By: InAe Choe
Special Pleading is a fallacy in which a person applies standards,
principles, rules, etc. to others while taking herself (or those she has a
special interest in) to be exempt, without providing adequate justification
for the exemption. A fallacy of logical argument in which when a writer
gives evidence that contradicts the conclusion. This sort of “reasoning”
has the following form:
The person committing Special Pleading is claiming that he is exempt
from certain principles or standards yet he provides no good reason for
his exemption. That this sort of reasoning is fallacious is shown by the
following extreme example:
1. Barbara accepts that all murderers should be punished for their crimes.
2. Although she murdered Bill, Barbara claims she is an exception because
she really would not like going to prison.
3. Therefore, the standard of punishing murderers should not be applied
Bill and Jill are married. Both Bill and Jill have put in a full day at the offic
e. Their dog, Rover, has knocked over all the plants in one room and has s
trewn the dirt all over the carpet. When they return, Bill tells Jill that it is
her job to clean up after the dog. When she protests, he says that he has p
ut in a full day at the office and is too tired to clean up after the dog.
Jane and Sue share a dorm room.
Jane: “Turn off that stupid stereo, I want to take a nap.”
Sue: ‘Why should I? What are you exhausted or something?”
Jane: “No, I just feel like taking a nap.”
Sue: “Well, I feel like playing my stereo.”
Jane: “Well, I’m taking my nap. You have to turn your stereo off and that’
Mike and Barbara share an apartment.
Mike: “Barbara, you’ve tracked in mud again.”
Barbara: “So? It’s not my fault.”
Mike: “Sure. I suppose it walked in on its own. You made the mess,
so you clean it up.”
Mike: “We agreed that whoever makes a mess has to clean it up. That is fair.”
Barbara: “Well, I’m going to watch TV. If you don’t like the mud, then you
clean it up.”
Barbara: “What? I want to watch the show. I don’t want to clean up the
mud. Like I said, if it bothers you that much, then you should clean it up.”
What is Slanted Language?
Most language in one way or another expresses an opinion as well as
communicating fact. If you wish to point out that a person saves money,
you may choose a word like thrifty--which signals approval of the activity—
or "miserly"--which signals disapproval. Either way your discussion will be “
slanted" toward one judgment or the other. That language communicates
both fact and feeling is one of its great powers. There would be no literature
if it did not. Language only becomes "slanted" when it is deceptive or
manipulative rather than persuasive. Propaganda--political or commercial—
slants language in an attempt to deceive the audience into accepting a
conclusion without question.
During the Gulf War in 1990:
Please, write 2-3 examples of special pleading
fallacy or slanted language about anything you
Lindsay, Don. "A List Of Fallicious Arguments". Don Lindsay
Archive. Apr. 1, 2009 <http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/index.
LaBossiere, Dr. Michael C.. "Fallacies: Special Pleading". Opifex
Phoenix. Apr. 1, 2009 <http://www.opifexphoenix.com/reasoning/
"The UVic Writer's Guide: Slanted Language". UVic English.
Apr. 1, 2009 <http://web.uvic.ca/wguide/Pages/LogSlantLang.