What is Apologetics?

Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The word “apologetics” derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used as a speech of defense or an answer given in reply. In ancient Athens it referred to a defense made in the courtroom as part of the normal judicial procedure. After the accusation, the defendant was allowed to refute the charges with a defense or reply (apologia). The word appears 17 times in noun or verb form in the New Testament, and both the noun (apologia) and verb form (apologeomai) can be translated “defense” or “vindication” in every case.

Monday, July 12, 2010

What are the Logical Fallacies of Relevance

In my previous post, I defined for us the term logical fallacy.  This posting is now going to move into a series on the what are called, the fallacies of relevance.

By fallacies of relevance, we are talking about those fallacies common to all arguments. The committal of a fallacy of relevance (except for the fallacy of petitio principii, i.e., begging the question) involves a circumstance where the premises of an argument are logically irrelevant to, and therefore are incapable of establishing the truth of their conclusion.

Fallacies of Relevance include:

1. Appeal to Force.
2. Argumentum ad Hominem fallacies
3. Argument from Ignorance
4. Argumentum ad Populum
5. Argumentum ad Verecundiam (appeal to authority)
6. Appeal to Pity
7. Accident
8. Converse Accident
9. False Cause
10. Begging the Question
11. Complex Question
12. Irrelevant conclusion.

Over the next several Monday morning postings, I will be laying out for us the definitions of each of these. After that, we will move to the fallacies of ambiguity.

Editor's note: There are a few good resources that one can pick up in new and used bookstores. Here are just a few.
  • Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn, The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-six Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasononing. Muscatine, IA: Christian Logic and Trivium Pursuit, 2003.
  • Irving M. Copi and Carl Cohen, Introduction to Logic(13th Edition).
  • Norman Geisler and Ronald Brooks, Come Let us Reason: An Introduction in Logical Thinking. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1990.
  • William Weston, A Rulebook for Arguments. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing, 2009.

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