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Lecture 23

PHI 1101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 23: Hasty Generalization, False Dilemma, Slippery Slope

Course Code
PHI 1101
Sardar Hosseini

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Fallacies- Chapter 8
Lecture 23 - PHI1101
All fallacies are arguments. If it is not an argument, than it is not a fallacy- it is just a description.
Fallacies of Relevance
-Appeal to Ignorance
-Appeal to Inappropriate Authority
-Appeal to General Belief
-Appeal to Popular Attitudes and Emotions
-Gambler’s Fallacy
Appeal to Ignorance
-The Main Idea: Consists in arguing that because a claim has not been demonstrated to be
false, the claim is true.
1. Of course I believe in ESP. No one has ever demonstrated that it doesn’t exist. Astrology
has got to be right, because over the centuries no one has disproved it.
Appeal to Inappropriate Authority (Ad Verecundiam)
-The Main Idea: When the authority cited is not an authority in the proper area, so the
expertise of the authority is thus, irrelevant to the claim and provides no support for it
Appeal to General Belief (Ad Populum)
-The Main Idea: Consists in asserting that a claim is correct just because people generally
believe it is. Such an inference is an error because we have no reason to take what most
people believe as a reliable indicator of what’s true.
1. People the world over have always believe God exists. it has to be true.
2. We all know most people on welfare are just too lazy to work. So, we should start a program
requiring those on welfare to provide community service to earn their money.
Appeal to Popular Attitudes and Emotions (Ad Populum)
-The Main Idea: Popular attitudes and emotions can be manipulated to incline people to
accept claims that have not been demonstrated
-Racial fears and prejudices, patriotic impulses, and the wish to be associated with a special
social group are some sources of such sentiments and attitudes.
1. I’ll tell you why I believe we were right to go to war with Iraq. It’s because I love my country.
If you love it, you’ll agree.

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Gamblers Fallacy
-The Main Idea: Assuming that something like a 50/50 probability will remain true in the sense
that it will alternate from heads to tails constantly.
1. According to the law of averages, if I flip a coin it should come up heads about 50% of the
time and come up tails about 50% of the time. The last ten flips have been tails. So, it is well
past time for heads to come up. We’d better bet all we have on heads.
Fallacies of Inadequate Evidence
-False Cause
-Hasty Generalization
False Cause (Post Hoc)
-The Main Idea: Involves concluding that because on event occurred before another, the first
was the cause of the second.
1. He eats a candy bar. Then commits a murder. It would be wrong to assume that eating a
candy bar caused him to commit the murder.
Hasty Generalization
-The Main Idea: This fallacy consists of generalizing on the basic on an inadequate set of
-Recall that inductive generalizations are weak if based upon samples that are too small.
-The human species seems to have a strong natural propensity or tendency for hasty
1. I’ve dated six women, and they were only interested in my money. Women really only are
about wealth.
2. I’ve dated three men, and they were inconsiderate slobs. All men are pigs.
3. An accountant opens her own business. The first two clients lie about their income and she
finds out. She concludes that most clients lie about their income.
4. I bought a lottery ticket last week and won $50. Then I bet on the world series and won. I
must have a real talent for picking them. (Could also be gamblers fallacy)
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