Bad Arguments

fallacy |?fal?s?|noun ( pl. -cies)a mistaken belief, esp. one based on unsound argument : the notion that the camera never lies is a fallacy.• Logic a failure in reasoning that renders an argument invalid.

So we’ve looked at about half of what you need to know to for your Higher Philosophy exam, and about a third of what we’ll do for IB. We’ve said that arguments are what philosophers use to establish their conclusions and that the reliability of arguments depends on two things: their structure and their premises. We split arguments into two types and gave them posh names (deductiveinductive) and noted the sorts of conclusions that each can give rise to (certain and highly probable respectively).

What is important to remember is that bad arguments do not have to lead to bad conclusions (though they might well do). If you think of Will’s first day at school in the inbetweeners, EXAMPLE

Now, moving on we need to look at arguments that contain mistakes and think about how we might be able to spot them. And as we do this it’s a bit of a good news/bad news situation. The good news is you learn almost everything you need to know with some flashcards (available on this blog) or something so if you’re okay at memorising you’re cruising. The bad news is that (as ever) philosophers use lots of technical words in this area and also, if you took philosophy to avoid maths, this section has a tendency to end up a bit ‘equationy’. The first new word is ‘fallacy’. In philosophy a fallacy is a posh way of describing an error in reasoning in one word. Okay so far? Here are the two different types…

Where next?:

Formal Falacies

Informal Falacies

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