempt is to persuade someone to agree with you by making them pity or feel sorry for you or make the other person seem cruel or insensitive if they fail to comply. 

The reference to Galileo refers to his trials and house arrest by the Inquisition as a result of his scientific views that branded him as a heretic.

Examples

Find the defendant not guilty of embezzlement. He’s in a wheelchair.

I hope you like my proposal. It took me six years to write and I would die if it was rejected.

Other Names

Appeal to the pitying heart

The Galileo Argument

Categories: Logic

Complex Question

September 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Taxonomy – Where am I?

Complex Question

classification : informal – fallacies of distraction

An error of presumption in which one ignores all other reasonable alternatives.

Phrasing a question that, by the way it is worded, assumes something not contextually granted, assumes something not true, or assumes a false dichotomy.

Foundations

When two unrelated points are conjoined as a single proposition.

Examples

Do you support freedom and the right to bear arms?

How can we save our country from the bureaucratic dictatorship, the corruption, and the creeping socialism of the present administration? Only one way: vote Independent.

Other Names

Fallacy of interrogation

Fallacy of presupposition

Categories: Logic

Post Hoc Fallacy (Post Hoc, Ergo Procter Hoc)

September 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Taxonomy – Where am I?

Post Hoc Fallacy

classification : informal – non causa pro causa

A principle that holds true as a general rule applied to a specific case that is unusual or atypical.

Because one thing follows another, it is held to cause the other.

Foundations:

Occurs frequently in the media and in political campaigns, and are also probably responsible for many contemporary and classical superstitions. Our tendency to slip into this mode of thinking seems to stem from our mind’s efforts to interpret the world in terms of cause-and-effect relationships.

Examples

Jim said he is smarter than David but failed to prove it. Therefore his argument ( assertion ) is logically flawed. Claiming something does not make it true. Failing to prove that Unicorns do not exist, affirms that they do exist If such actions were not illegal, then they would not be prohibited by the law.

Other Names:

false cause
coincidental correlation
correlation not causation.

Categories: Logic