Confusion of Absulute Statement

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  • Topic: Fallacy, Ad hominem, Appeal to pity
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Reporter: Fuentes, Mary Rose S.

6. Confusion of Absolute Statement – this fallacy is committed when one argues from the truth of a general principle to the truth of specific case. The specific case may even be an exception the general law. Let us keep in mind, there are always exeptions to general principles. A universal principle is coined in view of normal and ordinary circumstances. But there may be exceptional conditions where the force of universal principle may be waived. Example:

To kill is morally criminal. (universal law)
But in self-defense, one may kill. (specific case)
Therefore, self defense is morally criminal.
The result is an invalid conclusion, rendering the argument fallacious.

7. Confusion of Qualified Statement – this fallacy consists in concluding from the truth of a proposition which is good only under certain circumstances of time, place, or condition to the truth of the same thing under all circumstances. Example:

Some Catholics are bad.
But Mary and Joseph are Catholics
Therefore, Mary and Joseph are bad.
In the example, it is true that “some Catholics are bad”. But from this premise, one cannot conclude rashly that Mary and Joseph are bad just because they are Catholics. They are not necessarily included in the “Some Catholics”. They can be out of that group. One cannot conclude a universal truth from a particular truth. Ther is confusion of qualified statement.

8. Arguing Beside the Point (Ignoratio Elenchi) – this fallacy is an argumentation that escapes the point of issue, and instead resorts to some kind of alibi to prove or disprove something. Actually it does not prove or disprove because the argument evades the question. It ignores the point of at issue, hence called “ignoratio elenchi”. This fallacy appears in different guises. a. Argument Ad Hominem (appeal to the individual) – the fallacy evades the point of the issue and attacks the personality of the opponent. In truth, it is a biased argument, for it...
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