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View Full Version : Argue with style. Avoid these logical fallacies.



Rudolf Miller
August 1 2012, 04:20:15 PM
http://publiusonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/LogicalFallaciesInfographic_A3.png

http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/poster

I admit in advance that I am not sure if thread-worthy. However, it is a useful tool for keeping potentially under qualified arguments at bay.

Frug
August 1 2012, 09:18:29 PM
I wonder how it would work out if we got emoticons for each of those so that we could put the icons in our responses to arguments.

Evelgrivion
August 1 2012, 09:21:27 PM
I wonder how it would work out if we got emoticons for each of those so that we could put the icons in our responses to arguments.

I like this idea.

I'm not sure this deserves it's own thread either, but it could be the foundation for a very solid "reference materials for serious discussions" sticky.

Tarminic
August 1 2012, 10:42:53 PM
I wonder how it would work out if we got emoticons for each of those so that we could put the icons in our responses to arguments.
This sounds amazing, actually.


I would like to make a point about the Argument from Authority fallacy - this does not apply when the authority you're referencing is actually an expert in the relevant field. Contrast between:
1. "He's a famous astrophysicist, so I trust his expert opinion on The Big Bang theory." - The big bang theory is part of his field of expertise, so his expert opinion can be considered relatively trustworthy
2. "He's a famous astrophysicist, so I trust his expert opinion on Climate Change." - Climate change is not an part of his field of expertise, so he cannot by definition have an expert opinion.

AmaNutin
August 1 2012, 10:48:17 PM
As this is so handy, I am going to make it a wallpaper for my home computer and work computer, in the hopes that I'll eventually commit these to memory.

SAI Peregrinus
August 2 2012, 02:12:30 AM
A point about slippery slope:
It's only a fallacy if Z does not logically follow from A.
eg: "If I shoot myself in the head, I will die. Me dying is bad. Therefore I shouldn't shoot myself in the head." is not a fallacy.
"If I eat this sandwich, bananas will fall from the sky and cover the earth. Civilization will be ended due to banana flooding, which is bad. Therefore, I shouldn't eat this sandwich." is a fallacy, because the effect of falling bananas does not follow from the cause of me eating a sandwich.. It's also very silly.

Nordstern
August 2 2012, 02:17:27 AM
I don't agree that slippery slope is a logical fallacy. "Unreasonable extrapolation" might be, though.

Sofia Roseburn
August 2 2012, 05:32:44 AM
I wonder how it would work out if we got emoticons for each of those so that we could put the icons in our responses to arguments.

I like this idea.

I'm not sure this deserves it's own thread either, but it could be the foundation for a very solid "reference materials for serious discussions" sticky.

I like the sound of this, brb.

Jason Marshall
August 2 2012, 05:34:31 AM
I would pay to have a copy of this poster to be put up in every American Classroom (6th grade+).

MortyM
August 2 2012, 09:26:58 AM
I would like to make a point about the Argument from Authority fallacy - this does not apply when the authority you're referencing is actually an expert in the relevant field. Contrast between:
1. "He's a famous astrophysicist, so I trust his expert opinion on The Big Bang theory." - The big bang theory is part of his field of expertise, so his expert opinion can be considered relatively trustworthy
2. "He's a famous astrophysicist, so I trust his expert opinion on Climate Change." - Climate change is not an part of his field of expertise, so he cannot by definition have an expert opinion.

You miss the point. You should trust somebodies opinion because it is well argumented, not because he's a famous anything. If you are going to trust somebodies opinion based soley on his expertise then you are just admitting you are too lazy to investigate the argumentation yourself. While that might be somewhat ok for an internet discussion, for any substantive discussion it isn't.

Lallante
August 2 2012, 09:41:57 AM
I would like to make a point about the Argument from Authority fallacy - this does not apply when the authority you're referencing is actually an expert in the relevant field. Contrast between:
1. "He's a famous astrophysicist, so I trust his expert opinion on The Big Bang theory." - The big bang theory is part of his field of expertise, so his expert opinion can be considered relatively trustworthy
2. "He's a famous astrophysicist, so I trust his expert opinion on Climate Change." - Climate change is not an part of his field of expertise, so he cannot by definition have an expert opinion.

You miss the point. You should trust somebodies opinion because it is well argumented, not because he's a famous anything. If you are going to trust somebodies opinion based soley on his expertise then you are just admitting you are too lazy to investigate the argumentation yourself. While that might be somewhat ok for an internet discussion, for any substantive discussion it isn't.

Exactly. The fallacy is saying "X believes Y, X is an authority, therefore Y is true". Its not however a fallacy if X is a recognised expert in Y, has sufficiently supported their belief in Y, X is not biased and there is an adequate amount of agreement between X and other authorities on Y on the subject.

