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Monday, September 26, 2011

Fallacies of Argumentation

We are bombarded daily with messages, many of them flawed.

We make decisions often many times an hour based in incomplete or assumed information.

For society to advance, and for our own best interests, it is important we understand the forces and elements that impact our decision making. Among these are the fallacies of argumentation below:

An error in reasoning
Neutral in ethics
Dangerous to use
•Used heavily in marketing and politics with mixed ethical motivations

Red Herring
A fallacy that introduces
Irrelevant issues
To divert attention from the subject under discussion

Ad Hominem
To make human,
A fallacy that attacks the person rather than dealing with the real issue
To divert attention through personal attack.

False Dichotomy
A fallacy that forces listeners
To choose between two alternatives
When more than two alternatives exits.
Can divert from actual alternative or cause.
Polarizes audience
Used to solidify “right and wrong”,
“for or against.”

A fallacy that assumes
   that because something is popular
   it is therefore good.
   Group think
    Mob mentality

Slippery Slope
A fallacy that assumes
   that taking a first step
   will lead to subsequent steps
   that cannot be prevented.
False assumption that if this happens than there is a 100% certainty that a series of subsequent event will occur.

Hasty Generalization
Jumping from specific to general
    On the basis of insufficient evidence
False assumption that if a specific events cause is true, than all similar events must have the same or similar causes.

Invalid Analogy
An analogy in which the two cases being compared are not essentially alike
Making parallels between things that may not be parallel or alike

False Cause
Assuming that if one event follows another, there must be a cause and effect.
“Post hoc”, “Ergo proper hoc”
“After this, therefore because  of this.”
Jumping to the conclusion of cause without proper evidence of a causal effect.


Kimberly said...


These days we are all so gullible. We see something work on TV and before doing any research on it head straight out to have one of our own. Todays society has become extremely lazy. We believe what we see and hear. We are so blindsided.

coastielema said...

Do fallacies of argumentation apply (to me) if my livelihood is affected or threatened?

Art Lynch said...

I has to do with persuasion and how communication works, not jobs or employment or politics (except that fallacies are used by all sides in politics as part of selling their beliefs or point of view). So, I do not understand coastielema's statement. about livelihood.

coastielema said...

Let me clarify my sarcastic comment from Feb 25th:

Would the fallacies of argumentation apply to my expressions if I thought and/or believed I was a victim of unfair protest or action?

Makes you think twice about posting things to polarize an audience towards a specific goal.

Seems to me that the only items you can voice an opinion on without violating the fallacies of argumentation would be absolute truths?

Then again...even absolute truth has 2 different definitions.

What to do, what to do?

Jessica Pacheco said...

I'm currently learning all of these terms in my critical thinking class. it has opened up my mind and hopefully I've become less vulnerable to people taking advantage of me or manipulating the way I think. To me critical thinking is a necessary skill all people should apply in life.

Unknown said...

These all sound like the makings of a good sales person.. or for marketing the most current fad product... These things will always be around, making educating yourself to make wise decisions all the more important

Jessica Johnson said...

Think about what your parents always told you. I as a parent after reading this realize that I feed my children fallacies. Its a "because I said so" mentality.

Anonymous said...

Very important stuff in understanding noise, opinions and the crap on tv.

Alexis Donovan 4041 said...

The bandwagon fallacie is what i would think most people fall under. there is a point in a persons life some time or another when they fall for the popular fad, just wanting to fit in with everyone else.

Danielle Scarano 4041 said...

Definitely caught myself jumping on the bandwagon, very good way of advertising!

Anonymous said...

I feel we are all set up to fall into the bandwagon fallacie. it is not until we are older and think for ourselves, do we form our own opinions. I feel this way because as you grow up, you are only exposed to what your parents think and say, or if you see something on tv that your family supports and approves.

-Camille Sunseri, BC6003

Anonymous said...

I definitely fell into the bandwagon fallacies at a younger age, thinking that because a certain individual/group thought this was cool, I did too just for the sake that I could be like them. Now, its a lot different.

Dulcenea Leae
HN 4041

Anonymous said...

I learned fallacies in my english class and it has helped me tremendously, especially when debating with someone. The red herring one is new to me but notice in campaigns they use the abortion topic to downplay their opponent. By introducing an irrelevant issue (red herring).
Christy Delfs 6002

Anonymous said...

It is funny how the bandwagon works, because when you say it like that everyone think, nope I don't do that. But they don't even realize that they do it, it's hard for me to give an example, but because I play card games at my local game store for their local tournaments I know a lot about the bandwagon effect. This is my example, a new release of a set of cards is released, one suppose "pro" player says, this card is going to be good because of this, and this. Ideally it does sound good, and so everyone starts playing the exact same deck of cards, not even realizing that a better deck can made from other cards if they would just experiment on their own instead of all joining the bandwagon and playing the exact same thing.

Jeremy Matul, BC 6003

Leslie Gomez- COM 4041 said...

Interesting how we do that. Just repeat what we are told. Research is needed, yet even research isn't enough sometimes. Almost everything is shaped by media, so what do we believe?

Anonymous said...

I've seen TV or people get mad and they think its not right. i think its funny.