lecture15.pdf

37 Pages
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Department
Philosophy
Course Code
Philosophy 1200
Professor
Eric Desjardins

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Description
Welcome to lecture #15! I Review I Assessing the relevance of premises How should the acceptability of premises? I There is no general rule! Tips for assessing empirical claims I Be careful when someone says “It is common knowledge that...” I That something has been written does not make it true. I Universal claims are very hard to prove. Tips for assessing non-empirical claims I As a general rule, moral and aesthetic claims can be defended using one of two methods: I By appeal to general moral or aesthetic principles I By spelling out the facts about which a moral or aesthetic judgment is required in more detail Fallacies involving unacceptable premises I Begging the question (seen already) I Inconsistency I Equivocation I False dichotomy Inconsistency I A fallacy that consists in asserting premises that are inconsistent (individually or taken together). I The problem: the argument can’t be sound since one of the premises must be false. I When the fallacy is not spotted, such arguments can be used to prove anything. Equivocation I Fallacy of equivocation: when a premise is open to two different interpretations, and the interpretation that is required to support the conclusion makes it false. I Example: “Drug dependency is a serious problem in our society. Just look at how many people can’t function without coffee.” I The implicit premise that coffee is a drug is only true in a weak sense of “drug” that does not support the conclusion. False dichotomy I A false dichotomoy is a premise that presents options as exhaustive or exclusive (or both) when they are not. I Examples: False dichotomy I A false dichotomoy is a premise that presents options as exhaustive or exclusive (or both) when they are not. I Examples: I If you want better public schools, you have to raise taxes. If you don’t want to raise taxes, you can’t have better schools. False dichotomy I A false dichotomoy is a premise that presents options as exhaustive or exclusive (or both) when they are not. I Examples: I If you want better public schools, you have to raise taxes. If you don’t want to raise taxes, you can’t have better schools. I You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem. False dichotomy I A false dichotomoy is a premise that presents options as exhaustive or exclusive (or both) when they are not. I Examples: I If you want better public schools, you have to raise taxes. If you don’t want to raise taxes, you can’t have better schools. I You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem. I If you’re not with us, you’re against us. Assessing the relevance of premises I How do we assess the relevance of the premises of an argument? Assessing the relevance of premises I How do we assess the relevance of the premises of an argument? I Relevance: the premises of an argument are relevant if they provide some support for its conclusion. Assessing the relevance of premises I How do we assess the relevance of the premises of an argument? I Relevance: the premises of an argument are relevant if they provide some support for its conclusion. I A general test: I Do the premises make it more likely that the conclusion is true? Assessing the relevance of premises I How do we assess the relevance of the premises of an argument? I Relevance: the premises of an argument are relevant if they provide some support for its conclusion. I A general test: I Do the premises make it more likely that the conclusion is true? I Unfortunately, there is no systematic procedure that one can follow to answer this question. You need to use your judgment and knowledge. Fallacies of relevance I It is also important to look out for common fallacies of relevance. These are patterns of reasoning in which the premises seem to be relevant to the conclusion but are not. Some of the main fallacies of relevance are: I Ad hominem I Appeal to pity I Appeal to force I Appeal to authority I Appeal to popularity I Straw man fallacy Ad hominem I Ad hominem fallacy: the fallacy of making a negative claim about a person in order to show that one of their statements is false, when the negative claim is irrelevant to the statement. I Commonly occurs as part of a counterargument (an argument made in response to an argument) Ad hominem I Four main kinds of ad hominem: Ad hominem I Four main kinds of ad hominem: I Abusive I Circumstancial I Tu quoque I Guilt by association Ad hominem I Abusive ad hominem: an attempt to discredit a claim by making an attack on irrelevant aspects of the person Ad hominem I Abusive ad hominem: an attempt to discredit a claim by making an attack on irrelevant aspects of the person I Written about William Bennett, leader of the “antirap” campaign: I He has had no trouble finding antipolice and antiwomen lyrics to quote in support of [his] claim that "nothing less is at stake than civilization" if rappers are not rendered silent. So odious are the lyrics, that rarely do politicians or journalists stop to ask what qualifies Bennett to lead a moralistic crusade on behalf of America’s minority youth. Not only has he opposed funding for the nation’s leader in quality children’s programming (the Public Broadcasting Corporation), he has urged that "illegitimate" babies be taken from their mothers and put in orphanages. (from www.fallacyfiles.org) Ad hominem I Abusive ad hominem: an attempt to discredit a claim by making an attack on irrelevant aspects of the person I Written about William Bennett, leader of the “antirap” campaign: I He has had no trouble finding antipolice and antiwomen lyrics to quote in support of [his] claim that "nothing less is at stake than civilization" if rappers are not rendered silent. So odious are the lyrics, that rarely do politicians or journalists stop to ask what qualifies Bennett to lead a moralistic crusade on behalf of America’s minority youth. Not only has he opposed funding for the nation’s leader in quality children’s programming (the Public Broadcasting Corporation), he h
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