Fallacy Summary And Application Essay

920 words - 4 pages

The word fallacy can be defined as deceptive appearance, a false or mistaken idea, or often plausible argument using false or invalid inference (Fallacy definition, 2004). Although all the definitions are apt, it is the latter that applies to critical thinking. Fallacies involved in critical thinking come in many forms. Ad hominem, slippery slope, fallacy of division and equivocation are just some of the fallacies that can be found in critical thinking (Bassham, Irwin, Nardone Wallace, 2002). This paper will show a few examples of fallacious argument and their effects on decision-making.One fallacy that can be easily found is the fallacy of appeal to emotion. Most often used in political arenas, the appeal to emotion calls upon the listener to believe claims by the speaker based upon their emotions toward him or her. Often, the appeal to emotion fallacy will be used to "to move people to take an action, such as buying a product or fighting in a war" (La Bossiere, 2004).Many examples of the usage of this fallacy can be found right now in the speeches of the candidates running for office. Most notably, the candidates for higher office are guilty of this offense. After a recent speech, President Bush declared that John Kerry "has taken so many different positions on Iraq that his statements are hardly credible at all" (Bush, Kerry, 2004). Obviously the President is trying to urge the listeners that his take on the issue is the correct one. John Kerry is also using the same approach, a recent quote from Kerry stated "he (Bush) does not have the credibility to lead the world" and "(Bush) barely talked about the realities at all of Iraq" (Bush, Kerry, 2004).The usage of appeal to emotion can be a hindrance in the decision-making process if used for the wrong reasons. If used to motivate people to action, this can be a good tool; however, if used to argue a point, it can be disruptive. An example of this can be seen in the recent war in Iraq. President Bush used the appeal to emotion in his argument to invade Iraq on the search for weapons of mass destruction.Another distracting fallacy used often in arguments or decisions is the red herring fallacy. The original red herring term comes from the usage of red herrings to draw hunting dogs off of the scent of a fox (Red herring, 2004). The modern day definition is most often described as something "which distracts the audience from the issue in question through the introduction of some irrelevancy" (Red herring, 2004). The basic idea in using the red herring fallacy is to introduce an idea which although seems relevant, changes the course of the argument away from the relevant topic.Examples of the red herring fallacy can be something as simple as a wife asking her husband if she looks fat in an outfit, and her husband replying on how much he likes her earrings. Additionally, the red herring can be as complex as this statement: "Whether...

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