2. The sophisms

  1. Fallacies and sophisms

     Sometimes is hard to find the truth or to distinguish between true and false arguments in TV or in other media.

       A fallacy is when an argument seems right but it is not.

       A sophism is a fallacy which tries to deceive us.

       Plato said that the sophists were masters in showing false arguments as true ones and true arguments as false ones. A sophism is a false argument, masked as a true one, with an intention of deceive us.

      A high number of mistakes are due to the ambiguous or confusing meaning of some words.

2. Commentary

    JUAN: Not only in TV are false arguments, but also in newspapers and radio.

    MARÍA: Advertisements say that certain soap is the best, although there are others which also could be as good as the first.

    JUAN: The sophists lied, trying to be believed or to sell a certain product.

    MARÍA: These fallacies and sophisms are not new, because they were discovered by Plato two thousand years ago.

  A. COMPREHENSION TEST. Choose the right answer: a, b, c.

  1. In TV, some people

    a. don’t say the truth
    b. always tell the truth
    c. always lies

  2. What is an argument which seems right but is not?

    a. a paralogism
    b. a sophism
    c. a fallacy

 3. A fallacy which intended to deceive us is a

    a. a paralogism
    b. a sophism
    c. a fallacy

 4. Who told us about the sophists?

    a. Cervantes
    b. Miguel Delibes
    c. Plato

 5. A specialist in showing false arguments as if they were true is called

    a. sophist
    b. publicist
    c. journalist

 6. Mistakes are done by saying words with a meaning that is

    a. true
    b. ambiguous
    c. certain

  3. Examples of sophisms

      Sometimes a truth is criticised by discrediting the person who defends it. The Nazis discredited Einstein’s works in Physics, faulting it of “Jew thought”

       Other times a reason or an argument can be defended by the prestige or reputation of somebody. In advertising the quality of a marketable product is based on the famous face who sells it.

       In electional campaigns, some politicians use demagogy or sophisms to encourage people and to obtain their votes. They make promises to convince people, even when they know they will not achieve it.

    4. Commentary

    MARÍA: When a boy says the truth and other doesn’t have an argument, he can insult him and says: “This is silly, and you are silly too”

    JUAN: Politicians also disqualify and insult their rivals to deny their arguments.

    MARÍA: I think Einstein was a great scientist and a wise man, no matter he was Jewish or not.

    JUAN: In some advertisements a car is the best because it is presented by a famous face or a famous athlete. He can be a good professional, but the car would have poor quality. This is a different way of lying.

    MARÍA: Politicians make a lot of promises to convince their voters, but when they are finally elected they don’t keep their promises. This is another lie.

  B)COMPREHENSION TEST. Choose the right answer: a, b, c.

  1. Nazis despise Einstein because he was

    a. German
    b. French
    c. Jew

  2. When politicians debate, they usually

    a. disqualify the others
    b. praise the others
    c. appreciate the others

 3. In advertisements, a product’s quality is better when it is presented by

    a. a common man
    b. a famous face
    c. a woman

 4. A demagogic policy is to use

    a. truths
    b. certainties
    c. sophisms

 5. Many politicians make promises and later

    a. they don’t achieve them
    b. they frequently achieve them
    c. they achieve all of them

 6. Politicians use sophisms and demagogy to obtain

    a. the good of others
    b. votes from the people
    c. the common good

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Philosophy |
In Spanish | To print |

®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
Plaza Playa de Aro, 3, 1º DO 44002-TERUEL