Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fallacies


A fallacy is an argument which provides poor reasoning in support of its conclusion. The problem is that people find them persuasive, so they sort of look Ok. Here are some examples:

Begging the Question: The proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in the premises. Basically the proof is assumed.
A: He's mad right now.
B: How do you know?
C: Because he's really angry.
Irrelevant conclusion: Kim Jong Il believes that war is justifiable therefore it must be justifiable.
Ad hominem: John makes a claim, but since there is something objectionable about John, his claim has to be flase. Ex: You claim that this man is innocent, but you cannot be trusted since you are a criminal as well.
Appeal to ignorance: It has two forms: Something is currently unexplained or insufficiently understood or explained, so it is not -or must not be- true. If polar bears are (the) dominant (predator) in the Arctic, then there would seem to have been no need for them to evolve a white-coloured form of camouflage. Answer: Imagine a black polar bear trying to sneak to catch a seal. Because there appears to be a lack of evidence for one hypothesis, another chosen hypothesis is therefore considered. Ex: Nobody has conclusively proven that the Yeti doesn't exist, therefore it exists. 
Appeal to authority: A claim is accepted because not because of its merit, but because of the authority (power, fame, etc) of the person saying it. Ex: If the Pope says it, it must be true. (plug anyone with power and the result would be similar).  
Hasty generalization: It happens when a person draws a conclusion based on a sample that is not large enough. Ex: My roomate think that their philosophy class was hard, and the one I'm in is hard, too. So, all philosophy classes must be hard!
Guilt by association: Obama says the gap between the rich and poor is unacceptable, but communists also say this, therefore Obama is a communist.
Fallacy of Accident: (A generalization that disregard exceptions) Cutting people is a crime. Surgeons cut people. Therefore, surgeons are criminals.
False dilemma: It involves a situation in which only two alternatives are considered, when in fact there are other options. Ex: 
1- You're either part of the solution or part of the problem. 
2-  Either 1+1=4 or 1+1=12. Since it's not the case that 1+1=4, then 1+1=12.