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Fallacy Project


Appeal to Fear - San Dieguito Union High School District ... Fallacy Project – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Fallacy Project

Fallacy Project
Appeal to
  • A non-rational persuasion designed to invoke fear
    by threatening the safety or happiness of
    ourselves or someone we love often called scare
    tactics or appeal to force.
  • If God should let you go, you would
    immediately sink, and sinfully descend, and
    plunge into the bottomless gulfThe God that
    holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds
    a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire,
    abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked his wrath
    towards you burns like fire he looks upon you as
    worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the
    fire. - Jonathan Edwards Sinners
    in the Hands of an Angry God
  • In this excerpt, Edwards is attempting to
    frighten his audience into submission to an
    angry God. By threatening both their safety and
    well-being, he is able to use this scare tactic
    to achieve his purpose.

Burden of Proof
  • In general, it is up to the person making an
    argument to try to prove it. It's your job to
    prove me wrong when I make the assertion in
  • Why can't the religious believer simply put the
    burden on the skeptic, and ask him to justify his
    unbelief, with the underlying assumption that as
    between theism and atheism, it is the former that
    is obviously true and the latter that is
    obviously false? -Professor Ralph
    McInerny, Why the Burden of Proof is on the
  • - Here Ralph McInerny tackles the ever-present
    battle between faith-based beliefs and
    non-faith-based beliefs. However, he says that
    the atheists, not the faith-following people,
    needed to prove themselves, thus shifting the
    burden of proof.

Wishful Thinking
  • Wishful thinking is, in some ways, a fallacy
    opposite to an appeal to indirect consequences.
    In wishful thinking, an extremely positive
    outcome, but one just as remote, is suggested in
    the hope that it will distract from the merits of
    the case at hand.
  • For a bowl of water give a goodly meal. For a
    kingly greeting bow thou down with zeal. For a
    simple penny pay thou back with gold. If they
    life be rescued, life do not withhold. Thus the
    words and actions of the wise regard. Every
    little service tenfold they reward. But the truly
    noble know all men as one, and return with
    gladness good for evil done. -Gandhi
  • Here, Gandhi is attempting to mask the aspects of
    hunger, poverty, or any other lacking, by saying
    that any decent and good action will receive
    goodness in return. This logic, while comforting,
    is wishful thinking.

Two Wrongs
  • Two wrongs make a right is similar to appeal to
    common practice. This faulty logic is based on
    the idea that it is acceptable to do something,
    not because other people are doing it, but
    because they are doing other things just as bad.
    It implies that the action or thought is wrong,
    but one can see why it would be falsely assumed
    acceptable due to the circumstances. Both actions
    are not supported by any idea other than
    retribution. In "two wrongs, it's not just that
    other people are doing something wrong, but that
    they are doing it to you and that seems to
    excuse what one would likely recognize as
  • Calm, gentle, passionless, as he appeared, there
    was yet, we fear, a quiet depth of malice,
    hitherto latent, but active now, in this
    unfortunate old man, which led him to imagine a
    more intimate revenge than any mortal had ever
    wreaked upon an enemy. All that dark treasure to
    be lavished on the very man, to whom nothing else
    could so adequately pay the debt of vengeance.
    -Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
  • Hawthorne proceeds to explain about the mans
    belief that he had been wrongfully treated, and
    therefore the evil that he wrongfully subjected
    people to was actually brought on by themselves.

Loaded Question
  • A loaded question has a false presupposition and
    is loaded with a false statement. A loaded
    question is one in which cannot be directly
    answered without implying a falsehood. Especially
    found in yes/no questions.
  • He sprang on her and sputtered, Why didnt you
    hit him back? Wheres your spirit? Do you think
    Id a let him beat me?
  • Do you call me a liar or a blindman! he
  • Jedge not, he shouted, lest ye be not
    jedged! The tinge of his face was a shade more
    purple than hers. You! he said. You let him
    beat you any time he wants to and dont do a
    thing but blubber a little and jump up and down!
  • He nor nobody else has ever touched me, she
    said, measuring off each word in a deadly flat
    tone. Nobodys ever put a hand on me and if
    anybody did, Id kill him.
  • And black is white, the old man piped, and
    night is day!

  • -Flannery OConnor A View of the Woods
  • - OConnor presents a complicated situation in
    which the physical health of an individual is
    being questioned. In this situation, answering
    the question Do you think Id let him beat me
    is loaded despite the answer a yes answer
    would indicate doubt in the persons pride, and a
    no answer would indicate a doubt in the
    persons physical abilities.

