Fallacies and Argument Appraisal presents an introduction to the nature, identification, and causes of fallacious reasoning, along with key questions for evaluation. Drawing from the latest work on fallacies as well as some of the standard ideas that have remained relevant since Aristotle, Christopher Tindale investigates central cases of major fallacies in order to understand what has gone wrong and how this has occurred. Dispensing with the approach that simply assigns labels and brief descriptions of fallacies, (...) Tindale provides fuller treatments that recognize the dialectical and rhetorical contexts in which fallacies arise. This volume analyzes major fallacies through accessible, everyday examples. Critical questions are developed for each fallacy to help the student identify them and provide considered evaluations. (shrink)
Contemporary discourse is littered with nasty and derailed disagreements. In this paper we hope to help clean things up. We diagnose two patterns of thought that often plague and exacerbate controversy. We illustrate these patterns and show that each involves both a logical mistake and a failure of intellectual charity. We also draw upon recent work in social psychology to shed light on why we tend to fall into these patterns of thought. We conclude by suggesting how the intellectual virtues (...) can militate against these fallacies, focusing on the virtues of charity and humility. (shrink)
In the pragma-dialectical approach, fallacies are considered incorrect moves in a discussion for which the goal is successful resolution of a dispute. Ten rules are given for effective conduct at the various stages of such a critical discussion (confrontation, opening, argumentation, concluding). Fallacies are discussed as violations of these rules, taking into account all speech acts which are traditionally recognized as fallacies. Special attention is paid to the role played by implicitness in fallacies in everyday language (...) use. It is stressed that identifying and acknowledging fallacies in ordinary discussions always has a conditional character. Differences between the pragma-dialectical perspective, the Standard Treatment, and the formal logic approach to fallacy analysis are discussed. (shrink)
An ad hominem fallacy is committed when an individual employs an irrelevant personal attack against an opponent instead of addressing that opponent’s argument. Many discussions of such fallacies discuss judgments of relevance about such personal attacks, and consider how we might distinguish those that are relevant from those that are not. This paper will argue that the literature on bias and testimony can helpfully contribute to that analysis. This will highlight ways in which biases, particularly unconscious biases, can make (...) ad hominem fallacies seem effective, even when the irrelevance is recognized. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: This paper discusses the Stoic treatment of fallacies that are based on lexical ambiguities. It provides a detailed analysis of the relevant passages, lays bare textual and interpretative difficulties, explores what the Stoic view on the matter implies for their theory of language, and compares their view with Aristotle’s. In the paper I aim to show that, for the Stoics, fallacies of ambiguity are complexes of propositions and sentences and thus straddle the realms of meaning (which is (...) the domain of logic) and of linguistic expressions (which is the domain of linguistics), but also involve a pragmatic element; that the Stoics believe that the premises of the fallacies, when uttered, have only one meaning and are true, and thus should be conceded; that hence there is no need for a mental process of disambiguation in the listeners; that Aristotle, by contrast, appears to assume that the premises always have all their meanings, and accordingly recommends that the listeners explicitly disambiguate them, which presupposes a process of mental disambiguation. I proffer two readings of the Stoic advice that we ‘be silent’ when confronted with a fallacy of ambiguity in dialectical discourse, and explicate how each leads to an overall consistent interpretation of the textual evidence. Finally, I demonstrate that the method advocated by the Stoics works in all cases of fallacies of lexical ambiguity. (shrink)
We have witnessed the athleticization of political discourse, whereby debate is treated like an athletic contest in which the aim is to vanquish one's opponents. When political discourse becomes a zero-sum game, it is characterized by suspicions, accusations, belief polarization, and ideological entrenchment. Unfortunately, athleticization is ailing the classroom as well, making it difficult for educators to prepare students to make valuable contributions to healthy civic discourse. Such preparation requires an educational environment that fosters the intellectual virtues that characterize an (...) examined life. This, in turn, requires an amicable and hospitable atmosphere in which a student enjoys the freedom to discover and articulate what she believes, how well her beliefs hang together, and what underlying assumptions or biases might be at work—without the fear that her self-disclosure will trigger immediate accusations and pigeonholing from fellow students. Educating for intellectual virtue is crucial for meeting these challenges and in this chapter we contribute to this strategy by offering some tools and guidance for promoting productive discussion of controversial issues. In the first two sections, we identify and explain two fallacious patterns of thought that often encumber discussion of controversial issues: assailment-by-entailment and the attitude-to-agent fallacy. In effect, these sections diagnose two diseases of discourse. We conclude each section with practical suggestions—in the form of thinking routines—for curing these ills. We will argue that part of the cure is to be found in the intellectual virtues. In particular, we will discuss how the virtues of intellectual charity, humility and carefulness can inoculate the mind against the fallacies we identify. (shrink)
