Philosophy 103 - Introduction to Logic: Critical Thinking


1/7 Reasoning and Pseudo-reasoning: some examples.


1. That new student told me that I am his favorite professor. He must be telling the truth, for no student would lie to his favorite professor.

This is an example of begging the question, that is, assuming what you are trying to prove. The professor is arguing in a circle.


2. There are very good reasons for the death penalty. First, it serves as a deterrent to those who would commit capital offenses. Second, reliable opinion polls show that 70% of all Americans favor it. If so many people are in favor of it, it has to be right.

Here we have an appeal to popularity fallacy.


3. No, I do NOT believe that a murderer ought to be allowed to live. No way! Murderers have forfeited the right to live because anyone who murders another person has lost that right.

What is being said here is that murderers have lost the right to live because murderers have lost the right to live. It is another example of begging the question.


4. When it comes to the issue of the growth of Oxford, you are either part of the solution or part of the problem.

This is a false dilemma. There can be, and more than likely there are, more than two options. Another example of a false dilemma is, "If you really love me, you wouldn't criticize me."


Study Break: Random quotes from the logical philosophy of Mr. Spock.