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Logical Fallacies from The Crucible
Transcript of Logical Fallacies from The Crucible
Appeal To Force
Argumentum ad Baculum
-Giving two choices when in actuality there could be more choices possible.
Fallacy that uses tradition to lead people to believe that the historical preference is correct and should be followed.
Puritans were very religious and focused on tradition; behavior that was not out of the ordinary was regarded as suspicious or evil.
Appeal to Tradition
AP English Language
Begging The Question;
Guilt by Association
-Poisoning the well is a logical fallacy in which a
negative comment is spoken out against a person so their
argument is discredited.
Poisoning the Well
False Cause Fallacy
This fallacy is when an argument that one event caused another to happen when it was merely a coincidence.
-The rejection of an argument because
the person in support of an argument is associated with someone who
by Meesh, Mandy and Julien
A form of logical fallacy in which a statement or claim is believed to be true without evidence other than the statement or claim itself.
Definition: Telling the listener/opponent that something bad will happen to him if he does not accept the argument.
Introducing a topic not related
to the subject at hand
xample from the Crucible:
Parris: "Such a Christian that will not come to church but once in a month!"
Act III pg. 1295
Appeal to Pity
Argumentum ad Misericordiam
Mary Warren: "I am sick, I am sick, Mr. Proctor. Pray, pray, hurt me not." Act 2
Proctor is angry at Mary Warren because she went to Salem and attended the court proceedings. However, her pleadings throw him off, and this causes him to ease up a bit. The argument was thus avoided while Proctor is instead interested in what she has to say on why she feels ill.
Definition: Urging the opponent to accept the argument based upon an appeal to emotion and sympathy.
-He got into in accident, because it was Friday the 13th.
Quotes from The Crucible
False Cause Fallacy
Francis:"These are all covenanted Christians, sir."
Danforth: "Then I am sure they may a have nothing to fear."
Danforth ignores the fact that the girls could be lying, and want vengeance, so any christian good are bad could be convicted.
Examples from The Crucible
Act 3: Martha Corey & Judge Hawthorne
Martha Corey: I am innocent to a witch. I know not what a witch is.
Hawthorne: How do you know, then, that you are not a witch?
Hawthorne is questioning Martha's conviction that she isn't a witch, when she claims she has no idea what a witch is.
Example from The Crucible
Act 1: Rebecca Nurse & Mrs. Putnam
Rebecca: Goody Ann! You sent a child to conjure up the dead?
Mrs. Putnam: Let God blame me, not you, not you, Rebecca! I'll not have you judging me any more! Is it a natural work to lose seven children before they live a day?
Mrs. Putnam is jumping to the conclusion that her deceased children died of a curse, not of natural causes.
"You are either lying now, or you were lying in court, and in either case you have committed purgery and you will go to jail for it." Judge Danforth Act III
Judge Danforth is accusing Mary Warren of lying . When she said she is not lying, he automatically assumed that she lied while in court. According to Danforth, it's not a possibility that she was telling the truth both times, or that she was lying both times. The punishment would be the same if she was lying or not.
Example from "The Crucible"
Example from "The Crucible"
"Was it man or woman came with him?" pg.1261
Parris is making the assumption that Tituba saw another person come to her with the Devil. He phrases the question in such a way that forces Tituba to admit something she didn't do.
If such actions were not illegal, then they wouldn't have been prohibited.
If it's on TV, it has to be a good show, only good shows are on TV.
They can't put anything on the internet that isn't true.....
"The Devil can never overcome a minster. You know that, do you not?" -Hale
(Page: 1261 Act:1)
The above is an appeal to tradition because it shows that they strongly believe in their religion and they have faith in their ministers, religion and tradition are almost taken to belong to each other because every religion has their own beliefs and celebrations which are considered to be a form of tradition.
"If she is truly in the devil's grip we may have to rip and tear to get her free."
"All the men in my family have become doctors, so I will too. It's tradition."
"Do you not know that God damns all liars."
-Danforth to Mary Warren
This is an appeal to tradition because Danforth is implying that everyone must know that God condemns liars. It's always been like that, so Mary Warren has no reason to believe otherwise, according to Danforth and the town of Salem.
The Straw Man Argument
The straw man fallacy occurs when person B takes
an argument from person A and refutes a related but
more susceptible argument in the place of the original argument.
Bicycle infrastructure should be expanded because cycling is a sustainable mode of transportation.
Straw man argument: We should not build bike lanes because cyclists run red lights and endanger pedestrians.
Danforth - "You will confess yourself or you will hang! Do you know who I am? I say you will hang if you do not open to me!"
Danforth threatens Mary with hanging if she does not confess. So if Mary does not lie and confess she will die; if she confesses, she will be lying and she will discredit John's testimony to save Elizabeth.
Danforth - "Good then. To Abigail: And if she tell me,child, it were for harlotry, may God spread his mercy on you! Turn your back!
If someone were to confess to Danforth on Abigail then may God have mercy on her.
"You had better agree that the new company policy is the best if you expect to keep your job."
The main problem with this fallacy is the mere fact that many people agree on something often does not imply that what they agree on is true; nevertheless, the fact that many people agree, can be relevant evidence for the truth in some instances. The distinction is based on the nature of the relevance of the claim to the conclusion.
From "The Crucible"
Proctor. I have no love for Mr. Parris. It is no secret. But God I surely love.
Cheever. He plow on Sunday, sir.
Danforth. Plow on Sunday!
Cheever. I think it be evidence, John. I am an official of the court, I cannot keep it.
Proctor. I-I have once or twice plowed on Sunday. I have 3 children, sir, and until last year my land give little.
