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Fallacies and Propaganda

by: Noelle Wiggins

Fallacies and Propaganda Phil 105

Marketplace > Drexel University > PHIL-Philosophy > Phil 105 > Fallacies and Propaganda
Noelle Wiggins
GPA 3.8

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About this Document

These notes cover the last week of class and necessary information for the final paper.
Critical Reasoning
Amy S. Bush
Class Notes
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Noelle Wiggins on Tuesday March 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Phil 105 at Drexel University taught by Amy S. Bush in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Critical Reasoning in PHIL-Philosophy at Drexel University.

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Date Created: 03/01/16
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 Fallacies and Propaganda Logos - Although humans don’t always act and think rationally, it is fully possible - Rationality and logic is an integral part of our being. - By the time we get to the Enlightenment (1600-1800), we rested our whole philosophy on the concept that we are rational beings. - This was actually the push to democracy- everyone should get a vote because everyone is rational enough to understand the issues and their self interest. - There is no special elite with a special capacity to think and act logically. - That’s why the conception of “mind” is so important. - If you’re going to be rational, it’s implied that you’re conscious of your decision making. - However, we are not always conscious of ever value and reality assumption we hold. - Implicit assumptions are unstated often because we might not fully realize we hold those beliefs. - If we can’t be made conscious of our assumptions, then we can’t critically ask questions about them. Pathos - This critical reasoning idea of the mind tends to divorce or detach rationality from emotionality. - Many appeals to emotion from the critical reasoning point of view bypass rationality instead of endorse or reinforce it. - If it bypasses rationality, it is an error in reasoning or characterized as “propoganda.” - There’s a kind of suspicion cast upon emotion - The problem as we come into the 20th and 21st century is that even neuroscience cast doubts upon the critical reasoning part of the mind. 1 Wednesday, March 2, 2016 - There was a point where philosophers and scientists agreed that rationality and logic was far more important and legitimate than emotion. - Today, we want to study emotions and hold them to a high level of importance. - It’s hard to have conceptions of reality and value assumptions without emotions. - In the video “The Persuaders,” is there a way that they are challenging the conception of mind that is rational and conscious. - Do they rely on a different understanding of what makes people tick? Propaganda Glittering Generalities - Very vague and effusive language. - The use of abstract concepts with positive connotations - Appeals to freedom, justice, pride, wealth, etc. without being specific Weak Analogy - An analogy that isn’t strong enough to accurately represent the issue. - It gives a false or vague connotation - It often takes something concrete and turns it into something abstract - Propaganda uses words to shape public consciousness and manipulate people to think, vote, and act as the propaganda machine suggests. - Propaganda can come from all directions: left, right, and center. - It promotes an agenda - It attempts to influence opinions or actions by appealing to emotions, distorting facts, or appealing to prejudices. - Often used in wartime 2 Wednesday, March 2, 2016 The Persuaders Clotaire Rapaille - Worked with autistic people early in his career and learned how to communicate with people who were nonverbal - It caused him to not believe what people say, but rather, want to decode underlying beliefs, impulses, and primal impulses. - “Reptilian, unconscious, hot-button, primal instincts.” - There’s a part of our brain that responds to things in the world that is not strictly rational. - We’re making decisions without realizing why, but coming up with rationalizations for the decisions later. - 3 Phases - Structure - Association with wealth, a show of intelligence - Primal emotions, childlike state - Dark room, memory evoking Ad Populum - Bandwagon- Everyone’s doing it! - All cool people smoke cigars, so you should smoke cigars if you want to be cool. - Appeal to Vanity- appeal to self image - Appeal to snobbery- elitism, you’ll be part of a special group - Be the first, be the leader, etc. - Ad Populum usually appeals to some sort of preferred self image Straw Man - Distort an argument, make it easy to knock over 3 Wednesday, March 2, 2016 - Revise or simplify an argument to make it appear invalid or easy to invalidate. - Generalities - “Mr. Goldberg has argued against prayer in the public schools. Obviously, Mr. Goldberg advocates atheism. But atheism is what they