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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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bob pellegrino

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Sun, Dec 02, 2018 - 08:47 PM

What fallacy is this? Dictators support attacks on journalists. Therefore if you attack one journalists opinion, you are pro-dictator.




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Bo Bennett, PhD
Author of Logically Fallacious

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Bo Bennett, PhD

Author of Logically Fallacious

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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 Mon, Dec 03, 2018 - 07:02 AM
There are two significant problems with this argument. The first is use of the term "attack." It can be reasonably assumed that the arguer is referring to physical attacks on journalists of the dictators. In the second use of the word "attack" the arguer is specifically referring to "attacks on opinion," which quite different from chopping a journalist into pieces or similar (the implied use of "attack" by dictators). This is the equivocation fallacy.

The second problem has to do with the form of the argument:

(If you are a) Dictator, (then you) support attacks on journalists.
Therefore, if you attack one journalists opinion, you are pro-dictator.


the form being...

If P then Q.
Therefore, if Q then P.


Another example of this is:

If I have herpes, then I have a strange rash.
Therefore, if I have a strange rash, then I have herpes.


One can obviously have non-herpes rashes.

This is the fallacy known as Commutation of Conditionals where we are switching the antecedent and the consequent in a logical argument.

Update: Saturday, Mar 09, 2019 04:59 PM
I took a little artistic license by referring to this as a Commutation of Conditionals fallacy because, as pointed out to me, the propositions used are not exact, which is required in a formal argument/fallacy. See my comments below as to why I think this fallacy works well for this example.
Bo Bennett, PhD
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Abdulazeez Alabbasi

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Print Sun, Dec 02, 2018 - 08:55 PM
Since some errors in reasoning can be classified into many fallacies, I think the one you mentioned is an ad hominem (guilt by association) and also can be considered as a false equivalence


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Michael Chase Walker
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Michael Chase Walker

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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
Print Sun, Dec 02, 2018 - 08:53 PM
See Dr. Bo's Fallacies of Composition or Division aka Part-to-whole or whole-to-part fallacies.

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Print Sun, Dec 02, 2018 - 10:04 PM
It seems to me to be a fallacy of affirming the consequent which falls under non sequitor
The statements sound like,
If u r a pro-dictator, then u support attack on journalists
You support attack on journalists
Therefore, u r a pro-dictator


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Print Sun, Dec 02, 2018 - 10:36 PM
I can see either false equivalence or non sequitur displayed in this conspicuous fallacy. But IMOP more important than the specific type of fallacy present is the intuitively obvious absence of REASON present.

A real-world illustration:

Joseph Goebbles was the Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment & Propaganda under Adolf Hitler. In short, he was responsible for dissemination of all state -supported news, opinion & propaganda under this dictatorship. Making the simplifying assumption he is
a proxy for all like-minded journalists within this Nazi regime, consistent with this fallacies' proposition, anyone DISAGREEING with Goebbles would be supporting this Nazi Dictatorship, which is absurd. QED, we have a glaring fallacy.

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Print Mon, Dec 03, 2018 - 05:44 AM
My problem is two different interpretations of “attack”. Is it verbal? Physical? Even fatal? All journalists are subject to question. If the journalist lives to be questioned a second time, then there is no problem. The issue is in the silencing, not he attack.


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Kaiden
Friday, March 08, 2019 - 10:13:58 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:

Hi, Dr. Bo Bennett! Of course, you know that I am a new member to your website. I have been enjoyed browsing the rich material and discussions.

I noticed your layout for the form of an argument in your post. There is a mistake here and I scrolled down to see if you corrected your layout, but couldn’t find a correction, so I wanted to run it by you and get your feedback. You write—

“ (If you are a) Dictator, (then you) support attacks on journalists.
Therefore, if you attack one journalists opinion, you are pro-dictator.

the form being...

