The film Twelve Angry Men is abundant in fallacious reasoning, which the jurors use to arrive to their conclusion and to purpose or refute different propositions. Most of the informal fallacies could only substantiate a certain degree of probability when the jurors proposing the propositions thought it was definite.
Juror Eight proposed the first fallacy in the film. After the initial vote to determine each juror’s opinion, juror Three stated that he [Eight] was in court and heard the same testimonies and Eight’s response was that he [the defendant] was eighteen years old. The implication Eight makes is that because the defendant is young that he is either too young to have committed the crime or that it would decrease the probability that he would have committed the crime. This is a red herring; the defendant’s age has nothing to do with his capability to commit murder.
Following Eight’s red herring, he then has an appeal to pity. He related to the defendant and sympathized with him and though he did not claim that he was guilty or not guilty (Eight said he did not know), his reason for doing so was not based on insufficient or conflicting evidence; it was based on pity, which is fallacious.
An ad hominem fallacy was presented when juror Nine told juror Ten that only ignorant men could believe that all people who live in the slums are born liars. Nine’s implication is that Ten is ignorant for believing such a thing. Ten’s claim was doubly fallacious as well. Just because a resident of the slums was born into that type of culture does not mean that he is a liar, which is the genetic fallacy, trying to discredit by where the truth or testimony may have derived from. The second fallacy presented in that statement is where Nine begs the question and assumes that the defendant was a liar.