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1

Two kinds of argument:

Those trying to prove or demonstrate a conclusion
Those trying to support a conclusion

2

Arguments that try to DEMONSTRATE a conclusion include schemes like these:

All As are Bs, No Bs are Cs, No As are Cs.
If P then Q, Not-Q, Not-P

3

Arguments that try to SUPPORT a conclusion include

Generalizing
Reasoning by analogy
Reasoning about cause and effect

4

RHETORIC

The art of PERSUASION

5

Ridicule/Sarcasm

“Obama made a great spontaneous speech last night. Good thing his teleprompter didn’t break down.”

6

Hyperbole

(hype; exaggeration)
“Is Deborah generous? She’d give you her life savings if she thought you were in need.”

7

Euphemism

(makes it sound better)
“collateral damage”; “sleeping around”

8

Dysphemism

(makes it sound worse)
“junk food”; “geezer”

9

Stereotype

positive or negative) is a cultural belief or idea about a some group’s attributes, usually simplified or exaggerated
“What did he expect marrying her? She’s just a dumbblond.”

10

Proofsurrogate

Suggesting there is a reason to believe something without giving that reason
“Clearly she shouldn’t have done that.”

11

Downplayer

“Pornography is a problem, but we must protect free speech.”
“These self-appointed experts on the environment are just trying to scare us.”
Downplayers, just as it sounds, are used to play down or diminish importance

12

Innuendo

To use innuendo is to insinuate something derogatory.
“I didn’t say Bush invaded Iraq to help his buddies in the oil industry. I just said his buddies have done very well since the invasion.”

13

Loaded question

Rests on an assumption that should have been established but wasn’t“When did you stop cheating on your girl friend?”

14

Weaseler

Wording used to protect a claim from criticism by weakening or qualifying it
“This may cure your problem.”

15

What is a fallacy?

An argument that doesn’t really support or prove what it is supposed to support or prove

16

What’s a relevance fallacy?

An argument that is not really relevant to its conclusion
“You tell me it’s dangerous to text when I’m driving, but I have seen you doing it.”

17

Argumentum ad hominem

If a speaker or writer attempts to dismiss someone’s position by discussing the person rather than attacking his or her position, a fallacy is committed
“According to Al Gore, global warming is the most serious threat facing us today. Folks, what a crock. Al Gore spends $20,000 each year on electricity in his Tennessee mansion!”

18

Abusive ad hominem

“What Al Gore says about air pollution is a joke! That clown will say anything to get attention!”
The speaker is simply bad-mouthing Mr. Gore.

19

Circumstantial ad hominem

“What Al Gore says about air pollution is pure bull. Al Gore makes a fortune from alternative energy investments. What do you think he’d say?”

20

Inconsistency ad hominem

“Senator Clinton says we should get out of Iraq. What a bunch of garbage coming from her! She voted for the war, don’t forget.”

21

POISONING THE WELL

Trying to dismiss what someone is going to say, by talking about his/her character or circumstances or consistency.
“Senator Clinton is going to give a talk tonight on Iraq. Well, it’s just gonna be more baloney. That gal will say anything to get a vote.”

22

Guilt by association

“You think waterboarding is torture? That sounds like something these left-wing college professors would say.”
Listeners are supposed to think calling waterboarding torture is “guilty” by virtue of its alleged association with supposedly left-wing college professors.

23

GENETIC FALLACY

Rejecting an idea because it came from a presumed defective source.
A fallacy that occurs when someone argues that the origin of a contention in and of itself automatically renders it false
“Does God exist? Of course not. That idea originated with a bunch of ignorant people who knew nothing about science.”

24

STRAW MAN

We are witnessing a Straw Man fallacy when a speaker or writer attempts to dismiss a contention by distorting or misrepresenting it
“Twenty percent? You want to tip her 20%???? Hey, maybe you want to give her everything we make, but I frankly think that is ridiculous!”

25

FALSE DILEMMA

The False Dilemma fallacy happens when someone tries to establish a conclusion by offering it as the only alternative to something we will find unacceptable, unattainable, or implausible.
“Either we allow the oil companies to drill for oil in the Gulf or we will be at the mercy of OPEC. Therefore we shouldn’t prevent the oil companies from drilling for oil in the Gulf.”
“Either we increase the number of troops in Iraq or the terrorists will be attacking U.S. cities. Seems like a simple choice to me.”

26

“PERFECTIONIST” version of false dilemma

“It’s impossible to eliminate terrorism entirely. We should stop wasting money on it.”

27

“LINE-DRAWING” version of false dilemma

“ There shouldn’t be restrictions on violence in the movies. After all, when is a movie ‘too violent’? You can’t draw a line.”

28

MISPLACING THE BURDEN OF PROOF

This fallacy occurs when an attempt is made to support or prove a point by trying to make us disprove it.
“Obviously, the president’s birth certificate is a forgery. Can you prove it isn’t?”
“Can I prove the Biblical flood really happened? Hey, can you prove it didn’t???”

29

Appeal to Ignorance

This is a variation of the fallacy of Misplacing the Burden of Proof.
It occurs when it is argued that we should believe a claim because nobody has proved it false

30

BEGGING THE QUESTION

This fallacy occurs when a speaker or writer tries to “support” or “demonstrate” a contention by offering as “evidence” or “proof” what amounts to a repackaging of the very contention in question.
“Obviously the president told the truth about Benghazi. He wouldn’t lie to us about it.”
“Can I prove the Biblical flood really happened? Of course it happened! Why else would Noah build an ark???”