Inductive Fallacy Practice Exercises
Review the lesson for Inductive Fallacy Study Guide.
Inductive Fallacy Practice Exercises
Which of the following is NOT a chicken-and-egg fallacy?
- Jay Leno is famous. He is also on television frequently. Jay Leno is famous because he is on television frequently.
- I didn't wash dishes all week. My dirty dishes started to grow mold. If I don't want mold growing on my dishes, I should wash them.
- My boss really liked the work I did on my latest project. I didn't work as hard on the project as I usually do. In order to make my boss happy, I shouldn't work as hard as I usually do.
- Your grades went down this semester. You joined a study group this semester. Your grades went down because you joined the study group.
Choice b is not a chicken-and-egg fallacy; it is a logical inductive argument. Choices a, c, and d are all examples of chicken and egg arguments. There is not enough information in any of the premises to be able to draw their conclusions. Either there is a common cause of both A and B, or a reversal (B caused A, and not the other way around).
How could this argument be changed from a hasty generalization to a strong inductive argument?
Sven is visiting the United States on vacation. He goes into a bank to exchange money, and is surprised to find he is the only one in line. That night, he e-mails his family, "Banking is so much faster in America. You can go into any bank and never have to wait in line."
Sven based his conclusion, "Banking is faster in America," on one experience at one bank. In order for his hasty generalization to become a strong argument, he'd have to visit many more banks to determine if they also have short lines and brief wait times before coming to the same conclusion.
Which is NOT a composition fallacy?
- The special effects in that movie were excellent, so the whole movie must be excellent.
- A spider's body is made up of atoms, which are invisible to the naked eye. Therefore, a spider is invisible to the naked eye.
- This sauce is a mixture of six kinds of cheese. Therefore, the sauce is a cheese sauce.
- A cheetah eats more food per day than a human does. Therefore, cheetahs, as a species, eat more food than all the humans on Earth do.
Choice c is not a fallacy. If the main parts (ingredients) in the sauce are cheese, then the whole is a cheese sauce.
Which is an example of a post hoc fallacy?
- I wanted to take part in the 5K race. I trained every day and ran a good race. If I want to run the race next year, I need to train for it.
- Diane decided to knit a sweater for her dad, so she bought yarn in his favorite color and followed the knitting instructions exactly. Her dad loved it.
- Zoe wore a black velvet costume the day she won her first figure skating championship. She decided to wear black velvet again today so she would win. It worked!
- Vibrating sound waves can actually shatter glass. The opera singer hit a very high note and a glass broke.
Choice c is a post hoc fallacy because it claims that Zoe's dress caused her to win a skating competition. Obviously, in any sport, skill, training, endurance, or a lack of those things play a big part in winning or losing. Also, Zoe's opponents' performances came into play. How a skater looks may be important, but a costume alone wouldn't change how a skater was judged.
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