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Can someone find where the fallacies are?

  1. Nov 27, 2007 #1
    What fallacies, if any, are present in the following passage? Can you please give reasons for your answer, that is, if you say that a fallacy has been committed, then show where the fallacy occurred, and explain why you think it is a fallacy?
    The passage:
    Canadian military men die in foreign fields because Canada declared war on other countries, not vice versa. There mere fact that we fought does not necessarily make our cause or causes virtuous.
    Few Canadians really paused long enough to really investigate the reasons for our foreign adventures.
    I had a long talk with a veteran of World War II. He was a hand-to-hand-combat instructor and a guard at Allied headquarters in Italy. I questioned him on the reason for Canada’s involvement. He replied unhesitatingly that we fought because Britain told us to. That was the only reason.
    It is quite clear that the only reason for world wars is that countries that have no business in the conflict get involved.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2007 #2
    Seemingly no fallacy...
  4. Nov 28, 2007 #3

    Math Is Hard

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    (Note from MIH - this is an assignment the OP is working on for a course.)
  5. Nov 28, 2007 #4


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    This is not a fallacy but more of a definitional issue. How does one define "having no business in the conflict"? Depending on the definition, any involvement can be justified, can't it?

    If Canada let Britain define "having business," then how can you say Canada did not have business?
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
  6. Nov 28, 2007 #5


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    Is this referring to today or in general? Because if a nation declares war on you, it's still entirely possible for you to be the one that goes on the offensive. I'm not up to digging through Canadian history to see when Canada declared war, and when it was declared on Canada, and when it was de facto declared on Canada because Canada was a British protectorate/colony/whipping boy. But as it stands, it's an assertion with no real reason to believe it, so maybe that counts or not.

    A grammar note, "really paused long enough to really investigate" really has one too many reallys :)

    Then the whole last part

    Here's the issue. The example you gave supports your statement about Canadians thinking about why they were in a war, but it doesn't support your "it is quite clear..." part. Just because a soldier gives a poor reason for why Canada was in a war doesn't mean that was the actual reason Canada was in the war. Furthermore, there's little reason to believe that the specific example of Canada can be extrapolated to all countries in all world wars (e.g. in WWII, Britain and France for quite a while tried NOT getting involved when they clearly should have, then the US did the same thing. That basically lists the allied military powers of the western hemisphere)
  7. Nov 28, 2007 #6
    There is quite a lot of spin in this sentence.

    I'm sure we all agree that whether a person dies or not is more important than where a person dies. This sentence uses the truth about where a person dies to imply whether they would die or not. Those are not necessarily related. It might be that fighting on foreign land could save lives in the long run. The sentence also implies that if a foreign government does not declare war on Canada, then that is proof that there was no aggression or threat by that government or its people against Canada. That also is non sequitur.

    This sentence implies there is substantial claim that fighting justifies itself, and thus substantial stupidity in those supporting a war. Although there are some making such a ridiculous claim, and some that may believe it secretly or subconsciously, this sentence implies it is one of the primary arguments for a war. I doubt it is.

    True. But then it would apply to both the pro and anti crowds.

    Anecdotal, and therefore pretty much useless (except to imply the debater doesn't understand the virtual uselessness of anecdotal evidence, or is appealing to stupid people)

    What if they gave a war and only the bad guys came?

    Please understand that I am against the Iraq occupation, and I don't criticize this paragraph to make any point defending that war. However, the paragraph was still riddled with spin and blatant fallacies.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
  8. Nov 30, 2007 #7
    I'd say there is an appeal to authority fallacy - you're (the guy in the passage, I guess) talking to a single veteran soldier and then deriving conclusions (seemingly) based off of a single man, who fought for a single country, in a single war.
  9. Dec 1, 2007 #8
    Thank you for the comments, In reading all the replies, I believe your response is more in line with what the question is asking. The passage I have sited comes fro a letter to the Toronto Sun newspaper in the year 1983. Here are my thoughts on this piece.

    This passage contains deductive fallacy. The deductive fallacy is a deductive argument in which the premises given for the conclusion do not provide the needed support.
    In reading the passage it is unclear if the author is writing from personal experience as a war veteran or from the perspective of Canadians. The author makes reference to “we” several times throughout.
    The author’s position is that Canada should not be involved in war when it does not concern them. The subject is introduced with a strong statement that is sure to generate an emotional response from any war veteran; “Canadian military men died in foreign fields because Canada declared war on other countries, not vice versa”.
    To build his case the author refers to a discussion with a WW II veteran. The author uses this conversation with the veteran to build rapport with the reader. The technique of introducing another subject that is superficially similar is termed “red herring”. The purposed of “red herring” is the author is trying to get the reader to accept his position.
    Anymore thoughts?
  10. Dec 1, 2007 #9
    just this. what constitutes a world war is up for grabs. the reason given simply does not follow.....countries south of the equator get involved/whatnot

    everything else could be taken at face value
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