Time: Thu Jul 24 08:41:48 1997
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Date: Thu, 24 Jul 1997 08:35:35 -0700
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From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: Logical Fallacies (fwd)

Fallacy:  "The IRS is in the U.S. Department of the Treasury."

/s/ Paul Mitchell

>                        Logical Fallacies
>  A fallacy is a misleading or false argument or belief.  What follows is a
>list of the most common informal and formal logical fallacies.  Learn these
>and be able to spot logical fallacies in your (and others') reasoning.
>One of the Fallacies of Ambiguity, which arises from the emphasis (the
>accent) placed on a word or phrase.
>An argument based on a hypothetical statement, and the truth of the
>consequent to the truth of the antecedent.  In the SYLLOGISM below, A is the
>antecedent and C is the consequent:
>A implies C
>C is true                  <-- Affirming the consequent
>Therefore:  A is true
> An argument in the course of which at least one term (such as "rights") is
>used in different senses.  Also known as equivocation.  There are several
>types of "fallacies of ambiguity," including REIFICATION, EQUIVOCATION,
>A type of Fallacy of Ambiguity where the ambiguity involved is of an
>"amphibolous" (equivocal, uncertain) nature.  Amphiboly is a syntactic error.
>The fallacy is caused by faulty sentence structure, and can result in a
>meaning not intended by the author.  "The department store now has pants for
>men with 32 waists." (How many waists do you have?)
> A fallacy of asserting that something is right or good simply because it is
>old; that is, because "that's the way it's always been."
> An argument that resorts to the threat of force to cause the acceptance of
>the conclusion.  Ad baculum arguments also include threats of fear to cause
>acceptance (e.g., "Do this or you'll go to Hell when you die!" or "I made him
>an offer he couldn't refuse.").
>Fallacy of believing that money is a criterion of correctness; that those
>with more money are more likely to be right.  "If he's so stupid why is he
>so rich?" The reverse of a. ad crumenam is a. ad lazarum.
> An argument that attempts to disprove the truth of what is asserted by
>attacking the speaker rather than the speaker's argument.  Another way of
>putting it: Fallacy where you attack someone's character instead of dealing
>with issues.  The two basic types of ad hominem arguments: are 1) abusive,
>and 2) circumstantial.  This is the most common form of Logical Fallacy.
> An argument that a proposition is true because it has not been shown to be
>false, or vice versa.  Ad ignorantium arguments are also known as "appeals to
>ignorance." This fallacy has two forms:
>1.  The statement is true, because it has not been proven false.
>2.  The statement is false, because it has not been proven true.
> A fallacy of assuming that because someone is poor he or she is sounder or
>more virtuous than one who is wealthier.  -- "responsible breeders don't make
>money." This fallacy is the opposite of the informal fallacy a. ad crumenam.
>An argument that appeals to pity for the sake of getting a conclusion
>accepted (or for fundraising).
>The incorrect belief that an assertion is more likely to be true the more
>often it is heard.  An a. ad nauseum is one that employs constant repitition
>in asserting a a statement is the truth.  Dr. Goebbel's Big Lie Theory.
> A fallacy of asserting that something is more correct simply because it is
>new or newer than something else.  Or that something is better because it is
>newer.  -- "we've tried the other way for a while and it's failed, let's try
>something (anything) ." This type of fallacy is the opposite of a. ad
>A fallacy that asserts that the more people who support or believe a
>proposition then the more likely that that proposition is correct; it equates
>mass support with correctness.
>An argument that appeals to the beliefs of the multitude.  Another way of
>putting it: Speaker deals with passions of audience rather than with salient
>issues.  This fallacy is also known as "Appeal to Tradition" Ad populum
>arguments often occur in 1) propaganda, 2) demagogy, and 3) advertising.
> An argument in which an authority is appealed to on matters outside his/her
>field of authority.  (like veterinarians dispensing medical advice).  a.ad
>verecundiam also refers to a fallacy of simply resorting to appeals to
>authority (like "Doctor" Tom Regan)
>An argument that assumes as part of its premises that the conclusion is true.
>Another way of saying this is: Fallacy of assuming at the onset of an
>argument the very point you are trying to prove.  This Fallacy is also known
>Also referred to as the "black and white" fallacy, bifurcation is the
>presentation of a situation or condition with ONLY TWO alternatives, whereas
>in fact other alternatives exist or can exist.
>An argument which assumes that a whole has a specific property solely because
>itsvarious parts have that property.  -- "Because ALF is a terrorist
>organization (and ALF is part of PETA) > all PETA members condone terrorism."
>Composition is a type of Fallacy of Ambiguity.
>Description: If A then B, therefore, if B then A.  <<<NOT!!!
> A fallacy of correlation that links events because they occur
>simultaneously; one asserts that because two events occur together they are
>causally related, and leaves no room for other factors that may be the
>cause(s) of the events.  This fallacy is similar to the "post hoc" fallacy.
>An argument in which one infers the falsity of the consequent from the truth
>of a hypothetical proposition, and the falsity of its antecedent.
>A implies B
>Therefore:  Not-B
