Select three logical fallacies
from your readings. Prepare a 1,050-1,400-word paper, in which you define each of the three fallacies
, explain its significance to Critical Thinking, and discuss its general application to Decision Making. Using various sources (Internet, magazines, trade journals, etc.) find organizational examples that illustrate each one of your chosen fallacies
. Be sure to use and cite at least four different references in your paper.
Fallacy1 - Fallacy
of Look Who's Talking==============
of look who?s talking is committed when an arguer rejects another person?s argument or claim because that person fails to practice what he or she preaches. Here are several examples:
Doctor: You should quit smoking.
Patient: Look who?s talking! I?ll quit when you do, Dr. Smokestack!
President Clinton: We need to restore family values in the Americanentertainment industry. Our children?s futures depend on it.
Joe Q. Public: What incredible chutzpah! Why should we listen to anythingthat hypocrite has to say about ?family values??
Parent: Honey, I don?t want you to skip school on senior skip day. You don?t want to jeopardize your chances of being class valedictorian, do you?
Daughter: But Mom, you told me you skipped out on senior skip day!
Why do you always get to have all the fun?
Presidential candidate Bill Bradley: When Al [Gore] accuses me of negative campaigning, that reminds me of the story about Richard Nixon, the kind of politician who would chop down a tree, then stand on the stump and give a speech about conservation.
pattern of these arguments is this:
1. X fails to follow his or her own advice.
2. Therefore, X?s claim or argument should be rejected.
But this reasoning is clearly fallacious. Arguments are good or bad not because of who offers them but because of their own intrinsic strengths or weaknesses. You cannot refute a person?s argument simply by pointing out that he or she fails to practice what he or she preaches. However, it should be noted that there is nothing fallacious as such in criticizing a person?s hypocritical behavior. For example:
Jim: Our neighbor Joe gave me a hard time again yesterday about washing our car during this drought emergency.
Patty: Well, he?s right. But I wish that hypocrite would live up to his own advice. Just last week I saw him watering his lawn in the middle of the afternoon. Here, Patty is simply pointing out, justifiably, that their neighbor is a hypocrite. However, because she does not reject any argument or claim offered by the neighbor, no fallacy
Fallacy2 - Two Wrongs Make A Right==================
Closely related to the fallacy
of look who?s talking is the fallacy
of two wrongs make a right. The fallacy
of two wrongs make a right occurs when an arguer attempts to justify a wrongful act by claiming that some other act is just as bad or worse. Here are some examples:
I don?t feel guilty about cheating on Dr. Boyer?s test. Half the class cheats on his tests. You can?t blame Clinton for being unfaithful to his wife. Many presidents have had extramarital affairs. Why pick on me, officer? Nobody comes to a complete stop at that stop sign.
Parent: Bart, quit hitting your brother.
Child: Well, he pinched me. We have all offered our share of such excuses. But however tempting such excuses may be, we know that they can never truly justify our misdeeds. Of course, there are times when an act that would otherwise be wrong can be justified by citing the wrongful actions of others. Here are two examples:
Police officer: Why did you spray this man with pepper spray?
You: Because he attacked me with a knife. I did it in self-defense.
Father: Why did you go swimming when the pool was closed?
Son: Because my friend Joe jumped in and was drowning. I did it to save his life. In these cases, the justifications offered do, in fact, serve to justify what would otherwise be wrongful behavior. Not all cases, however, are so clear. Here are two cases that are more debatable:
Jedediah Smith murdered three people in cold blood. Therefore, Jedediah Smith should be put to death.
Umpire: Why did you throw at the opposing pitcher?
Pitcher: Because he threw at three of our players. I have an obligation to protect my teammates if you guys won?t. Do these arguments commit the fallacy
of two wrongs make a right? They do just in case the justifications offered are insufficient to justify the apparently wrongful behavior. Whether that is so or not is, of course, an open question. The fallacy
of two wrongs make a right is frequently confused with the fallacy
of look who?s talking. This is easy to understand, because it is easy to think of examples of arguments that commit both fallacies
. For example:
Mother: Honey, it?s wrong to steal. How would you feel if someone stole your favorite doll?
Child: But you told me you stole your friend?s teddy bear when you were a little girl. So stealing isn?t really wrong.
This argument commits the fallacy
of two wrongs make a right because it attempts to justify a wrongful act by citing another wrongful act. It also commits the fallacy
of look who?s talking because it dismisses an argument on the basis of the arguer?s failure to practice what she preaches. In fact, however, the fallacy
of two wrongs make a right is distinct from the fallacy
of look who?s talking.
Fallacy3 - Appeal to Pity==============================
of appeal to pity14 occurs when an arguer attempts to evoke feelings of pity or compassion, when such feelings, however understandable, are not logically relevant to the arguer?s conclusion. Here are two examples:
Student to professor: I know I missed half your classes and failed all my exams. But I had a really tough semester. First my pet boa constrictor died. Then my girl friend told me she wants a sex-change operation. With all I went
through this semester, I don?t think I really deserved an F. Any chance you might cut me some slack and change my grade to a C or a D?
Parent to high school football coach: I admit my son Billy can?t run, pass, kick, catch, block, or tackle. But he deserves to make the high school football team. If he doesn?t make the team, he?s going to be an emotional wreck, and he may even drop out of school.
These arguments may ormay not be effective in arousing our sympathies. Logically, however, the arguments are clearly fallacious, for the premises provide no relevant reasons to accept the conclusions. Are all arguments that contain emotional appeals fallacious? No, as the
following examples illustrate:
Mother to daughter: Nana was asking about you the other day. She?s so lonely and depressed since Grandpa passed away, and her Alzheimer?s seems to get worse every day. She?s done so much for you over the years.
Don?t you think you should pay her a visit?
High school softball coach: Girls, this state championship softball game is the biggest game of your lives. This is what you?ve been working for all year. Your parents are counting on you, your school is counting on you, and your community is counting on you. Make them proud! Play like the champions you are! In these examples, the appeals to emotion are both appropriate and relevant to the arguers? legitimate purposes. Too often, however, people use emotional appeals to hinder or obscure rational thinking. When emotional appeals are used in this way, the appeals are fallacious.
[ Order Custom Essay ]
[ View Full Essay ]