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Lecture 17

ENGL 153 Lecture Notes - Lecture 17: Historical Criticism, Ad Hominem, False Dilemma

Course Code
ENGL 153
George Grinnell

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English 153
March 15th 2017
Detecting Logical Fallacies
I. Post Hoc
This get its name from the Latin phrase “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” which
means “after this, therefore because of this”
Assuming that because B comes after A, A caused B. sometimes, 2 events that
look like they are related in time are not really related as cause and event =
correlation isn’t the same as causation
II. Slippery Slope
The arguer claims that some sort of chain reaction, that usually ends in some
dire consequence, will occur but there is not enough evidence for that
assumption. The arguer asserts that if one takes even a single step onto the
“slippery slope”, they will slide all the way down the bottom; the arguer assumes
that the person cannot stop halfway down the slope
III. Straw Man
One way of making our arguments stronger is to anticipate and response in
advance to the potential arguments an opponent could make. Here, the arguer
sets up a wimpy version of their opponent’s position then tries to score points by
knocking it down. However, just as being able to knock down a scarecrow isn’t
very impressive, defeating a water-down or hyperbolic version of your
opponent’s argument isn’t impressive either
IV. Weak Analogy
Many arguments rely on an analogy between 2 or more objects/ideas/ situations;
if the 2 things that being compared are not alike in the relevant respects, the
analogy is weak; the argument that relies on this commits this particular fallacy
V. False Dichotomy
The arguer sets up the situation so it looks as if there are only two available
choices. The arguer then gets rid of one of the choice so the only option left is
the one the arguer wants us to initially pick. However, there are multiple different
options, not just two…if we thought about all the other options, we might not be
so quick to pick the one the arguer recommends
VI. Deductive Fallacy
One makes a series of linked deductions which seem logical in sequence but
arrives at an unsupportable conclusion
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