Appeal to Authority
  • Appeal to Authority might not originally be seen
    as a fallacy. Often arguments are based on the
    ideas or theories or simple statements of people
    in authoritative positions, those we consider
    experts. Thus, we do not look behind the
    statements rather we accept them as fact. This
    fallacy is also known as an appeal to
    questionable authority.
  • for we are told by a grave author, an eminent
    French physician, that fish being a prolific
    diet, there are more children born in Roman
    Catholic countries about nine months after Lent
    than at any other season therefore, reckoning a
    year after Lent the markets will be more glutted
    than usual, because the number of popish infants
    is at least three to one in this kingdomby
    lessening the number of popists among
    us. -Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal
  • - Swift refers to a grave author and an
    eminent French physician (being the same person)
    and continues to build his argument with the
    mans statements. He does not supply any support
    other than this mans statements, and therefore
    makes an Appeal to Authority because the argument
    is not founded.

Appeal to Prejudice
  • A prejudice is a predisposition to judge groups
    of people or things either positively or
    negatively, even after the facts of a case
    indicate otherwise. By appealing to a prejudice
    in the listener, the person making the argument
    attempts to ensure a favorable reaction. Most
    often, such an appeal works on negative images,
    and extreme cases can be classified as so-called
    "hate speech.
  • This international power structure is used to
    suppress masses of dark-skinned people all over
    the world and exploit them of their natural
    resources. - Malcolm X, February14,
    1965 (taken from essay Malcolm X, our
    revolutionary son and brother by Patricia
  • Malcolm X is here trying to inspire affirmative
    and abrupt actions in response to his statements.
    Therefore, he adopts the appeal to prejudice
    logic, tapping into the emotions of the listener,
    presumably a black radical person, and instead of
    creating truth, displaying faulty logic.

Appeal to
  • Appeals to Spite, to hatred, and to indignation
    attempt to tap into the animus a person feels
    about an individual or group of people or things.
    They differ from appeal to prejudice in the sense
    that prejudice works on a pre-existing belief,
    which may be positive or negative, but spite can
    be elicited by the attempt at persuasion itself,
    and is always negative.
  • This woman has brought shame upon us all, and
    ought to die. Is there not law for it? Truly,
    there is, both in the Scripture and the
    statutebook. Then let the magistrates, who have
    made it of no effect, thank themselves if their
    own wives and daughters go astray! -The
    Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • - Nathaniel Hawthorne is using Appeal to Spite
    here to show the emotions of the townspeople in
    The Scarlet Letter. This statement allows
    Hawthorne to explore the full extent to which the
    peoples hatred might grow against Hester and how
    it could grow even more when one man or woman was
    outspoken about her adultery, tapping into each
    persons emotions.

  • A fallacy that occurs when a person misrepresents
    another's view so as to easily discredit it. This
    can happen intentionally or unintentionally. The
    image that this fallacy conjures up is that of a
    person building a straw man just to knock it
    over. The author attacks an argument which is
    different from, and usually weaker than, the
    opposition's best argument.
  • We all want our families, our soldiers, our
    unions, our sports teams to be united toward
    clear, common goals. But is it not dangerous for
    a democratic populace weighing if and how to wage
    war to value unity above all else? It is all too
    easy to mandate patriotism, as the New York Board
    of Education did last week, bringing back the
    Pledge of Allegiance, as if that will stop the
    Osama Bin Ladens of the world.

    - Robert Schere, A True Patriot Can Pose
    Hard Questions, Los Angeles Times, October
    23, 2000
  • - Schere uses Straw Man to explain his point
    that unity will not stop terrorism, despite all
    the national pride it may create. He begins his
    passage by agreeing that all Americans would like
    unity and then proceeds to explain why unity is
    dangerous and why we, in fact, do not want unity.

Indirect Consequences
  • This type of fallacy centers around the claim
    that if we justify an action, then this will also
    justify some other actions, and these will not be
    desirable. The idea here is that the reasoning
    which justifies one action will also justify
    other actions, ones which will be detrimental or
  • The use of COBOL cripples the mind its teaching
    should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal
    offense. -Edsgar Dijkstra, mathematician
  • - In this short comment, Dijkstra provides us
    with his opinion that the use of COBOL should be
    a criminal offense. However, he bases this on the
    justification of another argument, where it is
    justified to not use COBOL due to its harmful
    effects on the mind. This is a clear use of
    Indirect Consequences.

