Logical Fallacies Arguments • Claim: The position being argued • Reasons: Support for the claim • Warrants: The principle or chain of reasoning that connects the reason to the claim • We need to connect claims to reasons with logical warrants for arguments to be sound. What are logical fallacies? • Mistakes in our reasoning • Claims, warrants, or pieces of evidence are invalid, insufficient, or disconnected • Seriously affect our ability to argue effectively • Sometimes we think that our faulty argument is sound • Sometimes we think a flawed argument will win us the battle • Sometimes these are difficult to spot because they are disguised by the skillful use of words or images. Fallacies • Ad Hominem—Against the Man • Avoiding the issue by attacking a person’s character • Used to divert an audience’s attention from the issue at hand • A prosecutor asks the judge to not admit the testimony of a burglar because burglars are not trustworthy. • Begging the Question • Circular Reasoning • • • • Drawing conclusions from assumptions that have not been proven CLAIM: You can’t give me a C in this course… REASON: …because I am an A student. WARRANT: An A student is someone who can’t receive Cs. Fallacies • Either/Or Fallacy • Contrasting your own choice only with one that is completely undesirable; Overlooking other options • All drugs should be either legalized or banned completely. (Ignores other positions like legalizing marijuana for cancer treatments but not for general use) • Equivocation • Using a word with two or more definitions, usually in order to confuse or deceive • Macbeth has nothing to worry about “till Birnam wood / Do come to Dunsinane” –how can a forest move? • Argument gives an honest appearance Fallacies • Hasty/Faulty Generalization • Inference drawn from insufficient evidence • Because my Honda broke down, then all Hondas must be junk. • Sweeping Generalization • Claim that something applies to all situations without exceptions. • All cameras are easy to use. • All women are bad drivers. • All English teachers are nitpicky. Fallacies • Post Hoc: Faulty Causality • Assumes that because one action follows another, the first causes the second • The abnormally warm weather led to the increased number in summer casualties • Faulty Analogy • Assuming that since two things are alike in one aspect, they must be alike in others • Employees are like nails. Just as nails must be hit in the head in order to make them work, so must employees. Fallacies • Non-Sequitur • Literally means “it does not follow.” • A conclusion or statement that does not arise logically from the premises of a given argument • Because my sister is rich, she will make a good parent. • Red Herring • Introducing something irrelevant/tangential to change or shift the topic • Why should we worry about the amount of violence on television when thousands of people are killed in automobile accidents every year? Fallacies • Straw Man • Strengthening your own view by distorting/oversimplifying the opposing view • Attacking an argument that isn’t really there. • "Senator Jones says that we should not fund the attack submarine program. I disagree entirely. I can't understand why he wants to leave us defenseless like that.“ • Bandwagon • Assumes that because something is popular, it is desirable, good, or correct • The President must be correct in his approach to foreign policy; after all, the polls show that 60 percent of the people support him. Relativist Fallacy • More or less, this is the view that a claim could be true for one person and false for another at the same time. • Example: • Jeff: “Scotty, why do you smoke? Don’t you know smoking can cause lung cancer? • Scotty (exhaling): “Maybe for other schmucks, but not for me.” • Or this. Name that Logical Fallacy • “Well, I vote Republican because my family has for as long back as I can remember. They’re usually pretty right about most things.” • Yeah, well, you’re stupid!” • “How can you be against detention? You supervise it!” • “Don’t listen to Bill say that we need to get off foreign oil. He drives a diesel.” • “You shouldn’t believe anything unless you can prove it.” Name that Logical Fallacy • “What do you mean school lunches should have only healthy foods? Kids will never eat that! You want kids to starve?” • “Well, if that’s what everyone wants…” • “The only reason you want to raise taxes is because you are a socialist. Why are you a socialist?” • I believe murder is wrong, but I think it is OK if some cultures accept it. • Why should we listen to you? You’re a teacher’s pet.