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61 Cards in this Set

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Ad Hominem Fallacy/Genetic Fallacy
(both basically refer to the same error.
It is a mistake to dismiss an argument merely because of who or where it comes from, but it is legitimate to consider the source when concerned with the question of bias in the evidence. Thus it seems prudent to be wary of legitimate ad hominem concerns of bias or false authority, even as we are being careful not to reject an argument outright just because of who is giving it.
Affirming the Consequent
Affirming the Consequent: If A, then B. B. So, A.
Example: If it rains, I'll bring an umbrella. I brought an umbrella. So, it must be raining.
Analogy- The argument from design for the existence of God (an example from Bishop Paley) reasons by analogy. That is, it draws its conclusion by suggesting that like things ought to be treated in a like manner. A and B are similar. A has characteristic C. Therefore, B should have characteristic C. A good (sound) analogy must be based on 1) some similarity between the two situations, and 2) the similarity must be relevant to the conclusion being drawn.
Appeal to Authority/False Authority
We should always consider the following questions when a “truth” is supported only by an appeal to authority:
1. Is the cited authority actually an authority in the area under discussion? Ex. Should we consider athletes to be experts on the subject of pain relievers?
2. Is this the kind of question that can be settled by an expert opinion? Ex: Did you know that Albert Einstein, one of the foremost physicists of our time, predicted that atomic energy could not be harnessed for peaceful purposes?
3. Has the authority been cited correctly
4. Can the authority be trusted to tell the truth? Ex. Would you trust a biologist who is also a devout Catholic to determine when life begins?
5. Why is an appeal to authority being made at all? Is this the only evidence for the claim? Is that enough?
Appeal to Pity and Argumentum as Populum
Appeal to Pity and Argumentum as Populum--both of these fallacies attempt to replace the use of reason with the use of emotion to draw a conclusion.
1. An argument consists of a position (thesis or conclusion) supported by reasons (premises).
2. We should look for and use warranting connectives to guide us. Warranting connectives are words (sign posts) in our prose to help us determine what the premises are and what the conclusion is. (Thus, there are two kinds of warranting connectives: reason or premise indicators and conclusion indicators.) You should look for these when analyzing an argument and use them when constructing your own argument.
An argument consists of a position (thesis or conclusion) supported by reasons (premises).
types of premise indicators and conclusion indicators
a. Examples of premise indicators: 'because', 'since', 'for'.
b. Examples of conclusion indicators: 'therefore', 'thus', 'so', 'in conclusion'.
c. While the conditional statement (if…,then…) is not a true warranting connective, it does set the pattern for an argument as we'll see when we examine the argument forms modus ponens, modus tollens and hypothetical syllogism.
Soundness in an argument
An argument must be sound in order to be a good, convincing argument (i.e. a good inference).
1. Definition: Soundness is a valid argument with true premises.
2. Soundness is the standard for all arguments, not just philosophical ones.
Arguments-Philosophy is not just about speculations and opinions, it is about our reasons for holding such views. Thus, as we examine each ethical theory and moral position on an issue, continue to ask yourself, "why does the philosopher hold this view?" If you disagree with a particular view, you should do so in terms of the premises of their argument
Argument ad Baculum
Argument ad Baculum--substituting some form of physical coercion for reason in attempting to get others to agree with you.
Argument for Moral Relativism
1. Moral principles vary widely from society to society (diversity thesis)

2. All moral principles are derived from socially acceptability practices (dependency thesis)

a. no universal, moral canon to point to

b. no absolute authority on moral matters

c. if there is no universal canon or absolute authority, morals depend on social/cultural practice.

