Informal Fallacies In Critical Thinking

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Below, I have compiled a list of 18 forms of persuasion techniques, illogical argumentation and fallacious reasoning that I commonly encounter in my use of social media. We cannot generalize one person’s experience to the population at large.

By learning about these devices, you will be more likely to recognise their use, avoid using them yourself, and better assess arguments presented to you. Ad hominem (‘to the man’) refers to an attack on the person; for example, regarding their past or personal traits, as a means of undermining/opposing their argument, without having to provide any evidence. Other people may have had very different experiences. 1,000 instead of 1), then we might be able to make some generalizations. The Appeal to Authority can be tricky, because it’s not always illogical. Heuristics and biases: Judgement under uncertainty.

It would be wrong to think something is true just because an authority figure said it is; however, if it was an authority who is expert in the field relevant to the issue, then it might be illogical to believe the opposite.

Expert opinions are a strong source of credibility, given that these opinions are often based on empirical evidence.

Thus, the probability of flipping a coin and getting tails eight times in a row is the very same as getting HTHTHTHT.

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The conceptualisation of the gambler’s fallacy is quite similar to the .

Simply, there is a one in two chance of a coin landing tails up, so based on this assessment, some might say if heads comes up on the first flip, then it seems likely the coin will come up tails on the second flip.

This would be an incorrect assessment of probability, as coins do not have a memory. Every flip and every spin is new and is not dictated by what happened previously.

In this context, it is a type of These are not the only logical fallacies or persuasion techniques out there—just the most common in my experience.

If you’re interested in learning more about fallacies, I recommend checking out


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