Author Topic: Logical Fallacy: saying we should do something thats already being done  (Read 519 times)

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Offline madjockmcferson

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So, is this a logical fallacy and if so then what is it called?

Example: Politicians often say we should do something about 'x, y, z' when in actual fact we are already doing something about 'x,y,z'. They are mischaracterizing the situation as one which lacks a policy solution, with the motivation being to elevate themselves or make themselves seem more important or thoughtful.

What kind of logical fallacy is it when you deliberately misrepresent yourself as offering a policy to solve a problem when that policy is already being implemented?
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Appeal to ignorance?

Not.  I just thought that was funny.
Amend and resubmit.

Offline Drunken Idaho

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I think it's a Red Herring fallacy: bringing up something irrelevant to distract attention from something else.
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Offline Ah.hell

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Is it just lying?

Online gmalivuk

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Is it just lying?
Right? Not every false or misleading thing people say has to be a fallacy.
The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better...is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.

Offline The Latinist

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Yeah, don't think there's any faulty logic involved.
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Offline Zelda McMuffin

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It'd be a straw man fallacy to claim your opponent is doing something or arguing for a position they aren't, then beat up on that rather than their actual argument or action.

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Offline werecow

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Isn't it just a false (hidden) premise (the premise being "this is not being done")?
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Offline Henning

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Just a false premise if the thing is actually being done.

Usually I see it in the form of...
"Something needs to be done about X!"
"We're actually doing this this and this."
"Well... uh... something else needs to be done!"

...in which case, moving goalposts.
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Offline Shibboleth

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I was just going to come here and say false premise.
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Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: Logical Fallacy: saying we should do something thats already being done
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2017, 04:31:58 PM »
Yeah, the definition of a fallacy - and, look, libs, I know this because I was such a liberal arts major in college that I took quantitative logic instead of math - is an argument in which all of the premises can be true but the conclusion is still false. If A then B, therefore if B then A? Yep, structurally it's possible for the premise to be true but the conclusion to be false (I think that teeeeeeeeeeechnically in logic nerd terms that's a conditional statement whereas the literal definition of fallacy is something where the conclusion is *always* false after all-true premises, but the terms are kind of interchangeable to the LAITY and besides actual fallacies are kind of silly). In this case, you can't even to the fallacy point because one of the operating premises is incorrect. Put another, goofier, way, if the person said "If I'm elected President, then we will fight the war on drugs more, and therefore I already am President", then that's a fallacious statement, and it would actually be one even if the incumbent President said it.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: Logical Fallacy: saying we should do something thats already being done
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2017, 06:14:15 AM »
Regarding the OP question, I don't think that's a specific logical fallacy per se, though it might be a lie of omission if the speaker knows that something is being done but conveniently neglects to mention that fact. 

On the other hand, maybe the speaker does not believe the current effort to be effective or sufficient to fix the problem; in that case they might be entirely justified in calling for a more decisive action. I think a lot of it is dependent upon context.


Yeah, the definition of a fallacy ... is an argument in which all of the premises can be true but the conclusion is still false.

That would be a formal fallacy.

There are two basic kinds of fallacies, formal fallacies and informal fallacies.

A formal fallacy is an error in the logical structure of the argument which would cause the conclusion to be erroneous even if the premises are correct. Formal fallacies are specific errors in deductive reasoning.

But in addition to the formal fallacies, there are also a number of informal fallacies which mostly amount to flawed premises, popular misconceptions or dishonest rhetorical tactics. When broken down to basic logic, informal fallacies almost always represent some kind of non sequitur.
 
Some examples of informal fallacies that might be familiar from the SGU podcast are:

ad hominem arguments
strawman arguments
arguments from ignorance
appeals to nature, popularity, or false authority
the "Texas sharpshooter" fallacy
the "no true Scotsman" fallacy
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 06:22:25 AM by John Albert »

Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: Logical Fallacy: saying we should do something thats already being done
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2017, 11:02:42 AM »
A non sequitur is also a formal fallacy though (technically a conditional statement but still)... and yes, we're all pretty well aware of what informal fallacies are and of the various types. We were just discussing why *this one in particular* isn't really a fallacy per se. It can't be a fallacy if you know a premise to be false. It's something else.
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Online gmalivuk

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Re: Logical Fallacy: saying we should do something thats already being done
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2017, 11:55:04 AM »
A non sequitur is also a formal fallacy though
Right, that was the point. Most of the various types and subtypes of informal fallacies are formally just different non sequiturs.

Quote
We were just discussing why *this one in particular* isn't really a fallacy per se.
But pointing out that it's not one of the other formal fallacies doesn't really explain why it isn't a fallacy at all.
The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better...is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.

Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: Logical Fallacy: saying we should do something thats already being done
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2017, 12:01:47 PM »
A non sequitur is also a formal fallacy though
Right, that was the point. Most of the various types and subtypes of informal fallacies are formally just different non sequiturs.

Quote
We were just discussing why *this one in particular* isn't really a fallacy per se.
But pointing out that it's not one of the other formal fallacies doesn't really explain why it isn't a fallacy at all.
I guess I don't know how else to say what I'm saying... when I say "it's not a fallacy" I don't mean that in a "oh yeah, that's basically an okay thing to say" way, I mean that in that "this isn't even wrong" way that only seems to come out when you do something especially damning in a debate. The reasoning is so bad it's not even a fallacy. To have fallacies you have to have premises that could be true, and the statement in the OP doesn't.

If what we really want to get at is "how to tackle these in the real world", which I will say is a much more interesting question than "is this a fallacy", I think you have a couple of options:

- Don't even begin to accept the other premises or the conclusion or the structure or anything else until you get the other party to dump the false premise.
- If you think they aren't taking the debate seriously, I'd probably do the "yeah, that's not even wrong, it's so bad" thing.
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

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