If P then Q.
Therefore, if Q then P. “

When you give the argument in full English, it contains three propositions—“you are a dictator”, “you support attacks on journalists”, and “you are pro-dictator”. However, when showing the form of the argument, you give variables for only two propositions P and Q.

Also, in the premise, P is in the antecedent apparently standing for “you are a dictator”. In the conclusion, P appears again, but this time apparently standing for “you are pro-dictator.” The variable appears twice in the same argument form, but standing for different propositions. Are you sure what you have is all correct?

Thank you, Dr. Bo Bennett.


From, Kaiden



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bob pellegrino
Saturday, March 09, 2019 - 12:27:26 AM
This was actually my question initially. I'll give you some more reference. It has to do with President Trump and News media reporting. There is a feud between Trump and CNN correspondent Jim Acosta. Trump verbally "attacks" Acosta, calling him names etc. Anti-Trump pundits on cable news shows respond with: Trump is a dictator, because dictators "attack" journalists. To me, this is not logical reasoning, as one doesn't follow the other. It's a false equivalent but there are more things wrong with it than just that.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
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Saturday, March 09, 2019 - 06:26:55 AM
If you are a Dictator (P), then you support attacks on journalists (Q).
Therefore, if you attack one journalists opinion (~Q), you are pro-dictator (~P).

I am not sure about the 3 proposition rule. Syllogisms, for example, have two premises (or propositions) and a conclusion (or more accurately, each proposition shares a term with the conclusion). When we deal with informal fallacies the arguments are messy we use the fallacies as tools to help us spot the errors with the reasoning.

You are correct that this is NOT a classic deductive argument in the sense that the P and Q are identical both instances. However, they are close enough to mirror the fallacy. The commutation of conditionals fallacy best illustrates the problem with the form of argument, but I would also agree that it is not a classic commutation of conditionals fallacy.

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Kaiden
Saturday, March 09, 2019 - 12:06:28 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:
Hi, Dr. Bo Bennett!

I will respond to your post and then culminate with my attempt to answer the Question in the original post.

I’m curious what you mean by “the 3 proposition” rule. You seem to have gotten the impression that my post discusses a rule about how arguments must have three propositions; and you offer the syllogism as a supposed counterexample. Is this the impression you got? If so, I wasn’t enforcing any rule about the number of propositions an argument can have. Supposing I were, the syllogism would not have been a counterexample because it contains three propositions. The two premises and conclusion are all propositions. Terms like “premise” and “conclusion” are serving to denote the roles of the propositions in the argument in which they appear.

Again, I wasn’t enforcing any rule about the number of propositions an argument can have, if that was your impression. Rather, I was saying that however many propositions an argument does has, all of those propositions must be distinctly represented in the form of the argument, if that form intends to symbolize the argument.

Propositions can be expressed by sentences with different degrees of simplicity. For instance, a proposition can be expressed by a compound sentences like “if Bill goes to the market, then he will buy bread.” This is less simple than just “Bill goes to the market” or just “Bill buys bread”, which make up the expression of the more complex proposition. When I talk about the propositions in the Dictator Argument, what I’m talking about are the simpler propositions that make up the conditionals in the premise and conclusion.

With this in mind, the Dictator Argument is written in full English with four distinct propositions (initially I said three, but now I see a fourth). The form you provide for the argument should contain variables for those four distinct propositions. But the form you provide contains variables for only two propositions: P and Q. Instead, there should be four variables, let them be: P, Q, R, S

P: you are a dictator
Q: you support attacks on journalists
R: you attack one journalist’s opinions
S: you are pro-dictator

Officially: If P then Q, therefore if R then S

You say “You are correct that this is NOT a classic deductive argument in the sense that the P and Q are identical [in] both instances.” It seems you are suggesting that “if p then q, therefore if q then p” does represent all four propositions—by using variables twice in the same argument, now with different meanings—and that this reuse of variables is permitted as part of a non-classical system for expressing deductive arguments. No, formally speaking it is a translation mistake to symbolize the Dictator Argument like that. When translating an argument into truth-functional logic, each variable is supposed to be assigned to no more than one proposition. I would like to know more about the term “classic”, which you use twice. You appear to be using it to save face (a phrase I chose not out of disrespect, but because it is the right phrase for describing how the use of “classic” comes off to me), as in “My symbolization is fine. This criticism only concerns CLASSIC symbolizations of deductive arguments and I’m not writing a classic symbolization.”

