A Fallacy Recognition Handbook
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A Fallacy Recognition Handbook
CONTENTSRules of Thumb
"The truth is out there "
Use & misuse of words
False information signals more false information
Understand the Context
Lies, More Lies, Damn Lies and Newspapers
Beware of Generalizations
Theology and scripture
Smoke in your eyes
What is Missing?
Myth versus fact versus narrative
The past was not like the present; the future will be different
Fallacies and Arguments
Fallacies and ArgumentsWrongs Make A Right
Who is to say
Ad Hominem Tu Quoque
Also Known as:“You Too Fallacy”
This fallacy is committed when it is concluded that a person’s claim is false because 1) it is inconsistent with something else a person has said or 2) what a person says is inconsistent with her actions. This type of “argument” has the following form:
1. Person A makes claim X.
2. Person B asserts that A’s actions or past claims are inconsistent with the truth of claim X.
3. Therefore X is false.
The fact that a person makes inconsistent claims does not make any particular claim he makes false (although of any pair of inconsistent claims only one can be true—but both can be false). Also, the fact that a person’s claims are not consistent with his actions might indicate that the person is a hypocrite but this does not prove his claims are false.
Bill: “Smoking is very unhealthy and leads to all sorts of problems. So take my advice and never start.”
Jill: “Well, I certainly don’t want to get cancer.”
Bill: “I’m going to get a smoke. Want to join me Dave?”
Jill: “Well, I guess smoking can’t be that bad. After all, Bill smokes.”
Jill: “I think the gun control bill shouldn’t be supported because it won’t be effective and will waste money.”
Bill: “Well, just last month you supported the bill. So I guess you’re wrong now.”
Peter: “Based on the arguments I have presented, it is evident that it is morally wrong to use animals for food or clothing.”
Bill: “But you are wearing a leather jacket and you have a roast beef sandwich in your hand! How can you say that using animals for food and clothing is wrong!”
See also: Ad Hominem (In Middle East Fallacies)
This book is copyright 2002 by Dr. Michael C. LaBossiere. It may be freely distributed for personal or educational use provided that it is not modified and no fee above the normal cost of distribution is charged for it. Visit my web site at www.opifex.cnchost.com.
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