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PHIL102: Logic and Critical Thinking

Unit 3: Fallacies   Now that we have an understanding of the structure that good arguments need to have and can represent their structure visually, we might think it would be a simple matter to pick out the bad ones.  However, identifying bad arguments can be very tricky in practice.  Very often what at first appears to be ironclad reasoning turns out to contain one or more subtle errors.  Fortunately, there are a large number of easily identifiable “fallacies”—mistakes of reasoning that we can learn to recognize by their structure or content.  In this unit, we will learn about the nature of fallacies, look at a couple of different ways of classifying them, and spend some time dealing with the most common fallacies in detail.

Unit 3 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 15 hours.

☐    Subunit 3.1: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2: 5 hours
 

☐    Subunit 3.2.1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.2.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.3: 5 hours
 

☐    Subunit 3.3.1: 0.25 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3.2: 0.25 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3.3: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3.4: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3.5: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3.6: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3.7: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3.8: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3.9: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3.10: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3.11: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.4: 4.5 hours
 

☐    Reading: 0.5 hours

☐    Lecture: 4 hours

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - define the notion of a fallacy; - define and illustrate fallacies of inconsistency, irrelevance, insufficiency, and inappropriate presumption; - define and contrast a variety of common fallacies: straw man, gambler’s fallacy, begging the question, red herring, ad hominem, appeal to ignorance, appeal to people, complex question, loaded question, and non-sequitur; - identify fallacies of reasoning in short argumentative passages; - describe the nature of a cognitive bias; and - describe and identify cognitive biases.

3.1 Introduction to Fallacies   - Reading: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Fallacies and Biases: “Tutorial F01” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Fallacies and Biases: “Tutorial F01” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this tutorial, which introduces the notion of
fallacious reasoning. *Fallacies* are arguments that are frequently
accepted as valid but which contain subtle errors of reasoning. It
is important to know how to catch fallacies.  
    
 Reading this tutorial should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version
can be found [here](http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/).

3.2 Types of Fallacies   3.2.1 Naming Fallacies   - Reading: Carson-Newman College: Dr. L. Kip Wheeler’s “Logical Fallacies Handlist” Link: Carson-Newman College: Dr. L. Kip Wheeler’s “Logical Fallacies Handlist” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Study this list of logical fallacies. Dr. Wheeler provides an extensive, but by no means comprehensive, list of fallacies, alternative names for many fallacies, and further illustrations of fallacies. Refer back to this resource as you continue with this subunit, noting especially alternative names for fallacies you will learn in subunits 3.2.2 and 3.2.3.
 
Studying this list should take approximately 1 hour.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Fallacies and Biases: “Tutorial F06” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Fallacies and Biases: “Tutorial F06” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this tutorial, which defines the most common fallacies. This list narrows down some of the fallacies seen in the previous reading and is enough to get us started. We will look at a wider sample of fallacies later on in this course. For now, focus on being able to define each fallacy and identify the differences between the fallacies on the list.
     
    Reading this tutorial should take approximately 2 hours.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License 3.0. It is attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version can be found here.

3.2.2 A Basic Typology of Fallacies   - Reading: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Fallacies and Biases: “Tutorials F02–F05” Links: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Professor Joe Lau’s and Professor Jonathan Chan’s “Tutorial F02: Fallacies of Inconsistency;” (HTML) “Tutorial F03: Fallacies of Relevance;” (HTML) “Tutorial F04: Fallacies of Insufficient Evidence;” (HTML) and “Tutorial F05: Fallacies of Inappropriate Presumption” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read these four tutorials, which introduce four major classifications of fallacies. Although there are many possible ways of categorizing fallacies, the four major groups discussed in these tutorials are fairly standard.
 
Reading these tutorials should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License 3.0. It is attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version can be found here.

3.2.3 Review of Types of Fallacies   - Assessment: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Professor Joe Lau and Professor Jonathan Chan’s Fallacies and Biases: “Tutorial F07: Exercises on Fallacies” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Professor Joe Lau and Professor Jonathan Chan’s  Fallacies and Biases“Tutorial F07: Exercises on Fallacies” (HTML)

 Instructions: Complete this multiple choice quiz, which will help
you identify common fallacies. Then, check your answers against the
[“Tutorial F07 Answer
Key”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/PHIL102-Subunit3.2.4-TutorialF07AnswerKey-FINAL.pdf) (PDF).  
    
 Completing this assessment should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version
can be found [here](http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/).

3.3 10 Common Fallacies in Detail   3.3.1 Straw Man Fallacy   - Web Media: YouTube: TechNyou’s “Critical Thinking Part 3: The Man Who Was Made of Straw” Link: YouTube: TechNyou’s “Critical Thinking Part 3: The Man Who Was Made of Straw” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Watch this video, which explains a fallacy commonly known as the straw man fallacy. After watching this video, you should be able to define the fallacy and identify examples of the fallacy.
 
