Chapter 7 Relevance
7.1 Three kinds of Relevance relations possible between premises and the conclusion
- Positively relevant premise works to prove the conclusion.
- Negatively relevant premise works to disprove the conclusion
- Negatively relevant premise disproves rather than proves the conclusion.
- Irrelevant premise neither proves nor disproves the conclusion
Fallacies that occur in the counterarguments
7.2 Straw person fallacy
- The Straw person fallacy occurs, when someone misrepresents and argument while trying to counter it.
- The straw person fallacy can be seen as a violation of the principle of charity, which requires that we interpret an
argument in the most compelling way that it can be read
- When you commit a straw person fallacy, you attack a similar but weaker version of the argument.
- Two ways to commit the straw person fallacy
- One is to misread the original argument- to pretend that is said something different from what it
- The other is to introduce extra material into the debate; it may also undermine his confidence by
redirecting the argument to a more complicated set of topics.
7.3 Ad Hominem
- Latin for “against the person”
- is an attempted to refute an argument by attacking the person or people who put it forth.
- Such attacks are irrelevant because the quality of the argument isn’t necessarily related to the character of the arguer.
- A bad person can have a good argument; a good person can have a bad argument
- Abusive ad hominem: consists entirely of abuse of the opponent, often contains emotionally charged language.
- Circumstantial ad hominem: addresses not the personality but the circumstances of the arguer.
7.4 Tu Quoque
- Pronounced “too knokway” means “you too”
- This fallacy works by accusing the other person of hypocrisy.
- Hypocrisy is a bad thing, but it is often not relevant to the quality of one’s argument.
- This fallacy is committed when someone accuses another person of holding a position that contradicts his actions.
More fallacies of relevance
7.5 Fallacious appeal to authority
- An appeal to authority that contravenes one of these conditions is a fallacious appeal to authority.
- This fallacy is committed when someone supports a claim by appealing to an inappropriate authority-i.e., someone who
fails to satisfy one or more of the criteria for authority.
7.6 Appeal to tradition
- The appeal to tradition offers as a premise something like, “We’ve always done it this way.” But we need to cogent
argument to believe something not just a statement that it’s always been this way.
- This fallacy occurs when someone suggests that a belief is true because it has “always” been believed.