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Academic Writing - Logical Fallacies - Essay Example

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She needed to somehow convince him to let her take the car to her best friend’s party. She thought if he said no, she could argue her way to using the car. “Dad,” she said sweetly, “I need to use the car tonight to go to…
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Academic Writing - Logical Fallacies

The question that ‘Why don’t you love me?’ is an example of this as Marissa is assuming, by the nature of her question, that her father does not love her, asking him why he does not. As Archie (2009) notes, the assumption of the complex question can only be known from the context. Not all cases where something not generally granted is assumed are fallacious because not all such passages involve arguments. Clearly, there is no good way to respond directly to the question being posed, only to identify the presupposition or assumption of the question. A corrected version of this question might be: “If you love me, why won’t you let me use the car.” This corrected version of the question focuses back on the issue of the car, and away from whether or not her father loves her.
This is an example of a straw man, which as Kahane (2005) writes, involves a misrepresentation of an opponent’s position, or a competitor’s product, or goes after a weaker opponent or competitor while ignoring a stronger one. The argument Marissa is using is an
Her Dad looked at her lovingly, “No, Marissa, I don’t think you’re a child. I just don’t think it’s safe for you to take the car to a party.” She snapped, “Because it’s not safe? Well, you better take away our kitchen knives, because they aren’t safe!”
example of a straw man because it misrepresents her opponent’s, her father’s position on the issue. Because the two people know each other well, Marissa can anticipate her father’s objection, which she mischaracterizes to serve her own purposes. Like an advertiser misrepresenting the competition’s products and services (Kahane), Marissa has constructed a false reality in which her opponent makes a bad argument. To correct her mistake, Marissa ought to incorporate the possibility that her father does not think she is a child by starting her sentence with an “if”, like in the following: “If you don’t think I am a child, let me take ... Read More
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