Logical fallacies

Discuss morality and ethics in this message board.
Featured Article: Philosophical Analysis of Abortion, The Right to Life, and Murder
Post Reply
User avatar
Susie16
New Trial Member
Posts: 1
Joined: October 9th, 2017, 10:27 am

Logical fallacies

Post by Susie16 » October 9th, 2017, 10:36 am

Im really needing help any advice would be so grateful.


Please present two statements about moral issues that reference two different logical fallacies. Make sure that the statement is a clear example of a logical fallacy, and that you have clearly identified which logical fallacy the statement is making. In doing so, you should explain what a logical fallacy is and why they should be avoided in making an argument.

Eduk
Posts: 780
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Logical fallacies

Post by Eduk » October 10th, 2017, 12:38 pm

Surely you can google that yourself? What part exactly are you having trouble over?

Steve3007
Posts: 4248
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Eratosthenes
Location: UK

Re: Logical fallacies

Post by Steve3007 » October 10th, 2017, 12:49 pm

Maybe he/she wants to be able to ask the provider of the answer to explain their answer in more detail if necessary, and perhaps enter into a dialogue about it. Google is not so good at that.
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch."

Eduk
Posts: 780
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Logical fallacies

Post by Eduk » October 10th, 2017, 12:58 pm

That's why I asked for more detail. It is clearly cut and paste homework. An answer will do nothing to help. For example I can ask Hawkins what spin an electron has in quantum physics and he can answer me and I would have learned nothing at all.

-- Updated October 10th, 2017, 12:59 pm to add the following --

Hawking not Hawkins, I'm always doing that.

User avatar
LuckyR
Posts: 2323
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Logical fallacies

Post by LuckyR » October 11th, 2017, 12:30 am

Susie16 wrote:Im really needing help any advice would be so grateful.


Please present two statements about moral issues that reference two different logical fallacies. Make sure that the statement is a clear example of a logical fallacy, and that you have clearly identified which logical fallacy the statement is making. In doing so, you should explain what a logical fallacy is and why they should be avoided in making an argument.
Uummm, pay more attention in lecture?
"As usual... it depends."

Steve3007
Posts: 4248
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Eratosthenes
Location: UK

Re: Logical fallacies

Post by Steve3007 » October 11th, 2017, 6:40 am

Hawking not Hawkins, I'm always doing that.
Like people who say Cliff Richards when they mean Cliff Richard. But in reverse.

---

I hope Susie16 hasn't been put off by the way we're laying into his/her question. (Note: I'm still not assuming a gender here, due to the influence of a Johnny Cash song.)

Here's my attempt to address the OP with at least one statement about a moral issue that references one different logical fallacy. (The dog ate the other one).

"Torturing prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, in Iraq, is not just wrong, it is un-American."

This is one I remember hearing some years ago. It seems to be me that it might be an example of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy.
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch."

Eduk
Posts: 780
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Logical fallacies

Post by Eduk » October 11th, 2017, 6:57 am

I assume Susie16 is young. I hope they would not be put off by what has been written too.

Steve3007
Posts: 4248
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Eratosthenes
Location: UK

Re: Logical fallacies

Post by Steve3007 » October 11th, 2017, 7:10 am

Yes, I guess he/she might actually be 16. In which case he/she probably has no idea who I'm referring to when I reference such exotic historical figures as Johnny Cash and Cliff Richards.
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch."

Londoner
Posts: 1614
Joined: March 8th, 2013, 12:46 pm

Re: Logical fallacies

Post by Londoner » October 11th, 2017, 9:30 am

Susie16 wrote:Im really needing help any advice would be so grateful.

Please present two statements about moral issues that reference two different logical fallacies. Make sure that the statement is a clear example of a logical fallacy, and that you have clearly identified which logical fallacy the statement is making. In doing so, you should explain what a logical fallacy is and why they should be avoided in making an argument.
I think you are right to be confused.

