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Discussion exercise: Your Favorite Fallacy

Objectives:

Practice citation and bibliography.

Explain informal fallacies.

Submit in the “Reply” box. Save your work on a word processor first.

Reading:

“Informal Fallacies by John Arthur.” (Readings can be found in Modules: Schedule and Readings).

You may also use FallacyFiles.org for  examples of fallacies. On the left-hand side of the web page, there is  an “alphabetical list of fallacies” that you can search through. Do not  use outside resources.

Professional Writing Skills: Structure

*For citation and bibliography instructions, see  APA citation HELPSHEET .pdf 

( in Module 1: schedule and readings) for instructions on how to  cite from an article (Arthur article) or a website (FallacyFiles.org).  Understand the difference between citation and bibliography.

Instructions:

Write 3 paragraphs explaining the following:

1. Define ONE SPECIFIC informal fallacy (i.e., “ad hominem,”  “slippery slope” etc.) Make sure to use a formal definition and cite the  source. Cite as (author, year, page number)

2. Explain the informal fallacy and provide an example of an argument  that commits that fallacy. The example of the argument should be in  quotation marks.

3. Explain how the informal fallacy is using faulty reasoning (i.e.,  explain WHY it is a bad form of reasoning). Give sufficient explanation  to show your reader why that fallacy is irrational.

4. Provide bibliography.

Reply to two classmates:

Reply to two classmates’ posts. One reply MUST include the following:

* Provide an example of an argument that commits the fallacy that the  classmate is explaining. This is to help your classmate further support  their explanation of the fallacy. For example, if someone is writing  about a Straw Man fallacy, explain an argument that commits the fallacy  of a Straw Man.

Professional writing tips:

*Use formal definitions of the particular fallacy from the required  readings only. Cite the definition as (Author’s last name, year, page  number). See “APA helpsheet” for how to do citations and bibliography.  Use of outside resources will require you to edit and resubmit.

* Use your own example of a fallacy. Using examples help illustrate  to the reader how a fallacy works. It also helps you apply the concepts  to your own life. If you use examples from the internet, you must  include proper citation and bibliography.

*Use signposting. The first sentence of each paragraph should indicate what the paragraph is about.

* Follow structure: Write one topic per paragraph. Keep in mind that  when you EXPLAIN an idea to your reader, you must first define it,  explain it with examples, and then assess or critique it, in that order.  Paragraphs should have one topic per paragraph. Never critique an  argument before you explain it. In this case, your third paragraph is an  example of a critique (an argument that the fallacy is faulty). See Professional Writing Skills: Structure

*In your second paragraph, place an example of the argument that  commits a fallacy in quotation marks. Fallacies always involve  arguments, with faulty reasoning from the premise to the conclusion.  Thus, give an argument that commits the fallacy, not just a description  of events. Use this example argument to help explain how the fallacy  works.

*Aim at clarity and sufficient explanation. Pretend that you are  explaining to your friend who has committed a fallacy. Your friend does  not know what is wrong with his way of thinking, so use details and  examples to show your friend how the fallacy works, and give sufficient  explanation of what is wrong with his reasoning.

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