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  1. #1
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    Is this a fallacy? Or something else?

    If something opens the opportunity for something bad, does that mean the thing that leaves the door open is bad?
    Or does that mean the thing that actually did the bad thing is bad?

    Is there a fallacy at work here?

    John didn't lock the door. A theif stole the china, therefore John should be charged with theft.

    That's cleary wrong.

    How about:
    John didn't lock the door. A theif stole the china. This doesn't make John a theif, but it is his fault, because he didn't lock the door.

    Does anyone see what I'm getting at? And what is the correct way to approach this arguement? Is it a fallacy, or a lack of understanding in some other way?

    Or does logic actually blame thing that leave the door cracked for all of the effects?

    ie. water is part of tidal waves, therefore water is bad.
    Um.. hello?

    Is this a Fallacy of Division?

    Hopefully someone can help me
    thanks
    Yo Bizzaa!!

  2. #2
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    Re: Is this a fallacy? Or something else?

    It does seem like the fallacy of Division which is more clearly outlined here.

    I would agree that this kind of reasoning is fallacious and the only way to deal with it, is to point it out to your opponent.

    You will find many more links to fallacies on that site that will help you with your fallacies.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Is this a fallacy? Or something else?

    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by Supaiku View Post
    If something opens the opportunity for something bad, does that mean the thing that leaves the door open is bad?
    Or does that mean the thing that actually did the bad thing is bad?

    Is there a fallacy at work here?

    John didn't lock the door. A theif stole the china, therefore John should be charged with theft.

    That's cleary wrong.

    How about:
    John didn't lock the door. A theif stole the china. This doesn't make John a theif, but it is his fault, because he didn't lock the door.
    Theft is:

    1. the act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny.
    2. an instance of this.


    Considering John never wrongfully carried away any personal goods or property, he obviously didn't steal anything; therefore, he can't be considered guilty of theft.

    He is, however, at fault for it, because he made the action possible.

    Does anyone see what I'm getting at? And what is the correct way to approach this arguement? Is it a fallacy, or a lack of understanding in some other way?
    I would simply point out the definition of theft and show how, what John did, doesn't fit the definition.

    Or does logic actually blame thing that leave the door cracked for all of the effects?

    ie. water is part of tidal waves, therefore water is bad.
    Um.. hello?

    Is this a Fallacy of Division?

    Hopefully someone can help me
    thanks
    I'd be inclined to agree. Fallacy of Division from what I can see.

  4. #4
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    Re: Is this a fallacy? Or something else?

    There's no magic when it comes to fallacy. Basically whenever you run an argument that doesn't flow (ie the conclusion doesn't follow the premises and argument), you have a fallacy. Some of them have names. Some don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by webster dictionary
    Main Entry: fal·la·cy
    Pronunciation: \ˈfa-lə-sē\
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural fal·la·cies
    Etymology: Latin fallacia, from fallac-, fallax deceitful, from fallere to deceive
    Date: 14th century
    1 aobsolete : guile, trickery b: deceptive appearance : deception
    2 a: a false or mistaken idea b: erroneous character : erroneousness
    3: an often plausible argument using false or invalid inference
    John's not guilty of theft but might be liable in negligence. Unless he left the door open for the thief to walk in and there was an understanding between them, of course.

    The tidal wave example is a fallacy on a number of levels. For example, there's no support that tidal waves are bad. They're only considered bad (and that's in a specific context in itself) if they cause injury and destruction to humans and human property. This can't make water bad. Water is not all that's required to have a tidal wave. You also need a shore. And you also need an energy source.
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

    "If you could rationalize with Religious people there would be no more Religious people" -Gregory House

  5. #5
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    Re: Is this a fallacy? Or something else?

    Thanks
    Turns out this one wasn't the sticking point after all.
    Yo Bizzaa!!

  6. #6
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    Re: Is this a fallacy? Or something else?

    I do not believe that this is a fallacy of division, but a matter of legal interpretation and problematic way of communicating in terms of the story.

    If you drive too fast, your car breaks, you die... Is it your fault? The caffeine in your coffee perhaps? The coffee company? The car manufacturer?

    There are many links in the cause and effect chain which lead to the robbery. They include the negligence on Johns part for not locking the door, the flare of the homeowner for having a home attractive to thieves, the problems going on in the thieves life which drove him to commit theft, etc...

    There are an infinite amount of things which play some role and are in some degree responsible.

    To answer your question further, it depends on your definition of "fault"; if you want to morally look for a solution to this problem or an accurate conclusion to the argument, you need to look for intent.

