Week 3 Summary

Arguments contain fallacies, and it is often difficult to recognize fallacies in our own reasoning and in the reasoning or arguments of others.  One way to better recognize fallacies in reasoning is to become familiar with the different categories of fallacies, such as fallacies of relevance, fallacies of omission and component fallacies.  For example, when we present an argument we need to closely examine the evidence or examples that we use in our arguments.  Faulty reasoning occurs when the evidence or examples we use to justify our position are not relevant to the situation we are defending.

We must also analyze all statistics we use to support our arguments.  For example, if I were to say that 50 of college women cheat on their boyfriends and argue this case because after interviewing 4 college women, 2 admitted to cheating on their boyfriends, this would be a component fallacy.  Although 50 of the college women I spoke with did cheat, my result or conclusion is not valid because the number of college women in my study was too small.  I should have interviewed 100 college women.  However, the result was true, half of those I interviewed cheat, but it was still invalid.  If I simply stated that I did a survey, and the results indicated that 50 cheat, many people might believe that my results are valid.  They would need to ask, How many people did you survey or interview

We must ask questions and analyze what we are told so that we are able to recognize fallacies.  Otherwise, it becomes easy for us to be persuaded to belief things that are untrue and invalid.  This is how we are influenced and controlled by society.  We are often subject to fallacious reasoning because we listen to people in authority who appeal to our emotions or sense of reason.  Sometimes they even appeal to our character.  It is easy to persuade others to behave in certain ways and to have certain beliefs.  The media uses advertising daily to persuade consumers to purchase products and endorse political figures.  Cults have controlled people for years due to their inability to recognize fallacies.


Post a Comment