Western Logic Formal Fallacy Part 2for RSET

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Watch Video Lecture on YouTube: Western Logic - Formal & Informal Fallacy : Types of 6 Fallacies (Philosophy)

Western Logic - Formal & Informal Fallacy : Types of 6 Fallacies (Philosophy)

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Fallacy

  • When an argument fails to support its conclusion, that argument is termed as fallacious in nature.

  • A fallacious argument is hence an erroneous argument.

  • In other words, any error or mistake in an argument leads to a fallacy.

  • So, the definition of fallacy is any argument which although seems correct but has an error committed in its reasoning.

  • Hence, a fallacy is an error, a fallacious argument is an argument which has erroneous reasoning.

  • In the words of Frege, the analytical philosopher, “it is a logician’s task to identify the pitfalls in language.” Hence, logicians are concerned with the task of identifying fallacious arguments in logic which are also called as incorrect or invalid arguments.

  • There are numerous fallacies but they are classified under two main heads;

    • Formal Fallacies

    • Informal Fallacies

      Formal Fallacies:

      • Formal fallacies are those mistakes or errors which occur in the form of the argument.

      • In other words, formal fallacies concern themselves with the form or the structure of the argument.

      • Formal fallacies are present when there is a structural error in a deductive argument.

      • It is important to note that formal fallacies always occur in a deductive argument.

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There are of six types:

Fallacy of Four Terms:

  • A valid syllogism must contain three terms, each of which should be used in the same sense throughout, else it is a fallacy of four terms.

  • This means, an argument must have only three terms. The three terms are; major term, middle term and minor term.

  • Each of these terms should be used in the same sense throughout the argument (premises and conclusion). For example;

    • All dogs are cute

    • All cats are animals

    • Therefore, all dogs are animals

      • Here, the argument has more than three terms; dogs, cute, cats and animals.

      • Another name for this fallacy is Quaternio Terminorum.

      • In short, when more than three or less than three terms are used in a syllogism then we have a formal fallacy which is called fallacy of four terms.

      • Hence, a valid syllogism uses only three terms (not more, not less).

The Fallacy of Undistributed Middle Term:

  • Undistributed middle term is a fallacy when the middle term of the syllogism in not distributed in either of the premises.

  • For a valid syllogism, the middle term must be distributed in at least one of the premise.

  • It could be either major premise or the minor premise.

  • It is also important to note that the Middle term never appears in the conclusion in a valid syllogism.

  • For example,

    • All people are patriotic

    • All Indians are patriotic

    • Therefore, all Indians are people

  • Here, the middle term, patriotic is neither distributed in the major premise, nor in the minor premise.

  • So, although the argument looks valid, it is a fallacious argument.

The Fallacy of Illicit Process:

  • When a term distributed in the conclusion is not disturbed in the premises, we have a fallacy of undistributed term or illicit process

  • This fallacy is further divided into two parts;

    • Illicit Major

    • Illicit Minor

Illicit Major:

  • When the major term distributed in the conclusion is not distributed in the major premise, we have Illicit major.

  • For example, All dogs are mammals ,No cats are dogs, Therefore, no cats are mammals

  • Here, the major term (mammals) is distributed in the conclusion but it is not distributed in the major premise- All dogs are mammals.

Illicit Minor:

  • When the minor term distributed in the conclusion is not distributed in the minor premise, we have Illicit minor fallacy.

  • For example,

    • All traditionally religious people are old people

    • All traditionally religious people are married people

  • Therefore, all married people are old people

  • Here, the minor term (married people) is distributed in the conclusion but it is not distributed in the minor premise- All traditionally religious people are married people.

MCQ

1. Formal fallacies are those which

Options:

A. Occur in the form of the argument

B. Occur in the structure of the argument

C. Both A and B

D. Occur in the content of the argument

Answer: C

2. When an argument has less than three terms, it commits the fallacy of

Options:

A. Fallacy of four terms

B. No fallacy is committed

C. Undistributed Middle term

D. None of these

Answer: A

3. When a term distributed in the conclusion is not disturbed in the premises, we have a fallacy of

Options:

A. Illicit Major

B. Illicit Minor

C. Illicit Process

D. Undistributed Middle term

Answer: C

We learnt about:

#formal

#informal

#fallacies

#relevance

#Fallacyofillicitprocess

#Illicitmajor

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