Moral equivalence


What is a moral equivalence fallacy?

Moral equivalence is a term used in political arguments or debate. It is an informal fallacy. The phrase describes a kind of indirect proof, but the reasoning is flawed because it distorts issues.

What is false equivalence examples?

A simple example of a false equivalence is saying that a knife and dynamite are both tools that can be used as weapons, so they’re pretty much the same thing, and therefore if we allow people to buy knives at the store, then we should also allow them to also buy dynamite.

What is the fallacy of equivalence?

False equivalence is an informal fallacy in which an equivalence is drawn between two subjects based on flawed or false reasoning. This fallacy is categorized as a fallacy of inconsistency. Colloquially, a false equivalence is often called “comparing apples and oranges.”

What equivalence means?

Definition of equivalence 1a : the state or property of being equivalent. b : the relation holding between two statements if they are either both true or both false so that to affirm one and to deny the other would result in a contradiction. 2 : a presentation of terms as equivalent.

Why is straw man a fallacy?

Straw person is the misrepresentation of an opponent’s position or a competitor’s product to tout one’s own argument or product as superior. This fallacy occurs when the weakest version of an argument is attacked while stronger ones are ignored.

Is an analogy a false equivalence?

0:122:31Analogies and False Equivalence – YouTubeYouTubeStart of suggested clipEnd of suggested clipBut relevant similarities now one way an analogy can go wrong is by suggesting a false equivalence.MoreBut relevant similarities now one way an analogy can go wrong is by suggesting a false equivalence.

What is the false analogy fallacy?

a type of informal fallacy or a persuasive technique in which the fact that two things are alike in one respect leads to the invalid conclusion that they must be alike in some other respect.

What are some examples of ad hominem?

Ad Hominem ExamplesA politician arguing that his opponent cannot possibly be a good choice for women because he has a religious conviction that causes him to be pro-life.A lawyer who argues that his client should not be held responsible for theft because he is poor.More items…

What is an example of a false cause fallacy?

FAULTY CAUSE AND EFFECT (post hoc, ergo propter hoc). This fallacy falsely assumes that one event causes another. Often a reader will mistake a time connection for a cause-effect connection. EXAMPLES: Every time I wash my car, it rains. Our garage sale made lots of money before Joan showed up.

What are some examples of ad hominem?

Ad Hominem ExamplesA politician arguing that his opponent cannot possibly be a good choice for women because he has a religious conviction that causes him to be pro-life.A lawyer who argues that his client should not be held responsible for theft because he is poor.More items…

What is an example of fallacy of composition?

A trivial example might be: “This tire is made of rubber, therefore the vehicle of which it is a part is also made of rubber.” This is fallacious, because vehicles are made with a variety of parts, most of which are not made of rubber.

What is an example of a straw man argument?

For example, if someone says “I think that we should give better study guides to students”, a person using a strawman might reply by saying “I think that your idea is bad, because we shouldn’t just give out easy A’s to everyone”.

What is moral equivalence?

Moral equivalence is the claim that two radically different ethical actors are really doing the same thing and that they should be judged and treated the same way.

Where did the term “moral equivalence” come from?

The phrase “moral equivalence” originates with William James and his 1906 speech “The Moral Equivalent of War”.

Why do liberals use moral equivalence?

For example, liberals have used moral equivalence to attack Christianity (such as by bringing up the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition) when the real damage done by Islam over the centuries and into the present is pointed out by critics of Islam, as an attempt by liberals to minimize, excuse and ignore what Islam has done.

Is moral equivalence wrong?

It is clearly wrong . Moral equivalence is ideologically similar to Einstein’s Equivalence principle . Liberals frequently use moral equivalence to attack conservative values while having nothing to say about the damage that liberal values have done to society.

What is moral equivalence?

Moral equivalence is a form of equivocation and a fallacy of relevance often used in political debates. It seeks to draw comparisons between different, often unrelated things, to make a point that one is just as bad as the other or just as good as the other. It may be used to draw attention to an unrelated issue by comparing it to a well-known bad event, in an attempt to say one is as bad as the other. Or, it may be used in an attempt to claim one isn’t as bad as the other by comparison. Drawing a moral equivalence in this way is a logical fallacy .

Who said the Contras were the moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers?

Ronald Reagan claiming the Contras in Nicaragua were the moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers. Note that people like Howard Zinn would agree.

Why was neither side morally superior in World War II?

Claiming neither side in World War II was morally superior because of Allied atrocities, such as the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the firebombing of Dresden. Drawing a moral equivalence between 9/11 and U.S. policy in the Middle East, thereby attempting to justify or excuse 9/11.

What is the meaning of the term “moral equivalent”?

It is usually to suggest a moral or ethical hierarchy for two sides in a conflict — that one is better or worse than the other. The term originates from a 1906 speech by William James. The title of the speech was The Moral Equivalent of War.

Is doing X morally equivalent to doing Y?

Doing X is morally equivalent to doing Y, therefore someone doing X is just as good or bad someone doing Y , regardless of what X and Y actually are . The concept of moral equivalence is not a term of philosophy; rather, it is only a logical fallacy used in arguments.

Is moral equivalence the same as detached?

