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Love Is A Fallacy

Max Shulman’s short story Love Is A Fallacy recounts the efforts of a college student to educate his love interest, Polly, so she can be a fit wife, hostess, and mother. The education of Polly involves explaining the most common types of fallacies: Dicto Simpliciter, Hasty Generalization, Post Hoc, Contradictory Premises, Ad Misericordiam, False Analogy, Hypothesis Contrary to Fact, and Poisoning the Well. These fallacies demonstrate an improper use of reasoning, but the narrator discovers Polly turns from his Galatea to his Monster by using his logic lessons against his pleas for love. The fallacy that is most interesting in the story is the one known as Hypothesis Contrary to Fact, which demonstrates how guilty the narrator is of misusing logic to win Polly. Examples from Love Is A Fallacy will be used to demonstrate this.

The narrator tells us of his five evenings spent teaching Polly the most common logic fallacies. Seated under an oak at the college “trysting place” known as the Knoll, the narrator instructs Polly in the different types fallacies by providing her with concrete examples of each (Shulman 5). Slowly and painstakingly, the narrator attempts to educate Polly by sharing with her what he has learned from his logic class. Polly’s lack of intelligence causes the narrator to wince, hide his exasperation, fight off despair, grind his teeth, chuckle with amusement, and pushes him to the limits of “what flesh and blood can bear” (Shulman 8). However, the narrator is nothing “if not persistent” (Shulman 5). After explaining six of the logic fallacies, the narrator introduces Polly to the concept of Hypothesis Contrary to Fact. He explains this fallacy through an example involving Marie Curie’s discovery of radium. The narrator explains his hypothesis to Polly “If Madame Curie had not happened to leave a photographic plate in a drawer with a c


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Love Is A Fallacy. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 18:28, February 21, 2017, from