Fallacies: The Pathology of Bad Arguments

Someone claims that you have committed a ‘slippery-slope fallacy’. You think it is completely reasonable to say that if we allow X then Y will follow. So... are all slippery-slopes fallacies? This practical course has 3 main components: to learn how to: Identify the most common fallacies; Evaluate whether alleged fallacies are really fallacious; practise good argumentative skills so that you don’t have to memories 100 fallacy names. We will pay special consideration to whether some arguments are really fallacious, for example, the alleged ‘No True Scotsman Move’.


DELIVERY MODE

  • This class will be delivered online via the online platform Zoom.
  • This course requires students to have an email, a reliable internet connection, a microphone/speakers and access to a tablet, smartphone or computer.


SUGGESTED READING

  • Stuart Hanscomb, Critical Thinking: The Basics, Routledge, 2017
  • David Hackett Fischer, Historians' Fallacies: Towards a Logic of Historical Thought, Harper Perennial, 1970.
  • T. Edward Damer, Attacking Faulty Reasoning: A Practical Guide to Fallacy-Free Arguments, Wadsworth, 6th Edition, 2009.
  • Antony Flew, Thinking About Thinking: Or, Do I Sincerely Want to Be Right?, Fontana Press, 1975
  • Michael Withey, Mastering Logical Fallacies, Zephyros Press, 2016
  • Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn, The Fallacy Detective, Workbook Print Edition, 2015
  • Ali Almossawi, An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments
  • Fabio Paglieri, Don’t Worry. Be Gappy! On the Unproblematic Gappiness of Alleged Fallacies, Informal Logic journal

Further resources will be posted on my website: http://inception.guru


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Argumentology: Good arguments and bad arguments. The properties of a good argument.
  • Fallacies: Definitions and traits – violating one or more properties of a good argument.
  • Ways to classify fallacies: Formal versus informal; false appeals & fallacies of relevance; fallacies of language; fallacies of causation; epistemic fallacies. The most important fallacies to learn.
  • Theory: Health Skepticism about Fallacies on the Internet; Contextualism versus Invariantism about fallacies; “Gappy Fallacies” and the Fallacy-Fork Argument.
  • Formal Fallacies: Affirming the Consequent, Denying the Antecedent, Undistributed Middle Term, the Quantifier Shift Fallacy.
  • Practise: Methods for exposing fallacies – The Self-Destruct Method, Reductio Arguing by Logical Analogy.
  • Theory: Informal Fallacies, False Appeals and Arguments Ad – Violating the Relevance Condition.
  • Practise: A list of the most popular ‘Appeal To’ fallacies.
  • Theory: Mind Your Language – fallacies borne from language: Ambiguity and Amphiboly; vagueness; Equivocation; Definitional fallacies, Persuasive Definitions and appeals to etymology.
  • Practise: Identifying flaws in language.
  • Fallacies about Causation: Post hoc propter hoc, mistaking correlation for cause, the Texas Sharp-Shooter.
  • Epistemic fallacies and assumptions: the burden of proof; Argumentum Ad Ignorantium – the Appeal to Ignorance, evidence and the lack of it; Intentional contexts of believing and knowing.
  • The alleged ‘No True Scotsman’ Fallacy: Origin, history and theory from the author Antony Flew - falsificationism and evasion.
  • The irony of Popularity and the Bandwagon Effect: So Many No-True-Scotsmans Around.
  • Really, truly, and genuinely: talking about True Xs versus X is True - attribute versus predicative adjectives; essentialism, non-essentialism and Social Kinds.
  • Discussion and Workshop: Is Flew’s No True Scotsman Fallacy Truly Fallacious?



PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the differences between good arguments and fallacious arguments.
  2. Identify the most common fallacies in popular and specialized discourse.
  3. Analyse and evaluate alleged fallacious arguments.
  4. Apply the techniques of identifying fallacies and bad arguments in different contexts.
$192 Limited / $173

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07 May

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