Entry 4_Tran Thi Phuong Thao

20 Nov

Entry 4

Argument errors

Item 1

“My fellow Americans…there has been some talk that the government is overstepping its bounds by allowing police to enter peoples’ homes without the warrants traditionally required by the Constitution. However, these are dangerous times and dangerous times require appropriate actions. I have in my office thousands of letters from people who let me know, in no uncertain terms, that they heartily endorse the war against crime in these United States. Because of this overwhelming approval, it is evident that the police are doing the right thing.”

Source: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-popularity.html



  • Structure:

Premise 1: If the majority approve of something, that thing is right

Premise 2: Thousands of people approve of the action of the government

Conclusion: So, the action of the government is right


Premise 1: If A, then B

Premise 2: A

Conclusion: Therefore, B


  • Fallacy type:

Appeal to popularity (content fallacy)

The writer assumes that if most people endorse an idea or an action, the idea or action is a right thing. In fact, sometimes, it is the majority that are wrong.


Item 2

Source: http://biodork.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/logical-fallacies-in-advertising/




  • Structure

Premise 1: Either you use Kleenex Hand Towels and have clean hands or you use other towels and have dirty hands

Premise 2: You don’t want dirty hands

Conclusion: You must use Kleenex Hand Towels

  • Fallacy type

False dilemma

The picture above is the advertisement of Kleenex Hand Towels. It shows the images of two towels: a filthy, disgusting unknown cloth towel and “Kleenex Hand Towels – a clean, fresh towel every time!” with a message “Your hands are only as clean as the towel used to dry them.” This is a False Dilemma because it says that the consumer has only two options: either use a dirty cloth and have dirty hands or use Kleenex Hand Towels and own clean hands. Actually, consumers have more options than that: they can choose other brands of towel.


Item 3:

Source: http://fffmks.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/reality-test-17-how-has-my-thinking-gone-wrong/


The picture above is the propaganda against gay marriage. It says that “Gay marriage will lead to bestiality just like how women voting led to hamsters voting.”

It contains two fallacies:

  • Weak analogy (fallacy of relevance): it compares the consequence of legalizing gay marriage with the consequence of allowing women to vote, and confirms that they are alike. Actually, these consequences do not have any similarity at all!
  • Slippery slope (fallacy of presumption): the author of this picture assumes that the “ultimate conclusion” of legalizing same-sex marriage is the legalization of bestiality or any abhorrent thing. In fact, no one can be sure whether or not gay marriage leads to bestiality.




3 Responses to “Entry 4_Tran Thi Phuong Thao”

  1. dothihonghanh November 21, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    I think your first and second item is correct; however, in the source, they state clearly the fallacies which should have been your task to detect. In addition, as far as I concern, Slippery slope is about more serious continuous consequences caused by the first action, therefore the fallacy in the third item is not slippery slope.

  2. nguyenthisim November 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    In my opinion, your analysis is very good as you pointed out both structure and kinds of fallacy. And in the third item, it is slippery rope as the author did not explain how gay marriage( the first thing ) can lead to bestiality ( the second one ).

  3. lythithuy November 23, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    As far as i am concerned, the fallacies in all 3 items of yours were pointed in the sources. ==> it is not suitable to choose in this entry

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