Me
August 2 2012, 10:56:20 AM
However, it is a useful tool for keeping potentially under qualified arguments at bay.

You broke one of them in your own post. The fallacy fallacy. Even if someone uses any of those it doesn't make them wrong or an "under-qualified argument".

Rudolf Miller
August 2 2012, 11:41:57 AM
However, it is a useful tool for keeping potentially under qualified arguments at bay.

You broke one of them in your own post. The fallacy fallacy. Even if someone uses any of those it doesn't make them wrong or an "under-qualified argument".

I think the fallacy fallacy more refers to an argument not being backed up with appropriate facts and figures, as in, it may be true, but he didn't provide enough data to conclusively make that argument (thus making the other side engage in the fallacy fallacy logical fallacy *brain breaks*) My reference was more in the direction of, identify when someone is using logical fallacies to make their point more valid than it is.

NoirAvlaa
August 2 2012, 11:50:23 AM
We should get some logical fallacy bingo on the go. Hit a full line, get banned from sub-forum until you've learnt your lesson.

Lallante
August 2 2012, 11:53:45 AM
However, it is a useful tool for keeping potentially under qualified arguments at bay.

You broke one of them in your own post. The fallacy fallacy. Even if someone uses any of those it doesn't make them wrong or an "under-qualified argument".

I think the fallacy fallacy more refers to an argument not being backed up with appropriate facts and figures, as in, it may be true, but he didn't provide enough data to conclusively make that argument (thus making the other side engage in the fallacy fallacy logical fallacy *brain breaks*) My reference was more in the direction of, identify when someone is using logical fallacies to make their point more valid than it is.

"That arguement is not sufficient (because, for example, it utilises fallacies) to prove its conclusion, therefore the conclusion is false" is the fallacy fallacy.

Lallante
August 2 2012, 12:01:50 PM
There are also several other fallacies often falliciously conflated with the fallacy fallacy (i.e. through the use of a fallacy fallacy fallacy):

The Phallusy Fallacy of course is to wrongly explain a non-sexual act with sexual reasoning or language. Freud fucked this one pretty hard in the ass.

The Malusy Fallacy is the incorrect use of "Malus" to describe a negative bonus in the English Language. Malus is the latin word for bad, i.e. the opposite of the latin, Bonus meaning good, but has not been adopted into English.

The Lassie Fallacy describes the people concluding, falsely, that dogs can follow complex sequential instructions and then communicate back their findings to their owners through the use of pitch in their barks. "Little Jimmy is trapped down the old well, and has broken his left, no, right foot and has only 2.25 days worth of water left? GOOD WORK BOY!"

The Lassi Fallacy, conversely, is the arguement that drinking a Mango Lassi is sensible at an indian restaurant. It will give you the shits, EVERY TIME.

Finally the Dalasi Phallusy was a Gambian tribe whose elders operated an order of precedence solely based on penis length.


Hope this clears everything up.

Hel OWeen
August 2 2012, 02:32:57 PM
Here's another site listing rhetological fallacies: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/rhetological-fallacies/. It's easier to use, IMHO, because it also gives a short example for each case.

Frug
August 2 2012, 02:33:01 PM
A point about slippery slope:
It's only a fallacy if Z does not logically follow from A.
eg: "If I shoot myself in the head, I will die. Me dying is bad. Therefore I shouldn't shoot myself in the head." is not a fallacy.
"If I eat this sandwich, bananas will fall from the sky and cover the earth. Civilization will be ended due to banana flooding, which is bad. Therefore, I shouldn't eat this sandwich." is a fallacy, because the effect of falling bananas does not follow from the cause of me eating a sandwich.. It's also very silly.

... Neither of your examples are the slippery slope fallacy. I thought that one was easy to understand because people use it all the time. If we make gay marriage legal, we'll end up making it legal to marry a dog. If we make pot legal, we'll end up making all drugs legal. It's when the asserted consequences are an extension of the cause. Any old illogical conclusion isn't a slippery slope, though.

I got more plus reps on my suggestion here for the icons than anything I posted in this fourm but I'm weary that the icons will get wrongly applied if they're not clarified.

definatelynotKKassandra
August 2 2012, 03:06:29 PM
The main thing people on the internet could learn from this is what an ad hominem is, and more importantly what it is not.

You are a retard, therefore your argument is false - fallacy
Your argument is wrong, therefore you are a retard - not a fallacy.

F*** My Aunt Rita
August 2 2012, 04:37:58 PM
http://publiusonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/LogicalFallaciesInfographic_A3.png

http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/poster

I admit in advance that I am not sure if thread-worthy. However, it is a useful tool for keeping potentially under qualified arguments at bay.

