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True But Irrelevant: Fallacies

This tactic is quite simple: the arguer bases a conclusion on information that is true but not germane to the issue.



This pain relief product can be bought over the counter or in a stronger form with a prescription. But according to this pamphlet, for the prescription strength product to be effective it must be taken at the immediate onset of pain, it must be taken every four hours thereafter, and it cannot be taken with any dairy products. So it actually doesn’t matter whether you use the prescription strength or the over-the-counter strength product.


Which one of the following best identifies the flaw in the above argument?

  1. The fact that many people could not live a full life without the prescription strength product cannot be ignored.
  2. It cannot be concluded that just because the prescription strength product has certain guidelines and restrictions on its use that it is not more effective.
  3. It does not consider that complications may arise from the prescription strength product.
  4. It fails to consider that other products may be more effective in relieving pain.
  5. It is unreasonable to assume that the over-the-counter strength product does not have similar restrictions and guidelines for its use.

It is unreasonable to reject the effectiveness of a product merely because it has modest requirements for use. All medications have directions and restrictions. Hence the answer is (B). Don’t make the mistake of choosing (A). Although it is a good rebuttal, it does not address the flaw in the argument. Interestingly, it too is true but irrelevant.

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