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Fallacies II: informal fallacies

11/05/2013

26

fallacy is incorrect argument in logic and rhetoric resulting in a lack of validity, or more generally, a lack of soundness.

This is part of a series on fallacies related to my situation these days. I am cherry-picking the ones I struggle with and feel are being used «against» me by those professionals in the psychiatric fields that claim to help. I am doing this to possibly help myself structure, express and understand why I am uncomfortable with a lot of the things that goes on in «therapy».

Of course, this series will confirm to my therapists that I am way too dependent on logic. Something I am accused of on a weekly basis. I bet I can find a fallacy for that too. Yes, I am caught in a web; not entirely of my own creation. In that sense I am, by doing this, digging my own grave in their eyes. Fuck it, I´ll do it anyway.

Informal fallacies are arguments that are faulty for reasons other than structural flaws. You need to analyse the actual content of the argument.

Argument from silence (argumentum e silentio) – where the conclusion is based on the absence of evidence, rather than the existence of evidence.

(shifting the) Burden of proof – I need not prove my claim, you must prove it is false.

Circular cause and consequence – where the consequence of the phenomenon is claimed to be its root cause.

Equivocation the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time).

Ecological fallacy – inferences about the nature of specific individuals are based solely upon aggregate statistics collected for the group to which those individuals belong.

Etymological fallacy – which reasons that the original or historical meaning of a word or phrase is necessarily similar to its actual present-day meaning.

Fallacy of composition – assuming that something true of part of a whole must also be true of the whole.

Fallacy of division – assuming that something true of a thing must also be true of all or some of its parts.

Fallacy of many questions (complex question, fallacy of presupposition, loaded question, plurium interrogationum) – someone asks a question that presupposes something that has not been proven or accepted by all the people involved. This fallacy is often used rhetorically, so that the question limits direct replies to those that serve the questioner’s agenda.

Ludic fallacy – the belief that the outcomes of non-regulated random occurrences can be encapsulated by a statistic; a failure to take into account unknown unknowns in determining the probability of events taking place.

Fallacy of the single cause (causal oversimplification) – it is assumed that there is one, simple cause of an outcome when in reality it may have been caused by a number of only jointly sufficient causes.

Fallacy of quoting out of context (contextomy) – refers to the selective excerpting of words from their original context in a way that distorts the source’s intended meaning.

Argument to moderation (false compromise, middle ground, fallacy of the mean) assuming that the compromise between two positions is always correct.

Inflation Of Conflict – The experts of a field of knowledge disagree on a certain point, so the scholars must know nothing, and therefore the legitimacy of their entire field is put to question.

Incomplete comparison – where not enough information is provided to make a complete comparison.

Inconsistent comparisonwhere different methods of comparison are used, leaving one with a false impression of the whole comparison.

Ignoratio elenchi (irrelevant conclusion, missing the point) – an argument that may in itself be valid, but does not address the issue in question.

Mind projection fallacy – when one considers the way he sees the world as the way the world really is.

Nirvana fallacy (perfect solution fallacy) – when solutions to problems are rejected because they are not perfect.

Onus probandi – from Latin «onus probandi incumbit ei qui dicit, non ei qui negat» the burden of proof is on the person who makes the claim, not on the person who denies (or questions the claim). It is a particular case of the «argumentum ad ignorantiam» fallacy, here the burden is shifted on the person defending against the assertion.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc Latin for «after this, therefore because of this» (faulty cause/effect, coincidental correlation, correlation without causation) – X happened then Y happened; therefore X caused Y. Something tipped our boat over; it’s obviously the Loch Ness Monster. (edit: comment, see Bonivards comment below: this example is in itself invalid.)

Proof by verbosity (argumentum verbosium, proof by intimidation) – submission of others to an argument too complex and verbose to reasonably deal with in all its intimate details. (See also Gish Gallop and argument from authority.)

Psychologist’s fallacy – an observer presupposes the objectivity of his own perspective when analyzing a behavioral event.

Shotgun argumentation – the arguer offers such a large number of arguments for their position that the opponent can’t possibly respond to all of them. (See «Argument by verbosity» and «Gish Gallop», above.)

False Authority- (single authority) – using an expert of dubious credentials and/or using only one opinion to sell a product or idea.

Fallacies I: formal fallacies
Fallacies II: informal fallacies
Fallacies III: faulty generalizations
Fallacies IV: red herring fallacies

All four in list view

Reklamer
5 kommentarer
  1. Bonivard permalink

    «Post hoc ergo propter hoc Latin for “after this, therefore because of this” (faulty cause/effect, coincidental correlation, correlation without causation) – X happened then Y happened; therefore X caused Y. Something tipped our boat over; it’s obviously the Loch Ness Monster.»

    Surely this is a bad example of PHEPH, since it assumes the cause to be something whose very existence is in dispute?
    Classic PHEPH takes two facts on which there is general agreement (“We stocked the lake with salmon. Next week, our boat capsized.”) and then jumps to a fallacious conclusion based solely on chronological sequence (“We stocked the lake with salmon, therefore our boat capsized.”).

    #CustodiantCustodies ;-)

    • cuculus canorus permalink

      I agree, I did ponder the example and found it rather odd, it is a fallacy in itself. I will be more rigorous next time and be a little better at research :-) Brain not working at its best.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Fallacies I: formal fallacies | Gjøkeredet
  2. Fallacies III: faulty generalizations | Gjøkeredet
  3. Logical Fallacies — the Incorrect Cause | The Call of Troythulu

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