Week 1: Fallacy Practice Page

From the list below identify the fallacy committed in each argument. There are 8 types of fallacies and 10 questions so you will have to use two of the items on the list twice.

1.      Red Herring

2.      Ad Hominem – Argument Against the Person

3.      Appeal to an Unqualified Authority

4.      Slippery Slope

5.      Guilt by Association

6.      Circular Reasoning/Begging the Question

7.      Straw Man

8.      Two Wrongs/ “You Too” Fallacy

1.  We’ve all heard the argument that too much television is the reason our students can’t read and write.  Yet, many of today’s TV shows are excellent.  “Seinfeld” explores important issues facing single people, “E.R.” presents medical professionals in life-and-death situations, and “60 Minutes” exposes a great variety of scams and illegal practices.  Today’s TV is just great!

2.  Publishing magnate Steve Forbes has argued at length that the fairest kind of income tax is a flat tax.  But Forbes is billionaire, and he stands to save millions of dollars if a flat tax is enacted.  Therefore, we can hardly take Forbes’s arguments seriously.

3.  Pianist Ray Charles says that Sinclair paints are groovy.  We can only conclude that Sinclair paints are groovy indeed.

4.  Picasso is the greatest artist of the twentieth century.  We know that this is so because art critics have described him in these terms.  These art critics are correct in their assessment because they have a more keenly developed sense of appreciation than the average person. This is true because it takes a more keenly developed sense of appreciation to realize that Picasso is the greatest artist of the twentieth century.

5.  It is ridiculous to hear that man from Peru complaining about America’s poverty.  Peru has twice as much poverty as America has ever had.

6.  Professor Pearson’s arguments in favor of the theory of evolution should be discounted. Pearson is a cocaine-snorting sex pervert and, according to some reports, a member of the Communist Party.

7.  People who lack humility have no sense of beauty because everyone who has a sense of beauty also has humility.

8.  Senator Barrow advocates increased Social Security for the poor.  It is regrettable that the senator finds it necessary to advocate socialism.  Socialism defeats initiative, takes away promised rewards, and leads directly to inefficiency and big government.  It was tried for years in Eastern Europe, and it failed miserably.  Clearly, socialism is no good.

9.  Our local mayor assures us that local government is run efficiently and is free of corruption. Of course, that is what you would expect the local mayor to say since she, as an elected official, could be held responsible if corruption was uncovered.

10.  The secretaries have asked us to provide lounge areas where they can spend their coffee breaks.  This request will have to be refused.  If we give them lounge areas, next they’ll be asking for spas and swimming pools.  Then it will be racquetball courts, tennis courts, and fitness centers.  Expenditures for these facilities will drive us into bankruptcy

Excerpted under the Fair Use dorctrine and Logic Coach license for Hurley, Patrick J. A Concise Introduction to Logic, 6th edition. Belmont, CA & Albany, NY: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1997