The paper argues that the two best known formal logical fallacies, namely denying the antecedent (DA) and affirming the consequent (AC) are not just basic and simple errors, which prove human irrationality, but rather informational shortcuts, which may provide a quick and dirty way of extracting useful information from the environment. DA and AC are shown to be degraded versions of Bayes’ theorem, once this is stripped of some of its probabilities. The less the probabilities count, the closer these (...)fallacies become to a reasoning that is not only informationally useful but also logically valid. (shrink)
In the last decade Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) has started to focus attention on forms of persuasive interaction where computer technologies have the goal of changing users behavior and attitudes according to a predefined direction. In this work, we hypothesize a strong connection between logical fallacies (forms of reasoning which are logically invalid but cognitively effective) and some common persuasion strategies adopted within web technologies. With the aim of empirically evaluating our hypothesis, we carried out a pilot study on a (...) sample of 150 e-commerce websites. (shrink)
The public must make assessments of a range of health-related issues. However, these assessments require scientific know-ledge which is often lacking or ineffectively utilized by the public. Lay people must use whatever cognitive resources are at their disposal to come to judgement on these issues. It will be contended that a group of arguments—so-called informal fallacies—are a valuable cognitive resource in this regard. These arguments serve as cognitive heuristics which facilitate reasoning when knowledge is limited or beyond the grasp (...) of reasoners. The results of an investigation into the use of these arguments by the public are reported. (shrink)
Five errors that fit under the category of jumping to a conclusion are identified: (1) arguing from premises that are insufficient as evidence to prove a conclusion (2) fallacious argument from ignorance, (3) arguing to a wrong conclusion, (4) using defeasible reasoning without being open to exceptions, and (5) overlooking/suppressing evidence. It is shown that jumping to a conclusion is best seen not as a fallacy itself, but as a more general category of faulty argumentation pattern underlying these errors and (...) some related fallacies. (shrink)
Fallacies are things people commit, and when they commit them they do something wrong. What kind of activities are people engaged in when they commit fallacies, and in what way are they doing something wrong? Many different things are called fallacies. The diversity of the use of the concept of a fallacy suggests that we are dealing with a family of cases not related by a common essence. However, we suggest a simple account of the nature of (...)fallacies which encompasses them all, viz., the term “fallacy” is our most general term for criticizing any general procedure used for the fixation of beliefs that has an unacceptably high tendency to generate false or unfounded beliefs, relative to that method of fixing beliefs. Very different sorts of things called fallacies are examined in the light of this account, e.g., denying the antecedent, circular arguments, so-called informal fallacies, and propositions said to be fallacies. We do not provide a theory of fallacies. Still, on our account pretty much all of those things that have been called fallacies are fallacies, and they have been called fallacies for pretty much the same reasons. (shrink)
This paper considers non-standard analysis and a recently introduced computational methodology based on the notion of ①. The latter approach was developed with the intention to allow one to work with infinities and infinitesimals numerically in a unique computational framework and in all the situations requiring these notions. Non-standard analysis is a classical purely symbolic technique that works with ultrafilters, external and internal sets, standard and non-standard numbers, etc. In its turn, the ①-based methodology does not use any of these (...) notions and proposes a more physical treatment of mathematical objects separating the objects from tools used to study them. It both offers a possibility to create new numerical methods using infinities and infinitesimals in floating-point computations and allows one to study certain mathematical objects dealing with infinity more accurately than it is done traditionally. In these notes, we explain that even though both methodologies deal with infinities and infinitesimals, they are independent and represent two different philosophies of Mathematics that are not in a conflict. It is proved that texts :539–555, 2017; Gutman and Kutateladze in Sib Math J 49:835–841, 2008; Kutateladze in J Appl Ind Math 5:73–75, 2011) asserting that the ①-based methodology is a part of non-standard analysis unfortunately contain several logical fallacies. Their attempt to show that the ①-based methodology can be formalized within non-standard analysis is similar to trying to show that constructivism can be reduced to the traditional Mathematics. (shrink)
