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Fallicies of an Argument: The Crucible
Transcript of Fallicies of an Argument: The Crucible
Non sequitur arguments occur when the speaker
"omits a step in an otherwise logical chain of reasoning."
(532) While the claim may actually be warranted, the speaker has not expressed an essential reason to convince the audience that one point follows from another.
Non Sequitur Example
All women are humans. David is a human. Therefore, David is a woman.
This is non sequitur because there is a missing sufficient middle term to differentiate the explanation from the conclusion. However, if the middle term were present, the argument is actually logical.
All men and women are humans. David is a man. Therefore David is a human.
The Crucible: Non Sequitur
"Giles Corey: Your excellency I only said she were reading books sir, and they come to take her out of my house for-"
"Danforth: Books! What books?" (Act 3 pg. 79)
Martha Corey reads books. Giles does not know what she is reading. Therefore, Martha Corey is a witch.
Although Giles Corey has a difficult time praying while Martha reads, we do not know if it is because Martha is inflicting a spell of sorts on him. Furthermore, we are never told that the books' content involves witchcraft.
This is a non sequitur argument because perhaps the books were about witchcraft, in which case the claim is valid. However, this has not been stated, therefore
there is a missing piece of reason to warrant the claim.
Faulty Causality: The Crucible
"Mrs. Putnam: I knew it! Goody Osburn were midwife to me three times. I begged you, Thomas, did I not? I begged him not to call Osburn because I feared her. My babies always shriveled in her hands." (Act 1 pg. 49)
Mrs. Putnam speculating that her babies were murdered
This is faulty causality because there is no proof that Goody Osburn murdered Mrs. Putnam's babies.
However, it is convenient to believe that Goody Osbrun, who was just accused of being a witch, is also a murderer. This argument is both
suspiciously simple and politically convenient
The reason given to back the claim is simply false because Goody Osburn did not kill three of Mrs. Putnam's babies.
Being that this is faulty causality, it is necessary to
the argument. Perhaps further evidence of Goody Osburn's innocence is the fact that even when Mrs. Putnam had a different midwife, she still had to bury her babies.
Faulty Causality is "the fallacious assumption that because one event or action follows another, the first causes the second".
Some actions do not produce reactions.
Faulty causality is used because often a very
small amount of evidence
is needed to convince people that an initial action did, indeed, cause a subsequent action.
When an argument is "suspiciously simple" or "politically convenient" it should always be
subject to further investigation.
Example of Faulty Causality
Since violent video games were introduced to teens, violence among teens has greatly increased. Therefore, violent video games should be banned.
The belief that it is video games causing more violence among teens is both simple and politically convenient. The solution, banning violent video games, is also easy to execute. Therefore, it makes sense why so many people would believe this argument.
However, we are simply going off of an assumption that the first action (playing violent video games), causes the second (increase in teen violence). We have not seen evidence that confirms there is in fact a direct link between violent video games and teen violence, we are merely making an assumption without further scrutinizing.
One event = Goody Osburn was Mrs. Putnam's midwife.
Event following = Mrs. Putnam's babies die.
Conclusion = Goody Osburn must have killed the babies.
Faulty Causality vs. Non Sequitur
The biggest difference between non sequitur and faulty causality is that non sequitur refers to a missing piece of evidence in the link between the claim and the warrant, whereas faulty causality is a false reason that does not link the claim to the warrant.
Appeal to Ridicule
Appeal to ridicule is an informal fallacy in which the opponent's argument is presented as being absurd, ridiculous or in any way humorous. The goal is to make it seen as though this argument lacks enough substance to merit consideration.
Evolution is the idea that people come from pond scum.
Saying that evolution states we come from pond scum is false. By creating a misleading and ridiculous image the truth of the claim made in the argument is overlooked.
Appeal to Ridicule: The Crucible
"Parris: Why could there not have been poppets hid where no one ever saw them?
Proctor [furious]: There might also be a dragon with five legs in my house but no one has ever seen it." (Act 3 pg. 93)
John Proctor is clearly not trying to convince people that there is a dragon in his house. Instead, he is trying to belittle the claim that Parris is making by making a comparison to a ridiculous argument. Thus, he avoids answering Parris' question.
By Sophia Punke
http://www.logicallyfallacious.com/index.php/logical-fallacies/42-appeal-to-ridicule (definition of appeal to ridicule)
https://benchprep.com/blog/the-ap-english-exam-faulty-causality/ (faulty causality example)