Capaldi PhD Columbia, Smit PhD Catholic Univ. of Leuven. The Art of Deception (2007). p. 259.

Identify the fallacy, rhetorical technique, and potential difficul-ties 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.

p. 260. Exercise 2: Inductive Fallacies

  1. I am opposed to charging tuition for college. Without tuition-free education, I could never have become mayor of this city.

p. 262: Answers to Exercise 2.

  1. Post hoc[, ergo propter hoc] (at least twice [emboldening mine]).

One instance of this fallacy is the mayor's implicit argument that no tuition-free education ⇒ Not becoming mayor. But why does the answer state "at least twice"?

'Y occurred after X, therefore Y occurred because of X'.

Two instances of this ?

Let's see : The person does not say that he became Mayor because he had a tuition-free education, rather (what is not the same claim) he says that without a tuition-free education he could not have become mayor. A difference here between sufficient and necessary conditions. But I'll go along with your reading:

(1) Because I had a tuition-free education and became mayor, therefore I became mayor because I had a tuition-free education. Logically (or empirically) this doesn't follow; he could have become mayor from a variety of causes distinct from his education (e.g., he bribed the electorate).

(2) It doesn't follow that because he had a tuition-free education he became mayor; what follows at most is that he became mayor because he had a (college) education.


NOTE

'At least two' : so what might a third be ? That it doesn't logically (or empirically) follow that anyone becomes mayor because of having a (college) education.

  • Thanks. Upvote. I corrected my post to focus on the Necessary Condition, which I misunderstood as the Sufficient Condition. You're correct: "The person does not say that he became Mayor because he had a tuition-free education, rather (what is not the same claim) he says that without a tuition-free education he could not have become mayor." Does this change your answer? – Number Theory Aug 14 at 6:11

To me the question has a more obvious problem of causation and correlation; Just because the gained education from an institution that was free or paid at a given time doesn’t really have any baring on the actual outcome of mayor; One could argue this logical fallacy may infact have some legitimate factor on the reality of that person becoming mayor; as a poor young person with a low socioeconomic situation the bearing on his individual circumstances and opportunities that may arise from a tuition free education may have some objective truth.

If this is the truth in his reality can we point fingers at his logical flaw when in his reality there may be a link within the x and y

A great quote comes to mind which I forget the origin but it goes “The plural of anecdote is data.”, where as a theory is reached through large amounts of anecdotal evidence

Your Answer

 

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.