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Lecture 8

Lecture Eight: Fallacies Part Two

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Modes Of Reasoning
MODR 1730
Philip Mac Ewen

Lecture Eight: Fallacies Part Two November 9, 2011 Fallacy Six: Self-Evident Truth Definition - This fallacy is committed when the arguer presents their argument as self- evident (“everybody already knows...”), and therefore does not need to prove it. This fallacy violates both the argument principle and the reason principle. It implies that whoever does not believe the argument, or who does not agree that it is self-evident isn’t intelligent or is deficient in some other way. Example “Women should not be in decision-making positions. Isn’t it obvious that they are more emotional than men? And since women are more emotional, they are likely to make decisions based on emotions rather than reasons” The indicator phrase in this example is “Isn’t it obvious...”. - It implies that the person being argued to should already believe to be true what the arguer is presenting to them - It also implies that the conclusion is self-evident, meaning that there is no need for them to further prove their statements because it is obvious - If the arguer provides a reason for why they have come to the conclusion, then this fallacy is not committed Fallacy Seven: Appeal to Ignorance Definition: This fallacy is committed when an opponents inability to prove something is used as proof to justify the arguer’s conclusion. There are two types of this fallacy - If you can’t prove it’s right, then it’s wrong - If you can’t prove its wrong, then it must be right This is a fallacy because the whole argument is based on a lack of evidence, instead of using evidence to support the conclusion. - The fact that there is no evidence to the contrary is used as justification for the conclusion Example “There must be no intelligent life in outer space because nobody has been able to prove that there is” This example is attempting to use the lack of proof to justify why the conclusion must be true. There is no actual proof given to support the conclusion other than the fact that there is no evidence that points to the contrary. Fallacy Eight: Loaded Presupposition Definition: This fallacy is committed when a person makes a claim or asks a question that has a contentious presupposition in it. Presupposition: a thing that is assumed to be known before the argument is even stated (something that the arguer believes to be a common knowledge fact, even if it is not) This fallacy occurs in the following situation - Someone presents multiple issues with the assumption that the answer to one will automatically imply the answers to the others This fallacy consists of presenting a claim with a highly doubtful, false or misleading presupposition. - It is often committed by asking a question with one or more debatable assumptions Example “Why is it that children of divorce are less emotionally stable than children raised in unbroken homes” This has the presuppositions of - Children of broken homes are emotionally unstable - That divorce is the cause of why children are emotionally unstable This questions leads people to believe that there are no other reasons that children are emotionally unstable, it completely ignores all other factors of emotional instability. - In order to accept the conclusion and the claims, one must accept the presupposition of which there may be other assumptions which can be made about it Fallacy Nine: Begging the Q
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