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Logical Fallacies: Begging the Question

Begging the question

Begging the question

Begging the question is an example of a fallacy of presumption, also known as a circular argument: The conclusion appears at the beginning and the end of the argument. A is true because A is true.

A valid argument in support of a claim will offer evidence or reasons independent of the claim.

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Logical Fallacies: Begging the Question

Logical Fallacies: Begging the Question

https://www.thoughtco.com/begging-the-question-petitio-principii-250337

thoughtco.com

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Key Ideas

Begging the question

Begging the question is an example of a fallacy of presumption, also known as a circular argument: The conclusion appears at the beginning and the end of the argument. A is true because A is true.

A valid argument in support of a claim will offer evidence or reasons independent of the claim.

Begging the question example

"The law says you should drive on the right side of the road, and the law is the law."

When someone is questioning this statement, they are questioning the law. If we say, "because that is the law," we are begging the question. We are assuming the validity of what the other person is questioning.

Structure of circular reasoning

The most simple form of begging the question: A is true because A is true.

Circular reasoning can also be a bit longer:

  • A is true because B is true, and B is true because A is true.
  • A is true because B is true, and B is true because C is true. C is correct because A is true.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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 ar...
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..."

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The argument from incredulity

Is a logical fallacy where someone concludes that since they can’t believe that a certain concept is true, then it must be false and vice versa.

Its 2 basic forms:

I c...

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.

Conclusions: proposition X is false.

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.

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Jumping into Conclusions
Jumping to conclusions is a common phenomenon, where people prematurely decide and finalize something, without having sufficient information or choosing not to consider it.
Jumping into Conclusions: Examples
  • Inference-observation confusion: An assumption made that may or may not be correct. Example: Concluding that a guy is rich, based on the car he drives.
  • Fortune-Telling: Assumption of knowing exactly what will happen in the future.
  • Mind Reading: Assuming based on how to have read someone's mind and concluded something which may not be true.
  • Extreme Extrapolation: Finding a minor clue and making something major out of it.
  • Overgeneralization: Copy-pasting a piece of knowledge over something that you think is related, but is not.
  • Labeling: Stereotyping a set of people based on their likes and dislikes.
Why We Jump to Conclusions

The reason people jump to conclusions is the fact that they find it easy.

Fact-checking and 100 percent accuracy on everything they see or observe consume way too much time for a normal person.

Taking mental shortcuts is the path most people choose to jump to conclusions.

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The causation fallacies: oversimplification and exaggeration
The causation fallacies: oversimplification and exaggeration

The causation fallacies, known as oversimplification and exaggeration, occurs when a series of real causes for an event is either reduced or overstated to the extent that i...

The fallacy of Oversimplification

In the real world, events typically have multiple intersecting causes that work together to cause the events we see.

However, the complexities are often difficult to grasp and even harder to change, resulting in simplification. While the causes we cite may be true, it seldom is the sole or primary cause.

The fallacy of Exaggeration

An exaggeration fallacy is committed when irrelevant causal influences are added to the argument.

For example, "My client killed Joe Smith, but the cause for his violent behaviour was eating junk food which impaired his judgment." There is no clear link between junk food and violent behaviour, and the real causes end up being hidden behind irrelevant pseudo-causes.

The Appeal to Force
The Appeal to Force

This fallacy occurs when a person makes a threat of physical or psychological violence against others if they refuse to accept the conclusions offered. It can also happen when a person clai...

An Examples of the Appeal to Force

Adults use the fallacy more subtly.

"If you don't support the spending bill to develop better airplanes, our enemies will think we are weak and will attack us at some point, killing millions." The person offering this argument is using psychological pressure to get agreement. There is no apparent connection between "our enemies" and the conclusion that it will be in the country's best interest.

Stoicism and life's adversities
Stoicism and life's adversities

Stoicism is generally understood to be detached and non-reactive towards any of life’s adversities.

In the words of the philosopher William Irvine, the ultimate goal of Sto...

Negative visualization

It is a stoic practice in which one deliberately imagines how things could be really bad, much worse than they are now. It is a visualization of one’s biggest fears. It is a kind of psychological trick that lowers your expectations and makes reality look better.

According to the Roman philosopher Seneca, apart from embracing the negative emotions, one needs to maximize the positive outlook and learn how to feel real joy.

Seneca
Seneca

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient,for he that is so wants nothing."

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Hypostatization
Hypostatization

Hypostatization is also known as Concretism, or Reification and is a fallacy of ambiguity, where an abstract belief is treated as if it’s real and concrete.

It involves giv...

Personifying The Abstract

The Hypostatization Fallacy can be explained by studying the following statement: “The government has a hand in everybody's business and another in every person's pocket. By limiting such governmental pickpocketing, we can limit its incursions on our freedom.”

This assumes that the government is a person, having desires like humans, and can ‘loot’ us like a robber. The fact that is ignored is that the Government is not an entity by itself, but a collection of people. The metaphor of ‘pickpocketing’ also conjures a visual image of a pickpocket, evoking an emotional reaction.

When Metaphors Become Fallacies

Metaphors can become fallacies as they are taken too far, used too often, or understood mistakenly in the literal sense.

How we describe anything is very powerful as words and language can create lasting impressions in our minds. Language creates a smokescreen that interferes with our impression of reality.

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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False equivalence

It is a logical fallacy and it occurs when someone incorrectly asserts that two or more things are equal because they share some characteristics, regardless of the notable differences...

The problem with false equivalence
  • The equivalence exaggerates the degree of similarity. I.e, stating that two people share a specific personality trait, but ignoring that they differ in other aspects of this trait.
  • The equivalence exaggerates the importance of the similarity. I.e, focusing on a personality trait that two people share while ignoring that many other people also share this trait.
  • The equivalence ignores important differences.
  • The equivalence ignores differences in orders of magnitude. 
Responding to a false equivalence
  • Show that the similarities between the things being equated are exaggerated, overemphasized, or oversimplified.
  • Highlight the differences between the things being equated. 
  • Explain why these differences are more significant than related similarities.
  • Provide counterexamples.
  • Ask your opponent to justify why they believe that their equivalence is valid, and then demonstrate the issues with the reasoning they provide.

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Reasons for constructing a good argument

How should we evaluate arguments that people make to persuade us? And how should we construct our own arguments to be the most effective?

At its core, an argument consists of a conclus...

Structure of a well-formed argument

It does not use reasons that contradict each other, contradict the conclusion or explicitly or implicitly assumes the truth of the conclusion. Checklist:

  • Does the communication include at least one reason to support the conclusion as being true? If not, it is not an argument, but an opinion.
  • Could any of the key premises be interpreted as making the same claim as the conclusion? If so, then it’s a “circular argument” without independent reason given to support the conclusion.
  • Do any of the premises contradict another premise, or does the conclusion contradict any of the premises?
The relevance of a premise

A premise is relevant if it provides some bearing on the truth of the conclusion. Checklist:

  • If the premise were true, does it make you more likely to believe that the conclusion is true? If yes, the premise is probably relevant.
  • Even if the premise were true, should it be a consideration for accepting the truth of the conclusion? If no, then the premise is probably not relevant.

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