The moral equivalence theory allows someone using the term to appear both objective and detached at the same time. The general form of the context for the use of the trope is. The actions of A are morally equivalent to the actions of B, therefore A is just as good or bad as B, regardless of what the actual actions are.

What are some examples of moral equivalence?

Examples of Moral Equivalence Fallacy in Literature: The protagonist’s actions in “ The Great Gatsby ” are morally equivalent to the antagonist’s actions. In “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Atticus Finch is morally equivalent to Bob Ewell, even though he was portrayed as being more virtuous than him.

Why do advertisers use moral equivalence?

Advertisers often use moral equivalence to make their product seem more desirable.

What is the moral equivalence fallacy?

The moral equivalence fallacy is the idea that two things are morally equivalent when they are not. For example, some people might say that a politician’s use of racist language and a terrorist attack both have the same severity level, which is false because one is an act of violence and the other is just words.

What is the fallacy of two things being equal?

It is a fallacy wherein an argument is made that two obviously different things are nevertheless equivalent. It is also the act of asserting that two sides of an argument are equal when they are not. The fallacy is often committed by a person who has a commitment to emphasize the negatives of a certain course of action.

Why is Hamlet morally equivalent to Claudius?

In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet is morally equivalent to Claudius because they both killed their fathers.

Is wrongful conduct moral equivalence?

In moral equivalence, any type of wrongful conduct is equivalent – neither of the two actions is any worse or better than the other.

What is the fallacy of moral equivalence?

The fallacy of moral equivalence is a strategy often used to denigrate an agency or entity by implying or stating that its policies or practices are as reprehensible as a widely (and justifiably) despised agency or entity.

What should be addressed in the habit of claiming baseless equivalence?

It should be pointed out that those who are in the habit of claiming baseless equivalence are not primarily interested in solving problems or addressing issues – they are interested in winning an argument through the use of shallow rhetorical devices.

What was the title of the 1985 conference on moral equivalence?

Department of State, the Shavano Institute for National Leadership sponsored a conference entitled “Moral Equivalence: False Images of U.S. and Soviet Values” in Washington, D.C. Forty-five participants from the United States, Russia, Great Britian, France, Italy, Latin America, and Central Europe accepted the invitation to examine the issue of an alleged “moral equivalence” between the two “superpowers.” The attention this conference has received has been substantial. Articles have appeared in dozens of national publications such as Time, the Wall Street Journal, National Review, Policy Review, the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the New York Post, and the New York Times , as well as in over 500 other newspapers throughout the nation.

What did the Soviets say about moral equivalence?

The Soviets can always claim “We are no worse than you. Even if we are a lawless society, you too are a lawless society, we are no worse than you.”. This is the “logic” of the doctrine of moral equivalence. If practices are measured by abstract, absolute standards, practices are always found wanting.

What does it mean when practices are measured by absolute standards?

If practices are measured by abstract, absolute standards, practices are always found wanting. The communists who criticize liberal democratic societies measure our practices by our standards and deny the relevance of their practices to judgments concerning the moral worth of our own society.

How do constituted authorities perpetuate themselves?

He went on to say that constituted authorities perpetuate themselves by shaping the conscience of those who fall within their sphere of control. Hence, great revolutions are always deep ruptures of conscience. We are living today in a revolutionary era in which the force which purports to be the great world revolution of our times, Marxist/Leninism, seeks, by a variety of means, including skillful semantic manipulations, to extend its own hegemony.

Who said there is no moral equivalency between the U.S. and Israel?

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the entire Democratic House leadership responded that they welcomed “the clarification by Congresswoman Omar that there is no moral equivalency between the U.S. and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban.”.

Why did Reagan use moral equivalence?

This is why Reagan’s partisans used “moral equivalence” most commonly to defend his administration’s indefensible policies toward Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Reagan personally spoke up in support of the Guatemalan government, even as it committed literal genocide against the country’s poor peasants. An American forensic anthropologist who later helped exhume some of the victims said, “It’s too bad Jeffrey Dahmer didn’t come to Guatemala, ’cause he’d be a general by now.”

Did moral equivalence continue after 9/11?

And while the USSR evaporated three decades ago, “moral equivalence” has continued to flourish. During the invasion of Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the British government said any media outlets quoting Taliban officials would be engaging in moral equivalence.

What does “moral” mean?

Moral means relating to beliefs about what is right or wrong. […]

Can we degrade ourselves in the false name of moral equivalence?

We must not, in the false name of moral equivalence, de grade ourselves to their level.

Do state actors point to moral equivalence?

Nevertheless, state actors persistently refuse to point to specific criteria for comparison when they claim there can categorically be no “moral equivalence” between their actions and those of their non-state adversaries. And for good reason.

Is there moral equivalence between Israel and the US?

Indeed, the violence of Israel and the US is unique – it is unfettered, unchecked, unlimited in scope, and incomparable in death and destruction. There is no moral equivalence. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance. Maha Hilal.

Is there moral equivalence between terrorism and state actions?

In light of persistent claims that there can be no moral equivalence between state actions and acts of terrorism, it is important to ask what moral equivalence is, exactly, and what would make two types of violence morally equivalent. To determine whether there can be moral equivalence between two things, first, …


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