Tag Archives: amphiboly

Informal Logic 101: How to Think and Argue Better, Part 8

“Most of the arguments to which I am party fall somewhat short of being impressive, owing to the fact that neither I nor my opponent knows what we are talking about.”  — Robert Benchley, American columnist & actor

Hey, folks! Ready for another lesson in logic? Of course, you are!!

In A World of Difference, Prof. Kenneth Samples warns that these first three fallacies are often resorted to when people are arguing for a particular worldview (i.e., a belief system). Unfortunately, they betray weaknesses in their argument. You’ll see what he’s talking about in a moment. Let’s get the Latin stuff out of the way first, shall we?

Vader: lack of logic disturbingArgumentum ad vericundiam (“an appeal to an untrustworthy authority”)

Appealing to an authority is a great way to lend support to one’s case, though it probably doesn’t “prove” it by itself. When a true authority speaks on something within their area of expertise, we should give what they say due consideration. However, not everyone cited as an authority on something is an actual authority on that subject. It is also possible that, while having relevant credentials, the person or group appealed to is not always to be trusted.

Regarding the first instance, Richard Dawkins comes to mind….

Read the rest: Informal Logic 101: How to Think and Argue Better, Part 8