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Logic is an aspect of philosophy that deals with reasoning which tries to distinguish between good thoughts and bad thoughts. Inductive and deductive reasoning are the two kinds of logic. Inductive reasoning bases its conclusion on the observations made and its largest flaw is that the conclusion is totally dependent on the amount of observation made while deductive reasoning uses truths that exist to draw conclusions. Thus, deductive logic obtains more specific conclusions although its fault is that it relies on only information that is considered as true.
A logical fallacy is a statement that is misleading since it is a conclusion drawn from a false observation or based on a fact that is generally considered true but is wrong. It is the result of flawed thoughts and assumptions applied to a general idea (Kent, 2006).
Appeal to good character
“If a scientist makes a statement about science, it is correct. Albert Einstein states that all quantum mechanics is deterministic. Therefore it’s true that quantum mechanics is deterministic.”
The above statement is a fallacy that falls under the category of appeal to good character in Latin ‘argumentum pro hominem’. This type of fallacy credits the truthfulness of a statement by the speaker who said those words. The assumption that when a respected person says something then his words are true is wrong since humans can make mistakes and if everything they say is believed as true regardless of the other facts on the same subject then it leads to deception (Walton, 2004). The conclusion is based on a person’s good conduct since the believable character can be convincing. In the above example the words of scientists are believed and there is no room to argue that the words of Einstein have a possibility of being untrue as the observations or other facts on the same are not taken into consideration.
“Obama wants nationalized health care. The Nazis had nationalized health care. Nationalized health care will make us all Nazis!”
The above three lines are an example of analogical fallacy which is a comparison of two items that have similar qualities and hence are considered equal. The argument has elements of truth but the conclusions are all wrong based on the facts which make them false. In the example, both Obama and Hitler are proposing the same idea but the characters of these men are visibly different. Hence they cannot be grouped into the same general group that only one of them was a member and furthermore, the lives of both individuals are set in different timelines. This conclusion is erroneous and the two individuals are totally different in their policies and ways of governance. The evident differences between the two cancel out any element of similarity rendering the argument invalid (Kent, 2006).
The false dilemma
“You either support George Bush or you support the terrorists.”
The above statement is a black and white thinking also referred to as the false dilemma type of fallacy (Walton, 2004). This type of argument gives only two options that are bifurcation intended to force one to pick between just two choices. The options presented are also designed to be on the extreme ends. One is made to look positive while the other is a negatively condemned idea in society. This kind of fallacy does not offer moderate half truths for the argument and they are propagated by the forced circumstance of a battle whose winning side has already been chosen.
Kent, L. (2006). Word and World: A Critical Thinking Reader. New York, NY: Nelson College Indigenous.
Walton, D. (2004). Informal logic: A handbook for critical argumentation. London, UK: Cambridge University Press.