I’m not sure why you mention the messiness that can ensue from dealing with informal fallacies. It’s the formal validity of the argument that is being evaluated here, not the informal. When you laid out the structure of the argument, you explained that it was to reveal an error having to do with the argument’s form. You did not proceed to type the correct form of the argument, however. The issue is not messiness, but an incorrect translation (well, incorrect PARTIAL translation because there are still English words in the form that is given.) The correct (partial) form is given just above the previous paragraph.

Nonetheless, I can understand that you may not have been making a serious attempt to translate something into truth-functional logic. Rather, you wrote the form of the ‘commutation of conditionals’ fallacy to show how the Dictator Argument is similar to it. Yes, there is a resemblance between the Dictator Argument and the form “if p then q, therefore if q then p”! Fortunately for arguments, though, they can get away with having a form that is similar to a formal fallacy.

For example,

If P then Q
Not Q
Therefore, not P

Resembles,

If P then Q
Not P
Therefore, not Q

As similar, at first glance, as the first is to the second, the first is not formally fallacious. The Dictator Argument would commit a given formal fallacy if and only if its form commits that given formal fallacy, not if its form is “close”. The Dictator Argument does not commit the commutation of conditionals fallacy because the conditional in the conclusion of the argument contains different propositions than those that are contained by the conditional in the premise; no propositions have undergone commutativity, indeed, no proposition appears twice—each of the four propositions are different from the others. So, regardless of how similar the Dictator Argument (when read in English) may appear to it, there is no commutation of conditionals fallacy in the form of the Dictator Argument.

My answer to the original Question is that it is formally an example of a non sequitur.

“If R then S” does not logically follow from “if P then Q.”

“If you attack one journalist’s opinions then you are pro-dictator”, does not follow logically from “if you are a dictator, then you support attacks on journalists.”

In sum, there is a similarity between the English reading of the Dictator Argument and the form of the commutativity of conditionals fallacy. But when the Dictator Argument is symbolized, its form does not match the form of the commutativity of conditionals fallacy, and so, does not formally commit it. Instead, I think it is a non sequitur. Hopefully, you can check my work on whether it is a non sequitur and tell more about the non-classical system for formally symbolizing arguments in which the same variables can be used twice in the same symbolization key to represent different propositions.

Thank you greatly, Dr. Bo Bennett.


From, Kaiden

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Bo Bennett, PhD
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Saturday, March 09, 2019 - 01:33:57 PM
@Kaiden: Hi Kaiden. My use of the Commutation of Conditionals was not because the argument form was similar (the argument form was identical). Where it strays from the classic use is in that the propositions represented are slightly different, yet I would argue that the meaning is close enough where it matters to use this fallacy and illustrates the error in the reasoning:

If you are like a dictator (P) then you support attacks on journalists (Q).
Therefore, if you support attacks on journalists (Q) then you are like a dictator (P).

This is in essence what the OP is saying (in my interpretation). I know being a dictator is not the same as being like a dictator, but it doesn't matter since the meaning behind the two phrases is meant to be "is a rotten person." And attacking a journalist is not the same as supporting attacks on journalists, but to attack a journalist requires one to support that notion in all practical terms (unless someone is doing so under duress, etc. which is clearly what is not meant here). We can reasonably reduce this to:

If you are a rotten person (P) then you do this thing (Q).
Therefore, if you do this thing (Q) then you are a rotten person (P).

