giovedì, luglio 25, 2013

Very informal fallacies »

Very informal fallacies »: Logic students sometimes misremember or misspell the names of fallacies. One danger this poses is that it can inspire bored logic teachers to take a break from grading exams and write up ill-considered “humor” pieces. And so, in this blog’s proud tradition of rollicking comedy, here are some fallacies you’ve never heard of (though I bet you’ve committed a few of ‘em):

Post doc, ergo propter doc: The delusion that a Ph.D. confers wisdom, or even basic competence. Example: “Of course the medievals thought the earth was flat. It says so in the book! Who’s the professor here, anyway?”

Red hair-ing: Believing that something is true simply because a really hot redhead said it. Example: “Omigosh, Christina Hendricks is so hot. I would totally believe anything she says.”

Appeal to minority: The smug presumption that popular opinion, tradition, and plain common sense are always likely to be wrong. Often committed in conjunction with the Post doc fallacy. Example: “Of course, this goes against everything your parents, your pastor, and pretty much everyone else have always believed. So it must be true!”

Question the begging: Knee-jerk tendency to think that panhandlers, hard-up relatives, government employees, etc. are only going to blow any money you give them on booze and cigarettes. Not really a fallacy at all. Example: “I don’t care if he’s a legless veteran with five children and rickets! Didn’t you see that iPod?”

Democratic fallacy: Being a member of the Democratic Party and/or voting for Democratic Party candidates. Example: “I intend to vote Democrat this year.”

Affirming the consequences: Assuming that consequences are all that matter in morality. Also known as “consequentialism,” and often mistaken for an actual moral theory. Example: Pick any random sentence from a Peter Singer book.

Ad Eminem: Paranoid suspicion among some readers of right-wing blogs that absolutely everything about modern culture leads inexorably to rap music, pornography, and women wearing slacks. Example: “Did you read Feser’s blog post defending jazz?! Next he’ll be linking to YouTube clips from The Marshall Mathers LP!”