Skip to main content

Fallacies in Reasoning - 3 reasoning 'tricks'

©2012 Shers Gallagher
*Once again the pedant comes out as the fever of politicking spreads throughout the American psyche!

The three tricks of reasoning are...
  1. Providing reasoning that requires inaccurate or incorrect assumptions.
  2. Distracting the listener by making information appear relevant to the claim when it isn’t.
  3. Providing support for an assumption that one is depending on to already be true – meaning that, though the claim can be a strong one, the support can be weak.
Clues for locating & assessing fallacies in reasoning
Reject an author/speaker’s reasoning if it...

attacks a person – or person’s background, instead  of  the person’s ideas                    (ad hominem).
  • bases its assumption that one action taken will set  off an uncontrollable chain of negatively perceived events (slippery slope).
  • reflects a search for perfect solutions (either/or thinking).
  • uses misleading language to avoid giving an answer (equivocates).
  • inappropriately appeals to common opinion.
  • supports a claim made by citing one lacking expertise (appeals to questionable authority).
  • addresses a ‘panacea’ instead of addressing the real issue at hand (straw man).
  • falsely believes that a certain action taken would resolve the problem at hand when that wouldn’t be necessarily so (presents a faulty dilemma).
  •  makes an assumption that because we wish something to be so, then it is indeed so (wishful thinking).
  • explains by labelling something; putting it in a box (explaining by naming).
A fallacy then is a reasoning ‘trick’ that an author might use while trying to persuade you to accept a conclusion.

You don’t need to know all of the names of common fallacies – you only need to be aware of them by ‘self-questioning’ strategies.

Steps to take in locating fallacies:
-      Identify the conclusions and reasons.
-      Contrast reasons and conclusions that you consider valid with the author’s stated claims.
  - Determine whether the reason states a  specific/concrete advantage or  disadvantage.
  -  Check for possible distractions appealing to your emotions...etc.


Popular posts from this blog

Raised by a Fly-boy Father...who could not sit still

©Shers Gallagher 2016
Over miles with him we 'rode or bust' to this and that highway and some other byway that stretched across the Great Divide.  He settled in the end, back to where he started. And I, like him, having been raised in motion, could not sit still. Over miles alone I trekked across lava rock that glistened like jagged points of death and Steppes that went nowhere until they sank into the sun. Only then, like my father, did I arrive with a yearning  to come back home.
Aisling Books

The Call

©Shers Gallagher 2016
The days grow colder and my heart grows bolder
to hear the call of the totem wolf, 
though limbs begin to rattle like the branches of a tree
as leaves turn bright before they fade and quietly fall,
drifting down and crumbling into air 
that smells of crackling pine and roasting logs of cedar.
I missed you then as I miss you now. 
But most of all I miss my youth 
and the dance I used to be.
Not the dance of whirring bees,
because I never was a hostile takeover. 
I miss the playful shadows of light
and soft breezes on silken feathers.
I miss the easiness of then, 
though, in truth I’m more physically comfortable now. 
And yet I’d give it all up for only a few more 
playful shadows of twilight and silken days. 

Aisling Books

Concentration camp survivors found to live longer than peers

[The story of this picture can be found at:]

by Thijs Wolters [translated by Sherry Gallagher & Rob Bitter]
Jews who were in their puberty or young adulthood during the Second World War, and in a concentration camp or in hiding, appear to be living longer than their peers who fled the Holocaust. This comes from research done by two University of Leiden professors, Marinus van Ijzendoorn and Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg, with two Israeli colleagues who published their findings in ‘PLOS ONE’[an open access peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science since 2006]. In their research they investigated more than 55,000 Polish Jews: people who moved to the then British Mandate Territory of Palestine and survivors of the Holocaust immigrating to Israel between 1945-50. The survivors of especially males from the Holocaust appear to live longer on average than those having…