Tag: Logic

When Logic Goes Wrong: Survival Guide

Logic Is Dead

As discussed in a previous post, logic fails in the real world. Real-world problems do not lend themselves to logical reasoning since any non-trivial issue involves some uncertainty (Was the report accurate? Is the test result a false-positive?). When the problem is also complex, involving large amounts of information with intricate dependencies, then uncertainty can render the logical argument meaningless.

How Does Anyone Make Decisions?

Given these hurdles, how has humanity managed to make any progress at all? How do we deal with uncertain information in cases of high complexity? Continue reading

Every Logical Argument You Ever Made Was Wrong

Isn’t Logic Great?

Who doesn’t like logic? We idolize Sherlock Holmes’ ability to solve mysteries by “eliminating the impossible.” In arguments with friends, we try to prove we’re right using logic, rather than intuition or emotions. And we especially enjoy pointing out others’ logical fallacies–preferably using latin terms.

Don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. Finding logical fallacies is actually much less impressive than you might think. That’s because in the real world, all arguments violate the principles of formal logic.

Yes, perhaps every logical argument you have ever encountered was flawed.

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The Straw Man and Other Fallacies of Relevance

What do ad hominems, appeals to authority, red herrings and the straw man argument have in common? Each of these is an example of the Fallacy of Relevance.

Fallacies of Relevance are logical fallacies in which a key part of the argument is actually irrelevant to its conclusion. People often find these fallacies hard to detect.  Understanding how to construct and take apart an argument can help you avoid falling for such fallacies.

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Avoid Circular Reasoning with Rootclaim

Circular reasoning is a common logical fallacy. It is a form of the Fallacy of Presumption. In these fallacies, an argument sounds coherent and compelling, but is actually dependent on one or more faulty or unproven arguments . In circular reasoning, each claim loops around and rests on the assumption of one of the other claims. Thus, no single starting point is ever conclusively and independently established.

“Donald Trump says that he is trustworthy. But Donald Trump is a liar. You can’t trust liars. When Donald Trump says that he is trustworthy, he is lying.”

“Crooked Hillary is crooked because she’s untrustworthy. She can’t be trustworthy because she’s crooked.”

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