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Fallacy Summary And Application

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Fallacy Summary and Application

Fallacies are used in many applications of business. Companies use them to push products, spin dropping profits, and to prevent losses in customer base. Politicians use fallacies constantly to attack opponents and to change to subject when pressure is put on them for things they have done in the past. This paper will discuss three different types of fallacies and how companies and individuals use amphiboly, false analogy, and ad hominem to sell their product or opinions.

Amphiboly is a fallacy that uses vague statements to cause people to draw the wrong conclusions. Claritin is an antihistamine used for allergy relief. Before August of 1997, the Claritin commercials showed a woman running through a field with an announcer stating "At last a clear day" and "Its time to see your doctor". Not once was the benefit or the hazards of the drug mentioned. People would then think, "I would like to have a clear day. I should call my doctor". This was causing people to call their doctors to ask if they needed Claritin or one of the other drugs to have a clear day. The reasons the pharmaceutical companies did this was because before 1997 an ad could be made with the drugs name but as long as the benefits were not mentioned the side effects did not have to be mentioned either. Fortunately, in 1997 the FDA changed the law.

Sometimes companies use false analogies to fool people into thinking that what they are buying is better or something altogether different then what they are purchasing. Not all false analogies are spoken; some false analogies can be used through animation or art. In WWII Saab built aircraft for the war effort and after the war their plans were not in demand so they crossed over to automobiles. In Saab's latest commercials there is a car driving down an isolated strip of land when a group of fighter jets fly over head at low altitude. The announcer then proclaims, "When you used to build fighter jets, you don't build just another car". At no point does the commercial state any facts of how the car differs from other cars. It relies on the viewer to associate the planes with the car and deduce that since the company built high performance aircraft it can build a high performance car. While the fact the engineers were able to input there knowledge of aircraft design into automobiles is encouraging, it in no way gives them the right to claim their cars are better because of it. It is like comparing apples to oranges, airplanes and automobiles both provide transportation but on different surfaces.

In the last five years a lot of companies have gone under do to unscrupulous acts by the executives who ran the companies. While this paper is in no way written to defend these individuals, these incidents have provided multiple examples of appeal to ignorance from news organizations and by the executives themselves aimed at others to imply guilt. Ad ingnorantium is the fallacy of arguing on the basis of what is known or can be proven. When the Enron went bankrupt many people blamed the former CEO Jeffery Skilling of causing the down fall before he left just a short time before Enron collapsed. Business Week printed a report on the companies decline and reported



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