I propose to examine the issue of whether the ancient tradition in logic continued to be developed in the later medieval period from the vantage point of the relations between two specific groups of theories, namely the medieval theories of supposition and the (originally) ancient theories of fallacies. More specifically, I examine whether supposition theories absorbed and replaced theories of fallacies, or whether the latter continued to exist, with respect to one particular author, William of Ockham. I compare (...) different parts of Ockham's Summa Logicae, namely III-4 (on fallacies), and the final chapters of part I and first chapters of part II (on supposition). I conclude that there is overlap of conceptual apparatus and of goals (concerning propositions that must be distinguished) in Ockham's theories of supposition and of fallacies, but that the respective conceptual apparatuses also present substantial dissimilarities. Hence, theories of supposition are better seen as an addition to the general logical framework that medieval authors had inherited from ancient times, rather than the replacement of an ancient tradition by a medieval one. Indeed, supposition theories and fallacy theories had different tasks to fulfil, and in this sense both had their place in fourteenth century logic. (shrink)
The paper critically investigates the pragma-dialectics of van Eemeren and Grootendorst, particularly the treatment of fallacies. While the pragma-dialectieians claim that dialectics combines the logical and rhetorical approaches to argumentation, it is argued here that the perspective relies heavily on rhetorical features that have been suppressed in the account and that overlooking these features leads to significant problems in the pragma-dialectical perspective. In light of these problems, the author advocates turning attention to a rhetorical account which subsumes the logical (...) and dialectical. (shrink)
During the last decades, the psychology of reasoning has identified experimentally many fallacies committed by spontaneous reasoners. Given these experimental results, some theories have been developed about this phenomenon, mainly algorithmic theories. This paper develops instead a computational modelling of these current fallacies which appear as simplifications in the treatment of information that do not respect the formal rules of classical propositional logic. These fallacies are explained as crushes in the Klein group structure and so, in squares (...) of opposition. These crushes are an effect of not to take into account the dual of the binary operator at work in the major premise of the inference. This analysis allows predictions on fallacies not identified before, which are fallacies produced when reasoning with incompatibilities. The paper concludes with consequences of the analysis on pedagogical strategies for the teaching of logic. (shrink)
This paper, based on research in a forthcoming monograph, Commitment in Dialogue, undertaken jointly with Erik Krabbe, explains several informal fallacies as shifts from one type of dialogue to another. The normative framework is that of a dialogue where two parties reason together, incurring and retracting commitments to various propositions as the dialogue continues. The fallacies studied include the ad hominem, the slippery slope, and many questions.
This paper looks around among the major traditional fallacies — centering mainly around the so-called “gang of eighteen” — to discuss which of them should properly be classified as fallacies of relevance. The paper argues that four of these fallacies are fallacies primarily because they are failures of relevance in argumentation, while others are fallacies in a way that is more peripherally related to failures of relevance. Still others have an even more tangential relation to (...) failures of relevance. This paper is part of a larger research project on dialecical relevance in argumentative discourse, currently underway in collaboration with Frans van Eemeren and Rob Grootendorst. (shrink)
Often implicit in visual display design and development is a gold standard of photorealism. By approximating direct perception, photorealism appeals to users and designers by being both attractive and apparently effortless. The vexing result from numerous performance evaluations, though, is that increasing realism often impairs performance. Smallman and St. John (2005) labeled misplaced faith in realistic information display Naïve Realism and theorized it resulted from a triplet of folk fallacies about perception. Here, we illustrate issues associated with the wider (...) trend towards realism by focusing on a specific current trend for high-fidelity perspective view (3D) geospatial displays. In two experiments, we validated Naïve Realism for different terrain understanding tasks, explored whether certain individuals are particularly prone to Naïve Realism, and determined the ability of task feedback to mitigate Naïve Realism. Performance was measured for laying and judging a concealed route across realistic terrain shown in different display formats. Task feedback was either implicit, in Experiment 1, or explicit in Experiment 2. Prospective and retrospective intuitions about the best display formats for the tasks were recorded and then related to task performance and participant spatial ability. Participants generally intuited they would perform tasks better with more realism than they actually required. For example, counter to intuitions, lowering fidelity of the terrain display revealed the gross scene layout needed to lay a well-concealed route. Individuals of high spatial ability calibrated their intuitions with only implicit task feedback, whereas those of low spatial ability required salient, explicit feedback to calibrate their intuitions about display realism. Results are discussed in the wider context of applying perceptual science to display design, and combating folk fallacies. (shrink)
