Fallacies and Argument Appraisal presents an introduction to the nature, identification, and causes of fallacious reasoning, along with key questions for evaluation. Drawing from the latest work on fallacies as well as some of the standard ideas that have remained relevant since Aristotle, Christopher Tindale investigates central cases of major fallacies in order to understand what has gone wrong and how this has occurred. Dispensing with the approach that simply assigns labels and brief descriptions of fallacies, (...) Tindale provides fuller treatments that recognize the dialectical and rhetorical contexts in which fallacies arise. This volume analyzes major fallacies through accessible, everyday examples. Critical questions are developed for each fallacy to help the student identify them and provide considered evaluations. (shrink)
In the pragma-dialectical approach, fallacies are considered incorrect moves in a discussion for which the goal is successful resolution of a dispute. Ten rules are given for effective conduct at the various stages of such a critical discussion (confrontation, opening, argumentation, concluding). Fallacies are discussed as violations of these rules, taking into account all speech acts which are traditionally recognized as fallacies. Special attention is paid to the role played by implicitness in fallacies in everyday language (...) use. It is stressed that identifying and acknowledging fallacies in ordinary discussions always has a conditional character. Differences between the pragma-dialectical perspective, the Standard Treatment, and the formal logic approach to fallacy analysis are discussed. (shrink)
Several of the so-called “fallacies” in Aristotle are not in fact mistaken inference-types, but mistakes or breaches of rules in the questioning games which were practiced in the Academy and in the Lyceum. Hence the entire Aristotelian theory of “fallacies” ought to be studied by reference to the author's interrogative model of inquiry, based on his theory of questions and answers, rather than as a part of the theory of inference. Most of the “fallacies” mentioned by Aristotle (...) can in fact be diagnosed by means of the interrogative model, including petitio principii, multiple questions, “babbling’, etc., and so can Aristotle's alleged anticipation of the fallacy of argumentum ad hominem. The entire Aristotelian conception of inquiry is an interrogative one. Deductive conclusions caught Aristotle's attention in the form of answers that every rational interlocutor must give, assuming only his own earlier answers. Several features of Aristotle's methodology can be understood by means of the interrogative model, including the role of endoxa in it. Theoretically, there is also considerable leeway as to whether “fallacies” are conceived of as mistakes in questioning or as breaches of the rules that govern questioning games. (shrink)
This paper offers a solution to the problem of understanding how a fallacious argument can be deceptive by “seeming to be valid”, or (better) appearing to be a better argument of its kind than it really is. The explanation of how fallacies are deceptive is based on heuristics and paraschemes. Heuristics are fast and frugal shortcuts to a solution to a problem that sometimes jump to a conclusion that is not justified. In fallacious instances, according to the theory proposed, (...) this jump overlooks prerequisites of the defeasible argumentation scheme for the type of argument in question. Three informal fallacies, argumentum ad verecundiam , argumentum ad ignorantiam and fear appeal argument, are used to illustrate and explain the theory. (shrink)
The basic question of this monograph is: how should we go about judging arguments to be reasonable or unreasonable? Our concern will be with argument in a broad sense, with realistic arguments in natural language. The basic object will be to engage in a normative study of determining what factors, standards, or procedures should be adopted or appealed to in evaluating an argument as "good," "not-so-good," "open to criticism," "fallacious," and so forth. Hence our primary concern will be with the (...) problems of how to criticize an argument, and when a criticism is reasonably justified. (shrink)
The claim that we have a moral obligation, where a choice can be made, to bring to birth the 'best' child possible, has been highly controversial for a number of decades. More recently Savulescu has labelled this claim the Principle of Procreative Beneficence. It has been argued that this Principle is problematic in both its reasoning and its implications, most notably in that it places lower moral value on the disabled. Relentless criticism of this proposed moral obligation, however, has been (...) unable, thus far, to discredit this Principle convincingly and as a result its influence shows no sign of abating. I will argue that while criticisms of the implications and detail of the reasoning behind it are well founded, they are unlikely to produce an argument that will ultimately discredit the obligation that the Principle of Procreative Beneficence represents. I believe that what is needed finally and convincingly to reveal the fallacy of this Principle is a critique of its ultimate theoretical foundation, the notion of impersonal harm. In this paper I argue that while the notion of impersonal harm is intuitively very appealing, its plausibility is based entirely on this intuitive appeal and not on sound moral reasoning. I show that there is another plausible explanation for our intuitive response and I believe that this, in conjunction with the other theoretical criticisms that I and others have levelled at this Principle, shows that the Principle of Procreative Beneficence should be rejected. (shrink)
Fallacies are things people commit, and when they commit them they do something wrong. What kind of activities are people engaged in when they commit fallacies, and in what way are they doing something wrong? Many different things are called fallacies. The diversity of the use of the concept of a fallacy suggests that we are dealing with a family of cases not related by a common essence. However, we suggest a simple account of the nature of (...)fallacies which encompasses them all, viz., the term “fallacy” is our most general term for criticizing any general procedure used for the fixation of beliefs that has an unacceptably high tendency to generate false or unfounded beliefs, relative to that method of fixing beliefs. Very different sorts of things called fallacies are examined in the light of this account, e.g., denying the antecedent, circular arguments, so-called informal fallacies, and propositions said to be fallacies. We do not provide a theory of fallacies. Still, on our account pretty much all of those things that have been called fallacies are fallacies, and they have been called fallacies for pretty much the same reasons. (shrink)