3. Therefore, moral rightness and wrongness vary from society to society and time to time--no absolute, universal morals! (Moral Relativism)
Argument from Ignorance
Argument from Ignorance This is an attempt to prove a claim by observing that there is no evidence against it.
Aristoteleans-belief of ethics
Aristoteleans hold that character traits are fundamental and that right actions are those that result from a good character.
What did
Brown and Luper do?
Brown and Luper give some three major suggestions or ethical theories to explain the nature of morality
Circular Reasoning (Informal Fallacy) AKA begging the Question.
Circular Reasoning (Informal Fallacy) AKA begging the Question. Here the premises either merely repeat the conclusion or depend on its truth.
Complex Question--
Complex Question--another form of question-begging since it always assumes the proposition at issue in the premise of the question.
Composition and Division Fallacies:
Composition and Division Fallacies: These occur when we attempt to reason from characteristics of the parts to those of the whole or from characteristics of the whole to those of the parts. Example: My car is a Ford. Therefore, all of the components were made by Ford.
Conventionalism (Type of Moral Relativism)--no objective moral principles; all moral principles are valid by virtue of their cultural acceptance. An action is right or wrong relative to the cultural standards of the time and place
Consequences of Conventionalism
1. Conventionalism seems self-contradictory since it relies on universal tolerance and yet argues against any universal norms. That is, a basic assumption of conventionalism seems to be that we must be tolerant of the beliefs and behaviors accepted by other cultures, i.e., universal tolerance.
2. There is no basis for judging heinous crimes that are sanctioned by the standards of the culture or era. If conventionalism is correct, what judgment can we make about the holocaust, antebellum slavery, etc.? Such events occurred within the accepted beliefs of their cultures.
3.. There is no place for cultural reformers since they would be opposing the accepted moral standard without basis--they would be the immoral ones!? Since, under conventionalism, the culture sets the moral code, anyone to oppose the culture or any part of the culture is, by definition, immoral and evil.
4. There is no clear identification of cultural or social groups. What makes for a specific culture?
Critical thinking 2 fundamental aspects-
1. The Universality of the Standards of Reason: (Rational reflection, validity)
2. The Utility of the Standards of Reason:
critical thinking skills provide a very practical tool for resolving conflicts, analyzing problems, discovering the truth, etc.
cultural relativism
cultural relativism. Today we are fortunate to be living in a time and place that honors and values the diversity of cultures from around the world. There is little doubt that such diversity makes us stronger and life more interesting. Indeed, it our respect for such diversity that provides the basis for moral relativist views.
Deduction: For a valid argument, if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true.
Deduction analyzes the form of the argument, i.e., how it is stated. Deduction is that part of every argument that takes us from the premises to the conclusion and the success of the deduction is evaluated according to our definition of validity. Thus judging deduction is a fairly simple matter of determining the validity of the argument. Furthermore, if the argument is invalid, we needn't consider it further since it does not even have the deductive qualities necessary to lead to the conclusion.
Valid Deduction:* example
Valid Deduction:*
All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man.
Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
Denying the Antecedent
Denying the Antecedent: If A, then B. Not A. So, Not B.
Example: If it rains, I'll bring an umbrella. It is not raining. So, I did not bring an umbrella.
(Do the premises rule out other reasons for bring an umbrella?)
Deontological theories
Deontological theories-These theories give the concept of right conduct priority over the concept of the good.
Teleological views concerns the relative priority of character and conduct.
Disjunctive Fallacy:
Disjunctive Fallacy: Either A or B. A. So, not B.
Example: You may help yourself to either the fridge or the cupboards while you house sit for me. You get a drink from the fridge. So you now cannot get anything from the cupboards? Is that what I had in mind? (What if I meant that both options were available?)
Diversity (extreme of moral relativism)
Diversity (extreme of moral relativism)-1. The sins of ethnocentrism and paternalism provide ample reason to conscientiously embrace diversity. Past encounters with other so-called primitive groups have often lead to their destruction or the loss of their cultural identity. These actions were based on the assumption that Western European ethics and religion were the best and so should be forced on all others for their own good. We now recognize the tragedy of this position and now tend to overcompensate by suspending all judgment whatsoever. We now tend toward the relativist view that we cannot question or judge the actions of another culture no matter what the actions are.

2. The immense diversity of moral rules is an obvious truth. This merely recognizes a brute fact of the world that other peoples follow different rules of acceptable behavior.
Ethical Objectivism
Ethical Objectivism -- moral principles, valid for all people in all places at all times.
1. The evidence suggests that all cultures and peoples share universal principals of morality and merely apply them differently to reflect the heterogeneity of World Culture.

2. Indeed, we speak of moral truths (i.e. objective), just as well as empirical truths.

3. Objectivism only requires a core set of universal moral codes on which each culture might build secondary or auxiliary principles relative to its needs. It need not lead to absolutism (the claim that there are no exceptions to an objective moral code or that social, cultural, and individual contexts play no role in applying moral judgments). Once Moral Objectivism is acknowledged we can begin to understand the basis for our moral judgments, and how they are and should be applied.

