While revising you may look for areas to improve the unity, cohesion, and development of your essay. Furthermore, you can check that all the parts of the essay such as the thesis statement are effective.
You might also check that your essay does not misuse ethos, pathos, and logos in a fallacious way. Fallacies are problems or weaknesses in explaining or defending your opinion. There are many fallacies you learn about in your reading class. These fallacies might also have multiple names (an English name and a Latin name). The practice in this section will focus on some of the most frequent.
These are some of the more common fallacies and some examples of them.
ad hominem: This is a personal attack on someone with a different opinion than you rather than their actual opinion
- “Marx’s ideas are irrelevant today because the technologies we use and rely on would have been inconceivable to him.”
post hoc ergo propter hoc: This is when something happens before something else and so a cause/effect relationship is assumed. It says that because thing A happened before thing B, thing B happened because of thing A. It ignores other possible causes.
- “School violence rates increased after people started playing video games, so video games are responsible for the increased violence rates in schools.”
ad populum: This is when you say that your opinion is the best or right because it is popular. Everyone thinks this or everyone does this, so your reader should think or do it too.
- “You must switch to this new phone line company. It’s currently the one with the most users”.
slippery slope: This is when you say that event A leads to event B which leads to event C and so on. Usually, this is a series of events that get progressively worse, but occasionally it can be a series of events that get progressively better.
- "By switching to a 7-hour work day, employees will have more time to spend with their families. By spending more time with their families, they’ll be happier and more productive at work."
- "If you start to speed by 5mph on the road, soon that will start to feel slow and you'll want to go 10 or 15mph over the limit."
Lastly, be careful to use true information in your support. You could use great ethos, pathos, or logos, but if the information is untrue, then your opinion isn't really supported. As an academic writer, it is important to be honest and fair when supporting your opinion. Your goal is to use true support with effective rhetorical appeals for your opinion.
Exercise 1: Discussion
Discuss the questions below with a partner or group.
- Have you read, watched, or listened to anything that had a fallacy in it?
- When you read or watch something with fallacies, what do you feel or think as the audience?
- Are you more convinced by fallacious support or fair support as a reader?
- Do you tend to use any fallacies in your own writing or speaking?
Exercise 2: Matching
Match the fallacy to its example. Write the letter of the example next to the correct fallacy.
|1. ____ ad hominem ||A. My wife must be ... incorrectly because we never had ... problems until she ...|
|2. ____ post hoc ergo propter hoc||B. “Tradition says that the woman is in charge of the home, therefore, she’s the one who should look after the children”.|
|3. ____ slippery slope||C. “Although Dr. Barone advocates for reducing our carbon footprints, she lives in a large house and drives an SUV.”|
|4. ____ ad populum||D. If emotional support cats are allowed in campus apartments, what’s going to stop students from trying to bring emotional support pigs, snakes, or armadillos?|
Exercise 3: Revising for fallacies
Revise the sentences below to avoid fallacies. Use strong, true rhetorical appeals instead.
1. "The human soul is immortal because all learned men agree that anything which does not come out of the potentiality of matter is incorruptible and immortal" (Acciaiuoli, 1997).
2. "If our state legalizes cannabis, it’ll go on to legalize other drugs, and we’ll see a huge increase in addiction problems" (Kramer 2022).
3. The Governors stance on the new tax laws doesn't make sense because he doens't even do his own taxes.
Exercise 4: Revise for unity and development review
Review this student paragraph for unity and development.
Meat contains essential nutrients that we cannot find in vegetables. Vitamin B12 is one of the nutrients that is difficult to find in a vegetarian diet, and most vegetarians have a deficit of this important nutrient. "Vitamin B12 is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis" (Vitamin B12, 2016). Without this vitamin our bodies could be greatly affected and people would start to feel some symptoms related with deficit of vitamin B12 such as, anemia, weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, constipation, fatigue, neurological damage and some other symptoms. Because nobody wants to have some of these affections, people should eat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk and other dairy products so that they cannot suffer from a deficit of this important vitamin (Gunnars,2015).
