Philosophy, Uncategorized

Every Rose Has It’s Thorn: Fallacies In Philosophy

To quote the awesome american band Poison “every rose has it’s thorn”. Philosophy isn’t any different, metaphorically speaking. The thorns in the sweet smelling rose of philosophy is the logical fallacy. So lets take a sniff of the rose, breathe deep, and learn to try to avoid the poke of the fallacy. By the way, Poke of the Fallacy would make a great punk band name, okay, anyway that’s an aside. Lets get to work!

Philosophy has an obligation to critically evaluate known facts; the test of truth is a critical key-stone of philosophy. Without valuating a premise, or base claim, of an argument how are we to come to a sound and logical conclusion of the same valuation? If you wish, see my last blog about assessing validity and soundness of an argument by looking at the logical workings of a the premise and conclusion within an argument’s form.

Professor Rodriguez (a.k.a. The Profess) has revealed to us, the good students, a link to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s list of 213 most common fallacies. Ten fallacies have been chosen for us to review – I’m so grateful it’s only 10 and not all 213! Below is a list of those ten particular fallacies.

  • Give your own, original examples for the following ten fallacies, plus two of your own choice. 

  1. Begging the Question

  2. Ad Hominem

  3. Equivocation

  4. Slippery Slope

  5. Straw Man

  6. Tu Quoque

  7. Non-sequitur

  8. False Dichotomy

  9. Argument from ignorance

  10. Red Herring

The following answers appear in successive order relative to the numbered fallacies above.

  1. Begging The Question: Cats and dogs are treated the same. However, cats are not supposed to play with balls, only dogs are supposed to play with balls because they are dogs.
  2. Ad Hominem: That man’s mathematical logic must be ill. He married another person like himself, he must be terrible at mathematics!
  3. Equivocation: Nancy said she was a liberated woman, most liberated people are socialists. Communists are socialists, they’ve been know to torture in the name of liberation. Nancy must support torture.
  4. Slippery Slope:If one hangs out with people that ride motorcycles they might start doing crime, join a gang, sell drugs and cause trouble – it all leads to anarchy and the state will fall apart.
  5. Straw Man: Man A: “Violent jihad is killing our country-men. It is a threat to us. All people who subscribe to the Muslim religion must be banned from our country because jihad comes from Muslims.” Man B: “But not all people who ascribe to the Muslim faith believe in violent jihad, or violence in general, they don’t support it. So why ban them all?” Man A: “Because only Muslims commit violent jihad.”
  6. Tu Quoque: “If my dentist lies to his patients, then I too can lie to my doctors!”
  7. Non-sequitur: A high I.Q. can be a trait for an intelligent person. Jim Parsons plays an intelligent person on T.V., he and all actors who play intelligent people must have very high I.Q.’s!
  8. False Dichotomy: “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” – G. W. Bush, Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, September 20, 2001.
  9. Argument from Ignorance: “Any type of life does not exist anywhere in the Universe because there is no proof that it does.” “Philosophy is resoundingly a woman because there is no proof that philosophy is not a literal woman.”
  10. Red Herring: “In order to fix our immigration issue we need to build a wall along the borders of our country. We need to acquire more specialized taxes to do this, there we will focus all of our attention to designing new tax laws for building things – like special walls.”
  11. Group Think: “My team – the Falcons – won the state championships title four years in a row! No one else is better than us, everyone thinks so, they’re all inherently inferior because they are not the Falcons. It’s the truth!”
  12. Tokenism: “Of course the organization supports women and equal pay, we have a woman in the mail room, she is paid the same as our other woman.”

The above are my examples of the ten listed fallacies but there are many many more of those thorny little ‘things’. Those ten in themselves gave me a lot to think about in regards to what I say and how I think and to think there are two-hundred and thirteen listed on the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s page of Fallacies. Does anyone know how many fallacies there are? That would be something to know but that is definitely for another time and blog.

Knowing about fallacies can be used as a reference for every day evaluation, not just critical evaluation and not just for philosophical evaluation. In my opinion, knowing the fallacies and how they operate can help one build a better question for learning about the world around you.  It’s a proverbial icing to the proverbial question cake, it can make your question cake richer (and maybe even tastier).

Okay, I just poured myself a beer. You know it’s said at the bottom of every beer there is an answer to everything or maybe some things. I’m going to put this to the test and figure out if this is a fallacy or not, wish me luck! Ha!

Lastly, I dedicate this Poison song to thorny fallacies on the side of the philosophical rose.

 

 

Philosophy

Validity and Soundness of an Argument

The image below seems legit (or is it). Let us find out while exploring the workings of logic within the form of an argument.

nickcage

The good doctor (a.k.a. Dr. T. Rodriguez, the Philosophy Professor) has requested of us, the good students, to explore the particulars of an argument. We are to read “Informal Logic”.

