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FAQ on Logic 2

by Hans Bluedorn

Frequently Asked Questions on Logic: Part Two

by Nathaniel Bluedorn

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Last time I asked you to point out the fallacy in this familiar quote from the Wizard of Oz:

"DOROTHY: Are you doing that on purpose, or can't you make up your mind?

"SCARECROW: That's the trouble. I can't make up my mind. I haven't got a brain. Just straw.

"DOROTHY: How can you talk if you haven't got a brain?

"SCARECROW: I don't know. But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don't they?

"DOROTHY: Yes, I guess you're right."

You may have thought before that you could just sit and watch The Wizard of Oz - happily oblivious to any hidden messages. But now I've ruined it for you - I have to come along and analyze it. The Wizard of Oz will never be the same. Here are some of the responses I have received on this:


The fallacy is equivocation, since the definition of not having a brain is changed in mid argument from actually not possessing a brain to not being very smart.

Randy Hoheisel

From: "J&L Herrera"

Well, the fallacy is a composite equivocation/red herring.

Reason: If indeed the scarecrow has straw in his cranium and is incapable of making a reasonable decision, how pray tell has he been able to discern that some people w/o brains often babble on?

Further, by proposing the question "But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don't they?", he takes the heat off himself and confuses poor Dorothy.


Copyright February 28, 2001, all rights reserved. 5274 views

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