Contact Form * Contact Form Container */ .contact-form-widget { width: 500px; max-width: 100%; marg


Email *

Message *

Spotting the fallacies and biases in arguments

Conceptions of fallacies are that they are false but popular beliefs and that they are deceptively bad arguments. Formal fallacies are those readily seen to be instances of identifiable invalid logical forms such as undistributed middle and denying the antecedent.

The fallacy of amphiboly is, like the fallacy of equivocation, (I might and I might not) a fallacy of ambiguity (could mean this or tat), but here the ambiguity is due to indeterminate syntactic structure. In the argument:
The police were told to stop drinking on campus after midnight.
So, now they are able to respond to emergencies much better than before.
There are several interpretations that can be given to the premise because it is grammatically ambiguous. On one reading it can be taken to mean that it is the police who have been drinking and are now to stop it; this makes for a plausible argument. On another reading what was meant is that the police were told to stop others (e.g., students) from drinking after midnight. If that is the sense in which the premise is intended, then the argument can be said to be a fallacy because despite initial appearances, it affords no support for the conclusion

The fallacy of begging the question (petitio principii) can occur in a number of ways. One of them is when the proposition one is trying to establish is unwittingly assumed. For example:
God has all the virtues. (this is an example of unwittingly assumed)
One of the virtues is benevolence.
So, God is benevolent.
The analysis of this fallacy is that the general premise could not be known to be true unless the conclusion was known to be true; so, in making the argument the conclusion is assumed true from the beginning, or in an older mode of expression, the arguer has committed the fallacy of begging the question

Post hoc ergo propter hoc (Latin: "after this, therefore, because of this") is a logical fallacy that states "Since event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X." It is often shortened simply to post hoc fallacy.
A logical fallacy of the questionable cause variety, it is subtly different from the fallacy cum hoc ergo propter hoc("with this, therefore because of this"), in which two events occur simultaneously or the chronological ordering is insignificant or unknown.
Post hoc is a particularly tempting error because temporal sequence appears to suggest causality. The fallacy lies in a conclusion based solely on the order of events, rather than taking into account other factors potentially responsible for the result that might rule out the connection.
A simple example:
The rooster crows immediately before sunrise; therefore the rooster causes the sun to rise

The ad verecundiam fallacy concerns appeals to authority or expertise. Fundamentally, the fallacy involves accepting as evidence for a proposition the pronouncement of someone who is taken to be an authority but is not really an authority. This can happen when non-experts parade as experts in fields in which they have no special competence—when, for example, celebrities endorse commercial products or social movements. Similarly, when there is controversy, and authorities are divided, it is an error to base one’s view on the authority of just some of them

The fallacy ad populum is similar to the ad verecundiam, the difference being that the source appealed to is popular opinion, or common knowledge, rather than a specified authority. So, for example:
These days everyone (except you) has a car and knows how to drive;
So, you too should have a car and know how to drive.
Often in arguments like this the premises aren’t true, but even if they are generally true they may provide only scant support for their conclusions because that something is widely practised or believed is not compelling evidence that it is true or that it should be done. There are few subjects on which the general public can be said to hold authoritative opinions. Another version of the ad populum fallacy is known as “playing to the gallery” in which a speaker seeks acceptance for his view by arousing relevant prejudices and emotions in his audience in lieu of presenting it with good evidence.

2. The fallacy ad misericordiam is a companion to the ad baculum fallacy: it occurs not when threats are out of place but when appeals for sympathy or pity are mistakenly thought to be evidence. To what extent our sympathy for others should influence our actions depends on many factors, including circumstances and our ethical views. However, sympathy alone is generally not evidence for believing any proposition. Hence,
You should believe that he is not guilty of embezzling those paintings; think of how much his family suffered during the Depression.
Ad misericordiam arguments, like ad baculum arguments, have their natural home in practical reasoning; it is when they are used in theoretical argumentation that the possibility of fallacy is more likely.

ad hominem fallacy involves bringing negative aspects of an arguer, or their situation, to bear on the view they are advancing. There are three commonly recognized versions of the fallacy. The abusive ad hominem fallacy involves saying that someone’s view should not be accepted because they have some unfavorable property.
Thompson’s proposal for the wetlands may safely be rejected because last year she was arrested for hunting without a license. (the person is being attacked)

The third version of the ad hominem fallacy is the tu quoque. It involves not accepting a view or a recommendation because the espouser him- or herself does not follow it. Thus, if our neighbor advises us to exercise regularly and we reject her advice on the basis that she does not exercise regularly, we will commit the tu quoque fallacy: the value of advice is not wholly dependent on the integrity of the advisor.

