1) The claim “There is extraterrestrial life in the universe, because my father said so” is an example of an appeal to authority. But it can be viewed as an enthymeme, where the hidden assumption is that “my father is always right”. In such a case, there is no logical problem with the argument. Do you agree? 2) Do you think that to say that : “Person A is biased , therefore\what he says is wrong” is fallacious? It can be interpreted as “person A is biased, therefore his information cannot be trusted. Therefore what he says is wrong”. 3) Are errors of logic errors of psychology as well? Or perhaps, only errors of psychology? Appeal to authority besides being a logical fallacy, has a whole psychology and sociology besides it.

1) We must always be careful to distinguish between arguments that are valid and those that are sound. A valid deductive argument has the proper logical structure (where true premises guarantee a true conclusion) but that is of little use if the premises themselves are false or unsure. Your expanded version of this argument is indeed valid, but the hidden premise cannot possibly be true (since human fallibility is unavoidable), so the argument is still unsound.

2) Your fallacy is the assumption that untrustworthy information is always wrong. In some ways reliably wrong information could be nearly as useful as reliably right information –it would at least enable the ruling out of some possibilities. In this case, Person A is biased therefore his information is not reliably right –but it is not reliably wrong either. Therefore, his opinion tells us nothing about the rightness of his position.

3) As we’ve discussed before, formal deductive logic is an artificial system designed to extend and improve upon (and theoretically to perfect) the conclusions reached by raw human intuitions (while inductive logic might perhaps be described as the mid-ground between the two). The tendency to confuse the rules of logic with the intuitions that inspired them does indeed have psychological and sociological aspects –but the same could be said for nearly all human practices.

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  1. Just recently saw the following argument in a logic book: all lions are herbivores all zebras are lions ————– therefore all zebras are herbivores this seems to be logically valid syllogism, but it is disturbing.
  2. I would take a standard textbook on math, where all the propositions are correct. Write down 99 correct mathematical statements. And then add “Zeus exists”, and compile a text. Then I would argue, that if we have a box, from which we sample randomly 99 balls and they are have the property of being black, we can think with good reason that the next one will be black. And therefore, since 99 of the math propositions in the texts are have the property of being correct, there is good reason to think that “Zeus exists” is also correct. It seems wrong somewhere. But where?
  3. A circular argument is technically a valid argument. For every case in which the premises are true, the conclusion will be true. So what makes it a bad one?
  4. Inductive arguments establish objective facts, so how can they be considered subjective?
  5. On one hand, arguments are supposed to be objective – something which is true is always true, for everyone. On the other hand, if person says “P exists because X,Y,Z”, while he personally has seen the evidence (x,y,z) for P, and another person says “P exists because X,Y,Z” and he has only read about X,Y,Z from second sources – their knowledge is actually very different. Where is that difference (crucial one) reflected in logic?
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