Informal Fallacy Project

The Informal Fallacies Project is an extra-credit project. You are to find and analyze informal fallacies being used 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. Avoid using advertisements as fallacy examples when they are appeals rather than arguments purporting to prove a conclusion. Feel free to discuss with your instructor the quality of the fallacies before you write your analysis. Two points extra-credit on a test is awarded for each fallacy not found or analyzed by another student or found on an informal fallacy publication (e.g., logic books or logic Internet sites). Please keep in mind the following guidelines:
  1. Bibliography citation is given in proper form (APA, MLA, Chicago, or Science Citation).
  2. The extensiveness and adequacy of the explanation of how each fallacy is effected is essential for full credit.
  3. The format of your paper should be similar to the example illustrated below.


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, tubular 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.

Lee Archie 2011-01-05