You can disagree that you don't think my interpretation of the OP is correct (e.g., being a dictator is too much unlike being pro-dictator for this fallacy to be useful). To that, I would say, okay... but I think it is.

I thank you for pointing out the problem with my original response in that is not a perfect fit for the Commutation of Conditionals fallacy. I hope I was able to be articulate enough to explain why I think that fallacy still fits here.

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Kaiden
Saturday, March 09, 2019 - 10:01:14 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:

Hi, Dr. Bo Bennett!

Thank you for posing challenges to my position. The next paragraph starts off without further ado, but the points should come together as you continue on.

Let’s suppose someone, call him John, gives two statements. The first statement is: the OP contains four non-identical propositions (A). The second statement is: the OP is correctly symbolized by the formula “If p then q, therefore if q then p” (B). Together, then, let us suppose John’s claim is (A and B). It is sufficient for John’s claim (A and B) to be false, that one of the conjuncts is false. Let’s see if I can prove at least one of the conjuncts false. I will do this by attempting to prove that they are inconsistent, such that one of the conjuncts must be false.

I’m going to start with B. To do this, I’ll assume that A is true and just look at B. To remind your the claim B states that the OP is correctly symbolized by the formula “If p then q, therefore if q then p”, (which commits the commutation of conditionals fallacy). Well, the formula has only two variables, p and q. Since we are assuming A, it follows that in symbolizing the OP into that formula, one of three things must be the case. EITHER

C: p, or q, or both stand for a single proposition.

OR

D: p, or q, or both stand for more than one proposition.

OR

E: p, or q, or both stand for no propositions.

Either C or D or E. No other option exists.

Given A, if we try to symbolize the OP such that C is the case, then the symbolization is incorrect. A correct symbolization must express all of the propositions of the argument that is undergoing symbolization. Since the OP contains four propositions and C represents only two, not all of the OP’s propositions are being expressed. C is incorrect as a symbolization of the OP.

Given A, if we try to symbolize the OP such that D is the case, then the symbolization is incorrect. A correct symbolization must not use the same variable twice to express different propositions. But either p, or q, or both are standing for more than one proposition. D is incorrect as a symbolization of the OP.

Given A, if we try to symbolize the OP such that E is the case, then the symbolization is incorrect. If a symbolization of an argument is correct, then it must represent some propositions of the argument, but E does not represent some propositions at all. E is incorrect as a symbolization for the OP.

Given A, it follows that if B is true, then C or D or E must be a correct symbolization. Neither C nor D nor E is a correct symbolization. Therefore, B cannot be true, given A. Given A, it must be false that the OP can be correctly formulated as “If p then q, therefore if q then p.” In other words, Dr. Bennett, a John, whoever he may be representing, cannot consistently who claims that the OP contains four non-identical propositions, and that it is correctly symbolized by the formula “If p then q, therefore if q then p.” Since A and B are inconsistent, if you claim one, you must deny the other.


It’s not clear whether it is A that you affirm or if it is B that you affirm, though you seem to affirm at least one of them. Let me explain why it’s not clear. In your opening paragraph you claim that the argument strays from the “classic” formulation because it contains slightly different propositions. It’s a bit confusing what you mean here. I’m assuming that by “it contains slightly different propositions” you mean “it contains variables P and Q, and they appear twice, standing for slightly different propositions in each instance.” Well, if P and Q stand for slightly different propositions each time they appear (if you are affirming A or at least that there are more than three propositions in the OP), then you cannot consistently claim that it correctly fits the fallacy form (you cannot constantly affirm B). On the other hand, if you did not mean that the OP “contains P and Q, and they appear twice, standing for slightly different propositions in each instance”, then how does it stray from the classic form? If the OP does contain four propositions, then it does not correctly fit the form. If it contains only the two propositions and thus fits the form, then it does not stray from the “classic” form. One way or another, it looks like your first paragraph is running into a mistake. Or maybe you can clarify your meaning there.