In this paper I will attempt a unified analysis of the various examples of the fallacy of accident given by Aristotle in the Sophistical Refutations. In many cases the examples underdetermine the fallacy and it is not trivial to identify the fallacy committed. To make this identification we have to find some error common to all the examples and to show that this error would still be committed even if those other fallacies that the examples exemplify were not. Aristotle (...) says that there is only one solution “against the argument” as opposed to “against the man”, and it is this solution the paper attempts to find. It is a characteristic mark of my analysis that some arguments that we might normally be inclined to say are fallacious turn out to be valid and that some arguments that we would normally be inclined to say are valid turn out to be fallacious. This is (in part) because what we call validity in modern logic is not the same as the apodicticity that Aristotelian syllogisms require in order to be used in science. The fallacies of accident, uniquely among the fallacies, are failures of apodicticity rather than failures of, in particular, semantic entailment. This makes sense in a tensed and token-based logic such as Aristotle’s. I conclude that the closest analogue to the fallacy of accident that we can point to is a fallacy in modal logic, viz., the fallacy of necessity. (shrink)
Most work on fallacies continues to conceptualize fallacious reasoning as involving a breach of a formal or quasi-formal rule. Chaim Perelman's theory of argumentation provides a way to conceptualize fallacies in a completely different way. His approach depends on an understanding of standards of rationality as essentially connected with conceptions of universality. Such an approach allows one to get beyond some of the basic problems of fallacy theory, and turns informal logic toward substantive philosophical questions. I show this (...) by reinterpreting three so-called fallacies - theargumentum ad baculum, equivocation and composition/division - in the light of Perelman's account. (shrink)
Most recent discussions of John Stuart Mill’s System of Logic (1843) neglect the fifth book concerned with logical fallacies. Mill not only follows the revival of interest in the traditional Aristotelian doctrine of fallacies in Richard Whately and Augustus De Morgan, but he also develops new categories and an original analysis which enhance the study of fallacies within the context of what he calls ‘the philosophy of error’. After an exploration of this approach, the essay relates the (...) philosophy of error to the discussion of truth and error in chapter two of On Liberty (1859) concerned with freedom of thought and discussion. Drawing on Socratic and Baconian perspectives, Mill defends both the traditional study of logic against Jevons, Boole, De Morgan, and others, as well as the study of fallacies as the key to maintaining truth and its dissemination in numerous fields, such as science, morality, politics, and religion. In Mill’s view the study of fallacies also liberates ordinary people to explore the truth and falsity of ideas and, as such, to participate in society and politics and develop themselves as progressive beings. (shrink)
The author designed the Reasoning Analysis Test to provide empirical support for the CRM analysis of informal fallacies. While informal, the results provide presumptive evidence that those committing informal fallacies may tacitly reason as predicted by CRM. Davis has argued persuasively that Gricean theory has not lived up to expectations, In light of his critique, the CRM analyses of Begging the Question and Equivocation are amended. Johnson has provided standards for judging any theory of informal fallacies. It (...) is argued that CRM survives the Standard Critique and sufficiently meets Johnson's other criteria. (shrink)
From time to time, the idea that enduring things can change has been challenged. The latest challenge has come in the form of what David Lewis has called a “decisive objection”, which claims to deduce a contradiction from the idea that enduring things change with respect to their temporary intrinsics, when that idea is combined with eternalism. It is my aim in this paper to explain why I think that no argument has yet appeared that deduces a contradiction from a (...) combination of eternalism and the idea that enduring things change with respect to their temporary intrinsics, except ones that do so by committing scope fallacies. (shrink)
In Biro and Siegel we argued that a theory of argumentation mustfully engage the normativity of judgments about arguments, and we developedsuch a theory. In this paper we further develop and defend our theory.