4. We have reasoned arguments for objective moral principles and ethical systems, e.g., Utilitarianism, Virtue ethics, Deontological ethics. We should get on with the serious business of determining which, if any, is the correct explanation for our sense of right and wrong.

5. While Moral Relativism seems to be an over-reaction to ethnocentric abuses of the past, aversion to ethnocentrism, itself, is an objectively moral position
Ethical Relativism
Ethical Relativism - Many students come with a 'live and let live--I won't judge you if you don't judge me' attitude. I would argue that this is not the right kind of moral attitude for sophisticated adults.
ethical theories-
A. Kant's Deontic Ethics—Explains morality as the duty of a rational, free will.
1. Give the money to the Yankees as a matter of keeping a promise.
2. What are other examples of 'absolute rule governed' behavior?
B. Mill's Utilitarianism—Teleological theory that sees the purpose of morality as allowing human society to get along and prosper in a very complex and ever-changing world.
1. Give the money to World Hunger Relief Organization as a matter of doing the most 'good' with the money.
2. Can you think of other examples of actions based on consequences rather than duty?
C. Aristotle's Virtue Ethics—Teleological theory that sees the purpose of morality as the achievement of highest personal ends/function for a human.
1. Dispose of the money in way in which the virtuous person would approve since he sets the standard.
2. Any of the previous examples work since the appropriate course of action is determined by the character of the person doing the action.
Ethics seeks to explain moral behavior and thus suggest guidelines for further appropriate behavior. This will be our primary focus this semester as we study various moral issues and the arguments for each side.
Equivocation is when a word or phrase changes meaning within the argument or discussion. Example: The apostles were twelve. That is very young to be an apostle.
Evaluation of the Argument
soundness requires a valid argument in which all of the premises are true. Premise 1 seems undeniable (and if you are unsure, you should enroll in an anthropology or sociology course). However, premise 2, as already suggested, is highly questionable. One way to show that a premise does not meet inductive standards for evidence is to assume the premise is correct and draw its implications. If it is found that assuming the premise to be correct gives implications that are contradictory or inconsistent with other more important beliefs, then we have good reason for rejecting that premise. This is the strategy (sometimes referred to as Argument Ad Absurdum or arguing to an absurdity) we will employ for this argument. Premise 2 can lead to two kinds of moral relativism, conventionalism and subjectivism. Both have implications that are contrary to some important truths.
False Authority or Appeal to Authority
False Authority or Appeal to Authority. We should always consider the following questions when a “truth” is supported only by an appeal to authority:
1. Is the cited authority actually an authority in the area under discussion ?
Example: Should we consider athletes to be experts for 'pain relievers'?
2. Is the kind of question that can be settled by an expert opinion ?
Example: Did you know that Albert Einstein, one of the foremost physicists of our time, predicted that Atomic energy could not be harnessed for peaceful purposes?
3. Has the authority been cited correctly?
4. Can the authority be trusted to tell the truth?
Example: Would you trust a biologist who is also a devout Catholic to determine when life begins?
5. Why is an appeal to authority being made at all? Is this the only evidence for the claim? Is that enough?
False Cause Fallacy
False Cause Fallacy is when we attribute a causal relation between things that merely incidentally related. Example: Clinton became President after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Therefore, the Fall of the Berlin Wall convinced us to vote for Clinton.
False Dilemma.
False Dilemma. This suggests that there are only two alternatives available (there are almost always more!)
Formal Fallacies
Formal Fallacies
Formal Fallacies have also been identified. These are common mistakes in reasoning that should be avoided. If you discover that someone is employing one of these forms of reasoning, their argument should be rejected immediately as an example of bad reason.
Affirming the Consequent: If A, then B. B. So, A.
Denying the Antecedent: If A, then B. Not A. So, Not B.
Disjunctive Fallacy: Either A or B. A. So, not B.
On Guarding Terms - (Addendum)-
On Guarding Terms - (Addendum)- some words in our language serve to 'guard' the proposition from easy falsification, thus making it more difficult to disagree with the claim.
Examples of such words are 'most,' 'some,' 'probably,' 'possibly,' and 'perhaps.' As noted, the effect of such words in our sentences is to make those claims more difficult to disprove--thus they tend to be more believable.
Thus, there are two aspects to the use of guarding terms that are important in determining the soundness of arguments:
1. The more a proposition is guarded, the less likely that it can be shown to be false.
2. The more a proposition is guarded, the weaker the argument, itself, is; since the conclusion of any argument can never be any stronger than its weakest premise.
Hasty Generalization
Hasty Generalization--too little evidence to support the inductive conclusion.
Hedonistic utilitarianism-
Hedonistic utilitarianism-pleasure (and the absence of pain) counts as good
Induction: For a strong argument, even if the premises are all true, we may still doubt the conclusion
Induction analyzes the truth of the premises. But there is also an inductive side to every argument and this concerns the matter of truth--more specifically, the truth of the premises. Recall that 'soundness' is the standard by which we judge an argument and an argument is sound if it is valid (the deductive part of the argument) and its premises are true. Thus, an important part of judging every argument is determining the truth of the premises: induction. induction is far less certain. Thus, the truth of the premises is determined by the relative strength of the evidence for each claim. This may not be as straight forward as our definition of validity, but we do have certain standards by which we can evaluate the evidence before us, e.g., the RET test.
Very Strong Induction: *example
Truth is the inductive part of the argument:
Very Strong Induction: *
All the past humans we have
ever heard of have been mortal.
Therefore, all men are mortal.