I commend your desire for rational discussion, slapping up a list of informal fallacies with very brief descriptions is frankly shit. It looks and smells like an intro phil. student project. Good reasoning is just a bit more complicated and may require more than just linking a jpeg.

Frug
August 2 2012, 04:47:24 PM
The main thing people on the internet could learn from this is what an ad hominem is, and more importantly what it is not.

You are a retard, therefore your argument is false - fallacy
Your argument is wrong, therefore you are a retard - not a fallacy.

So very much this.

Lallante
August 2 2012, 06:04:31 PM
The main thing people on the internet could learn from this is what an ad hominem is, and more importantly what it is not.

You are a retard, therefore your argument is false - fallacy
Your argument is wrong, therefore you are a retard - not a fallacy.

Also just saying "You are a retard" is not an ad hom - insults aren't.

SAI Peregrinus
August 2 2012, 09:45:37 PM
http://publiusonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/LogicalFallaciesInfographic_A3.png

http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/poster

I admit in advance that I am not sure if thread-worthy. However, it is a useful tool for keeping potentially under qualified arguments at bay.

I commend your desire for rational discussion, slapping up a list of informal fallacies with very brief descriptions is frankly shit. It looks and smells like an intro phil. student project. Good reasoning is just a bit more complicated and may require more than just linking a jpeg.

It's a list of the most common fallacies, not an introduction to formal logic.
Here's a reasonable and free introduction to formal logic (http://people.uvawise.edu/philosophy/Logic%20Text/Contents.htm).
It has some brief bits on informal logic as well.

Frug
August 2 2012, 09:57:56 PM
can we give out prizes/penalties for people who try to point out these fallacies without understanding what they're saying?

The irony of me getting a bunch of +reps for an idea I am quickly thinking is terrible is not lost on me. People really are just going to start trying to be clever by claiming these fallacies are all over.

F*** My Aunt Rita
August 2 2012, 10:12:04 PM
It's a list of the most common fallacies, not an introduction to formal logic.
Here's a reasonable and free introduction to formal logic (http://people.uvawise.edu/philosophy/Logic%20Text/Contents.htm).
It has some brief bits on informal logic as well.

Why would link to something mostly about formal logic when this is about informal logic? Further, listing fallacies has no utility as we can see from this thread so far.

http://placetworld.com/saikrishna/Books/Aptitude/Attacking%20Faulty%20Reasoning.pdf

Way better for learning how to work with informal fallacies. The structural bits are fucking wonky but infinitely better than trying to use formal logic.

dpidcoe
August 3 2012, 04:17:07 AM
It should also be pointed out that using fallacies and not getting caught out on it is pretty pro, and a great way to sway your audience if you think you can pull one over on them.

Reed Tiburon
August 3 2012, 04:25:58 AM
can we give out prizes/penalties for people who try to point out these fallacies without understanding what they're saying?

The irony of me getting a bunch of +reps for an idea I am quickly thinking is terrible is not lost on me. People really are just going to start trying to be clever by claiming these fallacies are all over.

Fucking this, I can already sense the retardation on the horizon.

Lallante
August 3 2012, 11:47:36 AM
can we give out prizes/penalties for people who try to point out these fallacies without understanding what they're saying?

The irony of me getting a bunch of +reps for an idea I am quickly thinking is terrible is not lost on me. People really are just going to start trying to be clever by claiming these fallacies are all over.

Fucking this, I can already sense the retardation on the horizon.

Retardation fallacy

Roam
August 3 2012, 12:14:26 PM
can we give out prizes/penalties for people who try to point out these fallacies without understanding what they're saying?

The irony of me getting a bunch of +reps for an idea I am quickly thinking is terrible is not lost on me. People really are just going to start trying to be clever by claiming these fallacies are all over.

Fucking this, I can already sense the retardation on the horizon.

Retardation fallacy

I am coining the Lallante Fallacy: Where you post provocatively, using lots of hyperbole to incense your opponents, who then make inevitable angry posts which are much easier to break apart than a logical, calm response would have been.

..I'm also really hoping to get my own roam fallacy someday.

Zeekar
August 5 2012, 09:50:13 PM
Just call people emotional. Almost always works.

kzig
August 6 2012, 09:29:08 AM
http://publiusonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/LogicalFallaciesInfographic_A3.png

http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/poster

I admit in advance that I am not sure if thread-worthy. However, it is a useful tool for keeping potentially under qualified arguments at bay.

I commend your desire for rational discussion, slapping up a list of informal fallacies with very brief descriptions is frankly shit. It looks and smells like an intro phil. student project. Good reasoning is just a bit more complicated and may require more than just linking a jpeg.

