Understanding Fallacies

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Missing the Point

Irrelevant Conclustion
(ignoratio elenchi)

An argument which purports to prove one thing instead proves a different conclusion.

Example

An argument which purports to prove

  1. You should support the new housing bill. We can't continue to see people living in the streets; we must have cheaper housing. (We may agree that housing s important even though we disagree with the housing bill.)
  2. I say we should support affirmative action. White males have run the country for 500 years. They run most of government and industry today. You can't deny that this sort of discrimination is intolerable. (The author has proven that there is discrimination, but not that affirmative action will end that discrimination.)

Proof

Show that the conclusion proved by the author is not the conclusion that the author set out to prove.

Reference

Copi and Cohen: 105

Reference Guide
Fallacy Summary

The content of this Fallacy originated from Stephen Downes Guide to Logical Fallacies.

 

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