Philosophy: Fallacies & Persuaders

1) Exercise 10.1: # 1, 3, 6, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 17, 22
2) Exercise 10.2: # 4, 6, 7, 8, 12, 16
3) Exercise 10.3 # 3, 7, 9

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Exercise 10.1
1. What are fallacies of irrelevant premises? What makes them irrelevant?
2. What is the genetic fallacy?
3. Can the origin of a claim ever be relevant to deciding its truth or falsity?
*4. What is the fallacy of composition?
5. What are the two forms of the fallacy of division?
6. Why are appeals to the person fallacious?
7. What type of ad hominem argument is put forth as a charge of hypocrisy?
8. What is the fallacy of poisoning the well?
9. What is the fallacy of equivocation?
*10. Why are appeals to popularity fallacious?
11. Why are appeals to tradition fallacious?
12. What are the two forms of the appeal to ignorance?
13. What is the proper response to an appeal to ignorance?
14. What is rhetoric?
*15. According to the text, is it ever legitimate to use rhetoric and argument together?
16. What is the fallacy of red herring?
17. Why is an argument that relies on the straw-man fallacy a bad argument?
18. What is the fallacy of begging the question?
*19. Why are people often taken in by false dilemmas?
20. What is the burden of proof?
21. What is the fallacy of slippery slope? Can the argument used in the slippery-slope fallacy ever be used legitimately? Why or why not?
22. What is the rhetorical device of innuendo?
23. What is the rhetorical device of stereotyping?

Exercise 10.2
In the following passages, identify any fallacies of irrelevance (genetic fallacy, composition, division, appeal to the person, equivocation, appeal to popularity, appeal to tradition, appeal to ignorance, appeal to emotion, red herring, and straw man). Some passages may contain more than one fallacy, and a few may contain no fallacies at all. Also identify any rhetorical devices highlighted in this chapter.
*1. “Seeing that the eye and hand and foot and every one of our members has some obvious function, must we not believe that in like manner a human being has a function over and above these particular functions?” [Aristotle]
2. The federal budget deficits are destroying this country. Just ask any working stiff; he’ll tell you.
3. The hippies of the sixties railed against the materialistic, capitalistic system and everyone who prospered in it. But all their bellyaching was crap because they were a bunch of hypocrites, living off their rich mothers and fathers.
4. Anthony argues that capital punishment should be abolished. But why should we listen to him? He’s a prisoner on death row right now.
*5. The New York Times reported that one-third of Republican senators have been guilty of Senate ethics violations. But you know that’s false—the Times is a notorious liberal rag.
6. Geraldo says that students who cheat on exams should not automatically be expelled from school. But it’s ridiculous to insist that students should never be punished for cheating.
7. Of course the death penalty is a just punishment. It has been used for centuries.
8. My sweater is blue. Therefore, the atoms that make up the sweater are blue.
9. The prime minister is lying about his intelligence briefings since almost everyone surveyed in national polls thinks he’s lying.
*10. Kelly says that many women who live in predominantly Muslim countries are discriminated against. But how the heck would she know? She’s not a Muslim.
11. A lot of people think that football jocks are stupid and boorish. That’s a crock. Anyone who had seen the fantastic game that our team played on Saturday, with three touchdowns before halftime, would not believe such rubbish.
12. Does acupuncture work? Can it cure disease? Of course. It has been used in China by folk practitioners for at least three thousand years.
13. The arguments of right-to-lifers cannot be believed. They’re hypocrites who scream about dead babies but then murder abortion doctors.
*14. “The only proof capable of being given that an object is visible, is that people actually see it. The only proof that a sound is audible, is that people hear it: and so of the other sources of our experience. In like manner, I apprehend, the sole evidence it is possible to produce that anything is desirable, is that people actually desire it.” [John Stuart Mill]
15. The new StratoCar is the best automobile on the road. Picture the admiring glances you’ll get when you take a cruise in your StratoCar through town. Imagine the power and speed!
16. Gremlins exist, that’s for sure. No scientist has ever proved that they don’t exist.
17. “The most blatant occurrence of recent years is all these knuckleheads running around protesting nuclear power—all these stupid people who do not research at all and who go out and march, pretending they care about the human race, and then go off in their automobiles and kill one another.” [Ray Bradbury]
18. Is the theory of evolution true? Yes. Polls show that most people believe in it.
*19. The former mayor was convicted of drug possession, and he spent time in jail. So you can safely ignore anything he has to say about legalizing drugs.
20. I don’t believe in heaven and hell because no one—not even scientists—has ever produced proof that they exist.
21. Professor, I deserve a better grade than a D on my paper. Look, my parents just got a divorce. If they see that I got a D, they will just blame each other, and the fighting will start all over again. Give me a break.
22. Only man has morals. No woman is a man. Therefore, no woman has morals.
23. Every player on the team is the best in the league. So the team itself is the best in the league.
*24. Why are Asians so good at math?
25. I’m sure Senator Braxton would never take a large bribe.
*26. Our administration may need to consider trying some form of revenue enhancement.