It's at roughly the right sort of level for the majority of internet discussions, I'd suggest, and I reckon it'll do more good than harm. I take issue with the Gambler's Fallacy definition, though. Streaks do occur; the fallacy is believing that your current one is going to continue.

kzig
August 6 2012, 09:49:18 AM
It's a list of the most common fallacies, not an introduction to formal logic.
Here's a reasonable and free introduction to formal logic (http://people.uvawise.edu/philosophy/Logic%20Text/Contents.htm).
It has some brief bits on informal logic as well.

Why would link to something mostly about formal logic when this is about informal logic? Further, listing fallacies has no utility as we can see from this thread so far.

http://placetworld.com/saikrishna/Books/Aptitude/Attacking%20Faulty%20Reasoning.pdf

Way better for learning how to work with informal fallacies. The structural bits are fucking wonky but infinitely better than trying to use formal logic.

Thanks for the link. I think we'd be doing very well just to get people to agree to follow the ground rules, particularly the first two:


A CODE OF INTELLECTUAL CONDUCT FOR EFFECTIVE DISCUSSION

1. The Fallibility Principle
Each participant in a discussion of a disputed issue should be willing to accept the fact that he or she is fallible, which means that one must acknowledge that oneís own initial view may not be the most defensible position on the question.

2. The Truth-Seeking Principle
Each participant should be committed to the task of earnestly searching for the truth or at least the most defensible position on the issue at stake. Therefore, one should be willing to examine alternative positions seriously, look for insights in the positions of others, and allow other participants to present arguments for or raise objections to any position held on an issue.

3. The Clarity Principle
The formulations of all positions, defenses, and attacks should be free of any kind of linguistic confusion and clearly separated from other positions and issues.

4. The Burden-of-Proof Principle
The burden of proof for any position usually rests on the participant who sets forth the position. If and when an opponent asks, the proponent should provide an argument for that position.

5. The Principle of Charity
If a participantís argument is reformulated by an opponent, it should be carefully expressed in its strongest possible version that is consistent with what is believed to be the original intention of the arguer. If there is any question about that intention or about any implicit part of the argument, the arguer should be given the benefit of any doubt in the reformulation and/or, when possible, given the opportunity to amend it.

6. The Structural Principle
One who argues for or against a position should use an argument that meets the fundamental structural requirements of a well-formed argument. Such an argument does not use reasons that contradict each other, that contradict the conclusion, or that explicitly or implicitly assume the truth of the conclusion. Neither does it draw any invalid deductive inferences.

7. The Relevance Principle
One who presents an argument for or against a position should set forth only reasons whose truth provides some evidence for the truth of the conclusion.

8. The Acceptability Principle
One who presents an argument for or against a position should provide reasons that are likely to be accepted by a mature, rational person and that meet standard criteria of acceptability.

9. The Sufficiency Principle
One who presents an argument for or against a position should attempt to provide relevant and acceptable reasons of the right kind, that together are sufficient in number and weight to justify the acceptance of the conclusion.

10. The Rebuttal Principle
One who presents an argument for or against a position should include in the argument an effective rebuttal to all anticipated serious criticisms of the argument that may be brought against it or against the position it supports.

11. The Suspension-of-Judgment Principle
If no position is defended by a good argument, or if two or more positions seem to be defended with equal strength, one should, in most cases, suspend judgement about the issue. If practical considerations seem to require a more immediate decision, one should weigh the relative benefits or harm connected with the consequences of suspending judgment and decide the issue on those grounds.

12. The Resolution Principle
An issue should be considered resolved if the argument for one of the alternative positions is a structurally sound one that uses relevant and acceptable reasons that together provide sufficient grounds to justify the conclusion and that also includes an effective rebuttal to all serious criticisms of the argument and/or the position it supports. Unless one can demonstrate that the argument has not met these conditions more successfully than any argument presented for alternative positions, one is obligated to accept its conclusion and consider the issue to be settled. If the argument is subsequently found by any participant to be flawed in a way that raises new doubts about the merit of the position it supports, one is obligated to reopen the issue for further consideration and resolution.

The first three of these principles are commonly regarded as standard principles
of intellectual inquiry. They are almost universally understood as underlying our
participation in serious discussion.

SAI Peregrinus
August 8 2012, 11:52:40 AM
http://onebit.us/x/i/FLiEuJ91wO.jpg

Reasonable flowchart.

As for why I posted the intro to formal logic here where we are discussing informal logic, two reasons:
First, it has a reasonable introduction to informal logic in the first chapter. Second, this thread has been proposed as a general resource for information that promotes a good "serious business" discussion style. Since some of us do use formal logic in our arguments it's probably best to have an introduction to it available.