Logical fallacies have existed since the dawn of time. As defined by Bassham et al a logical fallacy "is an argument that contains a mistake in reasoning." With this definition one must keep in mind that the definition of an argument according to Bassham et al is "a claim put forward and defended by reasons." The ability to recognize logical fallacy will enable one to break down an argument. This ability is crucial to the critical thinking process. Logical fallacies can be broken in to two categories; Fallacies of relevance and Fallacies of insufficient evidence. According to the philosophypages web site, Fallacies of relevance "clearly fail to provide adequate reason for believing the truth of their conclusions." Fallacies such as; Staw Man, Appeal to Force (argumentum ad baculum), Appeal to Pity (argumentum ad misericordiam) and Appeal to Authority (argumentum ad verecundiam) are Fallacies of relevance whereas Appeal to Authority (argumentum ad verecundiam) and Weak Analogy are Fallacies of insufficient evidence. Fallaices of insufficient evidence are "fallacies in which the premises, though relevant to the conclusion, fail to provide sufficient evidence for the conclusion." (philosophypages, 2001) Fallacies such as Appeal to Force (argumentum ad baculum), Appeal to Pity (argumentum ad misericordiam) and Appeal to Authority (argumentum ad verecundiam) were "identified by medieval and renaissance logicians, whose Latin names for them have passed into common use." (philosophypages, 2001)
The straw man fallacy occurs when a person on one side of an issue distorts the position of an opponent on the other side of an issue so that the issue can be easily attacked. The Nizkor Project says that "The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position." The straw man fallacy is widely used in society and is also...
References: Appeal to Misleading Authority. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2006, from
Bassham, G., Irwin, W., Nardone, H., & Wallace, J. M., (2002). Critical Thinking: A Student 's Introduction. (Chapter 5). Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Fallacies of Relevance. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2006, from
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