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There are many concepts in human life which help to define the importance of existence and enjoy the possibilities which are offered. Fallacy is one of such concepts. Paul and Elder (2006) help to understand the essence of fallacy as “a deceptive or misleading argument, a sophism” (p. 295). There are many types of fallacies identified, and in this paper, three logical fallacies will be evaluated. They are ignorance of relevant viewpoints, presence of vague questions and answers, and missing of key ideas.
These fallacies have certain impact on critical thinking as well as decision-making process as misuse of language may lead to unpleasant results (Shibles & Maier, 2010). Each fallacy has its own characteristics, and the following evaluation will help to define their significance in regard to critical thinking as well as application to decision making process.
Fallacy One: Ignorance of Relevant Viewpoints
One of the first fallacies people can make is to ignore relevant viewpoints. This fallacy is defined as the one that deprives a person of critical thinking and abilities to evaluate the situation properly. Of course, people can make mistakes in order to learn on them, however, when a person fails to consider all relevant ideas, it is hard to define the presence of mistake and be cheated further.
There are many different examples of how it is possible to ignore the relevant information. People live in a chaotic world that is hard to control, this is why it is important to focus on self-improvement and self-education in order not to be cheated by means of absence of relevant facts.
For example, a person performs the functions of a manipulator in order to frustrate the plans of another person. To achieve the desirable purposes, it is possible to neglect some aspects of the case and introduce the situation in regard to personal interests. A group of people get a task still knows nothing about the person they are going to deal with.
When the time to take serious actions in regard to a person comes, one member of the groups gets to know that it is his relative. Such relevant viewpoint as the name of the person is ignored, and the following situation is hard to control. It is also hard to think critically in this situation as it is never easy to choose between a family and a work.
There are no logical grounds, and critical thinking is considered to be an important point in achieving the desirable outcome (Sternberg, Roediger, & Halpern, 2007). This is why this type of fallacy influences the decision making process and has to be considered all the time in case some new information is presented because even slight ignorance of facts may change the history.
Fallacy Two: Presence of Vague Questions and Answers
Nowadays many people find it appropriate to ask vague questions as well as give similar vague answers. This type of fallacy is another important aspect of the decision making process as well as critical thinking. People are not always able to control their emotions and their actions.
They try to avoid vague language, still, when emotions are overwhelming, it is hard to find the required control. This is why such fallacy as vague questions and answers given has to be mentioned to improve the process of critical thinking. The example of how vague questions may help to achieve the desirable purpose is also based on manipulators and their abilities to persuade people using jokes, vagueness, and some kind of truism.
The issue of vagueness plays an important role in human life. The level of how people are able to hide the evidence and make use of vague information defines the quality of decisions made. Weiten (2008) admits that some decision making strategies consist of mistakes and fallacies that lead to irrational outcomes. The example of vague question and vague answers will help to understand how it fallacy influences decision making process.
When it is asked “When will Mr. Smith be home?”, and the answer “He will be as soon as he solves his problems” is given. It is hard to understand what home and what time are considered; the answer in its turn does not contain clear information, and it is hard to make some clear conclusions. Though such answers and questions are frequently used not to concretize the situation but be able to change the conditions in accordance with personal demands, this idea prevents the development of informative and effective communication.
Fallacy Three: Missing of Key Ideas
Missing of key ideas is the last fallacy to be analyzed. This type of deceptive argument is one of the most frequent among the politicians and other influential figures in the modern world. It is not easy to attract the attention of public telling the truth only, this is why many people try to miss some key ideas and focus listeners’ attention on some additional arguments and suggestions. It is also called as fallacy of accident or the desire to use generalization.
For example, the candidates for President Elections provide society with a number of ideas and improvements which will be made as soon as a person votes for a candidate. Such people are eager to introduce captivating suggestions and methods to achieve their goals. However, they will never admit that some harm will be made to achieve these purposes. They try to hide the main idea and introduce some other points just in order not to lose votes and make more people believe in candidate’s abilities.
This type of fallacy has a considerable impact on human life. People start thinking critically using the information offered, still, the quality of this information is hard to check and rely on. This is why critical thinking is not always correct that leads to wrong decisions made. Well, in fact, the application of this fallacy to decision making has several peculiar features.
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As a rule, people who try to miss key ideas promote lies and uncertainties from the very beginning. And if the grounds for decision making are not clear and argumentative enough, it is impossible to succeed in decision making and enjoy the successful results in future.
Each of the above-mentioned logical fallacies has its own impact on human life and person’s decision making process. It is very important for people to identify the situations when fallacies may take place and try to think critically while receiving information.
The point is that almost all decisions made by people predetermine the conditions under which it is necessary to live. The more attention is paid to personal satisfaction, the better results will be observed. Fallacies are an inventible part of human life, still, it is possible to decrease the level of its impact on life.
Paul, R. & Elder, L. (2006). Critical Thinking: Tools for Talking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Shibles, W.A. & Maier, B. (2010). The Philosophy and Practice of Medicine and Bioethics: A Naturalistic-Humanistic Approach. New York: Springer.
Sternberg, R.J., Roediger, H.L. & Halpern, D.F. (2007). Critical Thinking in Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Weiten, W. (2008). Psychology: Themes and Variations. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.