I’m close to wrapping up my fourth month of Praxis, and I thought I’d quickly write about something we covered during week 2 - fallacies. This is something that I’m still learning to incorporate when I’m taking in information since some of the fallacies can be harder to spot, but I think it’s both interesting and important to learn about.
Fallacy #1 - Appeal to Emotion
Pretty self explanatory, but it’s a fallacy that occurs when you allow your emotions to decide for you. I think emotions play a key role in how we live our lives, therefore they affect how we think, but sometimes it can be dangerous to make claims based off pure emotion.
Fallacy #2 - Appeal to Popularity
Assuming that a statement is true simply because the majority says so, is a dangerous way to make decisions. It’s easy to fall into that trap, but it’s important that we should be cautious of it. Sometimes we don’t realize we’re falling for something that isn’t true if we’re influenced by the crowd.
Fallacy #3 - Two Wrongs Make a Right
If someone makes a poor decision, that doesn’t give you the right to mimic it to a lesser degree. We can find ourselves pointing fingers at someone who did something worse, just to justify our own mistakes. The same goes for making a false statement. Maybe your way is the lesser of two evils, but that doesn’t mean you’re right.
Fallacy #4 - Red Herring
This fallacy can easily go unnoticed. It’s turning the conversation in another direction. Making a claim that disregards the main issue, still falls under the same category, but doesn’t answer the first statement.
Fallacy #5 - Ad Hominem
Just because the source of a certain claim isn’t someone/something you like, doesn’t mean it can’t be a true statement. Ad Hominem is the fallacy that attacks the source rather than the statements.
Fallacy #6 - False Dilemma
Sometimes the truth is a black and white situation. Dilemma’s aren’t always considered a fallacy, but a false dilemma forces you to choose from only two options when there’s other possible explanations to an issue.
Fallacy #7 - Slippery Slope
One false claim can sometimes lead to nearly absurd ideas. In the slippery slope fallacy, one claim leads to another until you reach your conclusion. If A, then B. If B, then C. Therefore, A means C.
Fallacy #8 - Begging the Question
Personally, this one bothers me more than any other fallacy. (Probably because I’ve been guilty of it more times than I’d like to admit.) This is where you create a statement that repeats itself. It’s much like circular reasoning in that you don’t allow your argument to build because you’re repeating the same information twice.