Exercise 10.3
In the following passages, identify any fallacies of unacceptable premises (begging the question, false dilemma, slippery slope, and hasty generalization). Some passages may contain more than one fallacy, and a few may contain no fallacies at all.
1. Random drug testing in schools is very effective in reducing drug use because the regular use of the testing makes drug use less likely.
2. If today you can make teaching evolution in public schools a crime, then tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in private schools. Then you can ban books and other educational materials that mention evolution. And then you can ban the very word from all discourse. And then the anti-science bigots will have won.
3. Three thieves are dividing up the $7,000 they just stole from the First National Bank. Robber number one gives $2,000 to robber number two, $2,000 to robber number three, and $3,000 to himself. Robber number two says, “How come you get $3,000?” Robber number one says, “Because I am the leader.” “How come you’re the leader?” “Because I have more money.”
*4. Either God exists or he does not exist. If he exists, and you believe, you will gain heaven; if he exists and you don’t believe, you will lose nothing. If he does not exist, and you believe, you won’t lose much. If he does not exist, and you don’t believe, you still won’t lose much. The best gamble then is to believe.
5. John is now on trial for murder, but the proceedings are a waste of time and money. Everyone knows he’s guilty.
*6. I used to work with this engineering major. And, man, they are really socially inept.
7. I met these two guys on a plane, and they said they were from Albuquerque. They were total druggies. Almost everyone in that city must be on drugs.
8. Some people are fools, and some people are married to fools.
9. Bill is an investment banker, drives a Cadillac, is overweight, and votes Republican. John is also an investment banker, drives a Cadillac, and is overweight. So John probably votes Republican, too.
*10. Either we fire this guy or we send a message to other employees that it’s okay to be late for work. Clearly, we need to fire him.

Exercise 10.4
For each of the following claims, devise an argument using the fallacy shown in parentheses. Make the argument as persuasive as possible.
1. The federal budget deficit will destroy the economy. (red herring)
2.The Hunger Games is the best movie ever made. (appeal to popularity)
*3. Mrs. Anan does not deserve the Nobel Prize. (appeal to the person)
4. Vampires—the blood-sucking phantoms of folklore—are real. (appeal to ignorance)
5. Internet pornography can destroy this country. (slippery slope)
*6. The Boy Scouts of America should allow gay kids to be members. (begging the question)
7. The United States should attack Iran. (false dilemma)
8. That economics seminar is absolutely the worst course offered at the university. (hasty generalization)
9. Pope John Paul II was a moral giant. (appeal to emotion)
10. The Nigerian court was right to sentence that woman to be stoned to death for adultery. (appeal to popularity)
*11. There are too many guns on the streets because our politicians are controlled by the National Rifle Association and other gun nuts. (red herring)
12. All efforts should be made to ban trade in exotic pets such as tigers. (genetic fallacy)

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