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Identifying Illogical Arguments

ANALYZING SOMEONE ELSE’ ARGUMENT!

Part 1:
Please find an argument to analyze.  Be creative!  Some suggestions are to use a commercial, letter to the editor (or op/ed piece).  Analyze the argument you choose.

What is the main purpose of the argument?
Is it inductive?  Deductive?
Are there any fallacies being used?  If so, which ones?
Part 2:
Does the argument align with a philosophical theory or theorist? Choose one philosophical theory or theorist and explain from that perspective what you would change to make the argument better.  Think about the steps that you could use to improve the argument. For example, if you pick Socrates as a theorist think of how Socrates would reflect upon and engage the argument for change. 

Look for common fallacies like:
Circular thinking typically restating the premise in the conclusion and creating a circular argument
Appeals to authority generally this fallacy considers an argument that we should listen to based on some false or non authority. Is this happening in your argument example?
False cause in this fallacy the writer or speaker attributes a false cause to some effect or result (often you will see superstitious thinking used here).
Sweeping generalizations this fallacy occurs when an individual makes generalizations (usually stereotypical thinking)
Equivocation in this fallacy a person confuses two senses of the meaning of a word (like a free animal- is it free because it doesnt cost anything or is it free because it is not in a cage?)
Red herring very common in political settings.  This fallacy is a distraction (think of a big red fish pretty distracting, right?)

 

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