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Exam Review for MODR1770, complete course overview with examples

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York University
Modes Of Reasoning
MODR 1770
Hernan Humana

Lecture—Fallacies of Irrelevance 4-step procedure for identifying the main fallacy in a passage 1) Identify the main issue (whether ….) 2) Identify the position being defended (conclusion) 3) Identity the support (premises) given for that position 4) Identify the main fallacy *Passage (4 marks) a) Main Issue (1/2 mark) whether… b) Main conclusion (1/2) ex: therefore abortion should not be legal c) Premises/Reasons (1) ex: fetus isn’t a person d) Main Fallacy (1/2) e) Explain how (1) and why (1/2) - Abusive Ad Hominem (aka Attacking the Person) - basic form: X is a bad/defective person, therefore X’s argument is bad/defective - Circumstantial Ad Hominem (aka Attacking the Person’s Motive) - attacks the circumstances (interests) of the person making the argument - it suggests they have an ulterior motive, typically self-interested - if you cannot find what’s bad with the argument, it does not count as a bad argument - Poisoning the Well (not explained well in Engel) - the common denominator among definitions in different books: trying to preclude in advance consideration of the person’s argument (keep in mind the metaphor of poisoning the well and only apply when the metaphor applies) - rejecting the argument before the argument has been made - Tu Quoque (you too) - rejecting a person’s argument against you because it applies to them as well - Genetic Fallacy - rejecting an argument (position, institution, idea, etc.) because of how it was arrived at, or because of its origin (could also include accepting) - unlike testimony, the origin of an argument is irrelevant - Appeal to Authority - four different kinds, but all take the same form: “Because X says it, it must be true” - Appeal to the Authority of the One “expert” - (i) where X is not an authority in that field - (ii) when the topic is one where the authorities don’t agree 2 - Appeal to the Authority of the Many/Majority (aka the Consensus Gentium fallacy) - the fallacy here is supposing that truth is democratic (it is not) - Appeal to the Authority of the Select Few - appeals to our feeling that we’re special or our desire to be (aka Snob Appeal) - only some people can smoke camel filter cigarettes, cool people only - Appeal to the Authority of Tradition - appealing to tradition in defense of a position when the situation today is different than when the tradition began, or the reasons for the tradition were not good ones in the first place -“that’s the way we always (used to) do it” - Appeal to Fear (aka Argumentum ad Baculum (the big stick)) - attempt to persuade by means of a threat (the threat being the essential reason given) - only a fallacy when force is offered to convince you that something is true (i.e., a fallacy can only occur in an argument) - not a fallacy when they’re trying to get you to do something - not a fallacy when fear is mixed with reasons - Appeal to Pity - seeking to persuade not by an appeal to logic or evidence but essentially by arousing pity - again, not a fallacy when pity is mixed with reasons - Mob Appeal - using emotions to steer or stampede masses of people in the direction of a particular position or conclusion rather than appealing to evidence - Appeal to Ignorance - presenting the fact that we cannot show something is false as evidence that it is true, or vice versa 3 Lecture—Fallacies of Ambiguity - important distinctions: - ambiguous vs. vague Murder Love - “or” is ambiguous but not vague - “rich” is vague (also ambiguous), also “large” - Denotation – what it points to - reference, objective - Connotation – what its associated to - the associations (feelings, attitudes, emotions, images, thoughts) suggested by a word either to the user of the word or to the listener - negative connotations: you’re a rat/snake/dog - positive connotations: you’re an angel - Fallacy of Equivocation - when the meaning of a term shifts throughout an argument Sample argument: P1 ……..x……. P2 ……………. P3 ……..x……. If x is described in different meanings/senses in the same argument, it ruins the argument. *If you believe in the miracles of science, you also must believe in the miracles in the bible - Fallacy of Amphiboly - here the ambiguity results from poor sentence structure rather than the meaning of the terms - taking advantage of a poorly written argument and calling it a fallacy, results in the CRITICIZER committing a Fallacy of Amphiboly - Fallacy of Accent (Misquotation) - here the ambiguity is not the result of the meaning of the terms, or poor sentence structure, but from confusion caused by misquoting - three ways: - (i) the different tone of a remark (e.g. being straightforward or ironical) “I hope she gets everything she deserves” in a kind/sinister voice - (ii) accenting or stressing the wrong word “I enjoyed the dinner”  Stressing “I” or “dinner” - (iii) quoting misleadingly out of context Movie critic “I liked all of the