From this reading we are to:

  1. Give your own, original example of a valid argument with a false conclusion.

  2. Give your own, original example of a valid argument with a true conclusion.

  3. Give your own, original example of a sound argument.

  4. Give your own, original example of a persuasive argument based on induction.

Now here I am trying to come up with my own examples while my cat looks on at me wondering when I will get out of his chair and hand over my comfy blanket. The following answers appear in successive order relative to the numbered questions above.

  • Nick Cage’s hair is a spaghetti monster. All Nick Cages have hair. Therefore Nick Cage is a turkey meat ball.
  • Nick Cage’s hair is a spaghetti monster. All Nick Cages have hair. Therefore Nick Cage is a portion of a spaghetti monster.
  • Nick Cage has hair. Nick Cage’s hair is not a bird. Nick Cage is not a bird.
  • Earth’s gravity causes all things to fall toward Earth. If tossed on Earth, a plastic hot-dog will fall toward earth because of gravity.

Well, what kind of bantha poodoo is this madness? As far as my understanding allows me understand, logic as it is described in the web page linked at the beginning of this blog has attributes (or as I like to call them particulates). These attributes make up an intangible form which makes an argument. At first I thought: What the hell? What is this sorcery?

After some thought I took into consideration of what makes a statue; what defines a statue according to humans. A statue is a figure or form defined by a medium (or material if you will) to represent an idea – be it an animal or human. Like the statue arguments have form too.

Huh, maybe arguments are intangible statues of….uh, well, anyway. Arguments have definitions or attributes like the statue. A primary claim or premise (technically considered an antecedent) is a foundation for which an argument is based upon and a premise or premises lead toward a conclusion.

This logic form, lets call it an intangible form of a statue of an argument, can also be represented symbolically in an alphanumeric form starting with P’s and Q’s. Other letters can be added in addition to the P and Q form to expand the form but in general you will find P and Q used. From what I gathered through a Google search this is called Symbolic Logic. I will not go into the subject of Symbolic Logic because that is beyond the scope of this particular blog but it can be Googled – just let your fingers do the walking. Again in general, as described in the linked page at the beginning of this blog, the symbolic representative form of an argument should be: If P then Q. Where P is the antecedent or premise and Q is the conclusion.

Insert mind explosion here: BOOSH! This is amazing! Assuming an argument follows this general form it has a fair chance of being logical but will it be sound (also known as “is it cray-cray or not”). It’s not sound if is not realistically provable in reality. Think of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when she says “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Arguments can follow a linearly logical form and be true but it doesn’t mean they’re based in reality, it doesn’t mean it’s sound.


(Wizard of Oz, 1939; Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQLNS3HWfCM)

This is some good stuff. I definitely feel like I’m headed toward breaching the surface of a better understanding of argumentation; I feel like I’ve gained a super power! And I can’t wait to test my new-found skills during the 2016 presidential debates. I might even start rating some of the candidates unsound and sound arguments using Totos or Oz wizards or something, meh, who knows. Either way I feel I have gained a valuable tool, especially one I can use in my philosophy class to test for validity and soundness of an argument and I will encourage others to read “Informal Logic” on Jim Pryor’s website.

Uncategorized

First Blog: First Steps Toward A Better Question

What is this blog about, why is it here? I’ve just stepped onto the pavement of a road toward understanding philosophy. Thankfully I am not alone on this trek for enlightenment. I am currently enrolled in a philosophy class with others who are, in general, seem to be searching for some type of understanding(s) too.

At the helm of this class is the captain of this philosophical ship: Dr. Tanya Rodriguez. I feel very fortunate to have her as a guide – so far she has posed a few questions that have given me pause to think. Also, she has a great sense of style too!

I cannot wait to embark further up the winding staircase of enlightenment of philosophy! I got my first taste of philosophy in a most informal manner back in 2009-2010 through my local Masonic lodge. I joined the lodge and found within some Masonic texts the undertones of quite a few philosophical topics. After a some deeper examination of the texts I had found philosophical elements and topics spoken of by the likes of Plato, Democritus, Thomas Aquinas, Buddha just to name a few. It’s amazing how ideas echo for thousands of years and I hope to drink deep of these ideas with the help of Dr. Rodriguez.

How do I plan to ‘drink deep’ of philosophical ideas? How do I approach this. From what I have observed so far from reading Plato, I need to learn how to form a better question. With direction from Dr. Rodriguez – and a little bit of luck – I hope to be able to do this. Hopefully, with the know-how to form a better question I can be more able to understand the world around me (and maybe someday be able to share my experience with others for their benefit). So here I go, wish me luck!