Identifying Logical Fallacies in Various Arguments

Identifying Logical Fallacies in Various Arguments: All arguments follow a certain rule of reasoning. However, from a logical perspective, not all arguments have valid conclusions. An argument contains a set of statements that have claims used support its conclusion. In the argument, claims connect to each other logically to make an inference, which leads to a conclusion. When true claims are used, they formulate a true/valid conclusion. However, the validity of the conclusion also depends on how the argument is structured. When false claims are used, they formulate a false/invalid conclusion. A wrongly structured argument and use of false claims create a logical fallacy (Sgarbossa, 2006). In light of this, logical fallacies are used to identify invalid arguments people make in order to avoid them. The method is employed to identify fallacies the following statements have and explaining them.

Statement 1

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 I’m a Pepper, he’s a Pepper, we’re all Peppers, wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper too?”

Identifying fallacies

Claim 1 – I am a Pepper

Claim 2- He is a Pepper

Inference- we’re all peppers

Conclusion- Wouldn’t anyone be attracted to be a Pepper too?

Explanation

The logical fallacy in the statement assumes that popularity attracts more people, which is not normally true as there are other reasons that make people be attracted to something already popular. The fallacy identified is referred to as fallacy of popularity or Argumentum ad Populum (Hall, n.d). 

Statement 2

Fred had a bad experience with marriage. And Ricky had a bad experience with marriage. So did Ethel. I’ll never marry. It’s bound to be a bad experience.

Identifying logical fallacies

Claim 1- Fred had a bad experience with marriage

Claim 2- Ricky had a bad experience with marriage

Claim 3- Ethel also had a bad experience with marriage

Inference- I will never marry

Conclusion- marriage is bound to be a bad experience

Explanation

The claims used are exceptional cases and they represent a very small sample size that is very weak to generalize the experiences of all married people. Hence, the conclusion is invalid. Hall (n.d) calls this type of logical fallacy as a hasty generalization.

Statement 3

Lucy is in a lot of trouble. She laughed in class, and we all know it is wrong to laugh in class.

Identifying logical fallacies

Claim1- Lucy laughed in class

Claim 2-It is universally known that it is wrong to laugh in class

Inference- it is trouble to laugh in class

Conclusion- Lucy is in a lot of trouble

Explanation

The argument has an invalid conclusion because; the logical fallacy identified here is hasty generalization. There are no enough claims to support why Lucy is in a lot of trouble (Hall, n.d)

Statement 4

You’d better identify the fallacies in these arguments correctly, or it will lead the instructor to conclude you haven’t been paying attention in class.

Identifying logical fallacies

Following what Hall (n.d) argues, the argument represents a relationship between cause and effects. The argument assumes that poor attention paid in class only causes wrong identification of fallacies in the arguments given. A student may fail to provide correct answers also because he/she has not understood what has been taught in the topic or the questions may be too hard for the student. The logical fallacy identified is called a false cause where causes and effects are wrongly related.

Statement 5

If you let the state use evidence in a trial that was obtained without a warrant, pretty soon the police will be pounding down doors anytime they want.

Identifying logical fallacies

Theory of Knowledge.net (n.d) educates that an argument can be invalid when statements used talk about unexpected events that are likely to happen because of something that the speaker is trying to oppose. In statement 5, what is being opposed is allowing the use of evidence obtained without a warrant by the state in a trial. The statement used to support the opposition mentions about the likelihood that the police will be encouraged to pound on people’s premises without a warrant. The logical fallacy identified is called Domino, which conveys that if something happens, an undesirable event will take place, hence, the thing should not be allowed to happen.

Statement 6

You can’t listen to anything Gwyneth Paltrow has to say. She was in that movie Mortdecai and it was one of the worst movies of 2015!

Identifying logical fallacies

Claim 1- Paltrow was in the movie Mortdecai

Claim2- The movie was among the worse ones in 2015

Inference- any person that participated in the movie should not be listened to

Conclusion- Paltrow can’t be listened to

Explanation

 The argument seems to have been made by a person that disagrees with Paltrow’s views and the person chooses to attack Paltrow’s characteristics. Thus, the logical fallacy in the statement is called Ad Hominem, which shows an argument made against a person (Hall, n.d).

Statement 7

I’ve heard that terrorists say it is OK for suicide bombers to kill civilians because the police kill innocent people sometimes, too.

Identifying logical fallacies

Theory of Knowledge.net (n.d) informs that there are some arguments that a person can make to avoid a genuine response to a criticism made. To do that, the person turns back to the critics.  The inference made by statement 7 is that the police criticize terrorists when they claim it is ok for civilians to be killed by suicide bombers and the police are also criticized for the times they kill the innocent persons. The logical fallacy identified is called an appeal for hypocrisy.

Statement 8

After using a new body spray, Ricky got a date with a beautiful coed. I bet if Ralph uses the same body spray he’ll get a date with a beautiful coed, too.

Identifying logical fallacies

The argument shows a false cause and effect relationship. Therefore, the logical fallacy is called a false cause (Hall, n.d).

Statement 9

This college sure has a great faculty. I’ve had several faculty members and they’ve been great.

Identifying logical fallacies

Claim1- several faculty members have been great

Conclusion- the college has a great faculty

Explanation

The claim is not sufficient enough to generalize the goodness of all the faculty members. Thus, the logical fallacy is hasty generalization

Statement 10

The last test shouldn’t count because I had a lot to do that week and I need a B or better to retain my scholarship.

Identifying the logical fallacies

The argument indicates an appeal but the logic used fails to be relevant. The argument shows an appeal for the lecturer to have pity on the student by giving him/her scores that do not show how he/she has mastered the subject. The logical fallacy is called pity or an appeal for pity (Hall, n.d).

Statement 11

I’ve heard the North Charleston Police Department is really a very good police force, so if Michael Slager is an NCPD officer, he must be a good cop.

Identifying the logical fallacies

The argument seems to beg the question if the entire police force is very good implies that any officer that is part of the force is a good one. Thus, the logical fallacy in the argument is begging the question (Hall, n.d)

Statement 12

If you don’t tell me where your professor is I’ll shoot you.

Identifying the logical fallacies

The argument does not indicate an intension to convince the person to act. Rather a statement of fear is imposed to force the person to talk. The logical fallacy in the statement is called an appeal to fear (Hall, n.d).

References

Hall, R. L. (n.d). Chapter 4: Identifying fallacies. Retrieved< https://www.stetson.edu/artsci/philosophy/media/Chapter%204.pdf>.

Sgarbossa, E. (2006). Language and communication. Translation Journal, 10(4). Retrievednet/journal/38fallacies.htm”>https://translationjournal.net/journal/38fallacies.htm.Theory of Knowledge.net (n.d). Poor reasoning and fallacies. Retrieved< https://www.theoryofknowledge.net/ways-of-knowing/reason/poor-reasoning-and-fallacies/>.

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