* A very strong induction and a valid deduction make for
a sound argument.
Induction is a matter of the strength of the evidence. For most, the greatest difficulty in assessing an argument is determining whether the premises are true. This is why I suggest that validity be checked first, since it is often easier to determine. (Also, psychologically speaking, people are more likely to accept a mistake in their reasoning than a claim that one of their premises is false, i.e., that they might be lying.)
Informal Fallacies
Informal Fallacies
Informal Fallacies are distinguished from the Formal Fallacies discussed earlier by the fact that they are not so much problems with the form of the argument, but rather have to do with poor judgments of evidence and the like. Here is a list a few of the more common mistakes in reason; see if you can pick out how they fail the RET test.
Informal Fallacies examples.
Ad Hominem Fallacy/Genetic Fallacy
False Authority or Appeal to Authority
Circular Reasoning or Begging the Question
Argument from Ignorance
False Dilemma
Slippery Slope or "Camel's nose under the tent"—
Straw Man Fallacy
Fallacies of composition and division
False Cause Fallacy
Fallacy of Numbers
Argument ad Baculum--
Appeal to Pity and Argumentum as Populum--
Hasty Generalization--
Complex Question--
Red Herring--
Logic is the study of reason/rationality. Logic studies and helps define the rules by which we reason. For the purposes of this Intro to Philosophy course, we will look at only a couple of rules and formulas to help us understand the upcoming philosophical arguments.
Meta-Ethics -Meta-Ethics asks whether there is any such thing as 'moral behavior' that is distinct from any other decison-making behavior, i.e. is there really such thing as 'right and wrong' in the universal sense? Hume did not think so. He supposed that what we call morals is nothing more than a set of cultural rules that do not apply outside the culture. Do you agree? Does morality serve any more than social norms and conventions for the current culture? The answer to this question is central to our discussion of Moral Relativism vs. Moral Objectivism.
Morality- III. Do we appreciate morality more when it breaks down than when everything is going well? If so, does that suggest one ethical theory over another?
Thus, relevancy seems a rational standard that we all expect from one another, i.e., a universal standard. Logicians are tasked with discovering and codifying these standards and their work continues today. Philosophy, in particular, is bound by and makes the greatest use of these standards, as we will see.
moral relativism
- Moral relativism is the view that there is no objective, universal morality and so we cannot judge others, particularly those from other cultures. In this view, morality exists, but only within each culture or individual. Thus, we should not be judging the views and behavior of other people from different places and times. However, I argue that moral relativism is not a viable belief. This is the only issue, in this course, concerning which I will openly advocate; on all other issues, you will find that I merely demand that you understand the position; I won't care what views to which you agree or disagree.

