- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes


By:   •  Essay  •  968 Words  •  December 11, 2009  •  1,521 Views

Page 1 of 4

Essay title: Fallacies


Thinking is such a natural process; we all do it continually and instinctively yet it seems difficult to define. Nonetheless, thinking can be broken down into two categories: critical and logical. Critical thinking is "the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from or generated by: observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action." (Ken Petress 2004). While logical thinking is a scientific and precise way of reasoning to determine validity or fallacy. The relationship between logical and critical thinking is that critical thinking is the process of analyzing and evaluating; while logic is one of the tools used in analyzing and evaluating.

Our focus currently, is logical thinking and logical fallacies and how the effect our critical thinking and decision-making. Fallacious reasoning may inhibit our critical thinking. Fallacies are errors in reasoning. Fallacies, such as past belief, straw man, non sequester, questionable cause, and appeal to pity to name a few, is when ones arguments prove the reasoning to be invalid. These errors in reasoning take away from the effectiveness of our arguments and our ability to think logically and critically. I believe that fallacies can also interfere in the decision making process because if we do not realize that a fallacy exists we can use an in valid arguments as part of our framing the problem, making the decision, or evaluating the decision. It is important to learn to recognize these errors to prevent us from make them and to be able to detect fallacies in others to have more effective and critical thinking and decision-making.

Fallacies are commonly used and can be found all around us. Below are some examples of Fallacies any why I believe they are errors in reasoning.

Past Belief

John Edwards stated, in a political ad for John Kerry, that "if you have any questions about what John Kerry is made of spend 3 minutes with the men who served by his side 30 years ago." (Edwards, 2004) Just because these men served with Kerry 30 years ago, (in the past) how can that justify that Kerry is the same person today. This statement commits a fallacy, Past Belief. This fallacy is believing in something because of past actions.

Straw Man

George W Bush's ad campaign uses straw man to try to confuse the audience. The ad states, that John Kerry missed over 2/3 of all votes. Missed a vote to lower health care cost, missed a vote to fund our troops, voted against the Laci Peterson Law. What the ad does not say is what are the votes did he make, was there a reason why Kerry did not vote for the Laci Peterson Law. It is easier to attack Kerry if you only select certain pieces that will illustrate a negative picture. Bush's ad is misrepresenting the opponent's position so it is easier to attack them this error in reasoning is straw man, which according to University of Phoenix (2002) is when the "arguer misrepresents an opponent's view."

Non Sequitur


In this fallacy, the premises have no direct relationship to the conclusion. This fallacy appears in political speeches and advertising with great frequency such as calendars that contain girls wearing skimpy clothing, playing with tools, guns, motorcycles, golf clubs, etc. Theses woman in revealing clothing have nothing to do with hunting, golfing, or mechanics, etc. this is a common fallacy called non sequitur. It is when the premises has no direct relationship to the conclusion.

Questionable Cause

According to the University of Phoenix (2002) questionable case is "claiming, without sufficient evidence, that one thing is the cause of something else" in other words not showing sufficient evidence to prove the cause is true.

A radio show "The Hideout" with one of it personality's (El

Continue for 3 more pages »  •  Join now to read essay Fallacies and other term papers or research documents
Download as (for upgraded members)
Citation Generator

(2009, 12). Fallacies. Retrieved 12, 2009, from

"Fallacies" 12 2009. 2009. 12 2009 <>.

"Fallacies.", 12 2009. Web. 12 2009. <>.

"Fallacies." 12, 2009. Accessed 12, 2009.