Taxonomy of Fallacies
ANALYSIS OF FALLACIES
“It’s easy, and probably politically savvy, to wave away anti-Muslim sentiment with rhetoric about security and radicalization, as almost all the GOP presidential candidates have done. But the backlash against Muslims isn’t a temporally limited flare-up, tied only to recent violence and set to die down once the memories of Paris fade.” (Green 1)
This argument can be dissected into a series of smaller arguments. For instance, there is the issue of the anti-Muslim sentiment in France, which is not a small issue. Also, the issue of the French politicians wanting to rule the attacks as isolated incidents. Hence, trying to diminish it by saying that the recent radicalization of the French press and citizens comes from the recent terrorist attacks is a flawed opinion. Likewise, by saying that these anti-Muslim outbreak is something new would be denying an existing problem in the country. On the other hand, this presents an interesting case, since according to this report, the press and the politicians have tried to explain the recent violence by blaming the attacks. Here we can see an example of a fallacy of affirming the consequent because the politicians seem to be saying that the bouts of anti-Muslim violence are a product of the attack. Therefore the attacks flared up the citizens, which is not the case as this violence has existed in the country for at least a century.
“Closing mosques in France that authorities say foster extremism will not prevent people from becoming ‘radicalised’ and could heighten a sense of alienation among the Muslim minority, rights groups and activists have said.” (Safdar 1)
Right off the bat, closing the mosques does not seem like the best idea in the current French political climate. With the amount of radicalization from both sides of the dispute, culling a side’s freedom and religion does not seem to improve the relationship between Muslims, the rest of the French population. Likewise, by thinking that by closing mosques that seem radical might work, it will only create further resentment. Therefore, we can say we are in front of a false cause fallacy. The argument appears to follow the premise that closing troublesome mosques will prevent further radicalization. However, given the fact that limiting a group’s religious freedom can lead to further radicalization, the argument just does not follow.
“While the French government has improved the country’s higher education system in recent years, giving universities greater autonomy in funding and encouraging institutions to spawn off their own research-led business operations and seek partnerships with industry, it must invest more in universities if it is to compete with its neighbouring countries of Germany and the Netherlands.” (Thelocal 1)
According to this report, the French government has improved the French higher education by granting them more autonomy in finding alternative funding sources. Therefore, French universities sought to find more resources that according to the government, should improve their situation and place them in the same tier as Netherlands and Germany. However, by making it someone else’s problem, the French government is not fixing the issue. Instead, they are just passing it to someone else. Hence, this argument follows the same rule as a petitio principii argument, as they are assuming that by allowing the universities to seek to fund elsewhere they are solving the issue, which is not true. Therefore, if the premises do not lead to the conclusion and assume them, the argument is fallacious.
TRUTH FUNCTIONS OF THE SQUARE OF OPPOSITION IN A TRUTH TABLE
To do this, we shall employ one of the arguments we have already discussed in order or prove if it truth or false. Hence, the argument
“Closing mosques in France that authorities say foster extremism will not prevent people from becoming ‘radicalised’ and could heighten a sense of alienation among the Muslim minority, rights groups and activists have said.”
At a first glance, we can separate two premises and one conclusion
P: Closing mosques
Q: Prevent Radicalization
R: Greater sense of alienation of the Muslim community
Thus, in formal language it should look like this
[(P ^ ¬ Q) R]
Therefore, the table should look like this
P Q R [(P ^ ¬ Q) R]
1 1 1 1 0 0 1 1
1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0
0 1 1 1 1 1 1
0 0 1 1 1 0 0
0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1
0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1
0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
According to the results of the truth table, this argument is contingent, which means it is false, hence, its fallacious nature becomes proved by a formal logic analysis
Green, E. “The Objectification of Muslims in America.” The Atlantic 22 Nov. 2015, Politics sec. Web. 5 Dec. 2015
Safdar, A. “Activists Decry Mosque Closures in France.” AlJazeera 3 Dec. 2015. Europe sec Web. 5 Dec. 2015
“The Troubles with French Universities Laid Bare.” The Local France 9 Oct. 2015, Education sec. Web. 5 Dec. 2015.