movie but the acting” advertisers remove the bad criticism 4 - Fallacy of Hypostatization - attributing actual existence to something that is only a name or an abstraction Note: Do not apply this fallacy when someone uses a term metaphorically or figuratively Example: Personifying – we ought to eliminate old people - Fallacy of Composition - when you assume that what is true of some or all of the parts is also true of the whole - since this is not always true, the assumption is fallacious - need to have a part-whole relationship - Note: Engel contradicts himself (p. 100 vs. p. 129) - Fallacy of Division - when you assume that what is true of the whole is also true of some or all of the parts - since this is not always true, the assumption is fallacious i.e. Joe is alive, so all of his electrons are alive too Page 130, Exercise #2: Main issue: Whether or not Mr. Black is a reasonable and just man Main Conclusion: Mr. Black is a reasonable and just man Premise: 1) The verdict of the jury is reasonable and just 2) Mr. Black is a member of the jury Main Fallacy: Fallacy of Division Explanation: The Whole: Jury, Parts: Mr. Black, Property transferred: reasonable and just Page 130, Exercise #5: Hypostatization Nature is being hypostatized Gives nature a quality it cannot possess Page 131, Exercise #8: Issue: Whether or not it is possible for the committee to bring in an able report Conclusion: It is impossible for the committee to bring in an able report Premise: No one on this committee is especially outstanding in ability Fallacy: Composition Explanation: The Whole: committee, Parts: members, Property transferred: Outstanding ability Page 131, Exercise #10: Fallacy: Amphiboly A deficit cannot be used to pay teacher’s salaries Page 131, Exercise #12: Fallacy: Equivocation 5 Term – prostitution – 1) They sell their bodies or their minds in jobs that are personally meaningless and socially destructive. 2) Selling/renting sexual services for money Page 131, Exercise #13: Amphiboly Page 253, #1 Whether or not we should have nuclear power We should have nuclear power Premises: 1) Do not research into nuclear power and just go and march 2) They pretend care about human race 3) Go into automobiles and kill each other 4) Calls protestors “knuckleheads” Fallacy: Abusive Ad Hominem Rejects protesters arguments and abuses them instead Page 253, #2 Conclusion: Belief in God is a superstition Main issue: Whether or not the belief in God is a superstition Genetic Fallacy Page 253, #4 Appeal to pity Page 253, #8 Appeal to authority Page 253, #9 Conclusion: You should buy their time life family legal guide Main issue: Whether or not you should but their legal guide Premises: You could end up in jail if you don’t know your rights Fallacy: Appeal to fear Explanation: Using fear to convince you to buy their product, instead of real evidence as to why you should buy it compared to competitors. Why is it better? Page 254, #11 Mob Appeal P254 #13 Issue: Whether you better find the fallacies in these arguments and identify them correctly Conclusion: You should find the fallacies in these arguments and identify them correctly Premise: If you don’t find the fallacies, I’ll know you haven’t been paying attention in class Fallacy: Appeal to fear 6 Explain: They do not give a legitimate reason to find the fallacies in these arguments correctly, and just scare them. Real reasons to find these fallacies are needed for a fair argument P254 #15 Mob Appeal P254 #16 Main issue: Whether or not the golden rule is an undeniably sound moral principle Conclusion: The Golden rule is an undeniably sound moral principle Premise: 1) The golden rule is basic to every system of ethics ever devised 2) Everyone accepts it in some form or another 3) An undeniably sound moral principle Fallacies: Appeal to the authority of many/Appeal to the authority of tradition Explain how and why: Just because many people accept it doesn’t mean that it is true – Appeal to the authority of many, and, just because it is a tradition to follow the golden rule, also doesn’t make it true. P255 #19 Appeal to fear – Using his position to intimidate the people P255 #26 Main issue: Whether or not bullfighting should be outlawed Conclusion: Bullfighting should not be outlawed Premises: 1) Boxing is more brutal 2) Americans have boxing legalized 3) Boxing harms humans which you should be more compassionate about Fallacy: Tu Quoque Explanation: What applies to Spanish people in bullfighting, also applies to you American people with boxing. The arguer looks at the opposition and says what you guys do is even worse, so don’t tell us what to do. P259 #48 Main issue: Whether there cannot be UFOs Conclusion: There cannot be any UFOs Premises: 1) Defensive units have never seen a UFO 2) Never been sighted by any astronomers 3) Never been sighted by any of the ground scientists Fallacy: Appeal to Ignorance Explanation: Just because you haven’t seen it, does not mean it doesn’t exist. (The lack of evidence is not evidence) P156 #2 Bifurcation 7 -There is a continuum P156 #5 Conclusion: It is right to tell our friends