Description of Fallacies
In order to understand what a fallacy is, one must understand what an argument is. Very briefly, an argument consists of one or more premises and one conclusion. A premise is a statement (a sentence that is either true or false) that is offered in support of the claim being made, which is the conclusion (which is also a sentence that is either true or false).
Lawyers learn about the logical fallacies in law school. Since Aristotle is seen as the “father of logic” most philosophy classes include training about logical fallacies. Nowadays logic classes are about as rare as civics classes but some undergraduate curriculums still include a basic logic class. Following logical thinking guidelines are especially important as we make decisions that are going to affect our nation and our posterity.
Logic is a tool to help people arrive at dependable conclusions. Logic is related to such disciplines as epistemological protocol, scientific methodology, and rules of evidence. Many people are surprised to find out that there are rules for thinking. Aristotle aimed to unify all of these rules into a coherent system of thought by developing a common methodology that would serve equally well as the procedure for learning about any discipline.
Like most tools, logic can be used for good or evil. Lawyers will sometimes use what they learned about logical fallacies to create false impressions rather than reveal the truth. Propagandists and PSYOPS agents are very skilled at using logical fallacies to influence “target audience's value systems, belief systems, emotions, motives, reasoning, and behavior”.
How do they twist the truth and attempt to pollute your mind?
Let’s start with some simple examples and work our way up the list of classical logical fallacies complete with Latin names.
The false syllogism
A syllogism ("conclusion," "inference"), (usually the categorical syllogism) is a kind of logical argument in which one proposition (the conclusion) is inferred from two others (the premises) of a certain form. An example of an accurate syllogism is:
Minor premise: Socrates is human.
Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.
“Penguins Walk Funny”
A few more examples of logical fallacies with a humorous intent:
Love is blind.
Steve Wonder is blind.
Conclusion: Steve Wonder is God!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Nothing is perfect.
God is Perfect.
So, I'm God !
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
If Steve Wonder is God,
I'm Steve Wonder.
Oh my God!...I'm going blind!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
On the serious side, learning to recognize a bad argument when it comes your way and learning how to respond properly is a major part of what the study of logic is about – self defense. You might consult an article on this blog entitled, Spot false arguments and make strong ones
Vietnam War was a bad war, therefore all wars are bad wars.
Because people have killed in God’s name, religion is evil and should be abolished.
A really great short course on logic and how to disagreeis written by Paul Graham.
Fortunately, most Logical fallacy PSYOPS agents aren’t very skillful.
The trademark personal insult, name calling, ridicule, and ad hominem attacks characterize the debate style of online people That tactic has worked quite well on the ignorant and those who value feeling more than reason.