Fallacy Summary And Application Essay

1084 words - 4 pages

Critical thinking is essential skill for good decision-making and problem solving. As in most decision-making and problem solving situations, arguments are important in proving your ideas or claims to be reasonable, but sometimes those arguments can be fallacious. "A logical fallacy--or fallacy, for short--is an argument that contains a mistake in reasoning." (Bassham, Irwin, Nardone, and Wallace, 2002) Fallacies are common in everyday life and knowing how to identify them prevents us from falling victim to their deceit. To do so would cause our thinking to be unreasonable and inhibit good decision-making or problem solving skills. "The first step towards developing critical thinking is to learn and apply the rules of logic, in particular, to uncover the logical fallacies." (Linda B. Nilson, 1997) The logical fallacies defined in this paper fall into two categories: fallacies of relevance and fallacies of insufficient evidence. "Fallacies of relevance are fallacies that occur because the premises are logically irrelevant to the conclusion." (Bassham, Irwin, Nardone, and Wallace, 2002) This means that a fallacy of relevance happens when the ideas are logically irrelevant to a conclusion even though they appear to be good ideas. "Fallacies of insufficient evidence are fallacies that occur because the premises, though logically relevant to the conclusion, fail to provide sufficient evidence to support the conclusion." (Bassham, Irwin, Nardone, and Wallace, 2002) This means that fallacies of insufficient evidence are ideas that do not have enough evidence to support the conclusion, even though the evidence they do have is significant to the conclusion. The purpose of this paper is to define three logical fallacies, provide an example of each, and show how fallacies are important to critical thinking.The Personal Attack Fallacy falls into the category of Fallacies of Relevance. Personal Attack Fallacies are the denial of someone's ideas or arguments by attacking the person rather than ideas or arguments. By attacking the person instead of the idea or argument the person makes, one tries to prove that the person's ideas or arguments are bad because the person's character is bad. A person's character usually has no bearing on whether or not their ideas are good, so it is best to concentrate on the person's ideas or arguments and leave their character out of the situation. A good example of the Personal Attack Fallacy is "Mr Robert Worcester, the famous poller of public opinion, was available to provide reassurance. He appeared on BBC television news to tell us that, as the Conservatives had supported the war in Iraq - if anything, even more zealously than the Government had waged it - there was no danger that the electors would start voting for the Opposition, as those fickle Spaniards had so recently done." (Alan Watkins, 2004) In this example, being fickle does not explain why the Spaniards voted as they did, so it is not reasonable to use this...

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