The exercise wants the reader to consider the following statement: (page 258)
Our country should never become involved in any war, because all wars offer too many opportunities for criminal and immoral behavior on the part of our own troops.
The task is to do the following: (page 257)
Identify the fallacy, rhetorical technique, and potential difficulties in play with each of the following statements. We provide at least one answer for each after the exercises. Keep in mind that more than one answer may sometimes be possible.
The answers provided are: (page 261)
Red herring, appeal to pity.
The OP has the following questions:
- How is the proposition a Red Herring?
A red herring is a side issue that is used if the deceiver's argument is weak or it is not being accepted by the audience. The authors provide give three pieces of advice to deceivers who want to use red herrings: (page 173-4)
First, although it is a side issue, it must be related at least indirectly to the issue you are discussing, otherwise the audience will not accept it.
Second, the issue you introduce must have sufficient emotional appeal to catch attention immediately. It should be so strong that you can work it as long as you want.
Third, you must make sure that you present this issue in such a way that you and the audience inevitably end up on the same side, while your opponent ends up on the other side.
The primary issue in the statement is whether the country should go to war. Note how the deceiver neglects this issue, but talks instead about the side issue that there might be opportunities for criminal behavior if one goes to war. The audience most likely does not want to see criminal behavior and so this puts the audience on the side of the deceiver while deflecting their focus from the primary issue of whether they should go to war.
Note also the trap the deceiver sets for the opposition. The deceiver referenced the "immoral behavior on the part of our own troops". This provides "sufficient emotional appeal" to further distract the audience and keep them arguing about whether their troops really are immoral or not. This emotional appeal will allow the deceiver to work the red herring as long as the deceiver wants.
- I agree that the proposition appeals to pity, but how's appealing to pity a fallacy here?
The task was not to find something that was a fallacy and a rhetorical technique and a potential difficulty. These are just the kind of things that would be acceptable as answers. The book is not about logical fallacies, but about techniques used in deception, some of which might be labelled as logical fallacies.
The authors also warn the reader that deceivers can use the audience's suspicion of fallacies to deceive the audience: (page 143)
Whether or not he [your opponent] is guilty of them, you can accuse him of certain traditional formal fallacies. Moreover, where possible, you should use the Latin names of these fallacies because this will make the audience believe you are skilled in identifying such fallacies and because the error sounds so much worse, just like a rare disease, when described in Latin.
Deceivers are not being fallacious in their reasoning. They are not making logical mistakes that need to be corrected. They know what they are doing. They are being deceptive, on purpose. The task of the audience is be critical especially when someone is accusing someone else of committing a logical fallacy.
The book is titled The Art of Deception: An Introduction to Critical Thinking. It is not titled The Art of Fallacious Reasoning: How to Identify Logical Fallacies.
Capaldi, N., Smit, M. (2007). The art of deception: an introduction to critical thinking. Prometheus Books.