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Fallacies of Argument Or Controversial Argument Hotspots.

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Presentation on theme: "Fallacies of Argument Or Controversial Argument Hotspots."— Presentation transcript:

1 Fallacies of Argument Or Controversial Argument Hotspots

2 Why fallacies are important to recognize… They instantly raise questions about the ethics of argument They instantly raise questions about the ethics of argument Provide information about whether the strategy is fair, accurate or principled. Provide information about whether the strategy is fair, accurate or principled. Help to determine if the argument is flawed by its very nature. Help to determine if the argument is flawed by its very nature. Helps to raise questions about whether argument was organized improperly accidentally because the writer didnt know any better. Helps to raise questions about whether argument was organized improperly accidentally because the writer didnt know any better. Or, was it done on purpose because the writer wanted to manipulate his audience? Or, was it done on purpose because the writer wanted to manipulate his audience?

3 Emotional Fallacies Can be very powerful and convincing Can be very powerful and convincing Most of the time they violate an audience's good faith on which an argument is based Most of the time they violate an audience's good faith on which an argument is based An audience cant trust a writer who cant make a point without frightening, provoking tears, or stirring up hatred. An audience cant trust a writer who cant make a point without frightening, provoking tears, or stirring up hatred.

4 Scare Tactics Remarkably common Remarkably common Work because its easier to imagine something terrible happening than to appreciate its statistical rarity Work because its easier to imagine something terrible happening than to appreciate its statistical rarity Used to scare people and exaggerate possible dangers Used to scare people and exaggerate possible dangers Used to stampede legitimate fears into panic or prejudice Used to stampede legitimate fears into panic or prejudice Effect – closes off thinking because people who are scared seldom think rationally Effect – closes off thinking because people who are scared seldom think rationally Example: Example: –Either have safe sex or you will die. – National Council on AIDS

5 Either – Or Choices Reduces the options for action to only two choices Reduces the options for action to only two choices Reduces a complicated argument to excessively simple terms Reduces a complicated argument to excessively simple terms Designed to seduce those who dont know much about the topic Designed to seduce those who dont know much about the topic Example: Example: –Events can turn in one of two ways: If we fail to act the people of Iran will live in submission; the regime will bully. If we meet our responsibilities the people of Iran can shake off their captivity. – George Bush

6 Slippery Slope Casts todays misstep as tomorrows avalanche Casts todays misstep as tomorrows avalanche When an argument exaggerates the future consequences of an action When an argument exaggerates the future consequences of an action Example: Example: –In 1996, a school board requested that a young male student cut off his ponytail. This resulted in a law suit that claimed that they were trying to take away his freedom of expression and if they did this all freedoms would be taken away.

7 Sentimentalism Arguments that use emotions excessively to distract readers from the facts. Arguments that use emotions excessively to distract readers from the facts. Makes the audience guilty if they challenge an idea or proposal. Makes the audience guilty if they challenge an idea or proposal. Seldom gives a complete opinion of the complex issue. Seldom gives a complete opinion of the complex issue. Example: Example: –Using an image of a threatened species (panda, wolf…) to make you give money to a charity. You dont know where the money is going…is it really helping that panda?

8 Bandwagon Used to urge people to follow the same path that everyone else is taking. Used to urge people to follow the same path that everyone else is taking. Americans are easily seduced by ideas endorsed by the mass media. Americans are easily seduced by ideas endorsed by the mass media. This appeal is the most dangerous to a democratic society. This appeal is the most dangerous to a democratic society. Example: Example: –All Americans should feel patriotic towards their country, especially during wartime, even though they may not agree with the policies involved.

9 Ethical Fallacies The idea is based on Trust me The idea is based on Trust me Most devices used to create trust have some sort of bias behind them. Most devices used to create trust have some sort of bias behind them. Be careful when you read facts from people who dont represent both sides fairly so that the audience can actually choose a side. Be careful when you read facts from people who dont represent both sides fairly so that the audience can actually choose a side.

10 False Authority Draws on the authority of a person to create an expert. Draws on the authority of a person to create an expert. Trust, but verify. – Ronald Regan Trust, but verify. – Ronald Regan Example: Example: –Christianity is the most popular religion in the Western world according to many Americans. Usually it boils down to: Usually it boils down to: –X is true because (he, she, it) says its true, therefore it must be true.

