Fallacies in Language Logical Reasoning Essay

Question Description

I need an explanation for this Writing question to help me study.

The assignment will include statements of fact, but the goal of the essay is to establish something that cannot be empirically verified: the meaning of a word.

As you may have experienced when composing the Fact Paper, our ability to make an argument is limited when we cannot appeal to values. Contrary to the belief that values diminish the validity of an argument by rendering it mere opinion, values are a necessary part of argument. Indeed, they are the very heart of argument. This is the case in part because evaluative terms are notoriously difficult to define.

To establish what is meant by any evaluative word, we must rely on precedent and context. We can refer to authoritative sources such as dictionaries, but we must also take into account common usage and intent. In the case of words like hot, cold, short, or tall, there may be specific temperatures or heights that we can all agree define that term. There is no such widespread agreement for other evaluative terms, especially cultural values.

Cultural values are key terms to which we appeal again and again when deciding a course of action. They are values that most people would agree are fundamental to our society, even if we cannot agree on their definition. Examples of cultural values are: freedom, happiness, efficiency, maturity, ingenuity, independence, health, security, life, criminality, responsibility, and sustainability.

This assignment is designed to give you practice in another technique of persuasive writing, that of defining a cultural value or other key term in such a way that seems credible to your reader. Your ability to credibly define your terms will help you to contribute to a range of public discourse in influential ways.


Identify an instance in a document, broadcast, or conversation in which the meaning an author assigns to a word is debatable. You are not looking for an instance in which someone uses a term incorrectly, such as using the word “antidote” to refer to a short story. Rather, you are looking for an instance in which a person applies a word to an object or situation and you disagree with the person’s evaluation of that object or situation.

When you have your example, then answer for yourself the following question: Why is it important to dispute the meaning of that word? Your answer to that question will eventually become the thesis of your paper.

Begin your essay by summarizing your example, presenting your thesis, and previewing your definition of the disputed word. Following your introduction, present your research on your word that supports the usage for which you advocate.

There are a number of ways to establish a precedent for a preferred meaning of a term, including reference to a dictionary, though that reference should not be limited to Merriam Webster’s.

You can trace the etymology of your word in the Oxford English Dictionary, which is available electronically via the university library: http://catalog.sjlibrary.org/record=b1879016~S1 (Links to an external site.)

Other dictionaries you can search include:

legal: http://www.legal-dictionary.org/ (Links to an external site.)

medical: http://www.online-medical-dictionary.org/ (Links to an external site.)

philosophical: http://www.philosophypages.com/dy/index.htm (Links to an external site.)

slang: http://www.urbandictionary.com/ (Links to an external site.)

Another way to establish the meaning of a term is to show how others use it, even if that usage is common only to a certain group of people. To do this, you will need to compile examples of others using your word in the manner for which you advocate. This research might include reference to the term’s equivalent in other languages.

A third strategy for establishing the meaning of a term is to define related terms. For instance, if you are establishing the meaning of maturity, you may also want to define experienced, responsible, and established.

After establishing a precedent for your preferred meaning, explain the difference it will make to use that meaning over another. In this section of the paper, you will want to provide specific examples of how the word’s meaning can or will influence decision-making and social action.

Conclude your paper with a brief summary of your argument and re-statement of your thesis.

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Final Answer

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Fallacies in Language
Student’s Name
Institutional Affiliation

Fallacies in Language
Fallacies are common errors that people make in their conversations, and they challenge
the level of logical reasoning that, in turn, creates room for an argument. In most cases, fallacies
can be regular or irregular depending on the legitimacy and relevance levels, and they are
identified as a result of a lack of factual evidence. For instance, claiming that “the level of
mercury in seafood may be unsafe, but what will fishers do to support their families?” is not
factual, and it is misleading as it causes distraction to the actual situation. In this case, the
statement is a red herring that diverts the meaning of a specific issue and leads to avoidance in
addressing the problem, thereby focusing on the proponent argument only (Ervaset al., 2018). In
this case, the discussion sways away from the safety of food and focuses on the economic benefit
of the fishermen and their livelihoods. On the other hand, the statement may be interpreted as
supporting ignorance of safety issues associated with levels of mercury on fish, and in turn, focus
on the economic consequences of the fishermen. The critical analysis of the statement will
identify the fallacy that is portrayed by both sides of the arguments and ways of eliminating it to
avoid misleading information.
The argument that kinds of seafood have a high level of mercury, which makes them
unsafe has no merit as there is no evidence to support the statement. In the past, there have been
studies undertaken to gauge the level of mercury in kinds of seafood, and there is evidence that
some types of fish contain a high level of mercury, which is toxic. The challenge in this
statement is that it does not give evidence on the level of mercury that is found in kinds of
seafood, especially fish, and someone reading it may question the reason behind the statement.
On the other hand, the allegation that mercury in kinds of seafood is unsafe can only be validated
upon undertaking and study of evaluating the facts that are presented. Moreover, the statement

lacks credibility because...

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