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Logic & Scientific Philosophy

Children Learn What They Live Fallacy

This poem by Dorothy Law Nolte presents a fallacious hypothetical syllogism in the form of “If A, then B”.  However, the premises are not necessarily true as there are many factors that could affect a child’s upbringing.  The poem only shows one conclusion per premise, making it invalid because the way a child lives is restricted into one outcome. However, it is a valid statement as the conclusion from each premise can be one of the various results from a child’s life.  For example, “If a child lives with encouragement, she learns to find confidence”.  The child doesn’t just learn confidence, he/she could also learn arrogance as they start to think too highly of themselves.

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