Fallacy Summary and Application Paper Trista L. Fossa University of Phoenix MGT 350 James Bailey, Jr. February 9, 2009 Fallacy Summary and Application Paper “A logical fallacy is an element of an argument that is flawed, essentially rendering the line of reasoning, if not the entire argument, invalid. ” (Hineman, 2007, ¶ 1) As humans, we are faced with fallacies daily, whether it is at work, at home, or in the media. This paper will define three logical fallacies, explain their significance to critical thinking, and discuss their general application to the decision making process.
Logical Fallacies fall into two broad categories, which are the fallacy of relevance and the fallacy of insufficient evidence. Fallacies of relevance pertain to an attempt to prove a point by offering a conclusion that is irrelevant to the discussion or problem at hand. Fallacies of insufficient evidence are cases where insufficient evidence is provided in support of a claim. There are many logical fallacies that fall into these two categories, and we have chosen the following three: The Fallacy of Hasty generalization, the Fallacy of Exclusion, and the Fallacy of Tu Quoque.
Hasty generalization is a fallacy of insufficient evidence, because it bases its conclusions on too little evidence. It would mean in a simple sense that because you know three people who say that someone is a mean person, you automatically conclude this as well without getting to know that person, and deciding for yourself. Examples of hasty generalizations can be found anywhere, and everywhere, even in the media. There have been a lot of debates over the years in regards to immigration, especially in the media. Media reports focus on a valedictorian or other successful immigrant, legal or not, as part of an attempt to argue that immigration is beneficial. ” (Stein, 2008, ¶ 1) The media has its way off putting a persuasive spin on everything that we view, and sometimes by doing these use hasty generalization fallacies in the process. It is important that the public understand these fallacies, and start to think more critically before making a hasty generalization fallacy, and in turn making a bad decision based upon this fallacy. According to (Kirby & Goodpaster, 2007, p. 05), “just one bad experience with a person of another race, creed or economic status might leave people to conclude that all those types of people are like that. ” In our society today, many people believe this way, and unfortunately stereotypes are then formed. The Fallacy of Exclusion is also a fallacy of insufficient evidence, where evidence is excluded. This fallacy is used in many arguments, as leaving out certain evidence may make the person seem as if they are right, and lead them to a conclusion that could have been different if the evidence was not withheld.
The media is constantly focused on the war in Iraq, and with that the weapons of mass destruction was a very big topic some years back. There was major talk about how the arsenal of weapons of mass destruction had to be destroyed in Iraq; however, most of those weapons are from American origin. (Lieberman, 2003, p. 9) If information such as this was not withheld, many outcomes with relating issues may have been different. The fallacy of Tu Quoque is a fallacy of relevance and it “attempts to discredit a person’s position or argument because their character or personal life is inconsistent with it. (Kirby & Goodpaster, 2007, p. 280) We deal with this fallacy more often than not in our personal lives. There are many examples of this type of fallacy. One example would be if Tom who was a smoker told his daughter Sue that she shouldn’t smoke because it was very bad for her, and she could get some sort of cancer and die if she continued. Sue says to her father, “well it can’t be that bad, you smoke, and you don’t have cancer. We deal with this type of fallacy all of the time, and in some cases it’s hard not to. We may not want our kids to start smoking, but if we smoke, it is more likely that our children will eventually smoke as well, because they think that if nothing has happened to you, they should be just fine. A name that sometimes can come into play with these sorts of people is hypocrites. We all know one or two, or possibly even more. We see hypocrites at work, church, on the media, school, and of course at home.
It is important to live and act in regards to how we believe, but it is something that can be very challenging, as there is no man or woman who is perfect. Fallacies make it hard for someone to see all angles, to think “outside the box”, or more critically. Some people are very hard headed, only focusing on what they believe, think and feel, instead of having factual information to back their opinion up. Many people just want the truth, but how can we get the truth when we fall victim to so many fallacies that we are faced with in our daily lives?
It is important to be aware of fallacies in every aspect of our lives. It is important that organization hire proper management that is able to identify these fallacies because it will enable their employees to think more critically, and therefore make better decisions. Decision making is ultimately what it all boils down to. We all want to make the right decisions, but in order to for that to happen, we have to be able to think critically, or “outside the box”.
In order to think critically to make that important decision, we must be aware of fallacies that can have insufficient evidence or have no relevance. By understanding, better decisions can be made. We will always be faced with fallacies, whether in our professional or personal lives, and “unfortunately, logical fallacies are rampant in mainstream media, but becoming more aware of the various types of fallacies and how they are structured can help you identify misleading statements and recognize what is and isn’t legitimate information. (freethought message boards, ¶ 1) References Hineman, G. (2007). Logical Fallacy: Definition and example of logical fallacy. suite101. com. Retrieved from http://essay-writing. suite101. com/article. cfm/logical_fallacy Kirby, G. R. , & Goodpaster, J. R. (2007). Logical Thinking. In Thinking, 4/e (pp. 205-207). Pearson Prentice Hall: Pearson Education, Inc.. Kirby, G. R. , & Goodpaster, J. R. (2007). Persuasive Thinking. In Thinking 4/e (pp. 280-281).
Pearson Prentice Hall: Pearson Education, Inc.. Lieberman, R. (2003). The Fallacies. LewRockwell. com. Retrieved from http://www. lewrockwell. com/orig2/liebermann4. html Stein, D. (2008). Today’s Media Fallacy of Hasty Generalization: John’s Hopkins’ Illegal Alien Doctor. The Dan Stein Report. Retrieved from http://www. steinreport. com/archives/011600. html freethought message boards. (, ). Logical Fallacy Summary. Message posted to http://www. freethoughtpedia. com/wiki/Logical_fallacy_summary
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