An infonnal fallacy is a reasoning error with three features: the reasoning employs an implicit cogent pattern; the fallacy results from one or more false premises; there is culpable ignorance or deception associated with the falsity of the premises. A reconstruction and analysis of the cogent reasoning patterns in fourteen standard infonnal fallacy types plus several variations are given. Defense of the CMR account covers: a general failure to apply the principle of charity in informal fallacy contexts; empirical evidence for (...) it; how it explains Walton's point that there are both fallacious and non-fallacious instances of fallacy types; how it avoids most "relevance" problems, pennits clearer taxonomizing, and promises pedagogical advantages; how it solves a "demarcation problem.". (shrink)
The paper examines Walton‘s concept of fallacy as it develops throughthree stages of his work: from the early series of papers co-authored withJohn Woods; through a second phase of involvement with thepragma-dialectical perspective; and on to the final phase in which heoffers a distinct pragmatic theory that reaches beyond the perceived limitsof the pragma-dialectical account while still exhibiting a debt to thatperspective and the early investigations with Woods. It is observed how Walton‘s model of fallacy is established in distinction to (...) its competitors,and its various problems and successes are discussed. (shrink)
A self-fulfilling fallacy (SFF) is a fallacious argument whose conclusion is that the very fallacy employed is an invalid or otherwise illegitimate inferential procedure. This paper discusses three different ways in which SFF’s might serve to justify their conclusions. SFF’s might have probative value as honest and straightforward arguments, they might serve to justify the premise of a meta-argument or, following a point made by Roy Sorensen, they might provide a non-inferential basis for accepting their conclusion. The paper concludes with (...) an assessment of the relative merits of these proposals. (shrink)
This paper analyses the concept of empirical ethics as well as three meta-ethical fallacies that empirical ethics is said to face: the is-ought problem, the naturalistic fallacy and violation of the fact-value distinction. Moreover, it answers the question of whether empirical ethics (necessarily) commits these three basic meta-ethical fallacies.
We examine in detail three classic reasoning fallacies, that is, supposedly ``incorrect'' forms of argument. These are the so-called argumentam ad ignorantiam, the circular argument or petitio principii, and the slippery slope argument. In each case, the argument type is shown to match structurally arguments which are widely accepted. This suggests that it is not the form of the arguments as such that is problematic but rather something about the content of those examples with which they are typically justified. (...) This leads to a Bayesian reanalysis of these classic argument forms and a reformulation of the conditions under which they do or do not constitute legitimate forms of argumentation. (shrink)
This paper offers a solution to the problem of understanding how a fallacious argument can be deceptive by “seeming to be valid”, or (better) appearing to be a better argument of its kind than it really is. The explanation of how fallacies are deceptive is based on heuristics and paraschemes. Heuristics are fast and frugal shortcuts to a solution to a problem that sometimes jump to a conclusion that is not justified. In fallacious instances, according to the theory proposed, (...) this jump overlooks prerequisites of the defeasible argumentation scheme for the type of argument in question. Three informal fallacies, argumentum ad verecundiam , argumentum ad ignorantiam and fear appeal argument, are used to illustrate and explain the theory. (shrink)
My critics in this symposium illustrate one principle and three fallacies of disability studies. The principle, which we all share, is that all persons are equal and none are less equal than others. No disability, however slight, nor however severe, implies lesser moral, political or ethical status, worth or value. This is a version of the principle of equality. The three fallacies exhibited by some or all of my critics are the following: Choosing to repair damage or dysfunction (...) or to enhance function, implies either that the previous state is intolerable or that the person in that state is of lesser value or indicates that the individual in that state has a life that is not worthwhile or not thoroughly worth living. None of these implications hold. Exercising choice in reproduction with the aim of producing children who will be either less damaged or diseased, or more healthy, or who will have enhanced capacities, violates the principle or equality. It does not. Disability or impairment must be defined relative either to normalcy, “normal species functioning”, or “species typical functioning”. It is not necessarily so defined. (shrink)
discussions of risk contain logical and argumentative fallacies that are specific to the subject-matter. Ten such fallacies are identified, that can commonly be found in public debates on risk. They are named as follows: the sheer size fallacy, the converse sheer size fallacy, the fallacy of naturalness, the ostrich's fallacy, the proof-seeking fallacy, the delay fallacy, the technocratic fallacy, the consensus fallacy, the fallacy of pricing, and the infallability fallacy.
