informal fallacies 2
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- 1. When an argument takes for granted abelief that is in fact debatable.
- 2. Begging the QuestionAn argument begs the question if and only if one or moreof its premises can be accepted only if the conclusion hasalready been accepted. Since in any such argument, atleast one premise assumes the conclusion, that premisecannot be a reason for accepting that conclusion.The argument is said to beg, rather than to support, itsquestion or conclusion.
- 3. The premise here (that animals are treated humanely) relieson the conclusion being true (that the animals are nottreated inhumanely), so it begs the question. The treatment of the animals in our zoo is humane, given that animals are not treated inhumanely in this zoo.
- 4. Once again, the premise requires that the conclusion is true. 1. Homer wrote the Odyssey. 2. Homer existed.
- 5. Free trade will be good for this country. The reason ispatently clear. Isnt it obvious that unrestrictedcommercial relations will bestow on all sections ofthis nation the benefits which result when there is anunimpeded flow of goods between countries?
- 6. When an argument begs the question, at least onepremise assumes the conclusion being argued for.When an argument begs the question against, atleast one premise assumes something is in need ofsupport.
- 7. The premise that women are less productive is, besidesbeing outrageously offensive, in serious need of evidentialsupport. Thus it begs the question against. 1. Whoever is less productive should have lower wages. 2. Women are less productive than men. 3. Hence, women should have lower wages.
- 8. Upon first reading, this argument seems sound. Butsuppose I told you Bruno was a serial killer. Suddenly theargument falls apart. Why? Because premise #1 begs thequestion against. Some people, like serial killers, should bedenied freedom. 1. No person should be denied freedom 2. Bruno is a person 3. It follows that Bruno is entitled to freedom.
- 9. Premise #1 here requires a lot more evidential support toescape begging the question against. 1. Socialism is an unjust system of government. 2. Unjust systems of government must be abolished. 3. Therefore socialism must be abolished.
- 10. Asks a question that can only be answered yes orno, but which assumes either:1. That there is only one question when there are in fact two or more, each with its own answer, or2. That some claim is true when in fact it is either false or, at the very least, doubtful.
- 11. This classic example illustrates the fallacy well. The questionrequires a yes or no answer, but neither answer would becorrect (assuming you dont beat your wife). The questionalso assumes something that is false (I hope), that you beatyour wife. Have you stopped beating your wife yet?
- 12. Does my opponent agree with the presidentsdisastrous economic policy which is now leading ournation to ruin?
- 13. Do you support freedom and the right to beararms?
- 14. An argument commits the fallacy of false alternativesif and only if it offers in its premises a disjunctionpresenting two extreme alternatives as the only onespossible, when in reality there are one or more othersequally plausible.
- 15. There are only two possibilities: either our countryabandons its involvement in foreign wars or itcontinues to interfere in other nations affairs. If itdoes the former, then it will become neutral likeSwitzerland, but if it does the latter, itll get deeper indebt to China. So our country will either becomeneutral like Switzerland or get deeper in debt toChina.
- 16. 1. Either all U.S. universities will convert their programs entirely into online courses, or theyll all soon go bankrupt.2. U.S. universities will not convert their programs entirely to online courses.3. Theyll all soon go bankrupt.
- 17. This is a classic false alternative fallacy. Either you subscribecompletely to the Bolshevik party platform, or else you arean enemy. "It is with absolute frankness that we speak of this struggle of the proletariat; each man must choose between joining our side or the other side. Any attempt to avoid taking sides in this issue must end in fiasco. - Lenin
- 18. The false alternative fallacy is an extremely common one inpolitics. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. - George W Bush Every nation has to either be with us, or against us. Those who harbor terrorists, or who finance them, are going to pay a price. - Hillary Clinton
- 19. The fallacy of accident is committed by an argumentthat treats a certain case as falling under a generalrule or principle when in fact the case counts as anexception to it.
- 20. Its generally true that dogs are friendly, but there are plentyof exceptions. 1. Dogs are friendly animals 2. My Rottweiler, Otto, is a dog. 3. Otto is a friendly animal.
- 21. Again, its usually a bad thing to cut people with knives, butthere are exceptions. 1. Cutting people with a knife is a crime. 2. Surgeons cut people with knives. 3. Surgeons are criminals.
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