So far, I have given a proof that either the OP contains four non-identical propositions (A) or the OP is correctly symbolized by “If p then q, therefore if q then p” (B), and not both A and B.


Continuing, if I had to guess, you more likely affirm B. In fact, in your new version of the argument, you ensure that the OP is interpreted such that there are only two propositions.

“ If you are like a dictator (P) then you support attacks on journalists (Q).
Therefore, if you support attacks on journalists (Q) then you are like a dictator (P). “

It contains only two propositions and matches the form of the fallacy exactly. The problem is that this is not the argument in the OP. If we put variables “p” and “q” in the OP, such that “p” is in the antecedent and “q” is in the consequent of the premise of the OP, and vice versa for the conclusion, we would have—

If you are a dictator (P), then you support attacks on journalists (Q). Therefore if you attack one journalists opinion (Q), you are pro-dictator (P).

In order for B to be true, A must be false. In other words, in order it to be true that “the OP is correctly symbolized as If p then q, therefore if q then p”, it must be false that “the OP contains four non-identical propositions.” Put another way, you affirm that the OP is correctly symbolized as “If p then q, therefore if q then p.” So, you are challenged to affirm that the p in the antecedent of the OP’s premise is the same proposition as the p in the consequent of the OP’s conclusion and that the q in the consequent of the OP’s premise is the same proposition as the q in the antecedent of the OP’s conclusion. Not p’s and q’ that closely or almost stand for the same propositions each time they appear, but rather the same proposition.

Even you seem to recognize the need for having exact consistency in the representation of propositions. After all, in your new post, you interpret the argument such that the p’s and q’s are standing for exactly the same propositions. But is not the OP. Let me prove it.

Its interesting to evaluate your interpretation of the argument because you write two versions with different sentences—you “reduce” the argument, as you say. And you insist that in the course of reducing the OP, all of the same propositions are being carried over from one version to the next. You seem to suggest, in your second to last paragraph, that whether or not these interpretations of yours are correct, is just a matter of agreeing or disagreeing. If you think this is only an issue for agreeing or disagreeing, then by all mean, don’t engage me further on this issue. However, I would like to pursue an indirect method for proving that your interpretation is incorrect and that the OP does not commit the commutation of conditionals fallacy.

The OP states:

If you are a dictator (W), then you support attacks on journalists (X). Therefore if you attack one journalists opinion (Y), you are pro-dictator (Z).

I am NOT already assuming that there are four distinct propositions. It may be true both that “W and Z signify one and the same proposition” and “X and Y signify one and the same proposition”.
If and only if this is true, then the OP does have the form that you attribute to it and does commit the fallacy of commutation of conditionals.

Therefore, if I can prove that it is false that “W and Z signify one and the same proposition” or if I can prove that it is false that “X and Y signify one and the same proposition”, I have proved that the OP is not correctly formulated by you and does not commit the commutation of conditionals fallacy.

Let me start with X and Y.

X: you support attacks on journalists
Y: you attack journalists.

If X and Y stand for the same proposition, then it must be true that (X implies Y) AND it must be true that (Y implies X). Are either of these conjuncts true? If one of them is false, then the whole conjunction is false—that is, X and Y do not mean the same thing. So, to disprove that X and Y mean the same thing, it is sufficient to show that it is false that (X implies Y) or that it is false that (Y implies X). Let’s start with Y implies X because that’s what you discuss.

You tried to show that Y implies X. In fact, that’s all you try to do for Y and X. Even if you had succeeded in showing that Y implies X, this would not prove the needed claim that they are the same proposition, because X would also have to imply Y. [If someone were to show that Y implies X, and conclude from this that they mean the same thing (that X, in turn, implies Y), then THAT would an instance of someone committing the commutations of conditionals fallacy.]

