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Critical Thinking - the Fallacies

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Essay title: Critical Thinking - the Fallacies

Critical Thinking is a method used particularly for problem-solving. Critical thinking entails listening and cautious reflection of each perspective of a predicament or problem then choosing to believe what is appropriate and what is not and to an unselfish conclusion. One of the most important components of critical thinking is the power to resume the difficult ideas unambiguously with equity to all sides. This paper will consider and define three fallacies. The paper will inform about their importance in relation to critical thinking; moreover, it will argue their relevance to the decision-making. Finally, the paper will provide with some examples of fallacies. The fallacies that are going to be discussed are fallacy of personal attack (Ad Hominem), the fallacy of appeal to authority (Ad Verecuniam), and fallacy of appeal to ignorance (Ad Ignorantium) followed by some relevant examples.

Fallacy of Personal Attack

An Ad Hominem is a common type of fallacy in which an argument is discarded-based on various unrelated data concerning the person introducing the claim. Usually, the fallacy has two steps. Primarily, an assault in opposition to the character of the person presenting the claim will be made. Secondly, the assault is taken as verification in opposition to the argument the person being attacked is presenting. Personal Attack or Ad Hominem is a fallacy of relevance and occurs when people reject a person's argument or claim by attacking the person rather than the person's argument or claim.

An example of the fallacy of Ad Hominem is Michael Moore, the film maker of "Fahrenheit 9/11". Michael has received a great deal of criticism because of his controversial film (Fahrenheit 9/11). Michel was personally attacked as being unpatriotic and fanatical. It is important to give everyone the opportunity to present his or her argument and analyze the facts objectively using the Critical Thinking process. The result will be a more informed decision or conclusion. This is a comment from the Moorewatch.com website;

This is what Michael Moore is trying to do with America. He's trying to change America into a neo-socialist European-style society. Moore doesn't like the free enterprise system, capitalism, property rights, individual responsibility, or the concept of limited government. All of these are the bedrock upon which American society was built. Moore likes the nanny state, soft socialism, powerful government, and subservience to a greater good. These are the qualities upon which most of post-WWII Europe was built. (Yes, He hates America, 2004)

Fallacy of Appeal to Authority

This fallacy makes the person appear as an expert on x field. In some cases, the logic is faulty since the truth that an inexpert personality alleges does not offer any validation for the claim. The alleged claim may possibly be accurate; however, the fact that an inexpert individual or personality made the claim does not offer any reasonable explanation to believe the statement as true. As soon as people believe this as true, they are accepting a claim as factual with no sufficient proof to do so. Therefore, they incorrectly think that the individual making the claim is an acceptable authority and since the claim is logical people will be influence by it. This fallacy is a recurrent one because people is inclined to trust the authority. However, not all Appeals to Authority are erroneous. It is very difficult to investigate all the claims that come, not everyone has the time or resources. As Wikipedia states;

A (fallacious) appeal to authority argument has the basic form:

1. A makes claim B;

2. there is something positive about A,

3. therefore claim B is true.

The first statement is called a 'factual claim' and is the pivot point of much debate. The last statement is referred to as an 'inferential claim' and represents the reasoning process. There are two types of inferential claim, explicit and implicit. Arguments that (fallaciously) rely on the objectionable aspects of the person for the truth of the conclusion are discussed under ad hominem.

An appeal to authority is a logical fallacy: authorities can be wrong, both in their own field and in other fields; therefore referencing authority does not automatically imply truth. However,

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