Understanding Fallacies

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Fallacy of Distraction

Complex Question

Two otherwise unrelated points are conjoined and treated as a single proposition. The reader is expected to accept or reject both together, when in reality one is acceptable while the other is not. A complex question is an illegitimate use of the "and" operator.

Example

  1. You should support home education and the God-given right of parents to raise their children according to their own beliefs.
  2. Do you support freedom and the right to bear arms?
  3. Have you stopped using illegal sales practises? (This asks two questions: did you use illegal practises, and did you stop?)

Proof

Identify the two propositions illegitimately conjoined and show that believing one does not mean that you have to believe the other.

Reference

Cedarblom and Paulsen: 86, Copi and Cohen: 96

Reference Guide
Fallacy Summary

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

 

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