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Fallacious Arguments: An Analysis plus Samples

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What determines if an argument is fallacious?
Why and how are fallacies used intentionally?

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Solution Summary

The solutions explains and discusses Fallacies and how an argument is determined to be fallacious. The use, application and process by which fallacies are utilised for intentional purposes is discussed. Samples of fallacies are presented, particularly the Fallacy of Accident, the Converse Fallacy of Accident and the Fallacy of Consequent because they are most used. For expansion, samples of their application in popular and news media is also presented. The solution is in the form of a 1,220-word essay with References. A word versionis attached for easy printing.

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1. Explanation

Understanding Fallacy

A fallacy is a part of an argument that is logically flawed, rendering the argument invalid. There are various types of fallacies dependent upon the form the argument takes. Fallacies take the informal or formal form in logical arguments. Formal fallacies usually take on a deductive form & are invalid; any other flawed invalid argument is termed as informal fallacies. The source of the fallacy usually dictate what it is about; there are fallacies of relevance, fallacies of causal reasoning, fallacies of ambiguity & fallacies of equivocation. Aristotle observed that politicians and orators in his days used fallacies in their speeches & debates. To this day that still rings true. How does one determine a fallacy then especially in an argument? What is the relevance of the fallacy in an argument? Why are fallacies employed?

To do this, let us first discuss forms of material fallacies & a key theory in logic. Argumentation Theory studies the rules of inference, logic, dialogue & procedural rules in contrived & real-life settings to reach conclusions through logical reasoning based on premises - statements taken as truth being self-evident. This theory is what advises debates & dialogues in the justice system to ascertain truth & guilt. Understand that causality is used in fallacious arguments; (in politics, for example) power relationships between proposers & interlocutors also influence the outcome with issues like morality, patriotism, faith & ethnicity used to validate one can logically be deemed as a fallacy. There are 3 material fallacies that we can focus on being that they are usually used in the media for argumentation, discussion & debate. To check their invalidity, we will employ this equation on invalid Hypothetical syllogisms:

I (invalid) = -P (negative/denied antecedent) & +Q (positive/affirmed consequent)

Being that the ...

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  • MPhil/PhD (IP), Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • MA, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • Certificate, Geva Ulpan (via Universita Tel Aviv)
  • BA, University of the Philippines
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