What are clear differences distinguishing the four fallacies: missing the point, begging the question, suppressed evidence, false cause? And please give examples to clarify these differences?

They are equivalent to the following in some order: shaky premise, ignoring stronger evidence, arguer does not know how to argue, imagined connection between premise and conclusion.

This is for my study purposes, however, I don't know how to answer this.

1 Answer 1

  1. Missing the point is a defect in an argument in which an assertion is made, or even a conclusion reached, which may be cogent, but it is irrelevant to the proposition that is being discussed. An example might be:

Alice: People should not be allowed to keep dangerous animals in their homes because of the risk that one escapes and injures somebody.

Bob: But zoos have lots of dangerous animals and they never injure anybody.

Bob is clearly missing the point, which is about whether dangerous animals should be allowed in homes. Zoos are run by competent professionals.

I guess this is what you mean by arguer doesn't know how to argue.

  1. Begging the question is a fallacy in which there is no better reason to believe the premises than you already have for believing the conclusion, or if you like, that there is no flow of evidence from the premises to the conclusion.

Alice: Coke is the best drink in the world. Therefore Coke is better than Pepsi.

This argument is valid, but it begs the question, because one would not believe that Coke is the best drink in the world except by first comparing it with all the other drinks, including Pepsi, and finding that it was better.

I guess that this is what you mean by shaky premise.

  1. Suppressed evidence, also commonly called cherry picking, occurs when someone argues for a proposition by only looking at positive evidence and ignoring negatives.

Alice: Economist X is really good because he correctly predicted the stock market crashes in 2002 and 2008.

Bob: Yes, but he's been predicting stock market crashes every year for the last 20 years, so he's bound to be right sometimes.

Here, Alice is cherry picking the successful predictions and ignoring the failed ones.

I guess this is what you mean by ignoring stronger evidence.

  1. False cause, or questionable cause, occurs when one reasons from an effect to a cause, but the identified cause is incorrect or doubtful. Reasoning from effects to probable causes is a kind of abductive reasoning and is extremely common. There is nothing intrinsically wrong about reasoning in this way, but it becomes questionable if there are many possible causes and no reason has been offered as to why the other possibilities are ruled out. It may also be questionable if there are many contributory causes rather than just one, or if the cause has been confused with the effect.

Alice: Bob was watching the football game earlier and now he's upset. His team must have lost.

This is a questionable cause. Maybe this is why Bob is upset, but there are many other possibilities.

I guess this is what you mean by imagined connection between premise and conclusion, though this is not the best description. The connection may be plausible but far from certain.

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