October 10, 2015 Comments (0) Views: 3612 Education, Resources

Logical Fallacies: A quick guide

Whenever you’re in a disagreement with someone, whether this be in casual conversation or in formal debate, it is imperative to notice the common logical fallacies that can and will show up.

What’s a logical fallacy? It’s a leap of logic, an error in reasoning that renders an argument invalid or inconsistent. For example

1 is a number,

2 is a number,

Therefore, 2=1.

This is an example of a logical fallacy. What I’ve tried to argue is that two and one are mathematically equivalent by providing a single comparison between them. But just because they are both numbers (more specifically, integers) does not mean that they are of the same value.

And there are many more like this; formal and informal. Formal fallacies pop up so often in debate and logic that they have names to them. Informal ones are just inconsistencies in reasoning that you may notice in a specific argument.

As the video above suggests, some fallacies are used maliciously, sometimes by advertisers, in order to make the less educated person more susceptible to accepting a baseless claim. Some brands use this when they use the term “chemical-free,” because we think ‘chemicals’ are bad. But everything has chemicals. You, me, the earth, the atmosphere; all that is made up of chemicals. What they should be saying is their product is free of toxic chemicals.

Other fallacies are just mistakes that any person can make in logic, because the arguments feel air-tight. We probably make them every day without even knowing it. So that’s why we need to stay on our toes and stay educated.

Before I ramble too much, I’ll just direct you to a couple resources: The wikipedia page on logical fallacies is a helpful tool, and so is the Taxonomy of Logical Fallacies. It’s a list of fallacies, and it will tell you what all of the common formal fallacies mean and will give you examples of each.

Happy arguing (but don’t yell, it hurts my ears).

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