Final Exam: Fallacies, Assumptions, and Arguments
Part I: Fallacies
The following arguments contain various kinds of fallacies. Evaluate each and identify the fallacy using the matching list on page 2.
1. We can recognize that athletes who participate in sports must be given special consideration in our grading system, or we can let the university sink into athletic oblivion.
2. I don’t know what colleges are teaching these days! I just received a letter of application from a young man who graduated from the state university last June. It was a wretched letter—badly written, with elementary errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The state university does not deserve the tax support it is getting.
3. All right-thinking people will support the Board of Education’s decision to destroy novels in the school libraries that are offensive to the community’s moral standards. If there were an epidemic of typhoid, the health authorities would do everything in their power to wipe it out. Pornography is worse than typhoid, because it corrupts the minds and morals of the young, not just their bodies. The school board is to be applauded for their prompt action in wiping out this moral disease.
4. Despite endless efforts, no one has been able to prove that Santa Clause exists; we may as well stop trying and accept the truth: there is no Santa Clause.
5. Alicia started gaining more weight than ever when she started taking Slimdown; the stuff must be fattening!
6. No sensible person would support the Equal Rights Amendment. If it were to pass, we would have women in combat and unisex bathrooms. Eventually, we would not be able to tell women from men!
7. How can Clinton be leading this country? He’s a draft-dodging, pot-smoking womanizer!
8. Michael Jordan wore that brand, so those must be the best basketball shoes.
9. The difference in the outcome was Jefferson’s missed field goal. If he put it through, we’d be going to the Super Bowl.
10. Don’t ignore the woman who gave you birth, raised you, loved you then, and loves you still. Remember your mom on Mother’s Day.
11. So what if I didn’t claim all of the money I earned on my taxes? Lots of people underreport their income.
12. That’s got to be a great line of clothes. Have you seen the prices and the people endorsing it?
Each argument commits only one fallacy, and each fallacy is only used once.
a. False Analogy
b. Appeal to Authority
c. Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
d. Attacking the Person
e. Two Wrongs
f. Non Sequitur
h. False Dilemma
i. Black and White (Slippery Slope)
j. Hasty Generalization
k. Contrary-to-Fact Hypothesis
l. Ad Ignorantium
m. Appeal to Emotion
Part II: Assumptions and Arguments
1. How do assumptions relate to the critical thinking process?
2. What are the essential components of a logical argument?
3. What is the meaning of validity, truth, and soundness as they relate to logical syllogisms?
4. What are the two formal fallacies?