Assignment—Fallacies of Relevance

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Part 1 

Some premises are relevant to a claim; some are not. Relevant premises can be positive or negative. Decide whether each of these groups of statements contains a positively relevant premise, a negatively relevant premise, or an irrelevant premise. Give reasons to justify your answers.

The sky is blue. Therefore, the Supreme Court will decide in favor of gay marriage.

Matthew and Jane are parents of a daughter. They are both over six feet tall so probably their daughter will be tall.

If taxes on cigarettes continue to rise and sales decrease, the situation will put people out of work. So, cigarettes do not cause cancer.

Most people believe the morning after pill should be sold without prescription. Therefore, the recent ruling should stand that makes it available over the counter.

Angela is a senior in high school. Therefore, Angela probably has a PhD.

Part 2 

Determine whether there are fallacies of relevance in the following passages. If there is a fallacy, identify the type of fallacy. If you do not find a fallacy, note that there is no fallacy. Explain your answers.

All of the popular kids at Jordan High drive SUV’s. If you want to be popular, this is what you should ask your parents to get for you.

Senator Smith argued that violent pornography should be outlawed. Senator Smith obviously believes that there should be government censorship of books, magazines, movies, etc. No one should take such an extreme view seriously.

Representative Jones argued that there should not be limits to malpractice claims in this state. He says that when a patient is harmed, a large award is the only way to help the patient and the only way to put pressure on doctors to be more careful. But, Representative Smith’s former law firm specializes in malpractice cases, and he has close friends in that firm, so what would you expect him to say?

I do not know any wait staff who report all of their tips to the IRS. I do not feel any obligation to report all of mine.

Our driving instructor, Mr. Peterson, says you should never drive without wearing a seatbelt. I saw him in his car at a stoplight, and he did not have his seatbelt on. Why should I listen to him?

I wish I could take my two dogs with me when I move, but the apartment I am moving into does not allow any pets. I hate to think about them in the animal shelter because I have heard they put down owner surrenders almost immediately due to lack of space. Would you consider adopting them?

John Smith should not be hired as a teacher’s aide. He is on the registered sex offender list.

You need to buy our security system now. This neighborhood is not safe because the house behind yours was broken into last week.

I have the right to say whatever I want because I can say anything I want to say.

Mr. Jones, you have been caught with alcohol in your dorm room twice now. This is against the policy. The school policy states that on the third offense the student will be suspended, so I will have no choice but to suspend you if you are found with alcohol in your room again.

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