Watching this video several times as needed and pausing to take notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to TechNyou, and the original version can be found here

3.3.2 Gambler’s Fallacy   - Web Media: YouTube: TechNyou’s “Critical Thinking Part 5: The Gambler’s Fallacy” Link: YouTube: TechNyou’s “Critical Thinking Part 5: The Gambler’s Fallacy” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Watch this video, which explains a fallacy commonly known as the gambler’s fallacy. After watching this video, you should be able to define the fallacy and identify examples of the fallacy.

 Watching this video several times as needed and pausing to take
notes should take approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to TechNyou, and the original version can be found
[here](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8SkCh-n4rw). 

3.3.3 Begging the Question   - Reading: Alternapedia: “Begging the Question” Link: Alternapedia: “Begging the Question” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article titled “Begging the Question.” After reading this article, you should be able to define the fallacy and identify examples of the fallacy.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The original Alternapedia article can be found here

3.3.4 Red Herring   - Reading: Alternapedia: “Red Herring” Link: Alternapedia: “Red Herring” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article titled “Red Herring.” After reading this article, you should be able to define the fallacy and identify examples of the fallacy.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The original Alternapedia article can be found here.  

3.3.5 Ad Hominem (Against the Person)   - Reading: Alternapedia: *“Ad Hominem”* Link: Alternapedia: Ad Hominem (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article titled “Ad Hominem.” After reading this article, you should be able to define the fallacy and identify examples of the fallacy.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The original Alternapedia article can be found here

3.3.6 Ad Ignorantium (Appeal to Ignorance)   - Reading: Alternapedia: “Argument from Ignorance” Link: Alternapedia: “Argument from Ignorance” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article titled “Argument from Ignorance.” After reading this article, you should be able to define the fallacy and identify examples of the fallacy.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The original Alternapedia article can be found here

3.3.7 Ad Populum (Appeal to People)   - Reading: Alternapedia: *“Argumentum ad Populum”* Link: Alternapedia: Argumentum ad Populum (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article titled “Argumentum ad Populum.” After reading this article, you should be able to define the fallacy and identify examples of the fallacy.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The original Alternapedia article can be found here

3.3.8 Complex Question (Double-Barreled Question)   - Reading: Alternapedia: “Double-Barreled Question” Link: Alternapedia: “Double-Barreled Question” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article titled “Double-Barreled Question.” After reading this article, you should be able to define the fallacy and identify examples of the fallacy.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The original Alternapedia article can be found here

3.3.9 Loaded Question   - Reading: Alternapedia: “Loaded Question” Link: Alternapedia: “Loaded Question” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article titled “Loaded Question.” After reading this article, you should be able to define the fallacy and identify examples of the fallacy.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The original Alternapedia article can be found here

3.3.10 Non Sequitur (It Does Not Follow)   - Reading: Alternapedia: *“Non Sequitur”* Link: Alternapedia: Non Sequitur (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article titled “Non Sequitur.” After reading this article, you should be able to define the fallacy and identify examples of the fallacy.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The original Alternapedia article can be found here

3.3.11 Review of Fallacies in Detail   - Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “PHIL102 Discussion Forum” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “PHIL102 Discussion Forum” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Consider the passages below. If the passage contains an argument, identify the premises and main conclusion. For each passage, assess whether it contains a fallacy. If it does, then identify the fallacy and explain why you made your assessment. Share your thoughts on the discussion forum by clicking on the link above and creating a free account, if you have not already done so. Review and respond to at least one or two other students’ posts.

1.  God exists, because many people who believe in God go on to have
    healthy, happy, and meaningful lives.
2.  Bertrand Russell said that objective morality is possible
    without God. Russell was an atheist, and we all know that he
    slept around and seduced young girls and was nasty to lots of
    people.
3.  Do you want four more years of this person in political office?
    Vote for me, Candidate X.

Completing this activity should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: The questions presented above are adapted from the
University of Hong Kong’s [Critical Thinking
Web](http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/critical/improve.php), which is
licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version
can be found [here](http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/).

3.4 Cognitive Biases   - Reading: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Fallacies and Biases: “Tutorial F08” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Fallacies and Biases: “Tutorial F08” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this tutorial, which describes some examples of cognitive biases. These biases are ways of thinking that lead us to make poor inferences. Being able to identify cognitive biases helps us to improve our own reasoning and helps us to assess other people’s reasoning.
 
Reading this tutorial should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License 3.0. It is attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version can be found here

  • Reading: YouTube: UC Berkeley: Robb Willer’s Sociology 150A: Social Psychology: Self and Society: “Lecture 3: Cognitive Biases 1”, “Lecture 4: Cognitive Biases 2”, and “Lecture 5: Cognitive Biases 3” Link: YouTube: UC Berkeley: Robb Willer’s Sociology 150A: Social Psychology: Self and Society: “Lecture 3: Cognitive Biases 1” (YouTube), “Lecture 4: Cognitive Biases 2” (YouTube), and “Lecture 5: Cognitive Biases 3” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Watch these three lectures to learn about the nature of cognitive biases. After watching these lectures, you should be able to provide examples which illustrate the cognitive biases.

    Watching these lectures and pausing to take notes should take approximately 4 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: These lectures are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported Licenses. These lectures are attributed to UC Berkeley, and the original versions can be found here, here, and here