Fallacies are false arguments that look correct on the surface but are proven wrong by digging deeper with reasoning. They are so common in day to day conversations; you will start to notice them once you understand them and start looking out for them.
I am starting a series where we run through logical fallacies together. This will help you identify them in various conversations or arguments and to prevent the logical pitfalls they present. Slight disclaimer before we start; basing your arguments and decisions on logical reasoning doesn’t mean that you would always get a favourable result, but it does increase the odds.
The reason logical arguments are chosen and the fallacies avoided is because they present a solid framework of thinking that is repeatable and reproducible. Having a good foundation for thinking makes results predictable, no matter the situation you are trying to tackle.
This is one of the fallacies in logic; it is usually left as the last one treated in most explanations of fallacies. The reason I am starting with it is that a lot of people don’t get to the end; they pick the fallacies they need and runoff.
The fallacy fallacy states that “just because an argument falls into one of the logical fallacies, that does not mean it is an incorrect argument”. It is very difficult to have any conversation without at least one logical fallacy; we have to assess the entire argument and not just throw everything out because we spotted a fallacy.
This is a dangerous fallacy because; people who know about the other fallacies but not this one tend to be cemented in their position, unwilling to move. A common fallacy that falls prey to this is the fallacious appeal to authority (Something I will cover in-depth later). Simply put, it is when you take something as completely true because it is believed by someone in authority. E.g. when we were children and believed everything our parents told us, because they are in positions of authority. It is a fallacious appeal to authority but it does not mean everything they said was wrong.
Does This Mean All Fallacies are Useless?
No, the fallacy fallacy doesn’t throw all other fallacies out, it simply serves as a warning. Let us use the appeal to authority fallacy as an example, above we saw ourselves as children being a victim of this fallacy but it was not bad because most of our parents used their authority to guide us in the right direction.
Now we have the other side of the coin that deals with celebrities and influencers. This is a new danger that has presented itself; people taking the opinion of a celebrity to use essential oils for cancer instead of medicine prescribed by their doctor. The trend now is the whole anti-vax movement, which came out of nowhere and is now being propagated hard by celebrities. These celebrities are not in any field even remotely related to medicine, but for some reason, people take their word as gospel.
We will be going over multiple fallacies in this series to help you level up your arguments and your critical reasoning skills. But always keep in mind, just because it has a fallacy in it, doesn’t mean it is untrue