Part for the Whole
  • A part-whole relationship indicates that one or
    more object is part of another object.The problem
    is that non-equivalent terms have been
    substituted. Substituting the parts for the whole
    is sometimes called the fallacy of division.
  • This single farm of ours would support a dozen
    horses, twenty cows, hundreds of sheep and all
    of them living in a comfort and a dignity that
    are now almost beyond our imagining.
    -Animal Farm, George Orwell
  • In this excerpt Orwell attempts to show that the
    one singular farm will encompass all of the
    characters happiness and wishes--thus
    substituting part for the whole.

Whole for the parts
  • Substituting the whole for its parts is sometimes
    called the fallacy of composition. It is trying
    to say that the part is as important as the
    whole, which is fallacious.
  • He claimed to know of the existence of a
    mysterious country called Sugarcandy Mountain, to
    which all animals went when they died. It was
    situated somewhere up in the sky, a little
    distance beyond the clouds, Moses said. In
    Sugarcandy Mountain it was Sunday seven days a
    week, clover was in season all the year round,
    and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the
    hedges. -Animal Farm, George Orwell
  • This quote states that each of the individual
    parts of Sugarcandy Mountain is just as important
    as the entire mountain, mainly the idea of
    happiness after death.

False Compromise
  • The fallacy of false compromise usually occurs
    when we do not know or care much about the terms
    of the debate.Without looking at the arguments
    being made, we can never rule out the possibility
    that one side is completely right, and the other
    side is completely wrong.
  • Some of the animals talked of the duty of loyalty
    to Mr. Jones, whom they referred to as Master,
    or made elementary remarks such as Mr. Jones
    feeds us. If he were gone, we should starve to
    deaththe pigs had great difficulty in making
    them see that this was contrary to the spirit of
    Animalism. The stupidest questions of all were
    asked by Mollie, the white mare. The very first
    question she asked Snowball was Will there
    still be sugar after the Rebellion? And shall
    I still be allowed to wear ribbons in my mane?
    asked Mollie. Comrade, said Snowball, Can you
    not understand that liberty is worth more than
    ribbons? Mollie agreed, but she did not sound
    very convinced. -Animal Farm,
    George Orwell
  • In this example, Mollie is portrayed as being
    quite indifferent to the rebellion, which is the
    main point of discussion and more worried about
    her everyday luxuries.

False Equity
  • The fallacy of false equity can be committed
    either by someone making an argument, or someone
    analyzing one. While it is often a good strategy
    to cover both sides of an argument, such a
    strategy is never a necessary requirement of a
    good argument and we also should not be swayed
    by someone simply because he or she does cover
    both sides.
  • There is little shame in the Democratic Party
    these days when it comes to fund-raising. Last
    year Democratic candidates for the Senate
    received more in soft money contributions than
    Republicans. Soft money is the worst, but by no
    means the only, kind of special-interest money
    allowed by the law. The interests that donate
    these hundreds of millions of dollars have the
    greatest influence over both parties.
    -Jim Shannon, Democrats Fall Short on Shame,
    Boston Globe
  • - This excerpt cover both sides of the issue,
    but still conveys its original purpose which is
    to condemn the Democrats who received soft money.

Common Practice
  • The basic idea that people do something to
    support an action or practice. It is a fallacy
    because the mere fact that most people do
    something does not make it correct, moral,
    justified, or reasonable.
  • "In my time," said the grandmother, folding her
    thin veined fingers, "children were more
    respectful of their native states and their
    parents and everything else. People did right
    then. Flannery OConnor A Good Man is Hard to
  • - In this excerpt, OConnor shows the
    grandmothers naivety and lack of knowledge about
    the modern society by basing one of her
    statements on common practice. The grandmothers
    idea that all children in her day respected their
    native states and their parents is not founded,
    rather it is based on the fact that most children
    did so. This does not support the argument
    adequately, making it faulty.

Appeal to Common Belief
  • While surveys of common beliefs and popular
    opinions are a legitimate way to support some
    evaluative statements, they can never be used to
    argue the accuracy of most statements of
    verification. Using popular opinions to support a
    claim that must be verified in another manner is
    a fallacious appeal to common belief. Such
    fallacies are also called appeals to opinion, to
    belief, and to popular belief.
  • Had she been in any degree intellectual, he
    could have proved to here form early Christian
    history that no excess of virtue is justified,
    that a moderation of good produces likewise a
    moderation in evil, that if Anthony of Egypt had
    stayed at home and attended to his sister, no
    devils would have plagued him.
  • -Flannery OConnor,The
    Comforts of Home
  • - OConnor uses the thoughts of a man
    pondering great thoughts of ancient times to
    exhibit Appeal to Common Belief. Through his
    statements about virtue, evil, and Anthony of
    Egypt, we see that they are fallaciously based on
    common belief or popular opinion, and are not
    validated, thus making them fallacious Appeals to
    Common Belief.

Faulty Dilemma
  • This fallacy is committed when a person argues
    that there are only so many options, and you must
    choose between them, when in fact there are more
    options available. This fallacy is also called
    the either/or fallacy. because it looks like
    you have to choose either this, or that. A false
    dilemma is an illegitimate use of the "or"
    conjunction and is often seen as treating a
    complex issue as if it has only two sides.
  • And his disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned,
    this man or his parents, that he was born blind?
    Jesus answered, It was not that this man
    sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God
    might be made manifest in him. - John 92-3
  • - In this excerpt from the Bible, a disciple
    presents Jesus with a question that has only two
    answers, the man or his parents. However, Jesus
    sees the faulty dilemma and contradicts it by
    presenting his statement and explaining why this
    faulty dilemma is fallacious.

  • Establishing an unjustified link between cause
    and effect. The fallacious reasoning goes like
    this one event happened soon after another
    event. Therefore, the first event caused the
    second one to occur.
  • "The only policy that effectively reduces public
    shootings is right-to-carry laws. Allowing
    citizens to carry concealed handguns reduces
    violent crime. In the 31 states that have passed
    right-to-carry laws since the mid-1980s, the
    number of multiple-victim public shootings and
    other violent crimes has dropped dramatically.
    Murders fell by 7.65, rapes by 5.2, aggravated
    assaults by 7, and robberies by 3."
    - ("The Media Campaign Against Gun
    Ownership", The Phyllis Schlafly Report, Vol. 33,
    No. 11, June 2000.)
  • - In this anti-gun ownership campaign, this
    article is presented, clearly representing post
    hoc. While certain crime numbers may have dropped
    and in those states right-to-carry laws had been
    implemented, there are no direct correlation
    between the two fact. However, this is the
    fallacious reasoning of the passage.

  • In a hasty generalization, the size of the sample
    is too small to support the conclusion, thus the
    statement is not supported enough.
  • Of course your columnist Michele Slatalla was
    joking when she wrote about needing to talk with
    her fifty-eight year old mother about going to a
    nursing home. While I admire Slatallas concern
    for her parents and agree that as one approaches
    60 it is wise to make some long-term plans, I
    hardly think that 58 is the right age at which to
    talk about a retirement home unless there are
    some serious health concerns. In this era when
    people are living to health and ripe old age,
    Slatalla is jumping the gun. My 85-year old
    mother power walks two miles each day, drives her
    car (safely), climbs stairs, does crosswords,
    reads the daily paper, and can probably beat
    Slatalla at almost anything.
    - Nancy Edwards,
    Letters to the Editor, Time, June 26, 2000
  • - The author of this passage makes all her
    assumptions about the elderly on her mother, who
    is apparently a remarkable woman. By basing her
    opinions on her mother, Edwards proceeds to make
    a hasty generalization about the elderly

Ad hominem
  • Another fallacy is called ad hominem meaning
    argument to the man. This fallacy is committed
    when instead of dealing with what a person is
    arguing, one argues that the person is lacking in
    character. The reason that this is fallacious is
    that a persons character has no bearing on the
    truth or falsehood of truth claims.
  • For John came neither eating nor drinking and
    they say he has a demon the son of man came
    eating and drinking and they say behold, a
    glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax
    collectors and sinners! Yet wisdom is justified
    by her deeds. -Matthew 1118-19
  • - Throughout the gospel, Jesus is attacked by
    the Pharisees and the Sadducees who were looking
    to discredit Jesus. In this passage, he rebukes
    their ad hominem arguments, pointing to the
    stubborn nature of that generation, (they would
    not be pleased with either John or Jesus), but he
    making the point that while they may attend to
    demean his character they will be proved wrong
    and Jesus will be proved right by his actions.

