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Archive for October, 2009

Appeal To Poverty (argumentum ad lazarum)

October 8th, 2009 Comments off

Appeal To Poverty ( argumentum ad lazarum )

classification : informal – appeals to motives in place of support

When it is assumed that a position is correct because it is held by the poor.

Foundations

Named after Lazarus, a beggar in a New Testament parable who receives his reward in the afterlife. This argument rests upon the apparent poverty of those involved, and trying to conclude that this poverty someone increases the likelihood that those people are correct or moral. But poverty is not relevant to the question.

Examples

He’s poor, but honest.

The working classes respect family and community ties. Therefore: Respect for family and community ties is virtuous.

Priests and nuns are more likely to possess insight into the meaning of life because they have given up the distractions of wealth.

Other Names

argumentum ad lazarum

Note: The opposite of the appeal to poverty is the appeal to wealth.

Categories: Logic

Appeal To Wealth (argumentum ad crumenam)

October 8th, 2009 Comments off

Appeal To Wealth ( argumentum ad crumenam )

classification : informal – appeals to motives in place of support

The fallacy is committed by any argument that assumes that someone or something is better simply because they are wealthier or more expensive.

Foundations

Wealth need not be associated with all that is good, and all that is good need not be associated with wealth.

Examples

My computer cost more than yours. Therefore, my computer is better than yours.

The Mercedes is probably not responsible for the accident with the Toyota, because it is so much more expensive and the driver is motivated to be careful to protect his property from even the slightest scratch, much less a collision.

Other Names

argumentum ad crumenam

argumentum ad lazarum

Note: The opposite of the appeal to wealth is the appeal to poverty. They both use the material value of something to imply its merit – that something is expensive might either implicate it or exonerate it.

Categories: Logic

Argument from silence (argumentum ex silentio)

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Argument From Silence ( argumentum ex silentio )

classification : informal

A conclusion based on silence or lack of contrary evidence.

Foundations

In the field of classical studies, it often refers to the deduction from the lack of references to a subject in the available writings of an author to the conclusion that he was ignorant of it. When used as a logical proof in pure reasoning, the argument is classed among the fallacies, but an argument from silence can be a valid and convincing form of abductive reasoning.

History

Historians generally regard the argument from silence as the weakest weapon in their arsenal. The argument from silence attempts to demonstrate that an alleged historical event never actually happened, and it attempts to do so based on the silence of an author or group of authors on that event.

Any single argument from silence, then, stands on two premises both of which must be true in order for the argument to merit the attention of the historian. First, the silence of the author in question has to mean that the author did not have information about the alleged event. Second, this lack of information about the alleged event has to mean that the event did not happen.

Other Names

Argument from ignorance
Evidence of absence
Negative proof

Categories: Logic

Appeal To Tradition

October 8th, 2009 Comments off

Appeal To Tradition ( argumentum ad antiquitatem )

classification : informal – fallacies of relevance

A thesis is deemed correct on the basis that it correlates with some past or present tradition. The appeal takes the form of “this is right because we’ve always done it this way.”

Foundations

An appeal to tradition essentially makes two assumptions:

* The old way of thinking was proven correct when introduced. In actuality this may be false — the tradition might be entirely based on incorrect grounds.
* The past justifications for the tradition are still valid at present. In cases where circumstances have changed, this assumption may be false.

Examples

These rules were written 100 years ago and we have always followed them. Therefore, there is no need to change them.

We’ve been doing this for thirty years, and we’ve never had problems with it.

Our family has always voted Liberal, so you should vote Liberal.

Other Names

Proof from tradition
appeal to common practice or common belief
argumentum ad antiquitatem
false induction
“is/ought” fallacy

Note: The opposite of an appeal to tradition is an appeal to novelty, claiming something is good because it is new.

Categories: Logic

Sentimental Fallacy

October 8th, 2009 Comments off

Sentimental Fallacy

classification : informal – Red Herring – rhetorical -Appeal To Emotion

The sentimental fallacy is an ancient rhetorical device that attributes human emotions to the forces of nature, such as mourning or anger.

Foundations

It would be more pleasant if; therefore it ought to be; therefore it is

Examples

John Sloan painted the world in as generally amiable, a place full of fleshy, rosy girls on swings or in dance halls, Brooklyn Fragonard and Hester Street Renoir, chattering in front of the nickelodeon parlor or parading in Washington Square Park. Prone to the sentimental fallacy of treating the poor as figures in an urban pastoral, he wanted to see happiness everywhere.

Other Names

Categories: Logic

Chronological Snobbery

October 8th, 2009 Comments off

Chronological Snobbery

classification : informal –

is a logical argument (and usually when termed thusly, considered an outright fallacy) describing the erroneous argument that the thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior when compared to that of the present.

Foundations

Chronological snobbery (a term coined by friends C. S. Lewis and Clive Staples). They describe the erroneous argument that the thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior when compared to that of the present. As Barfield explains it, it is the belief that “intellectually, humanity languished for countless generations in the most childish errors on all sorts of crucial subjects, until it was redeemed by some simple scientific dictum of the last century.”

Examples

Other Names

Historian’s fallacy
Presentism (literary and historical analysis)
Whig history

Categories: Logic

Two Wrongs Make A Right

October 8th, 2009 Comments off

Taxonomy – Where am I?

Two Wrongs Make A Right

classification : informal – red herring

Occurs when it is assumed that if one wrong is committed, another wrong will cancel it out. Like many fallacies, it typically appears as the hidden major premise in an enthymeme — an unstated assumption which must be true for the premises to lead to the conclusion.

Foundations

An attempt to justify a wrong action by pointing to another wrong action.

Examples

After leaving a store, Jill notices that she has underpaid by $10. She decides not to return the money to the store because if she had overpaid, they would not have returned the money.

Other Names / Sub fallacies

Tu Quoque

Categories: Logic

Genetic Fallacy

October 8th, 2009 Comments off

Taxonomy – Where am I?

Genetic Fallacy

classification : informal – red herring

To argue that a claim is true or false on the basis of its origin. Genetic accounts of an issue may be true, and they may help illuminate the reasons why the issue has assumed its present form, but they are irrelevant to its merits.

Foundations

There is a difference between a reason why something is believed (ratio credentis, an explanation) and a reason why something is true (ratio veritatis, a justification). Ideally the latter would be used for the former, but we do often have reasons, even good reasons, for believing things even if we do not know the reasons why they are true. But if reasons for belief are used as though they are reasons for truth, this has been recognized for most of the history of logic as an informal fallacy, the “genetic fallacy,” in which the origin or the cause of a proposition is taken to have some bearing on its truth. It doesn’t. The fallacy can take two common forms that are of interest: an ad hominem (“against the man”) argument holds something to be false because of where it comes from; and an argument “from authority” (ab auctoritate) holds something to be true because of where it comes from. Both ad hominem arguments and arguments from authority can be very good reasons to believe, or not to believe, something, but they are not logical reasons why something is true. An argument relevant to the truth of its proper subject matter may be called an argumentum ad rem (“concerning the thing,” or “to the point”).

Examples

Sure, the media claims that Senator Bigwig was taking kickbacks. But we all know about the media’s credibility, don’t we.

The idea that there are measurable IQ differences among different races is the sort of thing that racists believe and argue for.

Sub Fallacies

Ad Hominem
Appeal to Misleading Authority
Etymological Fallacy

Categories: Logic