Understanding Facillacies

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January 4, 2021
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Understanding Fallacies

Prior to beginning work on this discussion, read the assigned chapters in your textbook and read the standardized guidance (under the “Lectures” tab), including watching the embedded videos, which will help you better to know the fallacies.

Answer all the questions in the prompt, and read any resources that are required to complete the discussion properly. Based on the selected prompt, you may need to review one or more of the interactive modules below to better prepare for your discussion:

  • Buying a Car (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.: This scenario will introduce you to evaluating arguments.
  • The Parking Garage (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.: This scenario will help you to examine your own biases and stereotypes.
  • The Graduate (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.: This scenario will present several arguments and demonstrate how arguments appear in daily life and can be broken down into premise and conclusion form.
  • PHI103 Informal Fallacies (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.: This practice activity will help you identify types of fallacies.
  • PHI103 Rhetorical Devices Knowledge Check (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.: This practice activity will help in identifying rhetorical devices.

In addition, watch the video Fallacies (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (displayed below).

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: Read through Chapter 7 of the course text, paying special attention to learning the names of common fallacies, biases, and rhetorical tricks.

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. Finally, explain how the person should have presented the argument in order to avoid committing this logical error.

Hint Post: Three Fallacies

For this discussion, you’re to identify three fallacies from sources in your life (make sure you’re providing proper in-text citations and references for your sources). Here I’ll present one example of a fallacy and the type of explanation you should provide.

Remember, arguments go wrong in one of three ways: (1) the premises aren’t believable, (2) the premises aren’t relevant or relevant information is excluded, and (3) the premises don’t offer adequate support for the conclusion. All of the fallacies are at least one (if not more) of these violations.

Fallacy #1:

In a 2003 interview, Pennsylvania Senator and future Presidential candidate Rick Santorum, stated that if we accept gay marriage, then we must also accept pedophilia and bestiality (The Associated Press, 2003). He was responding to an interviewer’s question about his belief that we should not allow gay marriage. Santorum’s statement implied the following fallacious argument:

P1. If gay marriage is accepted, then that will lead to the acceptance of pedophilia and bestiality.

P2. Pedophilia and bestiality should not be accepted.

C. Therefore, we should not accept gay marriage.

This is an example of a fallacious slippery slope argument (Hardy, Foster, & Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015). Although the argument is deductively valid, there is no causal connection between the acceptance of gay marriage and the acceptance of pedophilia and bestiality. For the argument to be sound, Santorum would have to be able to establish that the first condition (accepting gay marriage) would always inevitably lead to the other conditions (the acceptance of pedophilia and bestiality) that are undesirable. This is the foundation of a slippery slope argument (Hardy et al., 2015)–that one step on the slope will lead to us to the bottom and we don’t want to be at the bottom.

A rational person can easily accept that gay marriage should be permissible while still denying that pedophilia and bestiality are not permissible. The difference between these actions is the ability to give consent, which is the basis for most people’s acceptance of gay marriage. Adult homosexuals entering into a marriage contract give mutual informed consent. In case of pedophilia and bestiality consent cannot be given. Children are not mature enough to understand the consequences of their actions, so they are incapable of consenting in a meaningful way, which is why society has placed age limits on all marriage. Similarly, animals are not capable of giving consent. Because of this requirement, Santorum’s claim that gay marriage will lead to pedophilia and bestiality can be rejected, and his slippery slope argument fails (Hardy et al., 2015)

**Remember, you are required to give 3 examples of fallacies and explain how the fallacy is committed in the argument you discuss in your initial post, even though I only present 1 here.**

References

The Associated Press. (2003, April 23). Excerpt from Santorum interview. U.S.A. Today. Retrieved from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/200… (Links to an external site.)

Hardy, J., Foster, C. & Zúñiga y Postigo, G. (2015). With good reason: A guide to critical thinking. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.

Primoratz, I. (2001). Sexual morality: Is consent enough? Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 4, 201-218. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1011878215852

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