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Bad Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Fallacies in Western Philosophy

Bad Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Fallacies in Western Philosophy

Robert Arp (Editor), Steven Barbone (Editor), Michael Bruce (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-119-16580-4 September 2018 Wiley-Blackwell 456 Pages

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Description

A timely and accessible guide to 100 of the most infamous logical fallacies in Western philosophy, helping readers avoid and detect false assumptions and faulty reasoning 

You’ll love this book or you’ll hate it. So, you’re either with us or against us. And if you’re against us then you hate books. No true intellectual would hate this book.

Ever decide to avoid a restaurant because of one bad meal? Choose a product because a celebrity endorsed it? Or ignore what a politician says because she’s not a member of your party? For as long as people have been discussing, conversing, persuading, advocating, proselytizing, pontificating, or otherwise stating their case, their arguments have been vulnerable to false assumptions and faulty reasoning. Drawing upon a long history of logical falsehoods and philosophical flubs, Bad Arguments demonstrates how misguided arguments come to be, and what we can do to detect them in the rhetoric of others and avoid using them ourselves.

Fallacies—or conclusions that don’t follow from their premise—are at the root of most bad arguments, but it can be easy to stumble into a fallacy without realizing it. In this clear and concise guide to good arguments gone bad, Robert Arp, Steven Barbone, and Michael Bruce take readers through 100 of the most infamous fallacies in Western philosophy, identifying the most common missteps, pitfalls, and dead-ends of arguments gone awry. Whether an instance of sunk costs, is ought, affirming the consequent, moving the goal post, begging the question, or the ever-popular slippery slope, each fallacy engages with examples drawn from contemporary politics, economics, media, and popular culture. Further diagrams and tables supplement entries and contextualize common errors in logical reasoning.

At a time in our world when it is crucial to be able to identify and challenge rhetorical half-truths, this bookhelps readers to better understand flawed argumentation and develop logical literacy. Unrivaled in its breadth of coverage and a worthy companion to its sister volume Just the Arguments (2011), Bad Arguments is an essential tool for undergraduate students and general readers looking to hone their critical thinking and rhetorical skills.