what we think of them Issue: Whether or not it is right to tell our friends what we think of them Premises: 1) It is right to tell the truth 2) It is right to tell our friends what we think of them Fallacy: Sweeping Generalization How and why: If you always told your friends what you truly thought about them, the reaction will not always be good. You shouldn’t always tell the truth in some situations and it is a fallacy to ignore these exceptions. P176 #37 Double-standard You can’t complain about what someone else does when you do it yourself You should be consistent with your standards P174 #24 Conclusion: The act is unjust/wrong Premises: 1) My conscience tells me so Fallacy: Circular reasoning How: a conclusion cannot be a premise. You can’t assume what you’re trying to prove P194 #41 Conclusion: Student government is a mistake Premises: 1) Bad things happen when parents let kids run things their own way Fallacy: False Analogy Explain how and why: Two different things being compared: Student government & what children do at home when parents let them do what they want. The student government is supervised by the principal, but children at home have none. P194 #44 Conclusion: The U.N. powdered milk causes the birth of twins Premises: 1) Shortly after the powdered milk was tested on two women, they both had twins Fallacy: Post hoc ergo propter hoc Explain: just because the two women had twins when using the milk, doesn’t mean you will always have twins. X doesn’t necessarily cause Y P198 #54 Conclusion: it is ridiculous for Professor Ames to devote all of her time to Egyptology 8 Premises: If everyone worried about ancient Egypt, the world would soon grind to a stop Fallacy: Red herring Explanation: The issue is about Professor Ames should devote her time to Egyptology, not whether everyone should. Stay on topic P132 #26 Conclusion: You should buy a Kodak copier Premises: (a lot of them, list on test) Fallacy: Hypostatization Explain how and why: Giving the Kodak copier and its microprocessor human qualities. (pain) P133 #47 Conclusion: You can expect to pay more for butter and eggs next month Premises: It is predicted that the consumer price index will rise again next month Fallacy: Division Explain how and why: The whole – Consumer price index The Parts – The price of butter and eggs The Part being transferred – Price increase in butter and eggs P135 #61 Conclusion: The Universe can think about itself Premises: list Fallacy: Composition Explain: What is true of the parts is not necessarily true of the whole 9 Lecture—Fallacies of Presumption (Insufficient Evidence) - when an argument fails to meet the sufficiency requirement - Hasty Generalization (Examples p144) - general statement = an All or Most statement - the fallacy of HG is when one generalizes from a small that is clearly too small or unrepresentative (- it is not to be confused with a False general statement) - randomization increases representativeness - in general, the more representative the class of observed objects, the stronger the inference that all objects and not just those observed have the characteristic in question NOTE: Do not confuse this with the fallacy of composition, since it does not involve the part- whole relation, but attributes a property of each of an insufficient sample to all the others of a class - e.g., think of the difference between “all Maple Leaf hockey players on the team” (a class or category) and the Toronto Maple Leafs as a team (a whole with parts) - Global Insufficiency (a variant of hasty generalization): “occurs when only that evidence which supports an argument is brought into the argument, while evidence to the contrary is ignored” (Engel 151) - only looking at either the positive OR negative views of a topic and ignoring the other. e.g., Capitalism is good/bad because… - Sweeping Generalization - rules or generalizations often have exceptions - the fallacy occurs when we apply a general rule to exceptional cases, cases that have some sort of peculiarity that makes them exempt from the general rule -e.g., lying to save somebodies life. Some people say lying is always wrong, but not in some cases - Bifurcation (aka False Dichotomy, False Alternatives) - an argument which tries to establish the conclusion by using a premise with two alternatives when in fact there are more (three or more, or a continuum) - not a fallacy if there really are only two alternatives e.g. “you’re either with me or against me”  there can be more alternatives “all people are either rich or poor” - Begging the Question (four ways) - assuming what you’re trying to prove (i) Circular Argument - a conclusion can’t be a premise in its own argument - begging the question can also occur when the truth of a premise requires the conclusion for its truth (aka vicious circle, circular logic) “God exists, because the bible says God exists” 10 (ii) Question-Begging Definition (not in Engel) - here you try to settle an issue by defining a term in such a way that you make your point “true by definition” i.e., people in true love cannot end up in divorce, because