QUESTION TEXT: Mayor: A huge protest against plans to…
QUESTION TYPE: Flawed Reasoning
CONCLUSION: The factory won’t cause health problems.
REASONING: The protestors complaining about health problems were sent by developers who were worried about the value of their land.
ANALYSIS: This is an ad hominem argument. The author attacks the motives of the protestors, in order to claim that their conclusion is wrong.
This is never correct. It’s possible the factory poses a health risk – maybe that’s why developers chose to highlight that issue rather than another concern!
You must always attack the evidence and reasoning of your opponent, never their identity.
- The argument didn’t do this.
Example of Flaw: The protestors claim the factory will kill everyone in town. But it won’t kill anyone.
- The argument didn’t do this either. Note that this isn’t really a flaw: it’s perfectly valid to persuade by pointing out harmful consequences.
Example of Flaw: We must build the factory. Otherwise the local economy will fail and house prices will drop.
- CORRECT. This answer choice describes an ad hominem flaw. The author didn’t say the protestors were wrong, she just said they were biased.
- It is a flaw to generalize from a small number of cases, but the argument didn’t do this.
Example of Flaw: The factory will make everyone sick. These two homeless orphans developed a cough while living near a similar factory.
- This is a flaw, but the argument didn’t do it.
Example of flaw: You must admit that it’s possible I’ll win the lottery. Therefore it’s 100% certain that I’ll win the lottery.
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