Returning to whether Y implies X. This is a conditional statement. It means that Y is sufficient for X. So, if there is a situation in which the antecedent is true and the conditional is false, then the conditional is false (because the antecedent was proven not to be sufficient for the consequent). You try to show that “you attack journalists” implies “you support attacks on journalists.” However, you don’t aren’t understanding “Y is sufficient for X” in a technical sense. Your examples have more to do with correlation than implication. Indeed, you do your position the disfavor of admitting that there are possible situations in which Y is true but X is not. I agree that there are. Y is not sufficient for X. That is to say, it is false that Y implies X.

1. (Y implies X) is a false.

2. If one conjunct is false, the whole conjunction in which it appears is false.

3. Therefore, it is false that [(Y implies X) and (X implies Y)]. 1, 2 Modus Ponens

4. If X and Y are identical propositions, then [(Y implies X) and (X implies Y)].

5. Therefore, it is false that X and Y are identical propositions. 3, 4 Modus Tollens

6. If it is false that X and Y are identical, then the consequent in the conditional of OP’s premise and the antecedent of the conditional in OP’s conclusion are not identical.

7. Therefore, the consequent of OP’s premise is not identical to the antecedent of OP’s conclusion. 5, 6 Modus Ponens

But in your version of the argument, Dr. Bennett, the proposition in the consequent of the premise is identical to the proposition in the antecedent of the conclusion. Therefore, your version of the argument cannot be a correct representation of the OP. I could have gone back and proven the even easier claim that X does not imply Y.

In sum, in my previous post, I defend that the Dictator Argument contains four non-identical simple propositions and should be formally symbolized as—

If P then Q, therefore if R then S

P: you are a dictator
Q: you support attacks on journalists
R: you attack one journalist’s opinions
S: you are pro-dictator

This constitutes a non sequitur and not a fallacy of the commutation of conditionals. In this post, I reinforce my position with proofs and await an understanding of the first paragraph of your response, along with information about the non-classical system for formally symbolizing arguments in which the same variables can be used twice in the same symbolization key to represent different propositions.


Thank you, Dr. Bo Bennett.


From, Kaiden.

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Kaiden
Sunday, March 10, 2019 - 06:48:48 AM
@Kaiden:

Hi, Dr. Bo Bennett or any reader who may benefit form this clarification!

I could also have shown that it is false that W and Z signify one and same proposition. And when conjuncted with step 5 of the proof (X and Y are not identical), it can be inferred that the OP must therefore contain four non identical propositions. Of course, I would assume it’s obvious that neither (W and X) nor (W and Y) are signifying one and the same proposition. In this way, by proving A, I have disproved B. So, the proof described in this post and the one in my previous post are both acceptable.

A little ways into my previous post, when I talk about the uncertainty of your first paragraph, I say that if you affirm that “P and Q stand for slightly different propositions each time they appear”, then you would also have to be affirming “A or at least that there are more than three propositions in the OP.” My reasoning is that P and Q appear twice. So, if they stand for different propositions each time they appear, surely there must be at least four propositions, thus affirming A. Or if only one variable changes which proposition it represents, then the OP surely must have had at least three propositions.

This is not technically correct. P and Q may switch in terms of which propositions they signify in the second time they appear, such that only two propositions are being represented the whole, just switching whether p or q expresses them. Still, this is an incorrect symbolization, so it not a useful objection to pose to my position.

Also, A doesn’t need to strictly mean “the OP contains exactly four propositions”, but can be more loosely taken as “any interpretation in which the OP does not have exactly two propositions.” The number just so happens to be four. Given the strict or the loose understanding of A, it must be false that the OP is correctly symbolized as “if p then q, q therefore p.”

Thank you.