Try Googling 'List of fallacies'. (This site will not let me link to the page, but it is in a well known online encyclopedia)

You will see there are two types. The formal ones are mistakes in logic itself; to understand these it would help if you had done some formal logic. The easiest ones concern If...then type statements: if we assume P is true, and also assume 'If P then Q' is true, then we can conclude Q is true. But it doesn't go backwards. If Q is true, we cannot conclude P is true.

But the difficulty here, not possibly appreciated by whoever set the task, is that 'true' in this sense does not mean 'a fact' or 'good' or anything else. It is more like a '+' sign in maths. Nor do the P and Q stand for anything; the logic is equally valid (or invalid) whatever they stand for. So if you try to turn a bit of logic into ordinary language it is no longer logic. Logic is like maths; 2 + 2 = 4 is not about anything. It cannot tell us 'there are four apples' or 'four dragons' or anything else. We do not check whether we have got a sum right be looking for objects to count.

So, being asked for logical fallacies about moral issues is rather like being asked to provide examples of incorrect 'moral arithmetic'.

So I'd say the closest would be something as silly as: (x is good) and also (x is not good), which is false because it breaks the law of non-contradiction.

The other stuff, the 'informal fallacies' are easier, but they are not strictly speaking logical. They may superficially resemble a reasonable argument, but they are not.

I'd think the most obvious regarding morals would be the 'appeal to authority': X is wrong because it says so in the Bible. (Or there is a sort of negative version, the 'ad hominem', where you attack the character of your opponent; 'the people who argue eating meat is wrong are all communists, so it must be OK to eat meat'. A lot of the others in the list in the link are also variations of each other.) But we could imagine a Christian saying that there is nothing wrong with their argument from authority; that all moral systems are based on some sort of claim to authority.

I think the most used one regarding morals is what the list describes as the Nirvana fallacy. That would be the notion that you cannot make any moral claim unless it has no possible downside. This comes out when somebody says 'it is wrong to lie' and others counter with examples where not telling a lie might allow other bad things to happen ('But what if the Nazis asked you if any Jews were hiding in your house?') But then there is no moral claim where we couldn't imagine such a 'what if...'

The most interesting is the Moralistic/Naturalistic fallacy, about deriving an 'is' from an 'ought', or vice versa. That what is 'natural' is the same as what is moral. In the natural world the sick die, therefore it is immoral to try to help the sick. But it is interesting because it is by no means certain it is a fallacy, because if we rule out that sort of argument it is hard to come up with a coherent alternative.

Anyway, I suspect these 'informal fallacies' would do if you just want to complete the assignment. But, if you are interested in philosophy, which you may be on the evidence that you find the question difficult, you must question the question. In this case, I'd say that where we can 'explain what a logical fallacy is', this would be limited to a fallacy in the formal sense, and thus exclude moral statements.

And all the examples of informal fallacies about moral arguments are only fallacies if we could contrast them with a non-fallacy about morality. But we cannot determine the truth about morality logically! So what is the correct way of determining the truth about morality, such that we can declare all the others to be a fallacy, but that wouldn't be a fallacy itself?

(Now, what you have to decide is whether a sophisticated philosophical answer will get you top marks - or zero marks. That is something you need to judge, based on the intelligence and character of your teacher.)

User avatar
Albert Tatlock
Posts: 128
Joined: October 15th, 2017, 3:23 pm

Re: Logical fallacies

Post by Albert Tatlock » October 15th, 2017, 5:57 pm

Steve3007 wrote:Yes, I guess he/she might actually be 16. In which case he/she probably has no idea who I'm referring to when I reference such exotic historical figures as Johnny Cash and Cliff Richards.
I wouldn't have thought many Americans of any age would know who Cliff Richards is, therefore being familiar with Cliff Richards is un-American. This may be a logical fallacy, I'm not sure, but it certainly is an example of good judgement on the part of the Americans.

Steve3007
Posts: 4248
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Eratosthenes
Location: UK

Re: Logical fallacies

Post by Steve3007 » October 16th, 2017, 3:58 am

Yes, but Cliff Richards is easy to imagine: Elvis Presley with the sexuality literally squeezed out.
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch."

Post Reply