The paper argues that the two best known formal logical fallacies, namely denying the antecedent (DA) and affirming the consequent (AC) are not just basic and simple errors, which prove human irrationality, but rather informational shortcuts, which may provide a quick and dirty way of extracting useful information from the environment. DA and AC are shown to be degraded versions of Bayes’ theorem, once this is stripped of some of its probabilities. The less the probabilities count, the closer these (...)fallacies become to a reasoning that is not only informationally useful but also logically valid. (shrink)
This section aims to summarize and conclude Part I in the form of a taxonomy of legitimate and illegitimate corporate moral responsibility attributions. I believe we can categorise four types of corporate moral responsibility attributions two of which are legitimate and two which are illegitimate with regard to our concept of moral agency and our moral intuition of fairness.
Many people greet evidence of biologically based race and sex differences with extreme skepticism, even hostility. We argue that some of the vehemence with which many intellectuals in the West resist claims about group differences is rooted in the tacit assumption that accepting evidence for group differences in socially valued traits would undermine our reasons to treat people with respect. We call this the egalitarian fallacy. We first explain the fallacy and then give evidence that self-described liberals in the United (...) States are especially likely to commit it when they reason about topics like race and sex. We then argue that people should not be as worried as they often are about research that finds psychological differences between men and women, or between people of different racial or ethnic groups. We conclude that if moral equality is believed to rest on biological identity, ethnically diverse societies are in trouble. (shrink)
Robert Kimball, in “What’s Wrong with Argumentum Ad Baculum?” (Argumentation, 2006) argues that dialogue-based models of rational argumentation do not satisfactorily account for what is objectionable about more malicious uses of threats encountered in some ad baculum arguments. We review the dialogue-based approach to argumentum ad baculum, and show how it can offer more than Kimball thinks for analyzing such threat arguments and ad baculum fallacies.
Why are some arguments fallacious? Since argumentation is an intellectual activity that can be performed better or worse, do we evaluate arguments simply in terms of their content, or does it also make sense to evaluate the arguer in light of the content put forward? From a ‘virtue’ approach, I propose understanding fallacies as having some link with intellectual vice. Drawing from recent work by Paul Grice, Linda Zagzebski, Andrew Aberdein, and Douglas Walton, this essay argues that if there (...) is some sense of argumentation where an argument is truth-propagating and not put forward in order to ‘win’, fallacies may be the vicious element in arguments that undermines, most often because the arguer’s goal is only. From this perspective, fallacies may not only be improper ‘moves’ in an argument, but may also reveal something lacking in the arguer’s intellectual character. (shrink)
Fallacies are the ‘ideal types of improper inference’, named only because they represent a common or seductive error. Naming them facilitates identification (reducing ‘false negatives’ in argument evaluation), but increases the risk of false positives; it is essentially a cost-effectiveness issue whether to introduce a new name. Statistical fallacies include errors of elementary experimental design, but also conceptual confusions, e.g. of cause with correlation, of association with guilt, where an illicit substitution is made. The focus here is on (...) recent nationwide efforts to replace criteria of merit with correlates of success, in the evaluation of teaching. This involves a number of mistakes, including ‘precipitate decision’, confusing the normative with the descriptive, and using minimax when optimizing or maximin is appropriate, as well as various legal and ethical blunders. (shrink)
The respect for one’s conscience is rooted in a broader respect for the human person. The conscience represents a person’s ability to identify the values and goods that inform her moral identity. Ignoring or overriding a person’s conscience can lead to significant moral and emotional distress. Refusals to respect a person’s conscientious objection to cases of killing are a source of incisive distress, since judgments that it is impermissible to kill so-and-so are typically held very strongly and serve as central (...) moral commitments in one’s moral identity. I think it is wrong for a college basketball coach to pay his players, but I think it is really wrong to kill people. This article argues that any and all arguments for not respecting a conscientious objection to abortion commit a deontic fallacy. Briefly, arguments for the permissibility of abortion are structurally such that abortion is at best permissible, not obligatory. Now, arguments to justify overriding or ignoring a person’s objection to performing action must understand action as being obligatory. Thus, arguments for ignoring conscientious objections to performing abortion are incongruent with the actual philosophical justifications for abortion. Such arguments, then, commit a deontic fallacy. (shrink)
To demonstrate that a fallacy is committed, Block needs to convince us of two things: first, that the concept of phenomenal consciousness is distinct from that of access consciousness, and second, that it picks out a different property from that of access consciousness. I raise doubt about both of these claims, suggesting that the concept of a phenomenal property is the concept of a property to which we have a special sort of access.