Exercise 5: Revise for cohesion
Review this student's paragraph for cohesion. The paragraph has been broken into groups of two sentences. How would you improve the cohesion between these groups of sentences? Make any feedback or editing markings on the groups of sentences. Then, write the complete revised version of the paragraph on the lines below.
Prompt: What are the disadvantages or advantages of globalization?
1. The product supply chain spans globally. Are you curious about where they made our phones?
2. A phone contains many parts and components. Intellectual property comes from the United States.
3. Displays are from Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and China. An integrated circuit is made in Taiwan, Japan, and Korea.
4. Processing equipment is made in Germany and Japan. It is assembled in China.
5. It is sold in the United States (PIIE, n.d.). The product supply chain spans the whole world.
Exercise 6: Revise a paragraph
Revise this student paragraph about GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms).
Secondly, GMO cause mutations in DNA, and are closely tied to cancer and other diseases, and thus mutagenic substances can have dire effects on human health (Norris, 2015). These are the conclusions of a study conducted on 200 rats. The researchers suspect that genetically modified organisms can do evil even to humans. A French study in fact, carried out by Gilles-Eric Seralini shows that GMOs have a toxic effect on animals. This research was con- ducted for two years in 200 rats, divided into 3 different groups and evaluated the effects. The conclusions are chilling. The group fed with genetically modified maize produced with Roundup, began to show the thirteenth month of serious illnesses (huge mammary gland tumors in females and diseases of the kidneys and liver in males). At least fifteen years that GMOs are marketed. It really is a crime that so far no health authority has imposed the realization of long-term studies. As for transgenic varieties with the approval of the cultivation in the European Union are only two: MON 810 maize and potato Amflora by BASF although only the first really grown in the EU (80% of the total area it is in Spain). 44 other GMO products have been authorized by Brussels for the marketing, such as maize NK 603, at the study center. For now, however, they are not of own production and are only used to feed livestock such as cattle. On this point, "The cattle are killed too early because you can experience the negative effects of GM foods on the long run. The life expectancy of these animals is between 15 and 20 years, but now are felled to five, three years, 18 months or even earlier. There is thus a 'no' dry to the request, by various governments, to suspend the current authorizations of GMOs in Europe. At this point, it is obvious that GMO's are dangerous for human being.
Exercise 7: Peer Review
Read a partner's essay and review its use of rhetorical appeals.
- Do you see any good uses of ethos, pathos, and/or logos?
- Do you see any fallacies or misuses of ethos, pathos, and/or logos?
Mark and label any effective rhetorical appeals or fallacies you find in their writing.
Exercise 8: Check your essay
- Does the introduction provide the general information a reader needs in order to understand the topic?
- Does the introduction end with an effective thesis? Does it clearly show your opinion?
- Do each of the body paragraphs begin with an effective topic sentence?
- Are the body paragraphs sequenced in a logical order?
- Look at each body paragraph. Do the supporting sentences support the topic sentence?
- Look at each body paragraph. Are the supporting sentences sequenced in a logical order?
- Look at each body paragraph. Is there enough development? Are there more details or examples that would help the reader?
- Look at each body paragraph. Does the concluding sentence close the paragraph logically?
- Does the conclusion paragraph start by restating the thesis?
- Does the conclusion paragraph have a suggestion, prediction, or opinion at the end?
- Do you have any grammar errors that interfere with the reader understanding your ideas?
- Do you include cited sources accurately? Do you have in-text citations for all summaries, paraphrases, and quotes? Do you list all the sources you used on the reference page?
https://www.grammarly.com/blog/slippery-slope-fallacy/ (Kramer, 2022, para. 24)
Donato Acciaiuoli, “Commentary on the ” ed. Jill Kraye in vol. I, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 55