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Continuing from...

Hopefully "Part I" didn't bore everyone into a coma- TDs will be a lot better if we can lose the irrelevant arguments.

Let's talk about fallacies of presumption in Part II.

SWEEPING GENERALIZATIONS: Beware of trying to apply a generalization to specific examples.  For example, saying "Great pitching wins playoff games" in generally true, however, if you try to use it as a blanket argument, all your opponent has to do is find a couple of counter-examples and you're sunk.  Qualify your statements by saying something such as "in general" or "it is most likely that"...

HASTY GENERALIZATION: This is the opposite of a sweeping generalization.  Don't try to apply the characteristics of one case to all other similar cases.  For example, saying "Pittsburgh teams are terrible- just look at the Pirates" is an argument where the arguer is making a blanket statement based on one piece of evidence.

SLIPPERY SLOPE: This is when an arguer suggests that one conclusion leads to another (usually more extreme) conclusion.  For instance, don't say "There should be NO instant replay in baseball because if they allow it it will be used for every play and before you know it the game will be slowed down."  Don't assume that just because instant replay might be used in select cases that it will cause that type of problem.  The slippery slope argument is common in TDs.

CIRCULAR REASONING: This is when the arguer uses what he or she is trying to prove as evidence for proving it. You see this in a lot of TDs.  Look at this example- "Georgia should be ranked #1.  They have a great recruiting class and are the best team in the country."  I'm trying to prove that they should be the #1 team, and one of my pieces of evidence is that they're the best team.  Instead, I should cite reasons WHY they're the best team.

ARGUMENT FROM IGNORANCE:  This is when an arguer claims a statement is true because no one has been able to disprove it.  Remember- lack of proof is NOT proof of a lack.  What does that mean?  Have you ever seen a TD say something like "Mr. X is the best player.  If you can't name a better player, then I win" ?  That type of argument is not enough- a good arguer will support his or her case with evidence.

AFFIRMING THE CONSEQUENT:  This happens when the arguer concludes something based on a statement that may or may not actually be sufficient proof.  For example:  
1. If Mr. X was a great player, he'd probably have a lot of all-star appearances. 
2. Mr. X DOES have a lot of all-star appearances. 
3. Therefore, he must be a great player.
#1 is true- great players usually have all-star appearances.  #2 is also true- the guy we're talking about has gone to all-star games.  But #3 is not necessarily true- there's more to being a great player than going to all-star games.  This type of mistake happens a lot in TDs where the arguer fails to consider other factors.

TU QUOQUE:  You've heard the saying "two wrongs don't make a right".  That's the heart of tu quoque, but it goes beyond that as well.  This happens when an arguer uses one event as support for the occurence of a similar event.  For example, let's say your opponent says this:
"Joe Smith should be in the Hall of Fame.  He has as many wins and strikeouts as Bob Jones, and Bob Jones is in the Hall of Fame."
The problem is that maybe Bob Jones doesn't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.  Maybe his election was a mistake.  If so, just because he's there doesn't mean we should repeat the mistake.  A good arguer will notcie these conclusions and use counter examples to point out the flaws.  In this instance, maybe John Brown has MORE wins and strikeout but is NOT in the Hall of Fame- that sinks the argument.


I hope these examples help.  There are more fallacies, but I tried to focus on those that I've seen in TDs.  I'll come out with Part III shortly.


Remember, if you want to find out more about logical argument, there are plenty of resources.  Start here:



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