The paper critically investigates the pragma-dialectics of van Eemeren and Grootendorst, particularly the treatment of fallacies. While the pragma-dialectieians claim that dialectics combines the logical and rhetorical approaches to argumentation, it is argued here that the perspective relies heavily on rhetorical features that have been suppressed in the account and that overlooking these features leads to significant problems in the pragma-dialectical perspective. In light of these problems, the author advocates turning attention to a rhetorical account which subsumes the logical (...) and dialectical. (shrink)
The paper examines Walton‘s concept of fallacy as it develops throughthree stages of his work: from the early series of papers co-authored withJohn Woods; through a second phase of involvement with thepragma-dialectical perspective; and on to the final phase in which heoffers a distinct pragmatic theory that reaches beyond the perceived limitsof the pragma-dialectical account while still exhibiting a debt to thatperspective and the early investigations with Woods. It is observed how Walton‘s model of fallacy is established in distinction to (...) its competitors,and its various problems and successes are discussed. (shrink)
The so-called New Theory of Reference (Marcus, Kripke etc.) is inspired by the insight that in modal and intensional contexts quantifiers presuppose nondescriptive unanalyzable identity criteria which do not reduce to any descriptive conditions. From this valid insight the New Theorists fallaciously move to the idea that free singular terms can exhibit a built-in direct reference and that there is even a special class of singular terms (proper names) necessarily exhibiting direct reference. This fallacious move has been encouraged by a (...) mistaken belief in the substitutional interpretation of quantifiers, by the myth of thede re reference, and a mistaken assimilation of direct reference to ostensive (perspectival) identification. Thede dicto vs.de re contrast does not involve direct reference, being merely a matter of rule-ordering (scope).The New Theorists' thesis of the necessity of identities of directly referred-to individuals is a consequence of an unmotivated and arbitrary restriction they tacitly impose on the identification of individuals. (shrink)
Milton Friedman's article, The Social Responsibility of Business Is To Increase Its Profits, owes its appeal to the rhetorical devices of simplicity, authority, and finality. More careful consideration reveals oversimplification and ambiguity that conceals empirical errors and logical fallacies. It is false that business does, or would, operate exclusively in economic terms, that managers concentrate obsessively on profitability, and that ethics can be marginalized. These errors reflect basic contradictions: an apolitical political base, altruistic agents of selfishness, and good deriving (...) from greed. (shrink)
The notion that business organizations are akin to Aristotelian political communities has been a central feature of research into virtue ethics in business. In this article, I begin by outlining this “community thesis” and go on to argue that psychological research into the “just world fallacy” presents it with a significant challenge. The just world fallacy undermines our ability to implement an Aristotelian conception of justice, to each as he or she is due, and imperils the relational equality required for (...) shared participation in communities. In the final section, I offer a description of what Aristotelian community might look like within organizations, and some suggestions about how it may be possible to resist the challenge posed by the just world fallacy. (shrink)
One of the most important challenges for political theory is to identify the extent to which corporations should be facilitated and restricted in law. By way of background to that challenge, we need to develop a view about the nature and potential of corporations and corporate bodies in general. This chapter discusses two fallacies that we should avoid in this exercise. One, a claim popular among economists, that corporate bodies are not really agents at all. The other, a claim (...) associated with US jurisprudence, that not only are they agents, they are persons whose rights call in the same way as the rights of individual persons for legal recognition and protection. (shrink)
The public must make assessments of a range of health-related issues. However, these assessments require scientific know-ledge which is often lacking or ineffectively utilized by the public. Lay people must use whatever cognitive resources are at their disposal to come to judgement on these issues. It will be contended that a group of arguments—so-called informal fallacies—are a valuable cognitive resource in this regard. These arguments serve as cognitive heuristics which facilitate reasoning when knowledge is limited or beyond the grasp (...) of reasoners. The results of an investigation into the use of these arguments by the public are reported. (shrink)
