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Informal Fallacy Paper

The Informal Fallacies Project is equivalent to a logic paper (one quiz grade). You are to find and analyze in detail two informal fallacies being used (but not mentioned! i.e., you cannot use fallacy examples taken from logic books) in the source. You are to choose your own resources: newspapers, magazines, books, or journals. All references are to be cited in a standard bibliographical manner. Please keep in mind the following guidelines: An evaluation of your project is based on the following criteria:
  1. Bibliography citation is given in proper form (APA, MLA, Chicago, or Science Citation).
  2. The excerpt (or fallacy quotation) should be sufficiently inclusive so that each fallacy is clearly evident: not too brief and thereby committing the fallacy of accent and not too extensive such that irrelevant statements are present.
  3. The extensiveness and adequacy of the explanation of how each fallacy is effected is essential for full credit.
  4. The format of your paper should be similar to the example illustrated below.
Fallacy:
Before considering these developments in detail it is worth asking why such an apparently simple device as the bicycle should have had such a major effect on the acceleration of technology. The answer lies in the sheer humanity of the machine. S.S. Wilson. "Bicycle Technology." Scientific American. 229, no. 3 (1973), 82.
Analysis: The question posed is a composite of several questions: (1) Is the bicycle an apparently simple device? If the answer to this question is "Yes," then a further question can be raised: (2) Did this "apparently simple device" have "a major effect on the acceleration of technology?" If the answer to this question is "Yes," the question is appropriate: (3) How had the bicycle had such a "major effect on the acceleration of technology"? An answer to (1) is not clearly straightforward. An answer to (2) is even less so, and an answer to (3) (provided in the text) is much more doubtful. Most of the technical innovations used in the bicycle (e.g., differential gears, classic diamond frame, tublar frame, ball bearing, pneumatic tire) were developed independently of bicycle technology. Only at this point in the analysis would it be appropriate to raise the question, "Why the bicycle had a major effect on the acceleration of technology?" Hence although the technology of this "apparently simple device" might be important for the evolution of modern technology, it is a fallacy to presuppose it had a major effect on the future development of technology. The answer provided by Dr. Wilson blurs the distinct aspects of the question he raises and treats it as a simple one; hence the fallacy of Complex Question occurs.
next up previous contents index
Next: Scientific Commentary Up: COURSE SYLLABUS Philosophy 203: Previous: Philosophy Worksheets   Contents   Index
Lee Archie 2003-01-18