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8 logical fallacies that are hard to spot

Fallacies

A fallacy is the use of faulty reasoning in an argument.

There are formal and informal fallacies:

  • A formal fallacy describes a flaw in the construction of a deductive argument.
  • An informal fallacy describes an error in reasoning.

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8 logical fallacies that are hard to spot

8 logical fallacies that are hard to spot

https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/logical-fallacies

bigthink.com

9

Key Ideas

Appeal to privacy

In this fallacy, someone behaves in a way that negatively affects others but then gets upset when others criticize their behavior. They will reply with a "mind your own business."
For instance, someone who doesn't see a reason to bathe, but then boards a full 10-hour flight.

Sunk cost fallacy

It happens when someone continues in a course of action, even if evidence shows that it's a mistake.

Common phrase: "We've always done it this way, so we'll keep doing it this way." "I've already invested so much..."

​If-by-whiskey

If-by-whiskey is a fallacy named after a speech given in 1952 by Noah S. Sweat Jr. It is used to conceal a lack of a position or to dodge a tough question. 

If, by whiskey, you mean the brew that causes so many problems, then I'm against it. But if whiskey means the oil of conversation, the philosopher's wine, then I am certainly for it.

​Slippery slope

This fallacy involves arguing against a position because you think the ideas would start a chain reaction of bad things, even though you don't have evidence to support your claim.

Common phrase: "If we do that, then what's next?"

​"There is no alternative"

This fallacy argues for a specific position because there are no other realistic alternatives.
Common phrase: "What else are we going to do?"

Ad hoc arguments

This is a common fallacious rhetorical strategy that is difficult to spot.

It occurs when someone's claim is threatened with counter-evidence. They then come up with a rationale to dismiss the counter-evidence in the hope to protect their original claim.

Snow job

In this fallacy, when someone doesn't have a strong argument, they will sprout irrelevant facts, numbers, anecdotes and other information to confuse the issue.

McNamara fallacy

This fallacy occurs when decisions are made based on observations or quantitative criteria while ignoring other factors.
Common phrase: "You can't measure that, so it's not important."

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  1. Our assumptions based on what we...
Correlation And Causation

If two incidents or things happen at around the same time does not mean that one thing is the result of the other. Often many things occur at the same time yet are completely unrelated.

A correlation of data, like:

1) Increase in social media usage, and

2) Increase in anxiety and depression

does not mean that one set of data is caused by the other.

The Slippery Slope

The Slippery Slope fallacy is a mistaken belief that one relatively mild unaddressed problem or allowance will automatically lead to other negative consequences.

The mind races on to the next negative consequence like a downward spiral, creating fear and anxiety.

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Convince Them With Confidence
  • Speak confidently, be concise, and try not to repeat yourself. 
  • Give the appearance that you truly know what’s right from the beginning, even if you don’t have all o...
Avoid Common Argument Fallacies

Winning an argument often comes down to who can go the longest without contradicting themselves and keeping sound logic, not direct persuasion of the other party.

Anecdotal Fallacy

Using a single personal experience as the foundation of your argument or your big piece of evidence. 

For example, your phone may have broken right after you bought it, but you can’t use that to argue that those phones are not worth the purchase for others.

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Basic structure of an argument from incredulity

Premise 1: I can’t explain or imagine how proposition X can be true.

Premise 2: if a certain proposition is true, then I must be able to explain or imagine how that can be.

It’s ok to be incredulous

... and to bring this up as part of an argument. The issue with doing so occurs when this incredulity isn’t justified or supported by concrete information, and when this lack of belief is used in order to assume that a preferred personal explanation must be the right one, despite the lack of proof.

At the same time, it’s also important to remember that it’s possible that the person using the argument from incredulity is right, despite the fact that their reasoning is flawed.

Counter the argument from incredulity
  1. Explain why this sort of reasoning is fallacious: namely the fact that your opponent’s inability to explain a certain phenomenon or to understand a certain theory, does not invalidate current explanations for it.
  2. Shift the burden of proof back to your opponent: ask them to support their initial assertion, and explain why they are incredulous, and why they think that this validates their position.
  3. If possible, you should show that there is scientific evidence that can be used in order to explain the phenomenon that’s being discussed. 

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