Philosophers often call emotions appropriate or inappropriate. What is meant by such talk? In one sense, explicated in this paper, to call an emotion appropriate is to say that the emotion is fitting: it accurately presents its object as having certain evaluative features. For instance, envy might be thought appropriate when one's rival has something good which one lacks. But someone might grant that a circumstance has these features, yet deny that envy is appropriate, on the grounds that it is (...) wrong to be envious. These two senses of `appropriate' have much less in common than philosophers have supposed. Indeed, the distinction between propriety and correctness is crucial to understanding the distinctive role of the emotions in ethics. We argue here that an emotion can be fitting despite being wrong to feel, and that various philosophical arguments are guilty of a systematic error which we term the moralistic fallacy. (shrink)
Philosophers often call emotions appropriate or inappropriate. What is meant by such talk? In one sense, explicated in this paper, to call an emotion appropriate is to say that the emotion is fitting: it accurately presents its object as having certain evaluative features. For instance, envy might be thought appropriate when one’s rival has something good which one lacks. But someone might grant that a circumstance has these features, yet deny that envy is appropriate, on the grounds that it is (...) wrong to be envious. These two senses of ‘appropriate’ have much less in common than philosophers have supposed. Indeed, the distinction between propriety and correctness is crucial to understanding the distinctive role of the emotions in ethics. We argue here that an emotion can be fitting despite being wrong to feel, and that various philosophical arguments are guilty of a systematic error which we term the moralistic fallacy. (shrink)
Business and Economic textbooks warn against committing the Sunk Cost Fallacy: you, rationally, shouldn't let unrecoverable costs influence your current decisions. In this paper, I argue that this isn't, in general, correct. Sometimes it's perfectly reasonable to wish to carry on with a project because of the resources you've already sunk into it. The reason? Given that we're social creatures, it's not unreasonable to care about wanting to act in such a way so that a plausible story can be told (...) about you according to which your diachronic behavior doesn't reveal that you've suffered, what I will call, diachronic misfortune. Acting so as to hide that you've suffered diachronic misfortune involves striving to make yourself easily understood while disguising any shortcomings that might damage your reputation as a desirable teammate. And making yourself easily understood to others while hiding your flaws will, sometimes, put pressure on you to honor sunk costs. (shrink)
The paper builds on a methodological idea from experimental philosophy and on findings from psycholinguistics, to develop and defend ordinary language analysis (OLA) as practiced in J.L. Austin’s Sense and Sensibilia. That attack on sense-datum theories of perception focuses on the argument from illusion. Through a case-study on this paradoxical argument, the present paper argues for a form of OLA which is psychologically informed, seeks to expose epistemic, rather than semantic, defects in paradoxical arguments, and is immune to the main (...) objections to ordinary language philosophising, including those arising from the semantic/pragmatics distinction: A key project in current experimental philosophy is to develop psychological explanations of philosophically relevant intuitions that help us determine what warrant thinkers have for accepting them. Psycholinguistic work on the role of stereotypes in verb-comprehension has shown that intuitive judgments can be generated by automatic cognitive processes that duplicate both semantic and pragmatic inferences and are shaped by dominant uses of words. For systematic reasons, philosophers are prone to unwittingly deviate from such dominant uses. Where this happens, they are liable to automatically infer unwarranted conclusions that strike them as intuitively compelling. OLA helps us to determine those dominant uses, to identify unwitting deviations from them, and thus to expose unwarranted intuitions – e.g., in the premises of paradoxical arguments. Ordinary language does not determine the bounds of sense but shapes our leaps of thought. The paper shows how this enables its ‘Austinian’ analysis to contribute to a novel, epistemic, resolution of philosophical paradoxes and problems. (shrink)
Argues that many claims by theists are based on their misunderstanding of science. He looks at the specific parameters and shows that plausible reasons can be found for the values they have within the existing standard models of physics and cosmology.
