Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Phantom Distinction
   In looking at the many fallacies that could be discussed, one major fallacy that holds more clout, that I can at least see, within our most recent news, is the fallacy of Phantom Distinction. Before discussing the definition, let's look at an example. Our President, President Trump, was a man in recent news was quoted by saying something that could be interpreted as a Phantom Distinction fallacy of argument. "A certificate of live birth is not the same thing by any stretch of the imagination as a birth certificate."This quote came from our Commander and Chief in his demand in seeing our former President's birth certificate, and that man being President Obama. The error that comes from this quote, and what makes it a fallacy of Phantom Distinction, is that he made an argument that  "distinction that ultimately cannot be explained of defended in a meaningful way". In light of the argument that Trump had made in regards to Obama, the idea then stems down to the fact that both a certificate of live birth and a birth certificate are indeed the same thing, one just comes before the other(be it the live birth from the Office of Vital records, then copied onto a birth certificate), and furthermore, the only mistake that can come is if the copyist made a mistake. But if there are not any mistakes, the two documents are clearly identical.
   Yet what makes this fallacy one of the ever most dangerous fallacies, is truly what the Latin root means, and furthermore how it is used, especially in attacking people. In Latin, Ad Hominem,(or Phantom Distinction as we say in English), literally means "to the person", and not only is a fallacy in our previous definition, but furthermore is an argument that practically works to break down an argument from logical and intellectual bases, down to nothing more than personal attacks. Now this is fine and dandy(not really, but for the sake of argument), if it's used in a relative context with only using the term Ad Hominem. If a person is to use the fallacy in the same context, but derive their meaning from the full term "Argumentum ad Hominem", literally meaning argument to the person, the argument, not the person, is, in theory, being attacked. But in most cases within our daily lives, we tend to call out the person, and not the argument, and our grand fallacy of Phantom Distinction shines through.
   However, we in our daily lives see, more and more, we see many important faces within our culture make these same quotes, and it definitely can lead to many(and I mean many), negative connotations about not only the person, but their party in which they affiliate with, or their idea in which they wish to further along. From a once great comedian, now deceased, comedian George Carlin, we are given the quote "The God excuse, the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument".  The quote in question was probably made in fun, as the man again was a comedian, but this by no means cannot be overlooked in the essence of what is being stated; an attack on the man, not the argument. But just as we see a semi-friendly comedian make the quote, so too can a person with a greater purpose and position can also make the fallacy with the same effect. Martin Luther, the long deceased found of the Christian denomination Lutheranism, has also made the same fallacy in a quote within a work of his called "The Table talk of Martin Luther". The quote in question is as follows; " People give ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but the sacred scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, not the earth." Within the quote, a direct attack is made against the astronomers who are, most likely, studying the theories of heliocentricity and geocentricity.
   In conclusion, the fallacy of Phantom Distinction, or Ad Hominem(also known as Argumentum ad Hominem), is a dangerous fallacy that could be made against a person, where the logic within the argument truly does not exist, and is instead an attack against the person the argument is made towards. From this, a fallacy that, if not watched for and taken into direct watch and consideration, could lead us down a dark and barbaric path, as this fallacy leads us to move away from logical and peaceful arguments, and in turn forces us into shoving knives against our co-arguers throats when having arguments.
https://www2.palomar.edu/users/bthompson/Phantom%20Distinction.html(Bentham quote and Trump quote stems from this site, along with definition of Phantom Distinction
http://www.skepticink.com/notung/2012/11/12/what-is-meant-by-ad-hominem/(Latin translations of Ad Hominem and Argumentum ad Hominem come from this)
http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/fallacy(George Carlin and Martin Luther quotes come from this site)

No comments:

Post a Comment