Have you ever got involved in an argument with someone and have lost it miserably? Deep down you knew that the other individual wasn’t right. And yet you lost the argument. How? Well, the chances are you might have fallen for the flaws in their logic. These flaws are called the logical fallacies, which fool us with misdirection. Most of the times they’re regularly utilized by the lawmakers and the media to trick individuals.
Before you continue, I’d like to tell that what you’re about to read is going to make a huge change in your structure of the arguments. So, be sure to stick on till the end! Trust me, it’s gonna be highly beneficial.
[PS: It’s a bit philosophical]
Alright! Below are some of the commonly used logical fallacies to confuse people in the daily life.
1] Ad Hominem (Against the man)
An Ad Hominem is an argument that attacks your opponents’ character rather than addressing the argument itself.
1) Politician A v/s Politician B
A: We need to do so and so changes to the country.
B: Don’t listen to Politician A. He’s a corrupt individual.
2) Person A v/s Person B
A: You should start exercising.
B: I’ve never seen you exercise. So, I won’t listen to you.
In both the cases, the second person (B) did not address the genuine issue. Rather, he assaulted the other person (A) by talking an off-theme, character related contention. Thus, this obviously is a logical fallacy.
2] Ad Ignorantiam (Argument from ignorance)
An Ad Ignorantiam is a fallacy that occurs when it’s argued that something must be true, simply because it hasn’t been proved false. Or, equivalently, something must be false because it hasn’t been proved true.
- Nobody can demonstrate that the Bible is false. Henceforth it is true.
- No one has proven that aliens exist. Therefore they don’t exist.
Both the cases are making an assumption that if something is false, then it must be true, or vice versa instead of actually looking at the facts. As we can see, there is a clear flaw in the logic.
3] False Analogy
Humans are experts at comparing things. A false analogy is an argument based upon an assumed similarity between two things or situations than they really are.
- If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we find a cure for cancer?
- A and B are of the same age. They studied together. They grew up together. If A can be successful, why can’t B be?
While both the things compared in each of the cases have some sort of similarities, the differences are more. Two things cannot be the same just because only a set of facts are similar.
4] Appeal to Emotions
It is a fallacy where someone manipulates an emotional response in place of a valid or compelling argument.
Interviewer: Why do you think you’re suited for this job?
Candidate: I’m so passionate about it! I can work with enthusiasm!
Well, the reply should have been about qualifications and experience in the field related to the job. Giving a reply which provokes emotions instead of an actual answer is clearly a logical fallacy.
5] Either-Or or False Dilemma
This fallacy occurs where two alternative states are presented as the only possibilities, when in fact, more possibilities can exist. It depicts the extremities of a case instead of looking at the other options.
- If you’re not with me, then you’re with enemy.
- You are either with us or you’re with them.
- Colgate ad: If you don’t use Colgate, your teeth will get germs, but if you do, they will be clean.
Here, they create a sense of false dilemma making others believe that there are only two options. Obviously you could use other toothpastes, but the Colgate ads seem to fool people by creating a logical fallacy.
Though identifying logical fallacies can be tough at times, one has to be aware that these are little tricks which are used to fool individuals. Also, whenever you feel like losing an argument and you know that the other person is wrong, look for the above mentioned flaws in logic. You may have a chance to win the argument by pointing out their mistakes!