Lesson_Fourteen_and_Test - LESSON 14 Fallacies and...

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Section 27 & 28: Fallacies ***Read the sections, then the following additional comments. In this last lesson we will try to put some of the finishing touches on the material covered in this course, first by looking at fallacies, then with some concluding remarks on analyzing reasoning. Fallacies come in many different guises. What they all have in common is that they are substitutes for valid arguments, sometimes by violating the rules in the process of attempting to give arguments, sometimes by side-stepping argumentation altogether. In my comments here, I shall go through a very slightly modified list all of the fallacies mentioned by Barker with a definition and an example for each. 1. Inconsistency. Two statements are inconsistent if they cannot be true at the same time in the same sense. Consequently, an argument with two premises which are inconsistent would commit the fallacy of inconsistency. Example: Our country is peaceloving and abhors war. We love peace so much that we are willing to conquer other countries in order to bring peace to them as well. Thus, we are asking your country to submit to our peaceful ways. [The statements that the country loves peace and will impose its ways by military force are inconsistent.] 2. Petitio principii. This fallacy is also known as “begging the question” or “circular reasoning.” When you commit the fallacy of petitio principii, you use the information which you intend to prove with your argument in order to support your argument. Obviously, anytime that you make an argument for a point, you assume that the point is true—that’s not circular reasoning. But when you make use of that point in order to prove the point, you are guilty of circular reasoning. Example: John is my best friend. He said so himself, and your best friend wouldn’t lie to you. 1 LESSON 14 Fallacies and Reasoning
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[I’m using the supposed fact that John is my best friend in proving that John is my best friend.] 3. Complex Question. You pose a complex question to someone when you try to trap them. Regardless of whether they say “yes” or “no,” they still have to concede something they might not want to. Example: Are you going to persist in supporting the president’s wasteful and inefficient tax proposal? [The person answering has to concede being associated with a bad program.] 4. Undistributed Middle. In the categorical syllogism, the middle term must be distributed at least once. If it is not, this fallacy is committed. Example: Fish live in the water. Seals live in the water. Fish are seals. [Just because fish and seals both share the property of living in the water does not mean that they are identical.] 5. Illicit Process. In the categorical syllogism, any term distributed
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This note was uploaded on 04/19/2011 for the course PHIL 201E taught by Professor Brentkelly during the Spring '11 term at Taylor University Fort Wayne.

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Lesson_Fourteen_and_Test - LESSON 14 Fallacies and...

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