Also known as personification, anthropomorphism is the act of attributing human characteristics and purposes to anything that is not human – including animals, plants, inanimate objects, deities and natural forces. While this is not a wrong thing per se (we see it all the time in children’s stories about talking animals), it becomes a logical fallacy when it is used as the reasoning for an argument.
Years ago, we polluted the rivers around our town. Now see! Mother Nature is punishing us for not treasuring water by giving us this dry season.
This example attributes the human characteristic of a desire for vengeance to “Mother Nature”, saying that the people are receiving punishment for a wrong done to the environment. However, this is a very human way of thinking and we cannot confirm nor refute that non-human entities have the same feelings and thoughts as we do.
The exclusive premises argument uses two negative premises to conclude something along the lines of “some A are not B” or “no A are B”. The argument appears to have sound reasoning, but the conclusion may be incorrect. Even if the conclusion is correct, if you examine the argument, you will find no link between the two premises and the conclusion.
No hairbrushes are shampoos.
Some shampoos are not conditioners.
Therefore, some conditioners are not hairbrushes.
No cats are reptiles.
No reptiles are mammals.
Therefore, no mammals are cats.
If you draw a Venn diagram representation of these statements, you’ll find that the conclusion mistakenly interprets the premises as separate, and does not take into account that “cats” could be a subset of “mammals”.
Here’s an example where the conclusion is correct although the reasoning is wrong. Can you spot the two negative premises and the conclusion?
We all know that no politician is a pure person. Some may say that you even have to become corrupt in order to be a politician! Although most of us would agree that politicians tend to be two-faced, some of them used to be pure people. These so-called pure people aren’t bad – well, before they rose to the seat of power. But let’s take a look at all the non-politicians committing crimes all over the place too. That’s why I would say that bad people are not all politicians.
In short, this paragraph argues:
No politicians are pure people.
Some pure people are not bad people.
Therefore, some bad people are not politicians.
The Gadarene Swine fallacy is an assumption that because an individual or a minority is not in line with the majority, it means the minority is wrong. However, this is a flaw in reasoning because it is possible that the one who is out of the group is actually doing the right thing.
All the high schoolers are drinking and doing drugs except for you. You should be ashamed.
It is certainly nothing to be ashamed of if a high schooler is not succumbing to peer pressure and drinking and doing drugs, but people often assume that if one does not “fall in line” with the others, they are automatically wrong.
This fallacy is related to the bandwagon argument, where it is assumed that a claim is valid if everyone believes it is so. You can see examples of the Gadarene Swine fallacy throughout history when the minority fought for their rights but were instead punished. For instance, Rosa Parks was the only one on her bus who opposed racial discrimination, but she was convicted and fined for it although the truth of the matter was that she was actually doing the right thing, while everyone else was discriminating on no basis.
The hot hand fallacy refers to the irrational belief that if one wins or loses several luck-based games in a row, they are either “hot” or “cold” and that streak will continue based on some factor other than pure chance or probability. Although there is no logical basis that if you are on a “hot” streak or a “cold” streak, there is some hidden modifier that either increases or decreases your chances to win the next game, people tend to believe that such a trend affects their likelihood of “win or lose”, which helps many casinos and gambling dens around the world stay in business.
I won the lottery for the last six weeks in a row, so I’m on a streak. I should bet big this week and win!
Note that the hot hand fallacy may not apply to some cases where the outcome is not purely based on probability. For example, if Lucy is very good at chess and has bested an entire room of grand masters, it can be fair to say that it is likely she will win her next game. Although some part of the game may be attributed to probability, there is no question that the skill involved plays a crucial part in deciding the winner.
Sometimes, believing that one is on a “hot streak” or a “cold streak” can result in a self-fulfilling prophecy where the outcome really turns out as expected. If you are playing a game of poker and are on a cold streak, you may believe that you will lose this next game, which could lead to careless playing that negatively affects the result. However, if you are confident that you have a good chance of winning this game, you may start to pay more attention and thus positively affect the outcome.
The traitorous critic argument occurs when Person A criticizes something they are a part of or expresses their preference for something they are not a part of, and Person B replies by attacking Person A’s criticism or perceived favorability instead of replying to the concern itself. This is usually expressed along the lines of “If you don’t like this, then leave!”
Gardener: The grass is greener on the other side. We should come up with a more efficient gardening system so our grass is green too.
Foreman: If you don’t like how we do things then we’ll find a gardener that does!
Here, the foreman did not actually address the gardener’s criticism that their system was not efficient enough, but instead attacked the gardener’s view by interpreting it as “I don’t like our system”.
However, there can be a possible exception to this fallacy if a person has repeatedly expressed their desire for the “other side” and/or expressed their dislike of “this side, if it is possible for someone to “get out” of the system that they dislike. If they repeatedly complain to a point but do not do any action to satisfy their wishes although it is in their power to do so, someone using the “then why don’t you get out and join the other side” argument could then be justified.
Jan 03, 2020