(a) Hasty generalization
(b) Circular argument
(c) Appeal to ignorance
(d) Causal fallacy
1. “The US population enjoys football”- major premise
2. “and is also fond of basketball”- minor premise
3. “If you want people to like basketball, making them like baseball would be a way to achieve this”- generalized conclusion
1. “Climbing El Captain without the proper training”- premise
2. “Will put you in a serious danger”- conclusion
3. “If you don’t climb El Captain without training”- restated premise
4. “then you won’t be in a serious danger” –restated conclusion
1. “Those who are in favor of Biden’s stimulus plan”- major premise
2. “Do not see that no one has proven that it will truly benefit Americans”-minor premise
3. “Thus, the plan won’t benefit Americans”- conclusion (lacks evidence)
1. “Seconds after eating a hot dog”- premise
2. “Paul got struck by a lightning and had to go to the hospital”- minor premise
3. “For his own good, he should never eat a hot dog again!”- conclusion (with wrong causation)
- [3pt] Identify the faulty argument technique employed in each of the following. Briefly explain your answer.
- The President explained her plan to introduce some background checks when it comes to gun ownership. We should oppose her plan as strongly as possible; she wants to take everyone´s guns away!
The argument shows that the President is planning to introduce some background checks regarding gun ownership. However, it does not explicitly state the scope of the background check. In this case, saying that the President’s plan should be rejected because she will take away people’s guns, is overly generalized reasoning.
- Historians shouldn´t evaluate Trump´s presidential track record harshly, after all, he was a very successful TV personality!
Urging historians not to evaluate Trump’s presidential track record harshly because he was a successful media personality is a straw man argument. The counter argument, that Trump was a successful TV personality is a different issue meant to cause confusion and divert attention from the main argument. In other words, presidency and being a media personality are not correlated and one cannot be used to measure the other one.
- The candidate was clear, either she wins the election with a clear majority or the state will irremediably become a communist dictatorship.
The argument presents a false dilemma through limited choices, in which one of the two extremes must be chosen; the candidate winning elections or the country turning into a communist dictatorship. The false dilemma can be attributed to the fact that, there are more options in this case other than the two given. The primary objective of the false dichotomy is to manipulate and coerce the audience into voting for the candidate, or else the dictatorship will be prevalent in the country.
- Sally asked her father to have cake for dessert once a week. Of course, he shouldn’t agree! If he gives her cake once a week, then she’ll be asking for cake every other day, and finally to get cake every single day!
In this argument, it is assumed that, Sally’s father should not agree to giving her a cake for dessert every week whenever she asks because this will make her ask for the same every day and still get it. This is a slippery slope argument because Sally’s father agreeing to provide a dessert once per week, would lead to a chain of similar requests from her daughter in future and he will have to give her whatever she needs.
Question 3: Relative Difference and Absolute Difference
Absolute difference is the actual deviation between two variables that can be attained by getting the difference between entity A and B. For example, if A is 25% and B is 20%, then the absolute difference between the two entities would be 5% (or 25%-20%). On the other hand, relative difference captures the actual magnitude of the change between A and B. It is essential in estimating the actual impact of the change. The absolute difference in this case would be 5/100 multiplied by 100% which would be 20%. Philosophically, absolute difference is the deviation between two entities without making a comparative analysis. For example, the president helped the country a lot because he reduced the rate of unemployment by 5%. The percentage might appear less impactful. However, a comparative approach shows that the relative reduction in unemployment was 20%. Absolute and relative risks are confused in the Choundury’s (2021) article which indicates that 6000 Covid-19 deaths in India marks the highest number of deaths ever in the world. The 6000 in this case is the absolute difference. The absolute difference is 0.000428% (or 6000/1,398,6005, 778 multiplied by 100), assuming that the Indian population is 1,398,605,778. The magnitude or the relative difference of 0.0004 cannot be the highest in the world.
- [3pt] Provide an example of four of the following fallacies and faulty argument techniques. Try to make your example appreciably different from those already provided for you. At least two of the examples should be other than your own, i.e. you found them while reading the news, watching a video, on social media, and so on, please indicate the source in these cases.
- Appeal to ignorance
A personal appeal to ignorance fallacy is: “None of my friend, relative, classmate, or workmate died of Covid-19. Therefore, Covid-19 does not kill.” The fallacy dismisses the claim that Covid-19 kills due to lack of information or ignorance.
- Straw target
Trump argued that Biden “would dismantle your police departments” to counter the Biden’s proposal that he would provide $300 million to fund federal police (Brennan, 2020). This is totally unrelated because the federal police do not manage the local police departments in America.
- False dilemma
Trump’s used ‘false dilemma to respond to the Covid-19 trade-offs in the United States. He says “we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself” to show that imposing lockdowns and movements restrictions to mitigate Covid-19 is worse than the Covid-19 infections or death (Raymond, 2020). Trump gave a dichotomy of choices when there are several other options because of his inability to respond to the pandemic using appropriate strategies recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
A personal equivocation fallacy is: “I do not understand why you are saying that I stole your money. I just picked $20 to buy a pizza.” The second premise or phrase is used deliberately to counter the accusations by misleading the other person or audience.
Brennan, T. (2020). The strawman fallacy and president Trump.
Choudhury, S. R. (2021). India reports more than 600 daily Covid-19 deaths- highest ever in the world.
Raymond, G. A. (2020). Covid-19, Donald Trump and the false dilemma fallacy. Boistestate.edu.