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PHL105Y5 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Fallacy, Circular Reasoning, Begging

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Diana Raffman
Study Guide

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1. Fallacies of Vagueness
oUse of Clarity – when there is a lack of borderline words.
Essentially a clear conclusion and reasoning: rigor.
An argument can be clear or lack vagueness, but still be
fallacious. This is an example of using rigor: dependent
on content.
However, at the same time, you can have an argument
that lacks vagueness, but also lack rigor. This also
depends greatly on content.
Obfuscation – example of how vagueness can be good
Also be good in other terms: heaps
oSlippery Slope Argument: where vagueness is the lack of
clarity/rigor, a slipper-slope argument is the use continuum.
There are two methods of S.S argument or use of continuum:
Heaps – involve borderline case, or the lack of
borderlines. This is an example of where an
argument becomes fallacious when it lacks rigor.
Typically, has a correct/agreeable 1st premise, with an
incorrect following premise and conclusion. Always
Casual S.S – also follows the idea of continuum, but
this type of argument compares two properties
stating their lack of signi(cant di)erence, but
continues this comparison, until the statement is no
longer true. It’s important to remember that these
types of argument can be good: alcohol argument
2. Fallacies of Vacuity
oCircularity – when an argument is vacuous: goes no where in the
Circular reasoning: restating the conclusion in the
premise, or restating the conclusion to match the
oBegging the question – premise lacks to support conclusion
Close ended argument with false reasoning/premise
The reasoning doesn’t support the conclusion
Essentially, asks why you would accept the conclusion,
when you don’t agree with the premise
oSelf-sealers – a statement of claim that cannot be refuted due to
Lacks any real evidence
Essentially manipulates words in a method the thwarts
anyone from being able to come up with a counter-
argument. However, they are only able to do this because
there is a lack of evidence, or the evidence is something
that cannot be gained/understood in terms of “hard core
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