Fallacious Kairos

  • Red Herring: Introducing irrelevant facts or claims to detract from the actual argument. For instance, our invasion of Iraq was predicated, in part, upon the connection between the attacks of 9/11 and Saddam Hussein. The war was described by some as an appropriate response to the terrorist attacks on 9/11, but in reality, the connection between Iraq and Saddam Hussein was a red herring. Hussein was not connected to Al Qaeda, the terrorist network that perpetrated the attacks, or 9/11.
  • Argument from Authority: We already noted that an argument from false authority involves a speaker or writer claiming authority in a particular area without giving evidence of that authority (see “Fallacious Ethos“). These claims of authority are obviously connected to ethos, but depending on the argument, may also be connected to kairos. For example, when a political candidate claims that, if action is not taken right now, the nation risks ruin, he or she is identifying him- or herself as an expert on both the nature of the problem as well as the timing.