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Logic & Scientific Philosophy, Uncategorized

Jennifer: Ahmadinejad and his Multifaceted Fallacy

According to BBC News, the Iranian rial has dropped 80% in the past year, devastating the country’s economy. Surprise! This downturn is occurring synonymously with unrelenting sanctions from much of the global community, aiming to halt Iran’s suspicious nuclear program. The USA has been the frontrunner in the fight, with efforts under the Obama administration amped up in 2010, placing “an almost total economic embargo on Iran” (Wikipedia: Sanctions Against Iran). And that’s only one country. Imposed sanctions vary from those on exports deemed able to contribute to the nuclear program (India) to limitations on Iran-affiliated banking (Japan). With each escalating measure, the export of Iran’s keystone product, oil, plummets, taking with it the rest of the economy.

Ahmadinejad has stated, however, that the dramatic fall in the rial is not to do with economic issues or government policy, but “due to psychological pressures” (CBC).

Let’s get this straight.

The value of the rial has fallen, and there is psychological pressure on Iran. Therefore, the value of the rial has fallen because of psychological pressure.

Before I could even find the specific fallacy that was committed and point out the “cause and effect” gone wrong, I realized that the “presence of ‘psychological pressures’ ” could be a Fallacy of Presumption, Begging the Question. In this type of fallacy, a premise or premises need to be proven as much as the conclusion, leading to an argument that is only disputably truthful. Sanctions are used in order to squeeze the economy of another nation, in the hope that they will crack with the *economic* pressure and open themselves to negotiation. Yes, harsh limitations increase the difficulty of living for everyday citizens, but I don’t think that the goal of the incident countries is to break the government because it realizes it’s people are suffering.

You see how shaky that ground this? Moving past Begging the Question, another Fallacy of Presumption presents itself: False Cause. Just because two events occur in the same place or at the same time, does not mean that they are related, especially directly. Even if it is accepted that there is notable psychological pressure on Iran, that is not the most suitable cause for the decline in the value of the rial. Global sanctions would probably be a better choice. Plus, on top of that, Ahmadinejad denies any affect the actual economic fallout may have on the currency.

“Are these (currency) fluctuations because of economic problems? The answer is no” (CBC), says the Iranian president.

I beg to differ.



CBC News: Ahmadinejad Blames West for Rial’s Drop

Wikipedia: Sanctions Against Iran


4 thoughts on “Jennifer: Ahmadinejad and his Multifaceted Fallacy

  1. The fallacy you’re looking for is titled “post hoc ergo propter hoc” – which is Latin for “after this therefore because of this”.

    This isn’t quite right: “Begging the Question. In this type of fallacy, a premise or premises need to be proven as much as the conclusion.”

    In ‘begging the question’, the conclusion must be true in order for the premise to be true. The premise is clearly tied to the conclusion.

    There is another type of fallacy where the premise is less likely to be true than the conclusion. “How do you know John went to the store? Because I used my powers of ESP.” The premise ‘powers of ESP’ are less believable than the conclusion. A fallacy, to be sure. But not begging the question, because the premise could be true even if the conclusion is false.

    Posted by Stephen Downes | October 4, 2012, 11:05 am
  2. Thank you for your comment.

    I understand that the Latin name that the English phrase “False Cause” comes from is “post hoc ergo propter hoc;” it’s quite interesting isn’t it?

    Though I had a basic conceptual knowledge of “Begging the Question” before I started this course, I grabbed my definition from our handout, which stated that “it bases the conclusion of the argument on a premise or premises that need to be proven as much as the conclusion.” What you explained does make some sense, however, and I will continue to mull it over and clarify the differences you stated in my head.

    Posted by msbethechange | October 5, 2012, 12:06 am
  3. Interesting to see the cause and effect claims of Ahmadinejad -autocorrect just went crazy- because it’s very real example of linking cause with correlation! If one thing is shown to increase as another thing increases (as in this case) it is called a positive correlation. Correlation, notably, does NOT prove any sort of causation. It is possible for either one of the items to cause the other. In addition it may even be a third item that triggers BOTH of the previous items. The possibilities go on.

    In this case, Ahmadinejad is claiming that the fall of the rial is due to “psychological pressure”. It is very possible that instead of psychological pressure causing the fall of the rial, it is the other way around. As the economy falters, life becomes harder which in turn causes psychological pressure. We cannot be sure about which way the relationship swings because of the fact that rial value and psychological pressure are currently only correlated. In keeping with my previous statements, both the fall of the rial and psychological pressure on people could be caused by a third item in the mix. Which, in this case, would most likely be the economic sanctions placed on Iran.

    -Derek W.

    Posted by DerekW | October 5, 2012, 5:00 am

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