### 3.4 Fallacies in Logic

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• Math Help

It is sad that one of the greatest culprits in the use of all sorts of fallacies is political campaign. This occurs because the United States is not, nor has it ever been, a true democracy. In a true democracy, as was practiced in Ancient Athens, each citizen is given one vote.

Rather than being a democracy (one citizen one vote), the United States' type of government is called a republic. In a republic, like ancient Rome, there is a select group of people who are elected to represent the citizenry of the country. For all of its benefits, this type of government has the side effect of placing vast power into the hands of a few (or a few hundred) people. Because of this power, it has become cost effective to spend millions (and occasionally hundreds of millions) of dollars to ensure that the candidate of your choice is elected.

With this much at stake, logic is generally the driving force in a campaign. It was this realization that shocked Americans with the marketing and selling of Richard Nixon.

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• Checkpoint Solution

• It associates the candidate with the American flag.
• It portrays a glamorous view of the candidate. (Oddly, better looking candidates have an advantage over candidates who are not as good looking.
• It begs the question by assuming that "they" don't want Veronica in Congress.
• It also begs the question by assuming that Veronica is honest.

Of the four political advertisements on page 139, this one has the greatest appeal to logic.

• It appears to direct the reader to a Web site, presumably in which issues are discussed.
• It does not picture the American flag or other symbols of patriotism.

To see why political campaign managers tend to use patriotic red-white-blue advertisements, try showing the four political ads on page 139 to several people. Ask each person which ad is the most appealing. Given no additional information, which of the four candidates would each person be most likely to vote for? If you find that the red-white-blue ads are chosen more often, then you can see why campaign managers choose this style.

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Guest   8 years ago |
1. Ad hominem (meaning "against the person")—attacks the person and not the issue
2. Appeal to emotions—manipulates people's emotions in order to get their attention away from an important issue
3. Bandwagon—creates the impression that everybody is doing it and so should you
4. False dilemma—limits the possible choices to avoid consideration of another choice
5. Appeal to the people—uses the views of the majority as a persuasive device
6. Scare tactic—creates fear in people as evidence to support a claim
7. False cause—wrongly assumes a cause and effect relationship
8. Hasty generalization (or jumping to conclusions)—draws a conclusion about a population based on a small sample
9. Red herring—presents an irrelevant topic to divert attention away from the original issue
10. Traditional wisdom—uses the logic that the way things used to be is better than they are now, ignoring any problems of the past
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Ron Larson (author)8 years ago |
I think these four sample political advertisements are surprising. We are so used to seeing some version of the American flag in a political ad that when we see a political ad without a flag, it just doesn't look right.
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