used to have in Russia. Atheism leads to the destruction of all religion and freedom by replacing God with an omnipotent state. Is that the kind of country we want to live in?” - This is a straw man argument because it never encounters Mr. Goldberg’s true argument but rather makes up an argument that he might have. Red Herring - Occurs when the arguer diverts attention from the main topic. - Usually this works best if there’s a subtle relationship between the topic we were supposed to be on and the topic that we’ve switched to. - “Environmentalists are continually harping about the dangers of nuclear power. Unfortunately, electricity is dangerous no matter of where it comes from. Every year, people are electrocuted by accident. Since many of these situations are accidental, they could have been prevented with better understanding of how electricity works.” - Here, the subtle relationship is that both topics talk about electricity. - However, the argument was not interested in electrocution. Begging the Question - Restating the conclusion in a slightly different language than the premise • Type of circular reasoning • This has less premises than circular reasoning. • “Capital punishment is punishment is justified for the crimes of murder and kidnapping because it is quite legitimate and appropriate for someone to be put to death for committing such hateful and inhuman acts.” - Leaving out a key premise • Creates the illusion that nothing more is needed to establish the conclusion 4 Wednesday, March 2, 2016 • “Murder is morally wrong. This being the case, it follows that abortion is morally wrong.” • This leaves out the premise that abortion is murder. • The reason that the key premise might be left out is if the premise is controversial. • “It’s obvious that the poor in this country should be given handouts from the government. After all, these people earn less than the average citizen.” • “Clearly terminally ill patients have a right to doctor assisted suicide. After all, many of these people are unable to commit suicide by themselves.” - Circular Reasoning • “Ford motor company clearly produces the finest cars in the US. We know they produce the finest cars because they have the best design engineers. It is true they have the best design engineers because they pay them more than other manufacturers. They afford to pay them more than other manufacturers because they produce the finest cars in the US.” - Question-Begging epithets Appeal to Pity - Occurs when someone tries to support a conclusion by merely invoking pity from the reader. - Some people say there is a difference between an appeal to pity and a legitimate compassionate response. - “He should be a senator given his history. His wife ran off with Judge Thornton. His children are all in gangs. His mother died of poisoning.” - “Doctor Green, I deserve an A in Logic. My boyfriend ran off with my cousin. My car transmission went out. My life is a mess. I deserve an A for my pain.” - Animal Rights Equivocation - Has to do with something ambiguous in meaning - You’ve used the same word in an argument with two different meanings. 5 Wednesday, March 2, 2016 - The argument can’t be legitimate because it’s not clear which meaning you’re supporting - “Any law can be repealed by the legislative authority. But the law of gravity is a law. Therefore, the law of gravity can be appealed by the legislative authority.” - “We have a duty to do what is right. We have a right to speak out in defense of the innocent. Therefore, we have a duty to speak out in the defense of the innocent.” - Shifted meanings Amphiboly - The syntax- or structure of the sentence- is unclear. - “John told Henry that he had made a mistake.” Who is “he” referring to? - “The tour guide said that standing in Greenwich Village, the Empire State Building can easily be seen.” What is standing in Greenwich Village- the building or the tour group? - “Professor Johnson said he would give a lecture about heart failure in the biology lecture hall.” Is the lecture or heart failures happening in the biology lecture hall? Composition and Division - Composition is when you move from the parts of something to the whole that no longer describes the whole - Division starts with the whole and then goes to the parts - Maria likes anchovies. She likes chocolate ice cream. Therefore, it is certain that she would like a chocolate sundae topped with anchovies - Each player is an excellent athlete. Therefore the team as a whole is excellent. - Each atom in this piece of chalk is invisible. therefore, the chalk is invisible. - This jigsaw puzzle when assembled is circular in shape. therefore, each jigsaw piece is circular in shape. - The whale society is over 300 years old. Professor Thompson is a member. Therefore, Professor Thompson is over 300 years old. 6 Wednesday, March 2, 2016 - Native Americans are disappearing. John Smith is a Native American. Therefore, he is disappearing. 7


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