Over the years I’ve twice posted a series called the “Logical Fallacy of the Week”. If you eliminate the lies and logical fallacies from the arguments of activists and their allies in the media and government there’s nothing left. But we have to be able to do is to be able to recognize a logical fallacy when it occurs in order to overcome them. Once we’re able to do that we’ll find that can easily be done.
I see so many fallacious arguments being presented it occurs to me I need to start posting a list again. There will be one big difference this time. There are a host of logical fallacies that are incomprehensible to me, and based on what I’ve read – they’re incomprehensible to the originators of them – those are out! There are also logical fallacies based in mathematics. Well….I don’t care about those either, they‘re out also!
I will be winnowing the number down substantially this time around to probably no more than fifty. Only those which are understandable and consistently used will be presented. Please enjoy today’s offering which will start with the Formal Fallacies.
"A formal fallacy is an error in logic that can be seen in the argument's form. All formal fallacies are specific types of non sequiturs." A non sequitur is something jammed into the argument that is unrelated to the argument and fails to follow the logic of the discussion. One example would be that commercial where one person talks about the price of an insurance policy and the other says - "everyone knows that", and then the other person says "yes, but did you know Old MacDonald was a bad speller?"
Misleading vividness (also known as anecdotal fallacy) is anecdotal evidence describing an occurrence with sufficient detail to permit hasty generalizations about the occurrence. It may be used, for example, to convince someone that the occurrence is a widespread problem. Although misleading vividness does little to support an argument logically, it can have a very strong psychological effect because of a cognitive heuristic called the availability heuristic.
Anne: "I am giving up extreme sports now that I have children. I think I will take up golf."
Bill: "I wouldn't do that. Do you remember Charles? He was playing golf when he got hit by a golf-cart. It broke his leg, and he fell over, giving himself a concussion. He was in hospital for a week and still walks with a limp. I would stick to paragliding!"
This rhetoric permits a kind of hasty generalization when an inductive generalization is a necessary premise and a single (albeit vivid) example is not sufficient to support such a generalization. See faulty generalization.