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Lecture 17

ENGL 153 Lecture 17: (March 15th 2017) Detecting Logical Fallacies and Histrocial Criticism using In Autumn
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4 Pages
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Winter 2017

Department
English
Course Code
ENGL 153
Professor
George Grinnell
Lecture
17

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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”
Definition:
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
Definition:
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
Definition:
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
Definition:
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
Definition:
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
Definition:
One makes a series of linked deductions which seem logical in sequence but
arrives at an unsupportable conclusion
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Description
English 153 March 15 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” • Definition: 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 • Definition: 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 • Definition: 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 • Definition: 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 • Definition: 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 • Definition: One makes a series of linked deductions which seem logical in sequence but arrives at an unsupportable conclusionVII. Ad Hominem • One attacks the person rather than engage with ideas that the other person discusses. This is a fallacy since it wants to discredit the person making the argument as well as refuse to address the argument itself. This personal attack replaces something that is irrelevant (the person) for what is relevant (the substance of the argument under consideration) VIII. Fallacy of Consequence • Definition: Similar to Post Hoc ,which suggests a false causal relationship, this instead offers a consequence that is irrelevant in order to persuade others – perhaps suggesting that the outcome is far from certain in inevitable (ex) “if we cut taxes on businesses, they will create more jobs” there is no guarantee that this consequence is true/steadily predictable • this fallacy can also narrow the field of debate by suggesting there are only specific possible consequences (ex) “if we cut taxes on business we not have enough tax revenue to fund education” IX. Appeal to Expertise • Definition: An appeal to expertise offers an expert opinion in order to resolve a complex matter. Although it is useful to draw upon the knowledge of experts, this can led to a fallacy - Experts know many things, however, they are almost never infallible sources of absolute truth. This knowledge is subjected to debate among many experts. Even worse, sometimes an expert is not an expert at all. - The appeal to an expert may hid the effort to simplify complex matter/draw upon tendencies to trust this figure of authority ---------------------------------- ------------------------------------ Historical Criticism and “To Autumn” Historical Criticism • Looks at the world of the author and text • Meaning is shaped by the historical background that lies beyond the narrative’s borders • Develops a “thick description” of the historical location of the text to better understand it • Contends that we are situated as readers who experience a different realty than the text when it belongs to another period in history “To Autumn” • Appears timeless, records an event that happens every year • At first, does not seem to be influenced by history • Seems like the perfect object for formalism, an approach that would look only within the poem o Rhetoric of harvest, diction that indicates maturity, bounty • Concludes with a sense of death, could be referring
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