Welcome! This is the place to ask the community of experts and other fallacyophites (I made up that word) if someone has a committed a fallacy or not. This is a great way to settle a dispute! This is also the home of the "Mastering Logical Fallacies" student support.
Dr. Bo's Criteria for Logical Fallacies:
It must be an error in reasoning not a factual error.
It must be commonly applied to an argument either in the form of the argument or in the interpretation of the argument.
It must be deceptive in that it often fools the average adult.
Therefore, we will define a logical fallacy as a concept within argumentation that commonly leads to an error in reasoning due to the deceptive nature of its presentation. Logical fallacies can comprise fallacious arguments that contain one or more non-factual errors in their form or deceptive arguments that often lead to fallacious reasoning in their evaluation.
I entertained the following line of logic with someone else for some time, and can't seem to settle on a solution.
Note: This discussion does not have reality as a mediator for the most. It is a partly abstract (a priori) discussion that ignores real world necessities like a trial where reasonable doubt can be established, context, previous life conduct, etc. and for the sake of discussion, takes some things to be true. This is why you won't see concrete examples and only general terms like "insane", "crime" etc. without delving into how bad they might be.
Consider the following:
A: Punishment in response to X single crime comes because of the act itself, and its consequences. Assume the punishment is jail, its purpose being avoiding X, and any Y subquent crime.
B: That only works if we don't commit any more crimes, or stop at once, it's not an acceptable metric. If i act out Y, then the punishment is increased because of X, which is now irrelevant. The reason for the increase, and punishment to X, is actually based on the assumption that we understand the mental process and/or intent of any given R criminal, which is the justification for punishment.
Previous X will be used as proof that future behaviour will be coherent, and therefore more punishment is correct. No intent= no punishment. (as in clinically insane, where intent is not present or, see next) Unclear intent=punishment cannot be justified, so no punishment.
A: That would make sense, but i'm not convinced. Everyone at some point gets that fleeting thought of getting rid of that ONE annoying person. If your intention analysis was correct, then we would have to jail most people of the planet because it's certain that in the unconcious we don't control, one of the many thoughts that represent us, will be "get rid of them". So you can't be right. We don't act out this thought so most people are not jailed, if it was just intent, then jail ensues for most people. The act is the issue, or punishment would not happen. R people stay in longer because of the potential crime they represent, as proved by acting out crime X, not intent.
B: That also makes sense, except intent has to be the major cause, or any punishment is meaningless. If an insane person smashes up my car, no one gets any benefit for jailing him, except maybe there won't be two smashed cars. Of course, there is no intent, so at best a clinic is the outcome for this insane person. To jail this sort of individual would be as crazy as jailing a mountain for destroying my car with a rock. The act has no bearing on the punishment.
A: But no act means no punishment, and clearly not all people are insane. Isn't the point of punishing, the idea of containing any other possible damage?
B: That's also part of it. Consider this for the criminal with intent. If the whole X process (the reading of intention as dangerous, after a crime, and jail to prevent Y from taking place because intent is consistent) is carried out on its own, it's all right as long as it can be demonstrated to be true.
If the punishment of Y is decided because of X, this uses a deterministic framework where intent is irrelevant, where it couldn't have been otherwise. If intent is irrelevant X and its process are unjust even if the act was carried out. So Y can't be justified if you use X. I retroactively invalidated a crime and a sentence.
As you can see, intent is the major cause. The act is almost irrelevant.
This is pretty much the jist of it. I'm pretty sure there are some mistaken follow ups on premises, but i can't spot them easily.
I had a humorous interpretation, where if intent is all that matters, then the act of wilfully carrying out an X crime in your mind, even just see what it would look like, is enough to land you jail, because the intent to carry it out is true enough to do it in your head. If this is right, and thoughts are just as real as the universe (and they are), and can work as a reference for intent, then i can convict everyone on the basis of thoughtcrime. Which is why he added that last part about the act being almost irrelevant, but still necessary.
I feel the fallacy could be affirming the consequent for the final part from "If the punishment of Y is decided..." to "Y can't be justified because of X", but i'm not sure. It could also be a slippery slope, but again, the reasoning seems to stand, purely on abstract grounds.
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Michael Chase Walker is an actor, author, screenwriter, producer, and a former adjunct lecturer for the College of Santa Fe Moving Images Department, and Dreamworks Animation. His first motion picture was the animated classic, The Last Unicorn. Michael was an in-house television writer for the hit television series: He-Man, She-Ra, Voltron, and V, the Series. In 1985, he was appointed Director of Children's programs for CBS Entertainment where he conceived, shaped and supervised the entire 1985 Saturday Morning line-up: Wildfire, Pee Wee's Playhouse, Galaxy High School, Teen Wolf, and over 10
It seems to me that fantasising about a crime is not the same as having the intention to carry it out.
As you say, many people probably fantasise about criminal acts quite often, but they stop short of deciding to commit the crime, and subsequently planning it out etc.
So basically am saying that until you decide to carry out the crime, you are just imagining what it would be like, which is not the same as planning it out and intending to commit it in the real world. Its not intent without the decision to carry it out.
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