Putnam: "I never heard you worried so on this society. Mr. Proctor, I do not think I saw you at Sabbath meeting since snow flew." Act I
Example from The Crucible
Mary Warren: "I saved her life today!" Act 2
Proctor who was going to punish Mary for disobeying commands, was suddenly distracted with the strong emotional appeal that Mary has said. Feeling these mixed emotions, he finally sends her to bed which avoids the argument and punishment.
Post Hoc Fallacy
"You can't send this man to jail! Just look at his frail and ill mother. Who can care for her now?"
"But I didn't have time to work on the project. Come on, guys! I had to visit my sick grandma in Texas and it was impossible to do."
By appealing to people's ability to pity others, a powerful emotive force can be created.
Ad Hominem, a word/phrase which here refers to one attacking an individual instead of the argument.
Parris is trying to bring Proctor's religion into question, to try to discredit what he's saying.
Example 2 from the Crucible:
Proctor: "How do you call Heaven! Whore! Whore!"
Abigail has just cried to the Lord to save her from Mary's spirit, and Proctor reveals that he and Abigail had an affair, which has nothing to do with the subject at hand.
xample 3 from the Crucible:
I know your car isn't working right. But, if you had gone to the store one day earlier, you'd not be having problems.
Danforth: And how do you imagine to help her cause with such contemptuous riot? Now be gone. Your old age alone keeps you out of jail for this. (Act II)
Example from "The Crucible"
"In the book of record that Mr. Parris keeps, I note that you are rarely in the church on Sabbath Day."
-Hale Act 2
-The quote is an example of poisoning the well because Proctor is accused of rarely going to church which makes him look like a heathen among the pious villagers.
Henry is uneducated, keep that in mind
as you listen to him.
"You're the Devil's man!"
-Mary Warren, Act 3
-Before John Proctor can convince Mary to continue with her confession she claims he compacts with the Devil to save herself.
-By claiming Proctor is in league with the Devil, it is assumed that he is evil.
"Your Excellency, I only said she were readin' books, sir, and they come and take her out of my house for." - Giles Corey, Act 3
-Witches read books, therefore, Martha Corey is in league with the witches.
"All innocent and Christian people are happy for the courts in Salem!" -
Rev. Parris Act 3
The court is Christian and anyone who is Christian should support the church simple because they are Christian.
"Not going to the store" is an unrelated
side note. It has nothing to do with the car
John Proctor's religious habits are unrelated
to his concern "on this society." However, Putnam
tries to win the argument by switching to a topic
in which he has the upper hand.
This is an example of poisoning the well because the insult against Henry's lack of a formal education makes everything he says afterward seem ignorant.
Danforth, disturbed by Giles' "riot," tries to gain an edge in the argument by referring to Giles' "old age." In reality, his age is unrelated to the subject at hand.
Danforth: " Are you a Gospel man, Mr. Proctor?"
Danforth has is attacking John Proctor's character by questioning Proctor's knowledge of the Gospel even though that has nothing to do with the trials.
Act III, pg 1296
In other words, you assume without proof the stand/position, or a significant part of the stand, that is in question. Begging the question is also called arguing in a circle.
The conservatives seem to think that anyone who disagrees with President Bush must be a terrorist or a sympathizer for terrorists.
Analysis: Note the keywords 'seem to think that'. What follows it is a misrepresentation of the conservatives' belief.
I'm in favor of legalized gambling. There are those who oppose it, but they apparently believe that anything that's fun is sinful.
Analysis: Note the keywords 'apparently believe'. What follows it is a misrepresentation of the position against legalizing gambling.
Person A: We should liberalize the laws on beer.
Person B: No, any society with unrestricted access to
intoxicants loses its work ethic and goes only for immediate gratification.
Proctor and Cheever are arguing over Proctor’s
credibility and innocence in court. Cheever brings up plowing on Sundays to make the issue larger
involving religion. By bringing up religion, it makes
the issue a bigger deal than it is.
Giles: My proof is there! If Jacobs hangs
for witch he forfeits up his property-that’s law! And there is none but Putnam with the coin to buy so great a piece. This man is killing his neighbors for their land!”
Danforth: And you bound yourself to his service (Danforth turns, as Rebecca and Willard enter.) Ah, Rebecca Nurse. – Come in, come in, woman.
Rebecca: Ah, John! You are well, then , eh?
Danforth: Courage, man, courage—let her witness your good example that she may come to God herself. Now hear it, Goody Nurse! Say on, Mister Proctor—did you bind yourself to the Devil’s service?
Rebecca : Why, John!
Proctor: (Face turned from Rebecca.) I did.
Danforth: Now, woman, you surely see it profit nothin’ to keep this conspiracy any further. Will you confess yourself with him?
Rebecca : Oh, John—God send His mercy on you!
Proctor : Take her out!
Danforth: I say will you confess yourself, Goody Nurse!
Rebecca: Why, it is lie, it is a lie; how may I damn myself? I cannot.
Danforth: Mister Proctor. When the Devil came to you did you see Rebecca Nurse in his company? Come, man, take courage—did you ever see her with the Devil?
Proctor : (Almost inaudibly, in agony.) No. (Rebecca takes a step toward him.)
“Giles: Last night-mark this-
I tried and tried and could not say my prayers. And then she closed her book and walks out of the house, and suddenly-mark this-I could pray again.”
Event A happened immediately prior to event B. Therefore, A caused B.
Post Hoc also manifests itself as a bias towards jumping to conclusions
based upon coincidences.
"She sends her spirit on me in church; she
makes me laugh at prayer.” (Act 1)
This is post hoc or faulty causality because there is no evidence that Tituba sending her spirit and Abigail laughing in church are cause and effect. Abigail may laugh in church due to her immaturity.