Western Logic Informal fallacies-Fallacies of Relevance for Competitive Exams

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Watch Video Lecture on YouTube: Western Logic Informal Fallacies: Fallacies of Relevance (Philosophy)

Western Logic Informal Fallacies: Fallacies of Relevance (Philosophy)

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Informal Fallacy

  • Informal fallacy occurs when there is a mistake or an error with the content of the argument.

  • Informal fallacies concern themselves with the content of an inductive argument where the content is irregular, insufficient or ambiguous due to which it fails to provide a logical conclusion.

  • Informal fallacies are numerous in number but they can be best understood when arranged in four main heads.

  • They are;

    • Fallacies of Relevance

    • Fallacies of Defective Induction

    • Fallacies of Presumption

    • Fallacies of Ambiguity

Complete notes and preparation module at doorsteptutor.com

Fallacies of Relevance

  • They occur when there is no connection between the premises and the conclusion.

  • They are most common and frequently occurring fallacies in arguments, speeches, etc.

  • In other words, it occurs when the premises of the argument are not relevant to the drawn conclusion.

  • They are of six kinds;

    • The appeal to Emotion

    • The Red Herring

    • The Straw Man

    • The Attack on the Person

    • The Appeal to Force

    • Missing the Point

    • Argument to Pity

    • The Appeal to Emotion:

  • In this fallacy, the argument is tried to be won by appealing to the emotions of the audience.

  • It relies on emotions, expressive language and not on reason, evidence and rational thinking.

  • Hence, the name appeal to one’s or people’s emotions.

  • Another name for this fallacy is Argument ad populum.

  • For example, the fairness cream advertisement shows that ever since the girl has started applying the fairness cream, people have started noticing her, she is getting jobs offers, etc.

  • So, this argument appeals to the emotions of the dark or brown skinned people.

  • In this argument, emotions are used to win an argument.

  • This fallacy substitutes emotions for reason.

  • This fallacy is mostly used in political speeches, advertisements of beauty products, etc.

    • The Red Herring:

      • It is a fallacy of relevance which is committed when some distraction is used to mislead or confuse.

      • This deals with deliberately misleading the conversation on some other topic or subject which was not initially the part of the conversation.

      • For example, a child tells him mother that I want a toy and the mother replies, let’s go home early as there is a present for you at home.

      • Here, the topic of discussion shifts to something else which was not the topic before.

      • Similarly when A says to B, Global warming is a harsh reality. B replies saying there are so many people who die every year because of cold.

    • The Straw Man:

      • This fallacy is committed when one manipulates, distorts and plays with an argument and makes an argument turn over some other conflict within the discussion.

      • It simpler words, it occurs when we shift the conflict to some other issue within the same conversation.

      • It is a work of manipulation, it is committed when one manipulates, distorts and plays with an argument and makes an argument over some other conflict within the discussion.

      • For example, when a group of people were critically analysing the drawbacks of the current government, some people shifted the focus to how bad the earlier government was.

      • This fallacy deals with a deliberate action. Similarly, when A says to B, I like the rainy season. B replies, if there is no sun, crops will die and eventually we will all die of hunger.

    • The Attack on the Person:

      • Attacking a person is committed when one attacks a person for accepting a conclusion rather than attacking the conclusion.

      • In other words, argument against the people or argument ad hominen is committed when an attack is made on the person who defends the conclusion and not on the conclusion.

      • As the name rightly suggests, attack the person.

      • For example, Don’t believe what Rahul says on global warming because Rahul is a dropout from college.

      • Here, a personal attack is made on Rahul for being a college dropout and not on what he is stating on global warming. Or, you failed in the Hindi test, do not teach me logic.

    • The Appeal to Force:

      • Appeal to force or ad Baculum is committed when force or threats are used to win an argument.

      • For example, if you do not vote for our party, then there will be only unemployment in the society. Therefore, the youth will have no jobs.

      • Or, I want you to pay me in advance else I will see you alone.

      • Here, force, coercion, or even a threat of force is used in place of reason in order to win an argument.

    • Missing the Point:

      • This fallacy is also know as the fallacy of irrelevant conclusion or mistaken refutation.

      • Missing the point is a fallacy when there is a disconnect between the premise and the conclusion.

      • It is also known as Ignoratio Elenchi.

      • For example,

        • There are more reports of theft reported in Delhi

        • More people are moving to Delhi

        • Therefore, more thefts are caused by more people moving to Delhi

    • Appeal to Pity:

      • It is another variety of the fallacy of appeal to emotions.

      • Under this fallacy, the pity of another person is evoked in-order to win an argument.

      • For example, I did not do my homework because I was really ill, I couldn’t even lift the pencil.

      • This is a fine example of appeal to pity of the teacher used by a student who failed to do his/her homework.

      • Another example would be, Don’t punish the poor old man for his sins, he lives on the streets and have no one to look after him.

      • It is also know as ad Misericordiam, Misericordiam in Latin means merciful heart.

MCQ

Q-1. ad Misericordiam is also known as.

Options:

A. Attack on Person

B. Appeal to force

C. Missing the point

D. Appeal to pity

Answer: D

Q- 2. Informal fallacies occur when

Options:

A. Form of the argument has a mistake

B. Structure of the argument has a mistake

C. Content of the argument has a mistake

D. Both A and B

Answer: C

Q- 3. A says to B, I like the rainy season. B replies, if there is no sun, crops will die and eventually we will all die of hunger. This commits the fallacy of

Options:

A. Straw man

B. Red Herring

C. Missing the point

D. Attack the person

Answer: A

4. A says to B, Global warming is a harsh reality. B replies saying there are so many people who die every year because of cold. This commits the fallacy of

Options:

A. Straw man

B. Red Herring

C. Missing the point

D. Attack the person

Answer: B

  • We learnt about:

#informal

#fallacies

#Relevance

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