    Legally I cannot be convicted of anything unless the prosecution can prove I intended to commit whatever crime they have proof of me committing. If i did not intend to allow a burglary, what is gained or shown by casting blame on me? Forgetfulness? If I was your security guard, perhaps negligence... What would be gained by punishing me?

    I think the fallacy in this thread is that of Equivocation. You are equivocating responsibility in terms of a chain of events with criminal guilt.

    After you remove the equivocation what you have is perhaps a case of affirming the consequent.

    Criminal guilt implies "responsibility".

    John is "responsible", for not locking the door.

    Therefore John is guilty.

    Many things were responsible but only one person is guilty and clearly it's not john.

  7. #7
    ggTempest
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    Re: Is this a fallacy? Or something else?

    Anything can be, by chance, a precursor to a something bad, but you can't blame it. In case of John, his not locking the door allowed the thief to steal the china, but John is not to blame since it was basically the unpredictability and randomness of life that led this thief to take advantage of the door left unlocked by John. All you can do is blame John's bad luck.

  8. #8
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    Re: Is this a fallacy? Or something else?

    John didn't lock the door. A thief stole the china, therefore John should be charged with theft.
    Certainly a non sequitur. As for the specific fallacy, I'm not sure--not all fallacies have specific names. That said, it is clear that there is disjunct between the premises and the conclusion.
    "*" --Kurt Vonnegut

  9. #9
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    Re: Is this a fallacy? Or something else?

    I'm not quite sure what you're asking is an example of the Fallacy of Division. Though I'm in a college-level logic class right now and we just went over it, so I'll just give my understanding of it and hopefully that helps you.

    Fallacy of Division happens when you take a trait of a group or organization and apply it to the individuals or parts.
    Ex. "Group A is terrible at meeting it's goals. John is in Group A, so he must be terrible at meeting his goals."
    Ex. "Water is good for putting out fires. Hydrogen and oxygen make water, so they must be good for putting out fires, too."

    Fallacy of Composition is very similar. It's where a trait of the individual or part is applied to the group or organization. It's basically the mirror-image of the Fallacy of Division.
    Ex. "John is terrible at meeting his goals. John is in Group A, so Group A must be terrible at meeting its goals."
    Ex. "Hydrogen and oxygen are gases at room temperature. Water is made of hydrogen and oxygen, so it must be a gas at room temperature."

    Hope that clears everything up.
    "What is happiness? The feeling that power increases - that resistance is being overcome." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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  10. #10
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    Re: Is this a fallacy? Or something else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Supaiku View Post
    If something opens the opportunity for something bad, does that mean the thing that leaves the door open is bad?
    Or does that mean the thing that actually did the bad thing is bad?
    Depends upon one's definition of "bad", I suppose. If your question is to who is culpable, then clearly only the one actually doing the stealing is culpable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Supaiku View Post
    Is there a fallacy at work here?

    John didn't lock the door. A theif stole the china, therefore John should be charged with theft.

    That's cleary wrong.
    Clearly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Supaiku View Post
    How about:
    John didn't lock the door. A theif stole the china. This doesn't make John a theif, but it is his fault, because he didn't lock the door.

    Does anyone see what I'm getting at? And what is the correct way to approach this arguement? Is it a fallacy, or a lack of understanding in some other way?

    Or does logic actually blame thing that leave the door cracked for all of the effects?

    ie. water is part of tidal waves, therefore water is bad.
    Um.. hello?
    To see that John isn't "necessarily" responsible (see note below) for the stolen china by leaving the door open, all we need do is notice that John can leave the door unlocked without anything being stolen. Therefore, there is no logically necessary inclusion between the states of affairs "leaving the door unlocked" and "being robbed". If there were, there would be no possible world in which John could leave the door open and fail to be robbed.

    Likewise, there is no logically necessary inclusion between the states of affairs "John locks the door" and "John is not robbed". If there were, there would be no possible world in which John locks the door and John is robbed anyway.

    It is thus clear that there is no logically inclusive relationship between the four states of affairs, "John locks the door", "John doesn't lock the door, "John si robbed", and "John isn't robbed", so any attempt to assign some such logical entailment relationship between them would be to assign to one or more of them properties they don't have, and that called making a "category mistake" (cf. http://tinyurl.com/26ayxkz)

    Hope that helps.

    Note: All this assumes John hasn't signed a home owner's insurance contract that specifies he has an obligation to lock his door when he leaves. And there could be any number of other factors involved as well. It would be, however, up to whoever is trying to make this sort of argument to identify and thoroughly exposit those contributing factors, so that it is demonstrated to you how they produce a moral obligation for John to lock his door.

 

 

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