Sweeping Generalization
  • Making a generalization that cannot be supported
    no matter how much evidence is supplied, usually
    done using absolute statements or stereotypes.
    Applying a generalization that is usually true to
    an exceptional case by ignoring the peculiarities
    of the case.
  • Mercy on us, goodwife, exclaimed a man in the
    crowd, is there no virtue in woman, save what
    springs from a wholesome fear of the gallows?
    -The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel
  • - Hawthorne uses sweeping generalization in
    this example to show the thoughts of the crowd,
    particularly one man. His words create a sweeping
    generalization about women, by saying that women
    have no virtue unless they fear death. This is
    the type of generalized statement that cannot be
    proven true.

Appeal to Vanity
  • Also known as apple-polishing, the strategy
    behind this fallacy is to create a predisposition
    toward agreement by paying compliments. The
    success of the strategy depends on a combination
    of the vanity of the target and the subtlety of
    the compliment, and it is usually more effect
    when the compliment is somehow related to the
    issue at hand.
  • Listen," the grandmother almost screamed, "I
    know you're a good man. You don't look a bit like
    you have common blood. I know you must come from
    nice people!
  • "Yes mam," he said, "finest people in the
    world." When he smiled he showed a row of strong
    white teeth. "God never made a finer woman than
    my mother and my daddy's heart was pure gold," he
    said. -Flannery OConnor A Good Man is Hard
    to Find
  • - The grandmother in this situation is
    practicing Appeal to Vanity. She fears for her
    safety and health, and thus begins to compliment
    the man who is threatening her, hoping that she
    can win him over rather than facing death.

Appeal to Pity
  • A fallacious appeal to pity, also known as a sob
    story, is different from a simple (and perfectly
    legitimate) appeal to pity because it is used to
    replace logic, rather than to support it. When
    the fallacy does occur, it is usually exhibits
    either a greatly exaggerated problem or an
    inappropriate request. Mainly, a fallacious
    appeal to pity uses emotion in place of reason to
  • "You wouldn't shoot a lady, would you?" the
    grandmother said and removed a clean handkerchief
    from her cuff and began to slap at her eyes with
    it. - Flannery OConnor A Good Man is Hard
    to Find
  • Once again, OConnor uses the character of the
    grandmother to use fallacious logic. Here, the
    grandmother attempts to use the emotions of
    herself as a woman and the emotions that the man
    might feel about a woman and exaggerates them,
    desperately trying to get out of her situation.

Appeal to Loyalty
  • Appeal to Loyalty is based on the idea that one
    should act with the group's best interests,
    regardless of the merits of the particular case
    being argued. A version of appeal to loyalty is
    the fallacious use of peer pressure. In this
    case, one's agreement is sought, not on the basis
    of what is good for the group as in appeal to
    loyalty, but on the basis of what others in that
    group would or do think.
  • "Listen," he said. I never asked much of you. I
    taken you and raised you and saved you from ass
    in town and now all I'm asking in return is when
    I die to get me in the ground where the death
    belong and set up a cross over me to show I'm
    there. That's all in the world I'm asking you to
  • - Flannery O'Connor (You Can't Be Any Poorer
    Than Dead)
  • - In this passage, OConnor character uses
    Appeal to Loyalty in an attempt to persuade
    someone to do them a favor. The man pleads with
    the other character, basing his opinion on what
    he believes is best for him (and therefore, best
    for the group). Thus his argument is an Appeal to
    Loyalty rather than a logical argument.

  • Circular reasoning is arguing an argument with
    the conclusion that is to be drawn from the
    argument, or the conclusion of an argument if,
    explicitly or implicitly, used as a reason for
  • When I asserted that the YAHOOS were the only
    governing animals in my country , us, and what
    was their employment? I told him, we had great
    numbers that in summer they grazed in the
    fields, and in winter were kept in houses with
    hay and oats, where YAHOO servants were employed
    to rub their skins smooth, comb their manes, pick
    their feet, serve them with food, and make their
    beds. I understand you well, said my master
    it is now very plain,from all you have spoken,
    that whatever share of reason the YAHOOS pretend
    to, the HOUYHNMS are your masters I heartily
    wish our YAHOOS would be so tractable.
    -Jonathan Swift, Gullivers Travels
  • - In this excerpt from Swifts work, we find
    this passage of circular reasoning. The man whom
    the narrator is speaking to actually proves the
    narrators point through circular reasoning, for
    he uses the conclusion of the speakers argument
    to found his own points, only further proving the
    validity of the narrators statements.

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