Fallacies obstruct the free, two-way exchange of ideas that is essential for effective interactions. Rather than employing rigorous logic, these fallacies confuse your readers with an abundance of rhetorical appeals. Logical fallacies can be used in both written and vocal communication. When they appear in writing, they can distract from or even overwhelm the reader. When speaking, they can cause listeners to disregard you or your argument.
Logical fallacies include: arguing from authority, appealing to emotion, believing your own propaganda, and post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this). These arguments are all forms of logical fallacy. In addition, there are several other types of logical fallacies such as affirming the consequent and denying the antecedent.
Arguing from authority is using a piece of information about one person to support a claim about another person. For example, if I were to argue that people who eat meat tend to be animal lovers, I would be using my experience living with a vegetarian to make a claim about everyone else. This type of argument is always dangerous because it can lead to errors known as "authority biases". An authority bias is when someone gives more weight to information coming from a known source rather than information available to the general public.
Logical fallacies are reasoning mistakes that are founded on flawed logic. They can lead you to lose your credibility as a writer if given in a formal argument, so be wary of them. Logical fallacies include:
Opinion vs Fact - An opinion is simply a thought or belief about something, while a fact is a concrete piece of information that can be verified by others. Opinions cannot be proved or disproved; they are simply opinions. Facts can be checked against reality and are thus more reliable than opinions.
Argument from authority - This fallacy takes place when someone assumes that because a certain person is knowledgeable or experienced about a subject, they must know what they are saying is true. This person might be a famous author, expert at debate, or someone in authority. The problem with this argument is that it ignores the possibility that they are wrong about their topic.
Appeal to fear - Using threats to make someone do what you want them to do, for example, warning them that else will happen if they don't. This tactic can work well in politics, but in literature it tends to make readers/listeners uncomfortable.
Begging the question - This fallacy occurs when you assume that something's truth value must be known before you can prove it.
Why should you avoid logical errors? Even if some of your other ideas are logically sound, a reader who identifies a mistake in your reasoning is unlikely to be persuaded by your argument. You invalidate yourself and undermine your own case by employing erroneous logic.
In conclusion, logical errors should not be used in essays because they make the essay confusing and unreadable. Additionally, using logical errors leads to inaccurate conclusions.
Sometimes authors may utilize logical fallacies on purpose to make an argument appear more compelling or valid than it is. There are many different types of logical fallacies, so we will discuss only three of the most common ones.
One type of fallacy is called "affirming the consequent." This error occurs when someone assumes that if A then B must be true; therefore, because A is true, B must be true as well. For example, if I say that all dogs love cats and that you know a lot about dogs, then it can be inferred that you must like cats too. This isn't necessarily true though; maybe you have a cat at home that you don't tell anyone about.
An appeal to authority is when someone uses something that is considered an expert on the topic being discussed to make their own opinion seem more credible. For example, if my friend John says that Microsoft Windows is good software and that his friend Paul also thinks so, then I might believe them both. However, if John tells me that Albert Einstein said that space and time are just illusions, I would not trust this statement from John but instead would look up what Einstein had to say about reality himself.
Logical fallacies, or holes in logic that invalidate arguments, are not usually obvious. While some manifest as obvious anomalies, others can effortlessly slip under the radar, infiltrating routine meetings and discussions unobserved. All logical fallacies have in common is that they misrepresent or misinterpret evidence either intentionally or unintentionally.
Agnosticism- Ignoring one of the possibilities! "I'm an agnostic computer programmer; I don't know if computers can think." This kind of statement implies that there is at least one possibility that is being ignored. It may be true that we will never know because of something called "the problem of knowledge", but that doesn't mean that it isn't possible to know something about this thing we call "knowledge".
Arguing against the wall - A fallacy that often occurs when someone wants to prove their point strongly, so they simply state it as fact without giving it a single chance to be disproved. For example, if I were to say that all dogs go to heaven, you would definitely not want me as your neighbor!
Begging the question - Put simply, this fallacy means that a claim is made based on what it is claiming. So if I claimed that all men are mortal, this would be a begging question because it is making its own conclusion part of the premise.