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The Crucible - Logical Fallacy Assignment: False Authority

Revised Version

Brendan Lameiro

on 14 November 2014

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Transcript of The Crucible - Logical Fallacy Assignment: False Authority

The Crucible
False Authority
Definition of False Authority:
An appeal to occurs when someone who has no expertise to speak on an issue is cited as an authority.
Examples of False Authority:
Example 1:
Marilyn Monroe, a famous Hollywood actress, had no authority or expertise in shampoos or hair-care products, as implied in this old advertisement.
Example 2:

Act One Page 25
Mrs. Putnam commits a fallacy of false authority in the following statement:

Act One Page 27
Rebecca Nurse uses false authority in her remark
Act One Page 45
Reverend John Hale appeals to false authority in his statement,
Act Two Page 52
Elizabeth Proctor, while speaking with her husband, appeals to false authority with the following statement:
Act Three Page 88
Deputy Governor Danforth demonstrates an appeal to false authority when he says the following:
Act Three Page 87
At the beginning of Act 3, Francis points out a Logical Fallacy when he states,
Act Three Page 87
Danforth response to Francis' remarks with an argument that plainly shows the appeal to false authority.
Logical Fallacy Assignment

Argument from Authority/ False Authority

Argument from Authority/False Authority
false authority
"Head and Shoulders" Advertisement:
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTQbqvKvnOI
The Crucible
as demonstrated in
"My mother told me that! When they cannot bear to hear the name of -"
Mrs. Putnam, who is attempting to further justify Thomas Putnam's claim that witchcraft is the cause of Betty's ailments, cites her mother, someone who the reader has no prior knowledge of, as an expert on witchcraft. However, it is never revealed to the reader that Mrs. Putnam's mother is a knowledgeable or credible source of information.
"I have eleven children, and I am twenty-six times a grandma, and I have seen them all through their silly seasons, and when it come on them they will run the Devil bowlegged keeping up with their mischief."
Nurse claims that she can determine when a person, has been bewitched because she has experience with children, but having multiple children has no correlation with identifying witchcraft
"Now Tituba, I know that when we bind ourselves to Hell it is very hard to break with it."
Reverend Hale takes an authoritative by claiming that he knows how hard it is for person to break away from Hell once he or she has bound themselves to it, but Hale has no expertise with being bound to Hell
"She speak of Abigail, and I thought she were a saint, to hear her. Abigail brings the other girls into the court, and where she walks the crowd will part like the sea for Israel."

Elizabeth automatically associates Abigail with being a pure person, and a "saint", . She portrays Abigail as a trustworthy person even though she herself has no knowledge or expertise of what Abigail has been doing recently.
"Do you know, Mr. Proctor, that the entire contention of the state in these trials is that the voice of Heaven is speaking through the children?"
Danforth claims that the young girls of Salem are being truthful and saying the right things, but he does not have any knowledge of where, or how, the girls are really getting their information.Because of this he attempts to support his claim through religious references which cannot necessarily be proven or disproven.
"Excellency, we have proof for your eyes; God forbid you shut them to it. The girls, sir, the girls are fraud."
Francis points out to the judge and to the people of Salem that the girls' knowledge is faulty in this situation. In many ways he brings to the attention of the people the failure to logically think about what they are doing. They are appealing to a false authority by trusting the girls but they do not realize that there is no reason to this logic.
"'Do you know who I am, Mr. Nurse...And do you know that near four hundred are in the jail from Marblehead to Lynn, and upon my signature?'
'Excellency, I never thought to say it to such a weighty judge, but you are deceived.'"
By remarking how qualified as a prosecutor he is, Danforth fails to realize that while being in a judge-like position allows an individual to see many different cases, it does not make one a professional at dealing with the issue at hand. Danforth may be a qualified prosecutor but he does not have the expertise to deal with witchcraft or, in this case, the made-up stories of a few young girls.
In the following video, renowned Columbian actress Sofía Vergara claims how effective Head and Shoulders shampoo is at preventing dandruff, yet she has no expertise on hair care products.
Full transcript