Although fallacies have been common since Aristotle, until recently little attention has been devoted to identifying and defining them. Furthermore, the concept of fallacy itself has lacked a sufficiently clear meaning to make it a useful tool for evaluating arguments. Douglas Walton takes a new analytical look at the concept of fallacy and presents an up-to-date analysis of its usefulness for argumentation studies. Walton uses case studies illustrating familiar arguments and tricky deceptions in everyday conversation where the charge of (...) fallaciousness is at issue. The numerous case studies show in concrete terms many practical aspects of how to use textual evidence to identify and analyze fallacies and to evaluate arguments as fallacious. Walton looks at how an argument is used in the context of conversation. He defines a fallacy as a conversational move, or sequence of moves, that is supposed to be an argument that contributes to the purpose of the conversation but in reality interferes with it. The view is a pragmatic one, based on the assumption that when people argue, they do so in a context of dialogue, a conventionalized normative framework that is goal-directed. Such a contextual framework is shown to be crucial in determining whether an argument has been used correctly. Walton also shows how examples of fallacies given in the logic textbooks characteristically turn out to be variants of reasonable, even if defeasible or questionable arguments, based on presumptive reasoning. This is the essence of the evaluation problem. A key thesis of the book, which must not be taken for granted as previous textbooks have so often done, is that you can spot a fallacy from how it was used in a context of dialogue. This is an innovative and even, as Walton notes, "a radical and controversial" theory of fallacy. (shrink)
discussions of risk contain logical and argumentative fallacies that are specific to the subject-matter. Ten such fallacies are identified, that can commonly be found in public debates on risk. They are named as follows: the sheer size fallacy, the converse sheer size fallacy, the fallacy of naturalness, the ostrich's fallacy, the proof-seeking fallacy, the delay fallacy, the technocratic fallacy, the consensus fallacy, the fallacy of pricing, and the infallability fallacy.
An ad hominem fallacy is committed when an individual employs an irrelevant personal attack against an opponent instead of addressing that opponent’s argument. Many discussions of such fallacies discuss judgments of relevance about such personal attacks, and consider how we might distinguish those that are relevant from those that are not. This paper will argue that the literature on bias and testimony can helpfully contribute to that analysis. This will highlight ways in which biases, particularly unconscious biases, can make (...) ad hominem fallacies seem effective, even when the irrelevance is recognized. (shrink)
Global poverty, hunger, and lack of access to save water raise problems of how to organize human society so that everyone's needs can be met. Philanthropic proposals, such as Peter Singer's and Peter Unger's, are based on a false analogy to duties of rescue and encourage philanthropic responses, thus closing the discourse to discussion of the causes and remedies of poverty. Radical criticism of capitalist social structures are put off the table, and this is a profound error.
Timothy Williamson argues against the tactic of criticizing confidence in a theory by identifying a logical consequence of the theory whose probability is not raised by the evidence. He dubs it “the consequence fallacy”. In this paper, we will show that Williamson’s formulation of the tactic in question is ambiguous. On one reading of Williamson’s formulation, the tactic is indeed a fallacy, but it is not a commonly used tactic; on another reading, it is a commonly used tactic (or at (...) least more often used than the former tactic), but it is not a fallacy. (shrink)
Leading invasion biologists sometimes dismiss critics and criticisms of their field by invoking “the straw man” fallacy. Critics of invasion biology are also labelled as a small group of “naysayers” or “contrarians”, who are sometimes engaging in “science denialism”. Such unfortunate labels can be seen as a way to possibly suppress legitimate debates and dismiss or minimize reasonable concerns about some aspects of invasion biology, including the uncertainties about the geographic origins and complex environmental impacts of species, and the control (...) programs against species perceived as “invasive”. In assessing the quality of the debate in this area, we examine the validity of the use of various strategies, including the “straw man” concept, and explore a range of potential logical fallacies present in some recent prominent discussions about invasion biology and so-called “invasive” species. The goal is to add some clarity to the concepts involved, point out some problematic issues, and improve the quality of the debates as the discussions move forward. (shrink)
