I'm quite reasonable in many aspects of my life, but I don't think my reasoning skills are up to par. I certainly don't argue well, or defend myself in an argument. This is why I've been a closet atheist for so long. I just didn't want to be confronted or verbally attacked by zealous religious people.
- Logical: Reasoning or capable of reasoning in a clear and consistent manner. Reasonable.
We're going to take our lessons from The Top 20 Logical Fallacies by the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe. I think it's a great start and a nice list that is clear and easy to understand. Your comments and suggestions for other resources that might prove useful are always welcome. We'll tackle one Logical Fallacy a day.
- Fallacy: A deceptive, misleading or false notion or belief. A misleading or unsound argument.
From SGU: All arguments have the same basic structure: A therefore B. They begin with one or more premises (A), which is a fact or assumption upon which the argument is based. They then apply a logical principle (therefore) to arrive at a conclusion (B).Another thing that is really important as we get started is to keep in mind the difference between Fact versus Opinion, and the difference between Objective versus Subjective.
An example of a logical principle is that of equivalence. For example, if you begin with the premises that A=B and B=C, you can apply the logical principle of equivalence to conclude that A=C.
A logical fallacy is a false or incorrect logical principle. An argument that is based upon a logical fallacy is therefore not valid. It is important to note that if the logic of an argument is valid then the conclusion must also be valid, which means that if the premises are all true then the conclusion must also be true. Valid logic applied to one or more false premises, however, leads to an invalid argument. Also, if an argument is not valid the conclusion may, by chance, still be true.
- Fact: something that actually exists; reality; truth. Something known to exist or to have happened. Something known to be true.
- Opinion: a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.
- Objective: not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased. Of or pertaining to something that can be known, or to something that is an object or a part of an object; existing independent of thought or an observer as part of reality.
- Subjective: existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought (opposed to Objective)
This is a series on Logic, Logical Thinking and Dealing with Logical Fallacies in an Argument. Visit the Logical Fallacies page to see them all.