The Case For Torture. Expository Essay Sample

The Case For Torture. Expository Essay Sample
📌Category: Literature
📌Words: 557
📌Pages: 3
📌Published: 18 March 2021

Logical fallacies, or errors in reasoning, are presented throughout writing, debunking an author’s argument. Each logical fallacy undermines an author’s logic, essentially working against the writer rather than in their favor. In the Essay, The Case For Torture, Michael Levin disproves his central contention due to the presence of logical fallacies such as slippery slope, appeal to emotion, and appeal to ignorance, because illogical reasoning cannot be used to prove an argument.

Levin disproves his main argument throughout his writing due to the use of logical fallacies such as slippery slope. “Suppose a terrorist has hidden an atomic bomb on Manhattan Island which will detonate at noon on July 4 unless ... here follow the usual demands for money and release of his friends from jail. Suppose, further, that he is caught at 10 a.m on the fateful day, but preferring death to failure, won't disclose where the bomb is” (Levin 1). Throughout the quote, Levin illustrates a chain reaction of events that may happen in the case of a terrorist attack. This is an example of a slippery slope, a set of chain reactions that result in an undesirable consequence, as there is not enough evidence given to prove these set of events will ever happen. This undermines Levin’s central contention, as the use of a logical fallacy creates an illogical argument failing to prove why torture is permissible. 

In Levin’s essay, logical fallacies, such as appeal to ignorance, compromise his case for torture. “How can we tell 300, or 100, or 10 people who never asked to be put in danger, "I'm sorry you'll have to die in agony, we just couldn't bring ourselves to” (1-2). The author unknowingly depicts the logical fallacy, appeal to emotion, throughout the quote. Levin plays on the reader’s emotional weaknesses and makes them feel bad for the victims of terrorist attacks. Although the argument seems appealing, it is a fallacy since the author presents no facts and uses only emotion to gain support from the reader. Levin undermines his argument by appealing to emotion rather than using real evidence. Since he focuses on making the reader sympathize with the victims of terrorism, Levin uses illogical reasoning disproving his argument since no real facts are used to support why torture is permissible. 

Throughout, The Case For Torture, the logical fallacy, appeal to ignorance, is mistakenly used by Levin, disproving his argument for torture. “Paralysis in the face of evil is the greater danger. Some day soon a terrorist will threaten tens of thousands of lives, and torture will be the only way to save them” (3). Levin portrays an appeal to ignorance, as he gives the audience evidence only supporting his argument. This plays on the reader’s lack of knowledge, causing the reader to falsely side with Levin’s argument. Levin gives no other examples of different ways to save lives in a terrorist attack, only the example of torture. Since no further evidence is used in his argument, the fallacy appeal to ignorance arises, as Levin uses the reader’s lack of knowledge to gain support for the use of torture. This undermines Levin’s central contention because the presence of appeal to ignorance creates illogical reasoning which cannot be used to prove an argument.

Michael Levin presents logical fallacies throughout his essay, The Case For Torture, that work against his argument and disprove his central contention. The fallacies slippery slope, appeal to emotion, and appeal to ignorance appear throughout Levin’s writing, disproving his main argument since illogical reasoning cannot be used to justify logic. Each fallacy further contradicts Levin’s case for why torture is permissible and morally mandatory, essentially destroying his argument.


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