This paper presents a dialogue system called Lorenzen–Hamblin Natural Dialogue (LHND), in which participants can commit formal fallacies and have a method of both identifying and withdrawing formal fallacies. It therefore provides a tool for the dialectical evaluation of force of argument when players advance reasons which are deductively incorrect. The system is inspired by Hamblin’s formal dialectic and Lorenzen’s dialogical logic. It offers uniform protocols for Hamblin’s and Lorenzen’s dialogues and adds a protocol for embedding them. This (...) unification required a reformulation of the original description of Lorenzen’s system to distinguish “between different stances that a person might take in the discussion”, as suggested by Hodges. The LHND system is compared to Walton and Krabbe’s Complex Persuasion Dialogue using an example of a dialogue. (shrink)
Dialectical fallacies are typically defined as breaches of the rules of a regulated discussion between two participants. What if discussions become more complex and involve multiple parties with distinct positions to argue for? Are there distinct argumentation norms of polylogues? If so, can their violations be conceptualized as polylogical fallacies? I will argue for such an approach and analyze two candidates for argumentative breaches of multi-party rationality: false dilemma and collateral straw man.
Leading invasion biologists sometimes dismiss critics and criticisms of their field by invoking “the straw man” fallacy. Critics of invasion biology are also labelled as a small group of “naysayers” or “contrarians”, who are sometimes engaging in “science denialism”. Such unfortunate labels can be seen as a way to possibly suppress legitimate debates and dismiss or minimize reasonable concerns about some aspects of invasion biology, including the uncertainties about the geographic origins and complex environmental impacts of species, and the control (...) programs against species perceived as “invasive”. In assessing the quality of the debate in this area, we examine the validity of the use of various strategies, including the “straw man” concept, and explore a range of potential logical fallacies present in some recent prominent discussions about invasion biology and so-called “invasive” species. The goal is to add some clarity to the concepts involved, point out some problematic issues, and improve the quality of the debates as the discussions move forward. (shrink)
Popular textbook treatments of the fallacies approach to argument evaluation employ the Adversary Method identified by Janice Moulton (1983) that takes the goal of argumentation to be the defeat of other arguments and that narrows the terms of discourse in order to facilitate such defeat. My analysis of the textbooks shows that the Adversary Method operates as a Kuhnian paradigm in philosophy, and demonstrates that the popular fallacies pedagogy is authoritarian in being unresponsive to the scholarly developments in (...) informal logic and argumentation theory. A progressive evolution for the fallacies approach is offered as an authoritative alternative. (shrink)
One of the most important challenges for political theory is to identify the extent to which corporations should be facilitated and restricted in law. By way of background to that challenge, we need to develop a view about the nature and potential of corporations and corporate bodies in general. This chapter discusses two fallacies that we should avoid in this exercise. One, a claim popular among economists, that corporate bodies are not really agents at all. The other, a claim (...) associated with US jurisprudence, that not only are they agents, they are persons whose rights call in the same way as the rights of individual persons for legal recognition and protection. (shrink)
Several of the so-called “fallacies” in Aristotle are not in fact mistaken inference-types, but mistakes or breaches of rules in the questioning games which were practiced in the Academy and in the Lyceum. Hence the entire Aristotelian theory of “fallacies” ought to be studied by reference to the author's interrogative model of inquiry, based on his theory of questions and answers, rather than as a part of the theory of inference. Most of the “fallacies” mentioned by Aristotle (...) can in fact be diagnosed by means of the interrogative model, including petitio principii, multiple questions, “babbling’, etc., and so can Aristotle's alleged anticipation of the fallacy of argumentum ad hominem. The entire Aristotelian conception of inquiry is an interrogative one. Deductive conclusions caught Aristotle's attention in the form of answers that every rational interlocutor must give, assuming only his own earlier answers. Several features of Aristotle's methodology can be understood by means of the interrogative model, including the role of endoxa in it. Theoretically, there is also considerable leeway as to whether “fallacies” are conceived of as mistakes in questioning or as breaches of the rules that govern questioning games. (shrink)