Informal fallacy Informal fallacies — arguments that are fallacious for reasons other than structural formal flaws and usually require examination of the argument's content. Equivocation — the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time. The arguer advances the controversial position, but when challenged, they insist that they are only advancing the more modest position.
June 6, Introduction A fallacy is an error in an argument that makes the argument unacceptable. A material fallacy occurs when the argument errs because of how it is expressed, the contents of the expression, or some other flaw. Many times an argument will be expressed unfairly or shift the grounds of evidence.
Perhaps the most important lesson learning about these material fallacies can teach is to pay attention--to scrutinize and analyze the arguments presented to you. Advertisers, politicians, and a host of other would-be persuaders well know that an individual has a strong tendency to hear what he wants to hear and to believe what he wants to believe.
When a cold sufferer hears, "Our product temporarily helps relieve some of the symptoms caused by absolutely every known cold virus in the world," he does not really "hear"--pay attention to--the weasels "temporarily," "helps," "some," and "symptoms"; instead he understands that the product will probably cure his cold, regardless of the kind of virus he has.
He has not paid attention because he wants to believe that the product will work. Indeed, before we can examine an argument for truth we must first be assured that we have given careful scrutiny to the meaning of the Material fallacies itself.
Do I understand the literal meaning of the message, and especially do I recognize the limitations and judgments created by the use of modifying words?
Denotation Do I understand the hidden implications, the metaphors and allusions, the significance of the syntax and choice of words?
Regardless of the literal meaning, what is the impression given by the argument, and what are the attitudes it conveys?
Connotation Am I preventing my own wishes or prejudices from influencing my understanding of the message? Am I being careful not to make too many assumptions about what a term or argument must mean? Only by paying attention will you be able to answer these questions "yes. And thinking accurately on your own is especially important at this point: Discovering fallacies is so exciting that some people succumb to fallacy frenzy, the temptation to find virtally every argument fallacious.
But that is not any better than accepting every argument as good. For example, when a certain event--say, an assassination--preceded a war, did that event actually cause the war, or would such a conclusion commit the post hoc fallacy or the fallacy of causal reduction? An instant conclusion either way would not be wise.
The judgment must arbitrate. Your own judgment must decide. Just as we must not accept an argument as logical simply because it is put into a form with a logical appearance, so too we must not reject an argument as fallacious simply because it can be arbitrarily squeezed into the form of a fallacy.
In a sentence then, think through the arguments you find and avoid fallacy frenzy. Unfortunately, in persuasion the world is not the straightforward, face-value place we would like it to be. But by learning to judge arguments, we can keep ourselves from being misled into thinking it is.
Fallacies of Irrelevant Evidence These fallacies involve the use of arguments or points unrelated to the issue at hand; instead of bringing reason or facts to bear to support or refute a point, they rely upon emotions, prejudices, fears, or other irrational influences.
You can best short-circuit such irrelevant appeals by first establishing the exact point at issue and then by determining specifically what kinds of proofs or arguments will rationally support or refute the issue.
For example, should we support a political platform because a many other people do, b someone famous does, or c we believe it has the best chance of achieving the goals we approve? Clearly, the first two "reasons" really have nothing to do with an intellectual and reasonable assessment of the situation; they are merely attempts to force us into an irrational response.
This fallacy has more names than just about any other. The classical logicians called it ignoratio elenchi; its modern names include irrelevant thesis, ignoring the issue, red herring, irrelevant conclusion, diversion, and irrelevant proof.
Sometimes when an arguer cannot prove or disprove a particular point, he will simply shift his discussion over to a point that he can prove or disprove, and then imply that the original point has been treated. In one form of irrelevant proof, an arguer may attempt to prove something that has not even been denied, such as a related or incidental fact: We should let Sam into medical school.
After all, we let his father in, and he did well and brought a lot of prestige to our institution. So just shut up, will you? Note especially in this last example that the fallacy is very attractive and often persuasive to the person employing it because it does prove a point or state a true argument, and the point is often related to the issue at hand, sometimes even very closely.
The husband here may actually have more or less equated or confused material support with love, so that to him the argument appears legitimate. Sometimes an arguer will oversimplify the original issue so that it is easily rebutted: This pollution control scheme is not going to work. There is no way you can make the air in the Los Angeles basin as pristine and clear as that of the Colorado mountains.
Why should we bother offering ethics classes to inner city students?material fallacy.
material implication. materialise. materialism. Statistics for material fallacy. Look-up Popularity. Comments on material fallacy. What made you want to look up material fallacy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Show Comments Hide Comments. Common Flaws in Logical Argumentation The Formal and Material Fallacies Material fallacies The material fallacies are also known as fallacies . In turn, material fallacies may be placed into the more general category of informal fallacies, while formal fallacies may be clearly placed into the more precise category of logical (deductive) fallacies.
Material fallacies They are mistakes concerning what terms mean and how they are used or the content of an argument.
They are made in the first act of the mind.
Aristotelian fallacies Edit Material fallacies Edit. The classification of material fallacies widely adopted by modern logicians and based on that of Aristotle, Organon (Sophistici elenchi), is as follows.
Seen and Heard. What made you want to look up material fallacy?Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible). Material fallacies They are mistakes concerning what terms mean and how they are used or the content of an argument. They are made in the first act of the mind. In turn, material fallacies may be placed into the more general category of informal fallacies, while formal fallacies may be clearly placed into the more precise category of logical (deductive) fallacies.
Fallacy of Accident (also called destroying the exception or a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid) meaning to argue erroneously from a general rule to a particular case, without. major reference. in fallacy: Material fallacies.
The material fallacies are also known as fallacies of presumption, because the premises “presume” too much—they either covertly assume the conclusion or avoid the issue in view.