Errors In Reasoning

In this assignment, you will select one of the claims listed below. Using what you know about the topic, describe at least four claims that might commonly be made that display some of the errors in reasoning covered in this module’s readings. You may have to do a bit of research to find popular positions on these topics.

For example, if the claim is: Children should not be allowed to play violent video games.

Then four common claims about the subject might be:

1. Children have always played violent games and they turned out okay.

2. Dr. Dre says that violent video games are okay.

3. Everybody knows that violent video games don’t cause problems.

4. Many countries banned violent video games and they have higher crime rates than we do.

And the errors they represent might be:

1. Children have always played violent games and they turned out okay (appeal to tradition and false analogy).

2. Dr. Dre says that violent video games are okay (argument by mistaken authority).

3. Everybody knows that violent video games don’t cause problems (appeal to common belief).

4. Many countries banned violent video games and they have higher crime rates than we do (post hoc ergo propter hoc).

Because

1. Any sentence that talks about how we have always done something as a way to justify doing it is an appeal to tradition.

2. The claim looks like it comes from an authority, but Dr. Dre is a musician, not a doctor.

3. Any claim that says that everyone knows something as a way to justify doing it is an appeal to common belief.

4. Showing that two things happened (that video games are accepted and crime is up) does not prove that the two things are related or that the first caused the second; this is called post hoc ergo propter hoc, which means after this, so because of this.

Select one of these topics. Using what you know about the topic and additional research you conduct, describe at least four claims that might commonly be made that display some of the errors in reasoning covered in this module’s readings.

1. Should people under 18 be subjected to legal curfews or restricted driving privileges?

2. Should libraries be required to install filtering software or otherwise censor the materials that they provide?

3. Should insurance companies be required to pay for breast reconstruction, birth control pills, or Viagra?

4. Should the use of camera phones be banned in gymnasiums or other locations?

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