Three types of fallacious reasoning

History of logic In antiquity, two rival theories of the syllogism existed: Aristotelian syllogistic and Stoic syllogistic. This article is concerned only with this traditional use.

Three types of fallacious reasoning

This work is available here free, so that those who cannot afford it can still have access to it, and so that no one has to pay before they read something that might not be what they really are seeking.

But if you find it meaningful and helpful and would like to contribute whatever easily affordable amount you feel it is worth, please do do.

I will appreciate it. The button to the right will take you to PayPal where you can make any size donation of 25 cents or more you wish, using either your PayPal account or a credit card without a PayPal account. Reasoning by Rick Garlikov The following are ideas about what reasoning is and about what it is to be reasonable.

It is offered here for students whose teachers do not seem to think very highly of their work, but who themselves do not make very clear what they think is wrong with it. In some cases students and professors may have very different ideas about what it is to show good reasoning in a paper or class or to present a case in a reasonable manner.

If little children are playing with chess pieces and a chess board, but are making arbitrary moves in what they think is emulation of adults they have seen playing chess, it is not just that they are playing chess badly. It is that they are not playing chess at all, regardless of what they think they are doing or what they call it.

There are some things that are difficult to distinguish between whether they are being Three types of fallacious reasoning badly or whether they are not even being done at all. It is crucial to understand the difference, for it is often not helpful to try to improve the performance of someone who is not even doing what you are trying to get him to do better.

Persuasive Reasoning and Fallacies

Otherwise if you try to "correct" a move, they may simply say "but we do it this way. If a person dances very poorly, other people might say they are not sure what he is doing, but he is certainly not dancing. These seem to me to be satirical applications of the distinction rather than real examples of it, as in the above chess case.

But there are some cases where it is not clear how we might describe the situation.

Common fallacies

Suppose someone does a math problem very poorly, using algebraic language and symbols but utilizing "reasoning steps" that seem to us very bizarre, and when asked to explain why he used those steps, says "I am using algebra". If his steps and reasons were so far removed from anything remotely approaching GOOD algebraic reasoning, we may be quite tempted to feel that he did not use algebra but merely what he mistakenly thought was algebra.

It may be not just that he does not understand how to work this problem, but that he does not understand what algebra "is about" in general. These are two different difficulties, requiring two different approaches to remedy.

Or students may write an exam answer or do an assignment in such a way that it incorporates all the features a teacher requires, but does it in such a way that shows either the student does not understand those features well or that he did not get the point of the features. Knowing the cause of the problem is important to correcting it effectively.

Recently it occurred to me in one of those all-encompassing revelations that "reasoning" itself is an activity that some people sometimes seem to do so badly that it is more accurate and more helpful to think of them as not actually reasoning at all, though they may mistakenly think they are, and though they may be doing something that seems like reasoning.

What makes this "all-encompassing" is that it explains a great deal of what seems to be poor decision-making and poor logical ability on the part of a great many people, not all of whom are students, and not all of whom are outside positions of wealth, power, influence, and authority.

When teaching, I have always concentrated, not just on presenting "factual" subject content, but, on trying to get students to see logical relationships in the material and, when necessary, trying to improve general reasoning skills, so that the conceptual and logical aspects of the subject matter would make sense to students and so that they could derive needed or new material, thereby depending less on memory.

I pointed out various sorts of common fallacies and I required myself and students to justify our views in class, trying to expose fallacious or weak reasoning wherever it appeared.

Many students seemed to catch on and to become skilled, but there were students who seemed not to get it at all and who were either just debating to try to score trivial points or who gave reasons that just seemed to make no sense or were repetitions of points we had just shown flawed.

Types of Fallacy

Many of these students were quite intelligent, as are many quite successful adults who nevertheless seem quite often not to be very sensible or reasonable about various matters. I think it is not so much that these people reason badly as that they are not reasoning at all, but merely emulating the outward behavior of people they believe to be reasoning.

They are behaving like the above children who are moving chess pieces. I thought they only needed to improve or focus their reasoning skills. So before one can improve their reasoning skills, one has to show them what reasoning is; i.

Three types of fallacious reasoning

Without doing that, one turns reasoning only into a game to these people, a game whose point is arbitrary or unclear and whose rules or methods are external, behavioristic, contrived, and capricious. I suspect there are a number of incorrect things people are doing when they are being what they consider "reasonable".

Fallacy Definition

Some seem to think that being reasonable means merely "having reasons". It does not matter to them that their reasons are untrue or improbable or that they may not even be relevant to their conclusion.

When you point out problems with their reasons and their conclusions, they say things like "Well, I have my reasons, and you have yours.The following are ideas about what reasoning is and about what it is to be reasonable.

It also offers some conjectures about why many people don't seem to have good reasoning skills or to be very reasonable. List of common fallacies. Compiled by Jim Walker originated: 27 July additions made: 01 Dec. You don't need to take drugs to hallucinate; improper language can fill your world with phantoms and spooks of many kinds.

By this fallacious reasoning, any individual who would serve as evidence contradicting the first speaker’s assertion is conveniently and automatically dismissed from consideration.


Three types of fallacious reasoning

This page defines logical terms used in the files on individual fallacies and in entries in the weblog. The first occurrence of a defined term in a file or weblog entry is linked directly to its definition below.

A fallacy is a display of faulty reasoning that makes an argument invalid, or a faulty belief based on an unsound argument. Many fallacies are deceptive in that they may appear to be based on sound reasoning and seem to follow good logic.

In reasoning to argue a claim, As the nature of inductive reasoning is based on probability, a fallacious inductive argument or one that is potentially misleading, is often classified as "weak". All formal fallacies are specific types of non sequiturs.

Thou shalt not commit logical fallacies