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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:

  1. It must be an error in reasoning not a factual error.
  2. It must be commonly applied to an argument either in the form of the argument or in the interpretation of the argument.
  3. 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.

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Alan

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Alan


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Sun, Mar 17, 2019 - 07:34 AM

Fallacy about entities with no volition and consciousness such as objects, conditions or concepts being the cause of anything?

Consider the statements:

Poverty causes crime.
Drugs cause addiction.
Wealth causes jealousy.
Fatty food causes obesity.
Money causes greed.










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Michael Chase Walker
Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

Master Contributor

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Michael Chase Walker

Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

Master Contributor

About Michael Chase Walker

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
Print Tue, Mar 19, 2019 - 12:12 PM
I'm struggling with the selected definiens for Poverty, Drugs,
Wealth, Fatty food, and Money as "entities", and even though you aptly describe them
as objects, conditions or concepts without volition and consciousness, I'm wondering
if they still qualify as entities?

According to Merriam- Webster the definition for Entity is:
1a: BEING, EXISTENCE
especially: independent, separate, or self-contained existence
b: the existence of a thing as contrasted with its attributes
2: something that has separate and distinct existence and objective or conceptual reality

However conceptual or abstract, are any of these conditions self-contained, separate or independent of a
myriad of other contributing social factors? Doesn't the use of the word 'entity' therefore itself suggest agency
or at least some sort of Oversimplified Cause Fallacy?

Here's Dr. Bo's description:

Oversimplified Cause Fallacy
Description: When a contributing factor is assumed to be the cause, or when a complex array of causal factors is reduced to a single cause. It is a form of simplistic thinking that implies something is either a cause, or it is not. It overlooks the important fact that, especially when referring to human behavior, causes are very complex and multi-dimensional.

Logical Form:

X is a contributing factor to Y.
X and Y are present.
Therefore, to remove Y, remove X.

Example #1:

P1. Lead poisoning can contribute to violent behavior.

P2. Many inner-city children have dangerous levels of lead in their blood.
C. Therefore, violent crime in the inner city can be solved by curing the lead problem.

Explanation: We already established that lead poisoning can contribute to violent behavior (note the probabilistic language). This means that there is some unspecified chance. We are taking an unreasonable leap in suggesting that violent crime can be solved (binary language) by curing the lead problem. And, in case you missed it, there is question begging here in assuming that violent behavior leads to violent crime.



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Bo Bennett, PhD
Author of Logically Fallacious

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Bo Bennett, PhD

Author of Logically Fallacious

Moderator

About Bo Bennett, PhD

Bo's personal motto is "Expose an irrational belief, keep a person rational for a day. Expose irrational thinking, keep a person rational for a lifetime."  Much of his charitable work is in the area of education—not teaching people what to think, but how to think.  His projects include his book, The Concept: A Critical and Honest Look at God and Religion, and Logically Fallacious, the most comprehensive collection of logical fallacies.  Bo's personal blog is called Relationship With Reason, where he writes about several topics related to critical thinking.  His secular (humanistic) philosophy is detailed at PositiveHumanism.com.
Bo is currently the producer and host of The Humanist Hour, the official broadcast of the American Humanist Association, where he can be heard weekly discussing a variety of humanistic issued, mostly related to science, psychology, philosophy, and critical thinking.

Full bio can be found at http://www.bobennett.com
Print Sun, Mar 17, 2019 - 07:47 AM
Not a fallacy. There is no requirement of consciousness / volition to be a cause. Lightning can cause a tree to catch on fire... Zeus not needed :)
Bo Bennett, PhD
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William Harpine, Ph.D.

Seasoned Vet

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William Harpine, Ph.D.


Seasoned Vet

About William Harpine, Ph.D.

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Print Mon, Mar 18, 2019 - 08:52 AM
I agree w/ Dr. Bennett. Inanimate objects and social forces can be causes. Many of these statements are truncated and might be more clearly expressed, i.e., "High poverty rates cause high crime rates."

But you are asking a metaphysical question, not a logical question.


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Registered User Comments

Joseph L. Hughey, Ph.D.
Monday, March 18, 2019 - 02:03:56 PM
Hi Allan and Bo,

Sorry, I don't really understand the question. Would you 'dumb it down' a bit, please.

Thanks,

Joe

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Alan
Monday, March 18, 2019 - 11:03:54 PM
About things which have no will causing things to happen.

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