In this article, we describe a hitherto undocumented fallacy-in the sense of a mistake in reasoning-constituted by a negativity bias in the way that people attribute motives to others. We call this the "worst-motive fallacy," and we conducted two experiments to investigate it. In Experiment 1, participants expected protagonists in a variety of fictional vignettes to pursue courses of action that satisfy the protagonists' worst motive, and furthermore, participants significantly expected the protagonist to pursue a worse course of action than (...) they would prefer themselves. Experiment 2 was a preregistered attempted replication of Experiment 1, including a bigger range of vignettes; the first effect was not replicated for the new vignettes tested but was for the original set. Also, we once again found that participants expected protagonists to be more likely than they were themselves to pursue courses of action that they considered morally bad. We discuss the worst-motive fallacy's relation to other well-known biases as well as its possible evolutionary origins and its ethical consequences. (shrink)
Already in 1863, Jules Verne knew about Caselli's "pantelegraphy," which was what he described as a "photographic telegraphy, invented during the last century by Professor Giovanni Caselli of Florence."1 Following the mistaken belief that facsimile machines could not been invented until well after the nineteenth century, and wrongly assuming that Caselli was a fictional inventor, merely a figment of Verne's most productive fertile imagination (as such imaginative elements characterize his latter writings), some of Verne's readers mistakenly ascribed to him the (...) discovery of the possibility of the fax machine. They thus committed what I will call soon "a reversed actualist fallacy."In challenging actualist mistakes .. (shrink)
If good argument is virtuous, then fallacies are vicious. Yet fallacies cannot just be identified with vices, since vices are dispositional properties of agents whereas fallacies are types of argument. Rather, if the normativity of good argumentation is explicable in terms of virtues, we should expect the wrongness of fallacies to be explicable in terms of vices. This approach is defended through case studies of several fallacies, with particular emphasis on the ad hominem.
The ad baculum is not a fallacy in an argument, but is offered instead of an argument to put an end to further argument. This claim is the basis for criticizing Michael Wreen's "neo-traditionalism," which yields misreadings of supposed cases of the ad baculum because of its rejection of any consideration of what the person using the ad baculum, or someone who refers to that use as an "argument," is doing. The paper concludes with reflections on the values that should (...) inform talk of a fallacy in an argument such as the one that Wreen is giving. (shrink)
A widely accepted claim about counterfactuals is that they differ from strict conditionals, that is, there is no adequate representation of them as sentences of the form . To justify this claim, Stalnaker and Lewis have argued that some fallacious inferences would turn out valid if counterfactuals were so represented. However, their argument has a flaw, as it rests on a questionable assumption about the relation between surface grammar and logical form. Without that assumption, no consequence of the (...) alleged kind is obtained, hence the claim may be rejected. (shrink)
Lately, a number of referee decisions appear to have reignited the debate over the need to bring more in-game officiating technology into soccer. The fallacies behind the arguments for the inclusion of technology to aid game officials can be narrowed down to those behind current arguments for or against goal-line technology. Both the proponents and opponents of these arguments appear to overemphasise the role of referees to the point of claiming that if refereeing errors could be eliminated in goal-line (...) situations, then the most deserving team would most of the time be expected to win the contest. While we firmly believe that the game of soccer would benefit immensely from infallible officiating, we intend to show that these arguments are founded upon a number of inconspicuous assumptions. First, they assume that goal-line situations can be shown to affect the outcomes of games more than all other game situations. This can easily be shown to be a myth, since goals can be scored from all areas of the playing field. In addition, winning a soccer game, obviously, involves more than just scoring goals. Second, these arguments seem to support the view that referee decisions affect the outcomes of games more than decisions made by players, coaches and managers. This is merely a myth, since one can show that, in light of Cesar Torres's insights, referee involvement in game is limited to regulating situations that demand that the game be restored to its constitutive actualisation. Third, most arguments for goal-line technology tend to support the erroneous view that technology can actually eliminate most ?crucial? human mistakes from sport and, thus, ensure fairness of game outcomes. Such a myth can easily be refuted by reference to numerous cases of inconclusive slow-motion video replays in soccer. Therefore, this paper aims at arguing that, instead of reinforcing the scapegoating of referees and overemphasising the importance of isolated referee decisions to the point of attributing victory or defeat to these ?crucial? decisions, both sides of the goal-line technology debate need to put forth compelling arguments which go beyond the current misguided search for referee infallibility. (shrink)