For this assignment, identify a social issue you are personally interested in learning more about, advocating for the cause, or are against it, and identify fallacious reasoning.
- Research an advocate (individual or organization) that promotes a relevant social issue. Identify the organization and explain the relevancy of the social issue.
- Show the steps you took to translate the position/argument you researched into a clear logical form by writing out the logical premises and conclusions from the material presented by the advocate.
- Identify a minimum of five informal fallacies that are made by the advocate. Explain the fallacies themselves and how each functions.
At least two academic peer-reviewed sources are required for this paper.
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This assignment requires an analysis of a social issue through the lens of logical reasoning. The task involves identifying an advocate or organization, explaining the social issue they promote, and the logical premises and conclusions they use to support their position. Finally, the students must identify five informal fallacies made by the advocate and explain how each functions. This exercise aims to sharpen the student’s understanding of the importance of logical and critical thinking in approaching complex social issues.
For this assignment, I have chosen to analyze an advocate organization that promotes animal rights. The organization I have selected is PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). PETA’s primary mission is to promote and defend animal rights, including the right to life, protection from exploitation, and freedom from inhumane treatment.
To translate the position/argument of PETA into a clear logical form, I have identified the following premises and conclusion. PETA’s position is as follows:
Premise 1: Animals have the right to be treated ethically and with respect.
Premise 2: Animals are sentient beings capable of experiencing pain and suffering.
Premise 3: Animals used for human purposes, such as food and clothing production or animal testing, are subjected to cruelty and abuse.
Conclusion: Therefore, humans have a moral obligation to protect and defend animal rights and against animal exploitation.
PETA’s position is subject to a number of informal fallacies. Here are five fallacies that are made by the advocate:
1. Appeal to Emotion – PETA often employs emotionally charged rhetoric to stimulate public outrage and support for their cause. But, they sometimes use manipulative and misleading images and language to evoke empathy and sympathy for animals, which can weaken the reasoning behind their arguments.
2. False Analogy – PETA often compares animal treatment to slavery and oppression of minority groups, which is a false analogy. While there are similarities between the two phenomena, they are fundamentally different and require separate solutions.
3. Bandwagon – PETA often claims that their views and policies represent the mainstream view on animal rights issues, which is appealing to the bandwagon fallacy. This appeal may not be valid because there are a variety of different stances on animal rights.
4. Ad Hominem – PETA sometimes employs ad hominem attacks against industries and individuals that participate in animal exploitation. While criticism and scrutiny are necessary in any debate, ad hominem attacks are usually fallacious and detract from the merits of the argument.
5. Cherry Picking – PETA often cites isolated examples of animal maltreatment to support their views, which can be a form of cherry-picking. Over-reliance on isolated cases instead of more comprehensive data detracts from PETA’s argument and may even contribute to detractors’ arguments.