Modern Philosophy & Racism II
A Philosopher's Blog
by Michael LaBossiere
3M ago
In my Modern Philosophy class, I start with Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). His Leviathan was published in 1651, eight-four years before Linnaeus’ book and 25 years before Bacon’s Rebellion. Barbara Hall undertook an extensive analysis of Hobbes’ writings in search of evidence of possible racism. Hall finds no obvious inconsistencies between his philosophical views and his life that would reveal him as a racist and a hypocrite. Hall also finds little in his writings that are for or against the slave trade and European expansion in the New World. In defining racism, Hall presents the notion that a p ..read more
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Modern Philosophy & Racism I
A Philosopher's Blog
by Michael LaBossiere
3M ago
Historically, the modern era is the time between 1500 and 1900. In addition to being seen as an age of enlightenment, it also saw the invention of racism. Most philosophy departments, including mine, have a Modern Philosophy class. In recent years, whether a modern philosopher is racist has become a matter of concern for professional philosophers, students, and the public.  Answering this question requires both a definition of the concept of racism and determining when racism was invented. While the dictionary provides a simple enough definition of “racism”, the philosophical concept is m ..read more
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110 Fallacies Now Available on Kindle
A Philosopher's Blog
by Michael LaBossiere
7M ago
  110 Fallacies – Kindle edition by LaBossiere, Michael For philosophers, a fallacy is an error in reasoning: a piece of bad logic. Just as it is a good idea to avoid eating bad food, it is a good idea to avoid bad reasoning. Unfortunately, bad reasoning is all too common—it pours out of social media and infests the web like a swarm of venomous spiders. Perhaps even worse than the fallacies imposed on people are the self-inflicted fallacies. These can lead people to make poor decisions about matters great and small. Fortunately, there is a defense against bad reasoning, namely knowledge ..read more
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109 Fallacies in Final Edit
A Philosopher's Blog
by Michael LaBossiere
8M ago
If you have been wondering about all the fallacy posts, they are because I have been revising and updating my fallacy book. The upcoming book, 109 Fallacies, is the follow up to 76 Fallacies, 30 More Fallacies and the original 42 Fallacies. The book is at 536 pages and undergoing the final edits; the Kindle version will be released next week, barring the apocalypse ..read more
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Appeal to Fear
A Philosopher's Blog
by Michael LaBossiere
8M ago
Also Known as: Scare Tactics, Appeal to Force, Ad Baculum Description: The Appeal to Fear is a fallacy in which something that is intended to evoke fear is substituted as evidence for a claim. It has the following pattern:   Premise 1: Y is presented with the intent to invoke fear. Conclusion: Therefore, claim X is true. This reasoning is fallacious because the feeling of fear does not provide evidence for a claim. While lacking in logical force, this fallacy can have considerable psychological force because fear is a powerful emotion and can be effective in bypassing reason. People also ..read more
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Some of My Best Friends Are
A Philosopher's Blog
by Michael LaBossiere
8M ago
Description: As a rhetorical tactic, Some of My Best Friends Are is to attempt to refute an accusation of bigotry or prejudice against a group by claiming to have a positive relationship with a member of that group. As a fallacy of reasoning, the error is to infer that such an alleged relationship proves that a person is not bigoted or biased against that group. The generic form of the fallacy is as follows:   Premise 1: Person A says or does X, which seems to be bigoted or prejudiced against Group G. Premise 2: Person A claims they have a positive relationship with a member of Group G. C ..read more
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Ad Hominem: Accusation of Bigotry
A Philosopher's Blog
by Michael LaBossiere
8M ago
Also Known As: You’re the Racist! Description: The Accusation of Racism is a rhetorical tactic in which a critic of bigotry is accused of being the real bigot. In most cases, the bigotry is racism and the rhetorical response to criticism is an accusation that the critic is the real racist. When this mere accusation of bigotry is taken as evidence for a conclusion, then a fallacy of reasoning has occurred. It has the following general form:   Premise 1: Person A makes criticism C about bigotry or an (alleged) bigot. Conclusion: Person A is a bigot because of C. This is fallacious reasoning ..read more
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Steel Person
A Philosopher's Blog
by Michael LaBossiere
8M ago
Description: The Steel Person fallacy involves ignoring a person’s actual claim or argument and substituting a better one in its place.  It has the following pattern:   Premise 1: Person A makes claim or argument X. Premise 2: Person B presents Y (a better/stronger version of X). Premise 3: Person B defends Y. Conclusion:  Therefore, X is true/correct/good.   This is fallacious because presenting and defending a better version of a claim or argument does not show that the actual version is good. A Steel Person can be effective because people often do not know the real claim ..read more
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Prediction Fallacy
A Philosopher's Blog
by Michael LaBossiere
8M ago
Description: This fallacy occurs when someone uncritically rejects a prediction or the effectiveness of the responses to it when the predicted outcome does not occur: Premise 1: Prediction P predicted outcome X if response R is not taken. Premise 2: Response R was taken (based on prediction P). Premise 3: X did not happen, so Prediction P was wrong. Conclusion: Response R should not have been taken (or there is no longer a need to take Response R). The error occurs because of a failure to consider the obvious: if there is an effective response to a predicted outcome, then the prediction will a ..read more
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Argument Against Authority
A Philosopher's Blog
by Michael LaBossiere
8M ago
Also Known As: Argument Against Expertise Description: This fallacy occurs when a person rejects a claim simply because it is made by an authority/expert. It has the following form:   Premise 1: A is an authority/expert in field F. Premise 2: A makes claim C in field F. Conclusion: Claim C is false.   This fallacy can be seen as the reverse of a Fallacious Appeal to Authority. In that fallacy, an unqualified person’s claim is accepted because they are mistakenly attributed expertise. In this fallacy, a qualified person’s claim is rejected because of their correctly attributed experti ..read more
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