Intentional Fallacy Examples in Media, Real Life, Politics, News & Ads
Intentional Fallacy Definition
The intentional fallacy is the idea that you can’t really understand a work of art by knowing its creator’s intentions. It’s impossible to know what the artist was thinking when they created their artwork, and it’s also impossible to know what audience members will think about an artwork.
This means that we can never truly know how successful or unsuccessful a piece of art is because there are too many unknown variables.
The intentional fallacy, sometimes called the artist’s fallacy, is a term coined by philosopher W.K. Wimsatt and literary theorist Monroe Beardsley that suggests that if a person cannot know the intention of an artist, their understanding of work can be flawed. In other words, the meaning of a work of art is not found in the artist’s intention but rather in work itself.
An intentional fallacy can also be defined as “the assumption that its creator’s intention may judge a work’s merit.” The intentional fallacy is a “fallacy” because it is based on the assumption that an artist’s intentions are the chief determinant of a work’s worth. It is the job of critics to uncover the artist’s intention.
Some people believe that the artist’s intention is more important than the actual work of art.
An intentional fallacy is a term used in critical analysis to describe the habit people have of attributing their interpretation of reading to the text itself. The theory states that the text is not able to convey meaning, and it is created after the text has been read.
This is also called “reader-response theory.” There are many examples of intentional fallacy when it comes to literary criticism.
The intentional fallacy is not always a useful tool and often times does not provide a reliable reason for interpretation. It is a good tool to use to ensure an audience understands that the author is speculating but does not always yield the correct answer.
Intentional Fallacy Examples
Intentional example in Philosophy
Examples of Intentional Fallacy in Philosophy:
The intentional fallacy is the idea that we cannot know what a person was thinking or intending when they wrote something.
It’s also called the “fallacy of reading into” because it assumes that there are thoughts in someone else’s head, and those thoughts can be known to us.
This assumption is often made about authors’ intent, but it can also apply to other things as well (like the meaning of a painting)
Intentional Fallacy Real-Life Examples
Intentional Fallacy in Real Life:
- When you are in a store, and the clerk asks if they can help you find anything.
- When someone is speaking to an audience, and their speech is not going well.
- The protagonist of a story is not the author’s friend.
- A person who has died cannot be interviewed.
- What you see in the mirror is not what others see when they look at you
Intentional Fallacy Examples in Media
Examples of Intentional Fallacy in Media:
- The media often portrays people of color as criminals or drug users.
- The media often portrays women as less intelligent than men
- The media often portrays LGBTQ+ people in a negative light
Intentional Examples in Advertising
Intentional Fallacy in Advertising:
The use of a celebrity endorsement in an advertisement is often seen as a form of intentional fallacy because it is assumed that the public will believe that the product endorsed by the celebrity must be good.
The use of attractive models in advertisements can also be considered a form of intentional fallacy because people may assume that advertised products using attractive models must work better than those advertised without them.
Intentional Fallacy in Politics
Examples of Intentional Fallacy in Politics:
The intentional fallacy is the idea that it cannot be discussed or analyzed because an artist’s intention can never be known.
For example, if a politician says, “I want to make all Americans wealthy,” we cannot know whether he wants to do so for good reasons or bad ones.
This means that any discussion of his intentions would not help understand his policies.
Intentional Fallacy examples in Movies
Examples of Intentional Fallacy in Movies:
A common mistake in movie analysis is to look at the writer’s intention or director of the film. Looking at intention assumes that the writer or director intends to show a certain point of view or do a certain thing within the film.
This reasoning can be problematic for critics because it overlooks the practical reality of the situation. It also overlooks the creative input of the film’s main agents- the director and the actors.
Intentional Fallacy Examples in Literature
Examples of Intentional Fallacy in Literature:
The intentional fallacy is the idea that a work of literature should be interpreted as an expression of the author’s intention.
This means that there is no meaning in a text beyond what was intended by its author, and any meaning or interpretation should come from the reader’s understanding of it.
A good example of this would be when someone says “I’m sorry” to you, but they don’t really mean it.
Other examples are;
- The author’s intent is not always clear.
- The reader may interpret the text differently than the author intended.
- Authors can use this to their advantage
Intentional Fallacy Examples in News
Examples of Intentional Fallacy in News:
- The news is biased towards a certain opinion or agenda.
- The news often reports on events that are not true.
- People in the media have their own opinions and agendas, which they may not disclose to the public.