by Tim Harding
The informal fallacy known as argumentumad populum means ’argument from popularity’ or ‘appeal to the people’. This fallacy is essentially the same as ad numerum, appeal to the gallery, appeal to the masses, common practice, past practice, traditional knowledge, peer pressure, conventional wisdom, the bandwagon fallacy; and lastly truth by consensus, of which I shall say more later.
The Argument from Popularity fallacy may be defined as when an advocate asserts that because the great majority of people in general agree with his or her position on an issue, he or she must be right. In other words, if you suggest too strongly that someone’s claim or argument is correct simply because it’s what most people believe, then you’ve committed the fallacy of appeal to the people. Similarly, if you suggest too strongly that someone’s claim or argument is mistaken…
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by Tim Harding
A slippery slope argument may or may not be a fallacy, depending on whether the argument is logical. The argument typically states that a relatively small first step will inevitably lead to a chain of related events culminating in some significant consequence, much like an object given a small push over the edge of a slope will slide all the way to the bottom.
A slippery slope argument has the following form:
Premise: Event X has occurred (or will or might occur).
Conclusion: Therefore consequence Y will inevitably happen.
The strength of such an argument depends on whether or not one can demonstrate a chain of cause and effect leading to the significant consequence. If no such chain can be demonstrated, the argument becomes a fallacy. This is especially so in cases in which there is a significant number of steps or…
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In the United Kingdom, ongoing social and political controversy over voluntary euthanasia, or (physician) assisted suicide, has reached a new stage. Labour MP Rob Marris has put forward a private member’s bill, and it will be debated in the House of Commons this month. Thus, the UK now becomes a focus of attention for those of us with an interest in the issue of assisted suicide.
I won’t defend the specific legislative scheme proposed by Marris and his supporters, since much of the opposition to it comes from parties who are opposed to any such scheme. That style of opposition will be my focus in what follows. Can it be justified?
“Faith leaders” lobby parliament
Not unexpectedly, British “faith leaders” – that is, the leaders of various religious organisations – have united to lobby parliamentarians against the bill. One of these faith leaders is…
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For a month or so, I have been working on a paper about Hayek’s early pro-deflationary policy recommendations which seem to be at odds with his own idea of neutral money which he articulated in a way that implied or at least suggested that the ideal monetary policy would aim to keep nominal spending or nominal income constant. In the Great Depression, prices and real output were both falling, so that nominal spending and income were also falling at a rate equal to the rate of decline in real output plus the rate of decline in the price level. So in a depression, the monetary policy implied by Hayek’s neutral money criterion would have been to print money like crazy to generate enough inflation to keep nominal spending and nominal income constant. But Hayek denounced any monetary policy that aimed to raise prices during the depression, arguing that such a…
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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 24 percent of employed people did some or all of their work at home in 2015 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/24-percent-of-employed-people-did-some-or-all-of-their-work-at-home-in-2015.htm (visited December 09, 2017).