> An argument in which one assumes that various parts have a property solely
>because the whole has that same property.  Division is a type of Fallacy of
>Ambiguity -- the inverse of COMPOSITION.
>An argument in which an equivocal expression is used in one sense in one
>premise and in a different sense in another premise, or in the conclusion.
>Equivocal means 1) of uncertain significance; not determined, and 2) having
>different meanings equally possible.  Equivocation is a type of Fallacy of
>Ambiguity.  The opposite of equivocation is "UNOVOCATION," in which a word
>always carries the same meaning through a given context.
>The question asked has a presuppostion which the answerer may wish to deny,
>but which he/she would be accepting if he/she gave anything that would count
>as an answer.  Any answer to the question "Why does this event happen?"
>presupposes that the event does indeed happen.
> An analogy is a partial similarity between the like features of two things
>or events on which a comparison can be made.  A false analogy involves
>comparing two things that are NOT similar.  Note that the two things may be
>similar in superficial ways, but not with respect to what is being argued.
>An argument that is supposed to prove one proposition but succeeds only in
>proving a different one.  IGNORATIO ELENCHI stands for "pure and simple
> A syllogistic argument in which a term is distributed in the conclusion, but
>not in the premises.  One of the rules for a valid categorical syllogism is
>that if either term is distributed in the conclusion, then IT MUST BE
>DISTRIBUTED IN THE PREMISES.  There are two types of Illicit Process: Illicit
>Process of the Major Term and Illicit Process of the Minor Term.
>A demand for a simple answer to a complex question.
>An argument to reject a proposition because of the falsity of some other
>proposition that SEEMS to be a consequence of the first, but really is not.
> An argument in which the conclusion is not a necessary consequence of the
>premises.  A conclusion drawn from premises that provide no logical
>connection to it.
>The same as "Begging the Question" This argument assumes its conclusion is
>true but DOES NOT SHOW it to be true.  Petitio principii has two forms:
>1.  P is true, because P is true.
>2.  P is true, because A is true.   And A is true because B is true.
>    And B is true because P is true.
>An argument from a premise of the form "A preceded B" to a conclusion of the
>form "A caused B." Simply because one event precedes another event in time
>does not mean that the first event is the cause of the second event.  This
>argument resembles a fallacy known as a HASTY GENERALIZATION.
>An argument of the syllogistic form in which there occur four or more terms.
>In a standard categorical syllogism there are ONLY THREE TERMS: a subject, a
>predicate, and a middle term.
>A fallacy when irrelevant material is introduced to the issue being
>discussed, such that everyone's attention is diverted away from the points
>being made, and toward a different conclusion.  It is not logically valid to
>divert a chain of reasoning with extraneous points.
>To reify something is to convert an abstract concept into a concrete thing.
>Reification is a Fallacy of Ambiguity.  Reification is also sometimes known
>as a fallacy of "HYPOSTATIZATION".
>An argument in which a proposition is used as a premise without attention
>given to some obvious condition that would affect the proposition's
>application.  This fallacy is also known as the "HASTY GENERALIZATION." It is
>a fallacy that takes evidence from several, possibly unrepresentative, cases
>to a general rule; generalizing from few to many.  NOTE THE RELATION TO
>STATISTICS: Much of statistics concerns whether or not a sample is
>representative of a larger population.  The larger the sample size, the
>better the representativeness.  Note also that the opposite of a hasty
>generalization is a sweeping generalization.
> The burden of proof is always on the person making the assertion or
>proposition.  Shifting the burden of proof, a special case of "ARGUMENTUM AD
>IGNORANTIUM," is a fallacy of putting the burden of proof on the person who
>denies or questions the assertion being made.  The source of the fallacy is
>the assumption that something is true unless proven otherwise.
> Special pleading is a logical fallacy wherein a double standard is employed
>by the person making the assertion.  Special pleading typically happens when
>one insists upon less strict treatment for the argument he/she is making than
>he or she would make when evaluating someone else's arguments.
>It is a fallacy to misrepresent someone else's position for the purposes of
>more easily attacking it, then to knock down that misrepresented position,
>and then to conclude that the original position has been demolished.  It is a
>fallacy because it fails to deal with the actual arguments that one has made.
> Also known by the Latin term "DICTO SIMPLICITER", a Sweeping Generalization
>occurs when a general rule is applied to a particular situation in which the
>features of that particular situation render the rule inapplicable.  A
>sweeping generalization is the opposite of a hasty generalization.
>Two wrongs never add up to a right; you cannot right a wrong by applying yet
>another wrong.  Such a fallacy is a misplaced appeal to consistency.  It is a
>fallacy because it makes no attempt to deal with the subject under
>A syllogistic argument in which the middle term of a categorical
>syllogism is not distributed in AT LEAST ONE of the premises.
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Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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