What are some logical fallicies in Old Major's speech from Chapter 1 Animal Farm?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is interesting to note how many times the old prize boar, Major, uses the word all in his speech to the animals as he calls for rebellion against Mr. Jones.  Of course, the use of this all indicates that he speaks in generalities which are often fallacious.  For, his premises, which are statements that are offered in support of a claim being made that is the conclusion are too sweeping in nature to be logical and sound.  In Chapter I, he makes the commits the following logical fallacies:

1. Hasty/Sweeping Generalizations

In his efforts to convince the animals to revolt against the farmer, Mr. Jones, Old Major tells them such things as "Man is the only real enemy we have," "All the habits of Man are evil," and "All animals are comrades."  Thus, Old Major suggests that every man is evil, and every animal is good.

2. Appeal to Emotion

With his stirring song, Beasts of England, Old Mjor rouses the emotions of the animals until they sing in unison the tune; excited by the song. However, their noise rouses Mr.Jones from bed, and he fires his shotgun to quiet them all.

3. Confusing Cause and Effect

Because the animals have much misery caused by the actions of Mr. Jones, Old Major assumes that all their problems are directly caused by Man, "Man is the only real enemy we have," he mistakenly reasons. 

4. Poisoning the Well

This type of false reasoning tries to discredit the opposition by creating biases against the person.  In Chapter I, for instance, Old Major rants against Man, telling the other animals that they have been robbed of their eggs and milk and foals.  Further, he tells the pigs that their future is the meat packing shop.  Thus, the animals are filled with words that increase their antipathy toward the owner.

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