From, Kaiden

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bob pellegrino
Monday, December 03, 2018 - 11:06:30 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:
"Attack" is meant as a verbal attack. The example is, President Trump says that certain media outlets are "enemies of the state". Left wing media labels him a dictator or "dictator like" for attacking the media in general and certain journalists in particular. Therefore if you are a Trump supporter, you are automatically "pro-dictator". This is the "guilt by association" part, but the association is not based on a true fact. (The fact that real dictators also kill journalists also seems not to matter in their false analogies). This happens a lot today. Trump will say that MS13 gang members are "animals", and the left media will put up headlines that read "Trump calls Hispanic immigrants animals", so he is apparently a white nationalist or white supremacist. He will ban 7 muslim countries from entering the USA and he is portrayed as banning ALL Muslims from entering our country, so if you are a Trump supporter you must also be Islamophobic. Perhaps we need a new, specialized fallacy name for this type of reporting like the "Trump Derangement Fallacy" LOL.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
moderator
Tuesday, December 04, 2018 - 07:41:59 AM
So there are a couple of things going on here. First, it Trump's (alleged) dictator-like behavior. Recall my response to Abdulazeez below. Referring to media as "enemies of the state" and proposing state-run media is very dictator like. It is not at all unreasonable to suggest as much.

Therefore if you are a Trump supporter, you are automatically "pro-dictator".

This is where this gets problematic. Trump is not a dictator, he is "dictator-like" in some ways. So that fact that Trump supporters are pro-dictator just does not follow (Rich's non sequitur). Of course, we can't even say that Trump supporters support dictator-like behavior because perhaps a Trump supporter may hate the fact that verbally attacks journalists but support Trump for other reasons. Thus, claiming as much is Abdulazeez's guilt by association.

Trump will say that MS13 gang members are "animals", and the left media will put up headlines that read "Trump calls Hispanic immigrants animals"

Assuming this is true, this is simply factually incorrect. Out of curiosity, I Googled "Trump calls Hispanic immigrants animals" and one hit came up - a conservative blogger making this claim. I am not up on politics, but I recall Trump making an ambiguous statement about people crossing the border being "animals," and only after the media reported on it, he clarified that he was referring to the gang members. If this is the case, the media was doing what they always do... in short of specifics, applying the least charitable interpretation.

He will ban 7 muslim countries from entering the USA and he is portrayed as banning ALL Muslims from entering our country

This is getting a bit too political, but make sure you see the whole picture and are not blinded by ideology. Trump unequivocally did call for a Muslim ban: https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/trumpometer/promise/1401/establish-ban-muslims-entering-us/ (video of him saying the very clear words).

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Rich McMahon
Monday, December 03, 2018 - 10:55:57 AM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: I read this assertion differently, i.e., that
the initial “attack” referred to was also non physical. But I acknowledge your inference is quite plausible. In this case I think we also have a non sequitor, relating dissimilar phenomena. This, in addition to the ‘Commutation of Conditionals’ which really nailed it, and which I believe my Goebbels example illustrated.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
moderator
Monday, December 03, 2018 - 11:31:31 AM
Hi Rich. This is certainly a non sequitur as well, as many fallacies are. The non sequitur tells us that the conclusion does not follow. When possible, we want to explain WHY the conclusion does not follow. This is when more specific fallacies could better demonstrate the problem with the reasoning.

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Abdulazeez Alabbasi
Monday, December 03, 2018 - 08:51:24 AM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: Isn't it also guilt by association? It fits a guilt by association fallacy form as well.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
moderator
Monday, December 03, 2018 - 09:24:09 AM
I am not so sure about that one. Perhaps the clarity of the the guilt by association fallacy is obfuscated by the equivocation. Ignoring the equivocation, if dictators attack journalists, and if you attack journalists, then you are "guilty" because you are attacking journalists, not because of the association. This seems to fall under the exception example I have: Pol Pot, the Cambodian Maoist revolutionary, was genocidal; therefore, he was a very bad man. Frankie is genocidal; therefore, Frankie must also be a very bad man.

Again, naming the fallacies is a game of semantics and while many may fit, some are better than others. I am sure you can make a convincing argument for the guilt by association fallacy, I just think that one is not worth mentioning (perhaps because I don't see what you do).


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