Week 4, Discussion 1: Identify Three Fallacies
Once you learn the names of the major logical fallacies, you will probably start noticing them all over the place, including in advertisements, movies, TV shows, and everyday conversations. This can be both fascinating and frustrating, but it can certainly help you to avoid certain pitfalls in reasoning that are unfortunately very common. This exercise gives you a chance to practice identifying fallacies as they occur in daily life.
Prepare: To prepare to address this prompt, carefully read through Chapter 7 of our book, paying special attention to learning the names of common fallacies, biases, and rhetorical tricks. Take a look as well at the required resources from this week.
Reflect: Search through common media sources looking for examples of fallacies. Some common places to find fallacies include advertisements, opinion pieces in news media, and arguments about politics, religion, and other controversial issues. You may also notice fallacies in your daily life.
Write: Present three distinct informal logical fallacies you have discovered in these types of sources or in your life. Make sure to identify the specific fallacy committed by each example. Explain how the fallacies were used and the context in which they occurred. Then, explain how the person should have presented the argument to have avoided committing this logical error.
Guided Response: Read to the fallacies presented by your classmates and analyze the reasoning that they have presented. Respond to at least three of your classmates’ posts in a way that furthers the discussion. For example, you might comment on any of the following types of questions: Have ever seen or fallen for similar fallacies in your own life? Are any of the cases presented also instances of some other type of fallacy? Is there a sense in which the reasoning might not be fallacious in some cases? What can people do to avoid falling for such fallacies in the future?
Fallacies of support:
Appeal to Inadequate Authority
Fallacies of relevancy:
Fallacies of clarity:
The Straw Man
Tonight on the news, I saw a woman saying: “I’m voting for Hilary Clinton because I know she is the best candidate, and you should, too!”
A woman saying: “I don’t care what his opinion on abortion and birth control is. He’s a man! He’s not the one who has to pop babies out!”
My grandfather said the other day: “Bernie Sanders isn’t going to win. He’s a socialist, which basically means he’s a communist.”
What they should have done:
The argument here is that she is the best candidate because someone said so. The reason this is an appeal to inadequate authority is because the woman speaking was in no way an expert in the field. Come to find out that the woman on the television was not a political expert, but rather Hilary Clinton’s daughter! Instead of telling people that they should vote for Hillary Clinton just because she did assuming that she knows best, she should have been honest that she was voting for her simply since she was her mother.
What they should have done:
They assumed that since he was a man he should have no say in the issue since he is not the one directly giving birth. If they really wanted a strong argument on why he should have a say in it, they should have found valid reasons rather than just his gender.
What they should have done:
My grandfather, like many Americans, keep representing Bernie Sanders as a socialist (which is then associated with communism), when really, he is a democratic socialist, which is certainly different. People with this notion will tend to discredit or dismiss him as a candidate for those basis alone. To fix this, my grandfather could have tried to avoid using misinformation in his reasoning
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