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Notes on Contributors xiii

Introduction 1

Part I Formal Fallacies 35

Propositional Logic 37

1 Affirming a Disjunct 39
Jason Iuliano

2 Affirming the Consequent 42
Brett Gaul

3 Denying the Antecedent 46
Brett Gaul

Categorical Logic 49

4 Exclusive Premises 51
Charlene Elsby

5 Four Terms 55
Charlene Elsby

6 Illicit Major and Minor Terms 60
Charlene Elsby

7 Undistributed Middle 63
Charlene Elsby

Part II Informal Fallacies 67

Fallacies of Relevance 69

8 Ad Hominem: Bias 71
George Wrisley

9 Ad Hominem: Circumstantial 77
George Wrisley

10 Ad Hominem: Direct 83
George Wrisley

11 Ad Hominem: Tu Quoque 88
George Wrisley

12 Adverse Consequences 94
David Vander Laan

13 Appeal to Emotion: Force or Fear 98
George Wrisley

14 Appeal to Emotion: Pity 102
George Wrisley

15 Appeal to Ignorance 106
Benjamin W. McCraw

16 Appeal to the People 112
Benjamin W. McCraw

17 Appeal to Personal Incredulity 115
Tuomas W. Manninen

18 Appeal to Ridicule 118
Gregory L. Bock

19 Appeal to Tradition 121
Nicolas Michaud

20 Argument from Fallacy 125
Christian Cotton

21 Availability Error 128
David Kyle Johnson

22 Base Rate 133
Tuomas W. Manninen

23 Burden of Proof 137
Andrew Russo

24 Countless Counterfeits 140
David Kyle Johnson

25 Diminished Responsibility 145
Tuomas W. Manninen

26 Essentializing 149
Jack Bowen

27 Galileo Gambit 152
David Kyle Johnson

28 Gambler’s Fallacy 157
Grant Sterling

29 Genetic Fallacy 160
Frank Scalambrino

30 Historian’s Fallacy 163
Heather Rivera

31 Homunculus 165
Kimberly Baltzer‐Jaray

32 Inappropriate Appeal to Authority 168
Nicolas Michaud

33 Irrelevant Conclusion 172
Steven Barbone

34 Kettle Logic 174
Andy Wible

35 Line Drawing 177
Alexander E. Hooke

36 Mistaking the Relevance of Proximate Causation 181
David Kyle Johnson

37 Moving the Goalposts 185
Tuomas W. Manninen

38 Mystery, Therefore Magic 189
David Kyle Johnson

39 Naturalistic Fallacy 193
Benjamin W. McCraw

40 Poisoning the Well 196
Roberto Ruiz

41 Proving Too Much 201
Kimberly Baltzer‐Jaray

42 Psychologist’s Fallacy 204
Frank Scalambrino

43 Red Herring 208
Heather Rivera

44 Reductio ad Hitlerum 212
Frank Scalambrino

45 Argument by Repetition 215
Leigh Kolb

46 Special Pleading 219
Dan Yim

47 Straw Man 223
Scott Aikin and John Casey

48 Sunk Cost 227
Robert Arp

49 Two Wrongs Make a Right 230
David LaRocca

50 Weak Analogy 234
Bertha Alvarez Manninen

Fallacies of Ambiguity 239

51 Accent 241
Roberto Ruiz

52 Amphiboly 246
Roberto Ruiz

53 Composition 250
Jason Waller

54 Confusing an Explanation for an Excuse 252
Kimberly Baltzer‐Jaray

55 Definist Fallacy 255
Christian Cotton

56 Division 259
Jason Waller

57 Equivocation 261
Bertha Alvarez Manninen

58 Etymological Fallacy 266
Leigh Kolb

59 Euphemism 270
Kimberly Baltzer‐Jaray

60 Hedging 273
Christian Cotton

61 If by Whiskey 277
Christian Cotton

62 Inflation of Conflict 280
Andy Wible

63 Legalistic Mistake 282
Marco Antonio Azevedo

64 Oversimplification 286
Dan Burkett

65 Proof by Verbosity 289
Phil Smolenski

66 Sorites Fallacy 293
Jack Bowen

Fallacies of Presumption 297

67 Accident 299
Steven Barbone

68 All or Nothing 301
David Kyle Johnson

69 Anthropomorphic Bias 305
David Kyle Johnson

70 Begging the Question 308
Heather Rivera

71 Chronological Snobbery 311
A.G. Holdier

72 Complex Question 314
A.G. Holdier

73 Confirmation Bias 317
David Kyle Johnson

74 Conjunction 321
Jason Iuliano

75 Constructive Nature of Perception 324
David Kyle Johnson

76 Converse Accident 330
Steven Barbone

77 Existential Fallacy 332
Frank Scalambrino

78 False Cause: Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc 335
Bertha Alvarez Manninen

79 False Cause: Ignoring Common Cause 338
Bertha Alvarez Manninen

80 False Cause: Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc 342
Bertha Alvarez Manninen

81 False Dilemma 346
Jennifer Culver

82 Free Speech 348
Scott Aikin and John Casey

83 Guilt by Association 351
Leigh Kolb

84 Hasty Generalization 354
Michael J. Muniz

85 Intentional Fallacy 357
Nicolas Michaud

86 Is/Ought Fallacy 360
Mark T. Nelson

87 Masked Man 364
Charles Taliaferro

88 Middle Ground 367
Grant Sterling

89 Mind Projection 369
Charles Taliaferro

90 Moralistic Fallacy 371
Galen Foresman

91 No True Scotsman 374
Tuomas W. Manninen

92 Reification 378
Robert Sinclair

93 Representative Heuristic 382
David Kyle Johnson

94 Slippery Slope 385
Michael J. Muniz

95 Stolen Concept 388
Rory E. Kraft, Jr.

96 Subjective Validation 392
David Kyle Johnson

97 Subjectivist Fallacy 396
Frank Scalambrino

98 Suppressed Evidence 399
David Kyle Johnson

99 Unfalsifiability 403
Jack Bowen

100 Unwarranted Assumption 407
Kimberly Baltzer‐Jaray

Index 410