Fallacy of faulty analogy if a nation gets new weapons, it will want to use them.

The fallacy of the slippery slope generally takes the form that from a given starting point one can by a series of incremental inferences arrive at an undesirable conclusion, and because of this unwanted result, the initial starting point should be rejected. The kinds of inferences involved in the step-by-step argument can be causal, as in:
You have decided not to go to college;
If you don’t go to college, you won’t get a degree;
If you don’t get a degree, you won’t get a good job;
If you don’t get a good job, you won’t be able to enjoy life;
But you should be able to enjoy life;
So, you should go to college.

 'He is in a heap of trouble, he really is.'
Because the word  ‘heap’ is vague, it is unclear at what point piling scattered stones together makes them a heap of stones: if it is not a heap to begin with, adding one more stone will not make it a heap, etc. In both these cases apparently good reasoning leads to a false conclusion.

When it is a fallacy it is either on the ground that authorities (experts) are fallible or for the reason that appealing to authority is an abandonment of an individual’s epistemic (knowledge)  responsibility.  

It is  a fallacy to infer a proposition to be true because there is no evidence against it

Fallacies of authority in political debate

T he function of arguments is epistemic, relating to knowledge or to the degree of its validation) .and therefore that anything that will count as a fallacy must be an epistemic fault, a breaking of a rule of epistemic justification. But since logical faults are also epistemic faults, the epistemic approach to fallacies will include logical fallacies, although these must also be explicable in terms of epistemic seriousness.

Recently there has been renewed interest in how biases are related to fallacies. Correia (2011) has taken Mill’s insight that biases are predisposing causes of fallacies a step further by connecting identifiable biases with particular fallacies. Biases can influence the unintentional committing of fallacies even where there is no intent to be deceptive, he observes. Taking biases to be “systematic errors that invariably distort the subject’s reasoning and judgment,” the picture drawn is that particular biases are activated by desires and emotions (motivated reasoning) and once they are in play, they negatively affect the fair evaluation of evidence. Thus, for example, the “focussing illusion” bias inclines a person to focus on just a part of the evidence available, ignoring or denying evidence that might lead in another direction. Correia (2011, 118) links this bias to the fallacies of hasty generalization and straw man, suggesting that it is our desire to be right that activates the bias to focus more on positive or negative evidence, as the case may be. Other biases he links to other fallacies.
. Thagard’s argument depends on his distinction between argument and inference. Arguments, and fallacies, he takes to be serial and linguistic, but inferences are brain activities and are characterized as parallel and multi-modal.  You By “parallel” is meant that the brain carries out different processes simultaneously, and by “multi-modal” that the brain uses non-linguistic and emotional, as well as linguistic representations in inferring. Biases (inferential error tendencies) can unconsciously affect inferring. “Motivated inference,” for example, “involves selective recruitment and assessment of evidence based on unconscious processes that are driven by emotional considerations of goals rather than purely cognitive reasoning” (2011, 156). Thagard volunteers a list of more than 50 of these inferential error tendencies. Because motivated inferences result from unconscious mental processes rather than explicit reasoning, the errors in inferences cannot be exposed simply by identifying a fallacy in a reconstructed argument. Dealing with biases requires identification of both conscious and unconscious goals of arguers, goals that can figure in explanations of why they incline to particular biases. “Overcoming people’s motivated inferences,” Thagard concludes, “is therefore more akin to psychotherapy than informal logic” (157), and the importance of fallacies is accordingly marginalized

No comments: