Fallacies of Credibility and Context

Fallacies of Credibility and Context - Todays Topics(9/21 I...

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3/4/11 Today’s Topics (9/21) I. Testimonial Evidence II. Credible Authorities III. Fallacies Involving Credibility a. Appeal to False Authority b. Ad Hominem IV. Fallacies of Context a. False Alternative b. Post hoc ergo propter hoc
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3/4/11 I. Testimonial Evidence Most of what we know is based on the testimony of others. For example: Doctors tell us that eating fatty food is bad for us and we believe it. Historians tell us Brutus killed Caesar and we believe it. The people who raised us tell us that
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3/4/11 II. Credible Authorities To evaluate testimonial evidence, we have to assess the credibility of the witness (e.g. our doctors, historians, our parents). Credible witness must meet two standards: a. They must be experts in the subject in question; and b. They must be free of bias and/or ulterior motives
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3/4/11 II. Fallacies Involving This fallacy is committed when: Example: The authorities we cite are not experts in the field under discussion; or Most doctors believe in God. Therefore, God exists. The authorities we cite are not free of bias or ulterior motives A group of doctors who are paid by the makers of Prozac say that Prozac is the best pharmaceutical treatment for depression
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3/4/11 Do the following arguments appeal to false authorities? 1. The Surgeon General says smoking is hazardous to your health, so it is. NO 2. The Surgeon General says that abortion is immoral, so it is. YES 3. Michael Jordan says that Air Jordan sneakers are springier, so they must be springier. YES
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3/4/11 V. Appeal to Majority vs. 1. Most U.S. citizens do not believe that the theory of evolution is true. ∴ 2. The theory of 1. Most priests do not believe the that theory of evolution is true. ∴2. The theory of evolution is false. Is the arguer concerned more with the size of the group than the prestige of the group? If so, she is committing the fallacy of appealing to the majority . Is the arguer trying to piggy- back on the prestige of the group she cites? If so, she is committing the fallacy of appealing to a false authority.
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Fallacies of Credibility and Context - Todays Topics(9/21 I...

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