What Are Fallacies?

Logical errors are, I think, of greater practical importance than many people believe; they enable their perpetrators to hold the comfortable opinion on every subject in turn.

- Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy

Podcast of the Day

Imagine that you are worried that you have a rare disease for which there is a reliable test. If you take this test and it returns a positive result, how certain should you be that you have the disease?

Or consider the following: Linda was a philosophy student at Berkeley in the 1960’s who fought for social justice and nuclear disarmament. Is it more likely that she is currently a bank teller or a feminist bank teller?

Professor Fitelson provides the answers to these questions, observes the surprising fact that a supermajority of us consistently answer these sorts of questions incorrectly, and offers an illuminating account of why this might be.

Listen to Branden Fitelson discuss reasoning fallacies

Video of the Day

Short Article of the Day

Have you ever heard of the Straw Man fallacy, or the Red Herring fallacy? If not, perhaps you will be interested to know that these form parts of a set of concepts that have the potential to enhance your thinking power. In fact, by the time you finish reading this article you will have become smarter, because you will see the flaws in your own and others’ arguments more clearly.

Think of your brain as a toolbox. In the same way that there are tools for building, there are what philosopher Daniel Dennett calls ‘thinking tools’. Language, for instance, is a thinking tool, because it enables us to think better, through internal dialogue and by the sharing of ideas with others...

Continue reading Henrik Schoeneberg's article: Bad Arguments That Make You Smarter

Further Reading

A fallacy is a kind of error in reasoning. The list of fallacies below contains 223 names of the most common fallacies, and it provides brief explanations and examples of each of them. Fallacies should not be persuasive, but they often are. Fallacies may be created unintentionally, or they may be created intentionally in order to deceive other people. The vast majority of the commonly identified fallacies involve arguments, although some involve explanations, or definitions, or other products of reasoning. Sometimes the term "fallacy" is used even more broadly to indicate any false belief or cause of a false belief. The list below includes some fallacies of these sorts, but most are fallacies that involve kinds of errors made while arguing informally in natural language...

Continue reading the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Fallacies by Bradley Dowden

Bonus Webcomic

The Adventures of Fallacy Man - Existential Comics

Related Topics

 Cognitive Biases | LogicParadoxesPersuasion | Thought Experiments

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