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The Discussions this week will be a little different. This

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The Discussions this week will be a little different. This week the focus of your reading is rhetorical devices also called fallacies. Don’t worry – you don’t have to memorize them all. It is more important that you start to recognize bad logic. Appendix 2 of your text identifies the “Top Ten” and that is a good place to start. You should be starting to feel more comfortable with the concept of fallacies at this point. It takes practice, so in our discussion forum this week, we are going to practice!

Look at the following examples (all from the Top 10 list) and see how many you can identify. Don’t look at what your peers think until you try to figure them out for yourself. Your classmate may be wrong, after all! It doesn’t matter if you get them all right at first – what matters is that you are thinking them through. You must post your responses by Day 3 to receive full points. Your response should be 150 – 200 words in length. Then compare your answers to your classmates’. On Day 5 the correct answers will be posted. Compare your answers to those and respond to your original post discussing what you got right and/or wrong and why. Full points for this forum will be awarded if you (1) post your responses by Day 3 and (2) post your discussion by Day 7.
o John's objections to capital punishment carry no weight since he is a convicted felon.
o All men are rats! Just look at the louse that I married.
o If the Republicans win the election, then we will lose our benefits and probably end up homeless in the streets!
o Of course Nixon was guilty in Watergate. Everybody knows that.
o Mary joined our class and the next week we all did poorly on the quiz. It must be her fault
o I don't know what colleges are teaching these days! I have just received a letter of application from a young man who graduated from the state university last June. It was a wretched letter – badly written, with elementary errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The state university does not deserve the tax support that it is getting.
o He went to college and came back a pot-head; college corrupted him.
o Many people say that engineers need more practice in writing, but I would like to remind them how difficult it is to master all the math and drawing skills that an engineer requires.
o Those who favor gun-control legislation just want to take all guns away from responsible citizens and put them into the hands of the criminals.
o After a taste of the morning coffee that his wife had made, Paul asks, "Did you do something different with the coffee this morning? It tastes a little bit different." "Look," snaps his wife, "if you don't like the taste of my coffee, you can just make it yourself!"
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 4 years ago.

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

o John's objections to capital punishment carry no weight since he is a convicted felon. - This is an ad hominem fallacy, in that John can still have valid objections to capital punishment, whether or not he's a felon. Furthermore, suppose his felony is tax fraud. What does that have to do with capital punishment?

ScottyMacEsq :

The previous is also known as "circumstantial ad hominem", in that the person is making this argument because it is in the interests of this person to make that argument. Regular ad hominem would be "your position on capital punishment is invalid because you're a high school dropout". Note the difference, in that the first one had the underlying assumption that it was in the interests of the person making the argument to make it, and the second one just attacks the person, with no assumption of the interests of the person conntected.

ScottyMacEsq :

o All men are rats! Just look at the louse that I married. - This is the fallacy of "hasty generalization". The fallacy is committed when not enough A's are observed to warrant the conclusion. If enough A's are observed then the reasoning is not fallacious.

ScottyMacEsq :

What it means is that you cannot say that all men are rats by looking at a representative sample of one person. First of all, showing that ANY man is not a rat would completely disprove the statement, but even on a more general scale, showing that most men are not rats would show that she just messed up and married a rat.

ScottyMacEsq :

o If the Republicans win the election, then we will lose our benefits and probably end up homeless in the streets! - This is the "slippery slope" fallacy, coupled with an "appeal to fear". The slippery slope is that ff X happens, then Y will inevitably happen. It plays upon common stereotypes and exacerbates them, without producing evidence. It's the same as saying "We can't let them ban pornography in the libraries. Once you ban one type of speech, you might as well start burning all the other books, and then comes the second holocaust."

ScottyMacEsq :

o Of course Nixon was guilty in Watergate. Everybody knows that. - The "appeal to belief" fallacy. It is a fallacy because just because most people "know" something or believe something is not evidence that it is true.

ScottyMacEsq :

o Mary joined our class and the next week we all did poorly on the quiz. It must be her fault - This is the "post hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy. Basically B happens after A, therefore B happened because of A. It's like saying "The President was inaugurated in January, and February had the most suicides, therefore people killed themselves because of the new President." Just because something happens another thing does not indicate a cause and effect.

ScottyMacEsq :

o I don't know what colleges are teaching these days! I have just received a letter of application from a young man who graduated from the state university last June. It was a wretched letter – badly written, with elementary errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The state university does not deserve the tax support that it is getting.- Another "hasty generalization" fallacy, coupled with a "guilt by association" fallacy. The speaker made the assumption of the university based upon one graduate's poor letter, and attributed the grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors to the university because the individual was a graduate of the university, notwithstanding the fact that grammar, punctuation, and spelling are pretty much all taught before university.

ScottyMacEsq :

... and therefore it probably isn't the universities fault, but the high school, junior high, or even elementary school.

ScottyMacEsq :

o He went to college and came back a pot-head; college corrupted him. - Another "post hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy. He went to college (A), became a pot head (corrupted (B)), therefore B happened because of A.

ScottyMacEsq :

o Many people say that engineers need more practice in writing, but I would like to remind them how difficult it is to master all the math and drawing skills that an engineer requires. - This is an "appeal to pity", as well as a "red herring". First the reader is told that A (writing) does not need more practice because engineers have the difficult task of mastering B and C, and since that is hard on the engineers, proposition A is wrong. Furthermore, the "red herring" is fallacious because merely changing the topic of discussion hardly counts as an argument against a claim. The fact that it's difficult to master math and drawing is not an argument that engineers don't need more practice in writing.

ScottyMacEsq :

o Those who favor gun-control legislation just want to take all guns away from responsible citizens and put them into the hands of the criminals. - this is a "straw man" fallacy. The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position. A person that favors gun control legislation does not want to put guns into the hands of criminals, of course, but this fallacy would imply that they do.

ScottyMacEsq :

o After a taste of the morning coffee that his wife had made, Paul asks, "Did you do something different with the coffee this morning? It tastes a little bit different." "Look," snaps his wife, "if you don't like the taste of my coffee, you can just make it yourself!" - "Argument from Outrage". That is, because I'm angry about what you said, I'm right. Now in the case of being married, this might not be a fallacy. As a husband I can tell you that when my wife is mad, I'm always wrong... :)

ScottyMacEsq :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please select the "accept" button. If you have already clicked "accept", or if you will in the future, please let me know so I can track these for my own reports and customer satisfaction stats. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

Customer :

Thank you so much. This is perfect, and right on time. Thank you for your help!!



ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12221
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 4 years ago.
My pleasure. I really enjoy logic, especially the fallacies. Again, good luck to you!

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