This kind of relativism seems very popular today; it is indicative of a 'live and let live' or 'you be you and I'll be me' sentiment.
Fallacy of Numbers
Fallacy of Numbers is to believe something because many others do as well.
Rational reflection
Rational reflection- entails an appeal to rules or standards that everyone should acknowledge--what I refer to as the "standards of reason." These standards are not some mere contrivance of philosophers; rather, they are the laws of thought/rationality that have been discovered by philosophers/logicians (indeed, Plato and Aristotle may have been the first to suggest that there are right and wrong ways of arriving at a conclusions).
Reason is universal and, indeed, is a defining property of humanity. Aristotle calls us the 'reasoning animal'. The universality of reason is important to us because if we can isolate and appropriately use the rules by which reason works, we can have some assurance that other reasonable persons will agree with our conclusions and that we will understand their conclusions. That is, if we are both behaving rationally, and I follow the rules of reason to convince you of a claim, then you should be convinced. There is no 'different' way of reasoning for different people. If there were, we would have no hope of ever understanding one another.
Red Herring
Red Herring--this fallacy occurs when someone purposely introduces irrelevancies to distract from the issue at hand (remember the RET test!).
RET test
RET test- Evaluation of evidence proceeds by the RET test
1. Relevance of the evidence. Is the evidence cited relevant to the claims being made? Many informal fallacies are such because they violate this condition.
2. Enough evidence. How much evidence or how many instances required before we should accept a claim? Keep in mind, there are different standards for the amount of evidence for different kinds of claims.
3. Truth of the evidence. Can you trust the source of the evidence? Is there rational reason to doubt the veracity of the evidence?
Scientific explanations
Scientific explanations- Most Scientific explanations take the following form: (General Principles)+ (Facts & Initial Conditions) = Explanation of events in question. Notice the similarities between this form and that of the sound argument.
Slippery Slope or “Camal’s nose under the tent.”
Slippery Slope or “Camal’s nose under the tent.” Here it is suggested that because of a certain vagueness along a continuum, a distinction cannot be made between two points along the continuum. That is, once we start down a certain path we won’t be able to stop because we cannot clearly justify any particular point along the continuum as the stopping place. This is a fallacy because it relies on vagueness of language rather than on facts to draw its conclusions, and vagueness of language is not relevant to such decisions.
Straw Man Fallacy.
Straw Man Fallacy. One misstates the opponents position to make it easier to attack or sound ridiculous (politicians provide lots of examples of this fallacy!).
(second type of Moral Relativism) morality is determined by each individual within whatever social and material constraints she may observe at the moment, "Morality is in the eye of the beholder." Consider the following implications of this kind of Moral Relativism:

1. Leads to no morality at all--moral nihilism. There can be no argument over morality since it is just a matter of personal taste!? Whoever is the strongest sets the rules for that situation. There is no other standard to which to appeal.

2. People like Hitler can be judged no different than Ghandi. Afterall, both successfully acted on their own desires and beliefs. Without a common code of values, how can we judge one to be any better or worse of a human being than the other.

3. Leads to a 'dog eat dog' existence--we would always be looking to get over on one another. If my personal desires set my code of values, then there is no other course than to try to take all that I can, in any way that I can, to satisfy those desires. Thus, if you are in the way or have something I desire, I should seek the most efficient means (often violent) for that satisfaction.

4. Seems to oppose any kind of social agreement--leads to anarchy!? What incentive do we have to agree to social governance if might makes right?
Teleological views
Teleological views concerns the relative priority of character and conduct.
Teleological moral theories-Views that identify the good independently from a specification of our obligations and that define our obligations in terms of the good.
Validity- captures our notions of relevance and the rational connections between various positions. The power of validity resides in its definition: an argument is valid if and only if it is not possible for the reasons to be true and the conclusion to be false (this can be restated many ways). That is, if the argument is valid and the premises are true, then, no matter how repugnant the conclusion might be, the rational person must agree to that conclusion.
Validity is the deductive part of the argument.
1. Definition: An argument is valid if and only if it is not possible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false.
2. This definition is about the form of the argument, i.e. how the argument is stated.
3. Either an argument is valid or invalid; there is no in-between. If an argument is invalid it should be rejected immediately.
Utilitarians beliefs
Utilitarians look to the effects of our actions to determine the rightness of those actions, while Aristotelians look to the causes of actions: Utilitarians would say that a right action is one that produces or tends to produce good states of affairs, while Aristotelians would claim that a right action is one that is or tends to be produced by a good character.