Quick Write

What subjects are you an expert in? Have you ever written about those subjects in school?

Graff “Hidden Intellectualism” (264)

In the article “Hidden Intelectualism,” Gerald Graff argues that schools should encourage students to write about subjects that interests them. While passion about a subject does not necessarily mean they will write well about it, they can benefit from reflective and analytical writing about subjects they care about.

Nonacademic subjects can be “more intellectual than school” (267).

What does he mean by intellectual here? Look at paragraph 10 on page 267.

Real intellectuals turn any subject, however lightweight it may seem, into grist for their mill through thoughtful questions they bring to it, whereas a dullard will find a way to drain the interest out of the richest subject (265).

Do you agree with this statement? Why?

  • Who is his audience?
  • What is his purpose?
  • How does he build ethos?

Give me the student anytime who writes a sharply argued, sociologically acute analysis of an issue in Source over the student who writes a life­less explication of Hamlet or Socrates’ Apology (270).

Intro to Fallacies

Logically Fallacious

Key Terms

  • Argument: A conclusion together with the premises that support it.
  • Premise: A reason offered as support for another claim.
  • Conclusion: A claim that is supported by a premise.
  • Valid: An argument whose premises genuinely support its conclusion.
  • Unsound: An argument that has at least one false premise.
  • Fallacy: An argument that relies upon faulty reasoning.
  • Booby-trap: An argument that, while not a fallacy itself, might lead an inattentive reader to commit a fallacy.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Fallacies

This is a great resource for further reading on fallacies and how they are not so simple. The article lists 223 of the most common fallacies.

I do not expect you to know them all or to never use any. Fallacies are controversial. We appreciate logic and honesty in Western rhetorical thinking and that is at odds with many fallacies.

Fallacies are not necessarily wrong, they work very well and are very good at persuading people. Fallacies are considered unethical and so we try to avoid them. They are thought of as flaws in thought, tricks, and sneaky uses of persuasion to convince others.

Emotional Fallacies (Pathos)

Scare Tactics – Scaring people and exaggerating dangers. Also known as fear mongering.

Scare Tactic Fallacy example.

Either-or Choices / False Dichotomy – Oversimplification to only two choices.

Slippery Slope – Exaggerating the consequences of an action.

Sentimental Appeals – Excessive emotion intended to distract.

Bandwagon Appeals – Follow the path of everyone else.

Ethical Fallacies (Ethos)

False Authority – Offering yourself or other authorities as sufficient evidence.

Dogmatism – persuade by assuming a position based in biblical passages.

Dogmatism Fallacy example

Moral Equivocation – suggesting that serious wrongdoings do not differ from minor ones.

Ad Hominem (At the person) – Attacks directed at character instead of the claims or argument.

Logical Fallacies (Logos)

Hasty Generalizations – conclusions drawn from insufficient evidence. Jumping to conclusions. The most common fallacy you will encounter.

Hasty Generalization example

Faulty Causality – assuming because one event happened after another, the first causes the second.

Begging the Question – a form of circular logic. an argument based on claims that cannot be accepted as true.

Equivocation – the use of ambiguous language to conceal the truth or to avoid committing oneself.

Non Sequitur – an argument in which claims, reasons, or warrants fail to connect logically.

The Straw Man – Misrepresenting an argument in order to knock it down. Arguing something that is not really there.

Faulty Analogy – An extended comparison that is inaccurate or inconsequential.

Red Herring – Partway through an argument, the arguer goes off on a tangent, raising a side issue that distracts the audience from what’s really at stake. Often, the arguer never returns to the original issue.