true love is defined as never ending (iii) Question-Begging Epithets (epithet: a word or short phrase used to describe something, a descriptive label) - it’s possible to beg the question with only one word, a word that assumes what you are or should be trying to prove - fallacy of question-begging epithets looks similar to abusive ad hominem but there is a subtle difference - the difference is that with ad hominem you’re rejecting their argument because they’re defective, whereas with question-begging epithets you’re supporting your own conclusion by begging the question with epithets - question-begging epithets can be flattering as well as insulting e.g. in a court room, repeatedly calling the defendant a murderer, when not proven (iv) Loaded Question (Engel’s Complex Question) - here you beg the question by asking a question - Special Pleading - here you are making a special exception for yourself, applying a double standard: one for ourselves (because we are special), and one for others (because they are not) - False Analogy (aka Faulty Analogy) - argument by analogy in itself is legitimate, with a probabilistic conclusion - if A has features a, b, c, and they’re relevant to d, and B has features a, b, c, then B probably has d (not a fallacy) - the fallacy is when the points of analogy (a, b, c) are irrelevant to the conclusion (d) - False Cause - (i) post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this) X occurs before Y - Engel lists non causa pro causa as an equivalent Latin tag - timeline example “he made a joke about the teacher having a heart attack in class, and one week later the teacher had a heart attack in class” - (ii) cum hoc ergo propter hoc (with this, therefore because of this) X & Y occur same time - jumping from correlation to causation - the fallacy is committed because the correlation has basically four different possible explanations (one caused the other, the other is the cause, there is a third, common cause of the correlation, coincidence) - timeline: when x and y happen at the same time. The boy was coughing all day, and he also had a headache all day. So he got a headache because of his cough. 11 - Slippery Slope - arguing that something might not be bad, but it leads to something else, which leads to something else, which is bad, so we ought not to allow the first thing - a fallacy if there is a weak link in the argument - Engel (p. 190) has Irrelevant Thesis: do NOT use, instead use the distinction below (which is also in Engel) - Red Herring - red herring is when you try to change the main issue to a related but irrelevant issue - Straw Person (very poor in Engel) - attacks a distortion of the opponent’s argument 12 Conceptual Analysis Lecture 1 - fact - how things are in the world - something that can be proven, established, shown to be true - value - the way things ought or ought not to be - morals - terms such as “good,” “bad,” “right,” “wrong,” “justice,” “rights,” etc. - concept - what is meant by a term/word - abstract, in our heads - it’s much easier to give examples than define— e.g., triangle - in fact, one can use concepts without being able to define them - we will only be dealing with conceptual questions in this section (questions of meaning), not factual questions (- well will include value questions in the second half of the course) - conceptual analysis is a skill (requires practice) - the 9 techniques we will learn are designed to bring out some of the meanings of the terms in the conceptual question - the underlying theory: - Ludwig Wittgenstein (“Don’t ask for the meaning, ask for the use”) - concepts as the common currency of our language community, Toronto 2011 - idiosyncratic meanings are totally irrelevant - Sigmund Freud (iceberg concept of the mind) - e.g., “or” (how many meanings does this have in ordinary language?) - Rorschach Test: ink blot tests (spontaneous, unedited, like Freudian word association tests) - the eight steps we’re going to learn make us look at the primary and secondary concepts in the conceptual questions from different angles in order ultimately to bring out the different meanings - step 9 is where we bring together all the results and finally answer the question 13 CONCEPTUAL ANALYSIS TECHNIQUES Ex: Do animals think? 1. Model Case a) - provide a concrete case that would make one say Yes to the question, i.e., a clear, uncontroversial case - a concrete case is a specific, particular case, no general statements, one that we can visualize - needs to be a short paragraph – DO NOT WRITE A SHORT STORY - if it contains persons, NAME only the person you want us to focus on, since when you name more it becomes confusing - Koko the gorilla can identify and describe objects she has never seen before with sign language b) why is this a good example of a model case? - here you should merely state the obvious (do not add new elements to the case) - if you can’t say why it’s a good case, then you should come up with another example c) Rorschach lists (picture the concrete case in your mind) - for each concept, write down (list) words or phrases that come