Fallacy Summary and Application Paper

Essay by dom5858 September 2004

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This paper is going to show you three fallacies. A fallacy is a false

notion or a statement or an argument based on a false or invalid inference.

If an argument contains a fallacy, then the conclusion will not necessarily be proven. Some fallacies are just accidental, but they can also be used to trap a listener or reader into believing faulty conclusions (A. Stephen Richardson, unknown, para. 2). This paper will describe three logical fallacies and give an example of each.

Red Herring

This type of fallacy is used when you want to switch the subject from the original question and then state that the original question is irrelevant because of the new subject. The history behind the name of this fallacy is interesting. The name originates from a technique used to train English Foxhouds. (McGraw-Hill Co. 2002) I think a fantastic example of this fallacy is:

"Honey, does my butt look fat in these jeans?" says a man's wife.

"Wow dear, your hair is really beautiful! And those earrings are a knockout!" replies the man.

Many men can relate to this very fallacy, I know I can. In this example a subject is asked or under discussion, then to avoid the ever-powerful trap of the woman the man changes the subject to avoid the question. (Trap) In doing so the man has introduced another subject to lour the woman away from her original question. Then the first subject is dropped avoiding a horrific argument.

How critical thinking is applied in this example is: What does the wife want to hear? What is the politically correct answer? If the husband states the truth it could mean a night full of arguing. If the husband tells a lie to save himself, then he also saves himself from the argument...