background preloader

Logical Fallacies

Logical Fallacies
An Encyclopedia of Errors of Reasoning The ability to identify logical fallacies in the arguments of others, and to avoid them in one’s own arguments, is both valuable and increasingly rare. Fallacious reasoning keeps us from knowing the truth, and the inability to think critically makes us vulnerable to manipulation by those skilled in the art of rhetoric. What is a Logical Fallacy? A logical fallacy is, roughly speaking, an error of reasoning. When someone adopts a position, or tries to persuade someone else to adopt a position, based on a bad piece of reasoning, they commit a fallacy.

Related:  Logical FallaciesFallaciesPhilosophyTips and TechniquesLogic and Rhetoric

Fallacies Dr. Michael C. Labossiere, the author of a Macintosh tutorial named Fallacy Tutorial Pro 3.0, has kindly agreed to allow the text of his work to appear on the Nizkor site, as a Nizkor Feature. It remains © Copyright 1995 Michael C. Fallacies What this handout is about This handout discusses common logical fallacies that you may encounter in your own writing or the writing of others. The handout provides definitions, examples, and tips on avoiding these fallacies. Arguments Most academic writing tasks require you to make an argument—that is, to present reasons for a particular claim or interpretation you are putting forward.

We're Underestimating the Risk of Human Extinction Unthinkable as it may be, humanity, every last person, could someday be wiped from the face of the Earth. We have learned to worry about asteroids and supervolcanoes, but the more-likely scenario, according to Nick Bostrom, a professor of philosophy at Oxford, is that we humans will destroy ourselves. Bostrom, who directs Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute, has argued over the course of several papers that human extinction risks are poorly understood and, worse still, severely underestimated by society. Some of these existential risks are fairly well known, especially the natural ones.

Lucy Kellaway: The seven deadly sins CEOs won't admit 1 July 2011Last updated at 02:11 It's a classic job interview question: "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" At the top of the business world, people seem to have taken to heart the advice to admit no negative traits, just positives in disguise, says Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times. Every week for the past year and a half, the Financial Times has asked business leaders 20 questions including: "What are your three worst features?" By studying the replies, I've amassed a treasure trove of data that overwhelmingly supports a long-held pet theory of mine. The three worst traits of chief executives are a lack of self-knowledge, a lack of self-knowledge and a quite extraordinary willingness to give themselves the benefit of the doubt.

Mental Models Acquiring knowledge may seem like a daunting task. There is so much to know and time is precious. Luckily, we don't have to master everything. To get the biggest bang for our buck we can study the big ideas from the big disciplines: physics, biology, psychology, philosophy, literature, sociology, history, and a few others. We call these big ideas mental models. Our aim is not to remember facts and try to repeat them when asked, the way you studied for your high school history exams. Top 10 Thinking Traps Exposed Our minds set up many traps for us. Unless we’re aware of them, these traps can seriously hinder our ability to think rationally, leading us to bad reasoning and making stupid decisions. Features of our minds that are meant to help us may, eventually, get us into trouble. Here are the first 5 of the most harmful of these traps and how to avoid each one of them. 1. The Anchoring Trap: Over-Relying on First Thoughts

rhetorical questions The rhetorical question is usually defined as any question asked for a purpose other than to obtain the information the question asks. For example, "Why are you so stupid?" is likely to be a statement regarding one's opinion of the person addressed rather than a genuine request to know. Similarly, when someone responds to a tragic event by saying, "Why me, God?!" it is more likely to be an accusation or an expression of feeling than a realistic request for information. Apart from these more obviously rhetorical uses, the question as a grammatical form has important rhetorical dimensions. Science and Nonduality In this article standup philosopher Tim Freke articulates the nature of ‘paralogical’ thinking, which is the foundation of the philosophy and practices he shares to guide people to a ‘deep awake’ state. The need for paralogical thinking arises from an important insight. Life is profoundly paradoxical. I’ve already mentioned in passing the paradox that on the surface of life we live in a world of separate things, but at the depths all is one. At first such spiritual paradoxes can sound like mystical mumbo jumbo.

Is the US in denial over its $14tn debt? 27 June 2011Last updated at 10:16 By Justin Webb BBC News Is America in denial about the extent of its financial problems, and therefore incapable of dealing with the gravest crisis the country has ever faced? This is a story of debt, delusion and - potentially - disaster. How to Solve Google’s Crazy Open-Ended Interview Questions Getty One of the most important tools in critical thinking about numbers is to grant yourself permission to generate wrong answers to mathematical problems you encounter. Deliberately wrong answers! Engineers and scientists do it all the time, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t all be let in on their little secret: the art of approximating, or the “back of the napkin” calculation. As the British writer Saki wrote, “a little bit of inaccuracy saves a great deal of explanation.” For over a decade, when Google conducted job interviews, they’d ask their applicants questions that have no answers.

Top 10 Common Faults In Human Thought Humans The human mind is a wonderful thing. Cognition, the act or process of thinking, enables us to process vast amounts of information quickly. Do Rhetorical Questions Need a Question Mark? Today guest-writer Bonnie Trenga will help us talk about two kinds of peculiar questions. Isn’t that going to be fun! "Isn't that going to be fun," is a rhetorical question. We’re also going to learn about its cousin.

Related:  Rhetoric & FallaciesCritical ThinkingCritical ThinkingLogicWritingTHINKINGCosmic Logic