to you—do not censor them - the idea is very similar to the Rorschach (inkblot) test in psychology - in fact we will call these Rorschach lists e.g., animals think 2. Contrary Case a) provide a clear concrete case in which one would answer No to the question b) why is this a good example of a contrary case? A raccoon is an animal, even a dead raccoon is an animal because we have the phrase “dead animal.” It’s not thinking because it’s dead. c) Rorschach lists animals thinking 14 Conceptual Lecture 2 Step. 3 Borderline Case a) provide a concrete case in which you feel pulled simultaneously toward both Yes and No to the conceptual question. E.g. for Are emotions irrationals?, you need a particular case of emotions that in one way is irrational and in another way is not. b) why is this a good example of a borderline case? - say why it pulls to Yes - say why it pulls to No c) Rorschach lists Step 4: Related Concept - concepts are related to, and depend on, other concepts (not just as synonyms) - e.g. the concept of punishment is related to e.g. the concept of crime a) Name a concept related to one or both of the original concepts - it must not be an example or a synonym - related concepts must help us to answer the question - think of the related concept as a bridging term between the two concepts b) why is this a good related concept? - explain why this concept will help you to explain the concepts in question c) create a conceptual question using this concept and one (or both) of the concepts in question (without changing any of them in the slightest) and do a complete model case (a, b, c) and contrary case (a, b, c), using the original concepts in your Rorschach lists - it must not be a question of fact (cause, require, etc.) - nor a moral/value question (good, wrong, etc.) - it has to be an open question, not a question that is obviously yes or no Step 5: Invented Case a) beginning with the words Imagine a world where, describe a thought experiment (concrete case) where things are very different from the real world 15 b) why is this a good example of an invented case (need to explain, apply the 7 criteria)? (i) - it’s got to be invented (not from real life) (ii) - it cannot mirror or parallel the real world (e.g. space aliens who live on Saturn and move to one of its moon for a better life—this mirrors people who live in Toronto and move to Florida for a better life) (iii) - it’s got to be relevant to the concepts (“Imagine a world where people don’t have emotions” cannot possibly help us with the question Are emotions irrational” (iv) - it shouldn’t be crazy crazy (v) - we should be able to visualize the case (vi) - it should not be true of some people (vii) - it shouldn’t try to obviously answer the question c) Rorschach lists 16 Conceptual Lecture 3 6. Social Context (objective, third person) a) Who would ask this question, under what circumstances would they ask it, and why would they ask it? - for this section, need an plausible bridge and have them explicitly ask the conceptual question - for this section, don’t use professors in class etc. (they ask all sorts of conceptual questions) or someone in a debate—use everyday people b) Why is this a good context to place the question in? (justification) = what difference would it make if they concluded yes, if they concluded no? c) Rorschach lists 7. Emotional Context (subjective, first person, called Underlying Anxiety in course kit) - closely connected to social context, and sometimes they overlap, so try to use examples/cases that are different - here the context is emotional (subjective), not social (objective) a) State immediately: What sort of feeling or worry of yours would cause you to ask this question, specify the context, then state why would you ask it? - you need to role play here (to use acting language) - you need an plausible bridge and have them ask the conceptual question b) Why is this a good context to place the question in? (justification) = what difference would it make to you if you concluded yes, concluded no? c) Rorschach lists 8. Practical Results - all about consequences - whether or not we like the answer is irrelevant a) What would happen in the real world if the answer to the question were Yes? - range over lots of categories, one or two sentences for each - some, if not obvious, will need a brief because b) What would happen in the real world if the answer to the question were No? - give lots of categories, one or two sentences for each 17 c) Which one of these worlds is closer to our own world (here in Toronto)? (brief why) d) Rorschach lists based on c) 18 Conceptual Lecture 4 9. Results a) Total Rorschach Lists: one list for the primary concept, one for the secondary concept - simply copy and paste from your Steps 1-8 (love and selfish) - Do not give a definition for every word in Rorschach lists (at least one) b) Long list of Meanings: - looking repeatedly through your Total Rorschach lists, draw out the different meanings (explicit or implicit) for your two concepts giving each a brief label
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