11 Dogmatism Asserting that a particular position is the only one conceivable. Asserting that a particular position is the only one conceivable. When someone suggests that simply raising an issue is wrong (racist, sexist, unpatriotic, sacrilegious) be wary. When someone suggests that simply raising an issue is wrong (racist, sexist, unpatriotic, sacrilegious) be wary. Example: Example: –Its clear to any rational American that all foreigners are bad for the United States.

12 Moral Equivalence Suggests that serious wrongdoings dont differ in kind from minor offenses, or its opposite, that minor offenses are raised to serious crimes. Suggests that serious wrongdoings dont differ in kind from minor offenses, or its opposite, that minor offenses are raised to serious crimes. Differs from Slippery Slope because it compares (equivalence) two arguments. Differs from Slippery Slope because it compares (equivalence) two arguments. Example: Example: –If smoking is almost criminal now, how can we not be concerned with those who abuse chocolate? Its abuse is also responsible for a host of health problems.

13 Ad Hominem Attacking the character of people rather than attacking the substance of their arguments. Attacking the character of people rather than attacking the substance of their arguments. The theory is: destroy the credibility of your opponent and destroy his argument. The theory is: destroy the credibility of your opponent and destroy his argument. Example: Example: You think Eminem is a homophobic racist? Well, youre just a thumb-sucking, white-bread elitist. You think Eminem is a homophobic racist? Well, youre just a thumb-sucking, white-bread elitist.

14 Logical Fallacies When claims are invalid, insufficient or disconnected. When claims are invalid, insufficient or disconnected. They seem reasonable and full of information, but they carefully hide the insufficiencies. They seem reasonable and full of information, but they carefully hide the insufficiencies.

15 Hasty Generalization An inference drawn from insufficient evidence. An inference drawn from insufficient evidence. Forms the basis for most stereotypes Forms the basis for most stereotypes There is not a large enough body of information on which the claim is made. There is not a large enough body of information on which the claim is made. Example: Example: –Because my Honda broke down, all Hondas are junk.

16 Begging the question An argument made on grounds that cannot be accepted because those grounds are in doubt. An argument made on grounds that cannot be accepted because those grounds are in doubt. Assuming as true the very claim that is disputed Assuming as true the very claim that is disputed Examples: Examples: –You cant give me a C! Im an A student! –You cant find my client guilty of embezzlement! Hes an honest person!

17 Equivocation A half-truth A half-truth An argument that gives a lie an honest appearance. An argument that gives a lie an honest appearance. A trick of language A trick of language Examples: Examples: –A girl who copies a paper word for word claims, I wrote that paper all by myself! (You know shes claiming to have physically written it, not intellectually.)

18 Non-Sequitur An argument that doesnt follow logic An argument that doesnt follow logic Occur when writers miss a step in the flow of evidence Occur when writers miss a step in the flow of evidence Example: Example: –The poor performance of American students on international math tests means the country should spend more on math education. When in fact the students poor performance could be related to a variety of problems.

19 Faulty Analogies Inaccurate comparisons between objects or concepts Inaccurate comparisons between objects or concepts When comparisons are pushed too far When comparisons are pushed too far Example: Example: –A mind is like a garden. When planted, fertilized, and cultivated properly it thrives. (But arent gardens fertilized with manure…?)

20 Look at the following and identify the fallacy type and specific kind.

21 Budweiser 9/11 ad zw6n3k zw6n3k

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28 7. You can never give anyone a break. If you do, they'll walk all over you. they'll walk all over you. 8.The sign said "fine for parking here", and since it was fine, I parked there. was fine, I parked there. 9.That parking attendant who gave me a ticket is as bad as Hitler. as bad as Hitler. 10. Interviewer: "Your resume looks impressive but I need another reference." Bill: "Jill can give me a good reference." Interviewer: "Good. But how do I know that Jill I need another reference." Bill: "Jill can give me a good reference." Interviewer: "Good. But how do I know that Jill is trustworthy?" Bill: "I can vouch for her." is trustworthy?" Bill: "I can vouch for her." 11."Bill claims that tax breaks for corporations increases development. Of course, Bill is the increases development. Of course, Bill is the CEO of a corporation." CEO of a corporation."

29 Create an ORIGINAL example of an Create an ORIGINAL example of an –Emotional fallacy –Ethical fallacy –Logical fallacy


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