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 Chapter 5 - Logical Fallacies I - Fallacies of Relevance

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Emyrukenza Kaneshiro
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Registration date : 30/12/2008

PostSubject: Chapter 5 - Logical Fallacies I - Fallacies of Relevance   Wed Dec 31, 2008 8:06 pm

In this chapter, we are pondering through fallacies that can happen in an argument. Basically, there are two types of logical fallacies in Critical Thinking, which are The fallacies of relevance and The fallacies of insufficient evidence. Today, I will elaborate more on the 11 fallacies of relevance, which is:

* Personal Attack (Ad Hominem) –irrelevantly attacking the individual rather than the issue. E.g. Ilham stated that smoking is bad. However, he is an ill-mannered person. Therefore, his argument is unacceptable.
* Attacking the Motive – attacking the arguers’ intention of offering a particular argument or claim. E.g. Joe said that the Nasi Lemak sold at Bukit Bintang is very delicious. I believe that we should reject this fallacious claim because he is the one that sells Nasi Lemak at Bukit Bintang!
* Look Who’s Talking (Tu Quoque) – an arguer rejects another person’s claim because that person fails to practice what he preaches. E.g. “Ahmad, you should stop smoking!” “Huh! I only will stop if you do Mr. 2-packs-a-day!
* Two Wrongs Make a Right – an arguer attempts to justify a wrongful action/claim by claiming that some other action/claim is just as bad/worse. E.g. “Bad, quit hitting your sister!” “Well, he hit me first!”
* Scare Tactics – an arguer simply irrelevantly threatens to harm the reader/listener if they fail to agree with the arguer’s conclusion. E.g. “Please pay your RM9000 debt to us today. We are afraid that there would be grave consequences that will happen to your family if you don’t.”
* Appeal to Pity – an arguer tries to win the reader/listener’s sympathy or compassion. E.g. “Sir, please give me an ‘A’ for the Critical Thinking exam. My brother is dying from cancer and I got HIV Positive. Please sir…”
* Bandwagon Argument – plays on a person’s desire to be popular, loved, valued etc. rather than appealing to logically relevant reasons or evidence. E.g. “All the cool students of Bostonweb College smoke. Therefore, we should smoke too!”
* Straw Man – an arguer distorts an opponent’s argument/claim to make it easier to attack. E.g. “Mr. Zul said that we should be more stern and disciplined in raising a family. I think all he wanted is to punish his family members and instill dictatorship in his family. Therefore, we should not listen to his argument,”
* Red Herring – an arguer tries to sidetrack his opponent by raising an irrelevant issue and claims that the original issue has effectively been settled by the irrelevant diversion. E.g. “Many people criticize Mr. Hamdan for being an irresponsible husband. However, he is a good friend, and he always donates to the charity whenever he can. Therefore, these people do not know what they are talking about!”
* Equivocation – a key word that being used by an arguer has more than one meaning and the success of the argument depends on the shift of meaning. E.g. “We should look for Amin’s laptop on branches of trees because he said that his laptop always ‘hangs’…”
* Begging the Question – An arguer simply states or assumes as a premise the very thing he or she is trying to prove as a conclusion. E.g. “Playing paintball is dangerous because it is unsafe…”

by ilham suardi
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