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Introduction

Regarded as a classic film that explores the dynamics of a jury deliberation, “12 Angry Men” offers a gripping portrayal of the American judicial system. However, upon closer examination, it becomes evident that the film is not without its flaws. In this critical essay, we will delve into the fallacies present in ’12 Angry Men’ and discuss how they impact the integrity of the deliberation process, the accuracy of the verdict, and the overall portrayal of justice.

Ad Hominem Fallacy

One of the most prominent fallacies in ’12 Angry Men’ is the presence of ad hominem attacks. Throughout the film, jurors engage in personal attacks on one another rather than focusing on the evidence and facts presented. These attacks undermine the integrity of the deliberation process by diverting attention away from the case itself and instead focusing on personal biases and prejudices. By attacking each other’s character, the jurors fail to engage in a rational discussion based on the merits of the case, ultimately compromising the pursuit of justice.

Confirmation Bias

Another fallacy that pervades the film is confirmation bias. Several jurors enter the deliberation room with preconceived notions and biases that influence their interpretation of the evidence. They selectively choose evidence that supports their predetermined beliefs while dismissing or ignoring conflicting evidence. This biased approach skews the deliberation process and compromises the search for truth and justice. In a real-world scenario, confirmation bias can lead to wrongful convictions, as jurors may overlook critical evidence that contradicts their initial assumptions.

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Straw Man Fallacy

The presence of the straw man fallacy in ’12 Angry Men’ is also worth noting. Jurors often misrepresent or oversimplify opposing arguments to make them easier to refute. They create exaggerated versions of the opposing viewpoints, making it easier to dismiss them. By mischaracterizing the arguments of others, the jurors avoid engaging in a substantive discussion and instead construct an artificial version of the opposition’s position. This fallacy undermines the intellectual rigor of the deliberation process and hinders the exploration of different perspectives.

Bandwagon Fallacy

In the film, the bandwagon fallacy emerges when jurors succumb to group pressure and conform to the majority opinion without critically analyzing the evidence. As the deliberation progresses, the dominant personalities within the group exert significant influence, leading some jurors to abandon their independent thinking and follow the majority. This fallacy disregards the importance of individual perspectives and stifles dissenting voices, potentially leading to an unjust verdict.

Appeal to Emotion

’12 Angry Men’ also exhibits the fallacy of appealing to emotions. Jurors often rely on emotional arguments and personal anecdotes rather than objective evidence to support their positions. While emotions can play a role in decision-making, a reliance solely on emotional appeals can cloud judgment and detract from the objective evaluation of evidence. By allowing emotions to dictate the deliberation, the jurors risk compromising the fairness and impartiality required in a courtroom setting.

Conclusion

While ’12 Angry Men’ is widely acclaimed for its exploration of the jury system, it is essential to acknowledge the presence of fallacies within the film’s portrayal of the deliberation process. The ad hominem attacks, confirmation bias, straw man fallacy, bandwagon fallacy, and appeal to emotion all contribute to a flawed representation of the pursuit of justice. By critically analyzing these fallacies, we gain insight into the limitations and potential pitfalls of real-world jury deliberations. It is crucial to recognize and address these fallacies to ensure that justice is served impartially, based on sound reasoning and a thorough examination of the evidence.

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