21 - Fallacies of Credibili ty and Context I Testimonial...

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9/21/10 Fallacies of Credibility and Context I. Testimonial Evidence a. Most of what we know is based on the testimony of others. i. For example: 1. Doctors tell us that eating fatty food is bad for is and we believe it 2. Historians tell us Brutus killed Caesar and we believe it 3. The people who raised us tell us that they are out biological parents and we believe it ii. In short, we often take the word of others as evidence. II. Credible Authorities a. To evaluate testimonial evidence, we have to assess the credibility of the witness (example: our doctors, historians, parents). b. Credible witness must meet two standards: i. They must be experts in the subject in question ii. They must be free of bias and/or ulterior motives III. Fallacies Involving Credibility a. The appeal to false authority i. This fallacy is committed when: 1. The authorities we cite are not experts in the field under discussion a. Example: Most doctors believe in God. Therefore, God exists.
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