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A Wrong Reasoning While Constructing an Argument

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What are fallacies?

Fallacies refer to a very complicated conception that can be interpreted in two different ways. It can be referred as a false belief that is popular and in the other way it can be stated as a bad argument that is deceptive in nature. Different form of art considers these two different concepts. Most of the academic writers consider it as a deceptive argument whereas many popular non-scholarly works consider it as a false belief. In general fallacy refers to using invalid and wrong reasoning while constructing an argument. Any kind of fallacious statement appears to be much better than what it really is. Most of the fallacies are made intentionally in order to persuade the people while there are some that are committed unintentionally because of ignorance.

Fallacious arguments are therefore deceptive and persuasive in nature. Apart from arguments, fallacies also include explanations, reasoning, definitions and concepts. There a number of fallacious reasoning that we can find in our daily life, if we go through various commercials, advertisements and newspapers. Most of the times, it is very difficult to recognize fallacious arguments. Fallacy can be subdivided into formal fallacy and informal fallacy. A formal fallacy follows a standardized logical system, whereas an informal fallacy does not follow a logical form and generally originates in the form of an error.

The work of fallacy first started from the work of Aristotle. His work “On Sophistical Refutations” talks about fallacies and other works like “Prior Analytics” and “On Rhetoric” also contains information about the same, It is clear that fallacies weaken any kind of arguments because of using such expressions or facts that are deceptive. Informal fallacies are very general and common in case of commercial advertisements and newspapers. The readers of the newspapers and the viewers of the advertisements are being attracted by fallacious statements. The product and service developers use these arguments in order to persuade the customers to buy their products and use their services. These arguments cannot be recognized easily as these are used in rhetorical patterns that have logical connections with the statements. It actually exploits the customer’s emotional and psychological weaknesses. Avoiding fallacies however helps in the production of strong and firm arguments.

How can one avoid committing a fallacy?

Fallacies undermine the focus of any arguments and hence one must be very careful while constructing any arguments. As a writer one must try not to commit any logical errors while connecting ideas. It is therefore important to know about how to determine fallacy in a statement.

In order to find a fallacy the first step is to disagree with the conclusion of the statement. Now once there is a disagreement, one need to find the reason for the disagreement by trying to find out what is fishy in the given argument. One needs to identify that part of the agreement that can be easily questionable and can be attacked. Once that part is identified, focus should be given to strengthen that part of the statement. One needs to be aware of the various kinds of fallacies and thereafter determine to which kind his argument falls. Any kind of facts and claims that require a number of backups and proofs are to be properly assessed. Using of words like “all”, “every”, “none”, “always” and many like this are okay but they need more proof than using words like “many”, “generally”, “usually”, “sometimes” and so on. The structure of the argument and its characterization must be made properly in order to make the argument free from fallacies. The basic elements of arguments – premises and conclusion must be properly analyzed and structured. One must know properly about what is needed to be proved. Facts, evidences and the underlying assumptions are thereafter required to be presented to support the claims.

Slippery Slope Argument

There are a number of fallacies that everyone goes across in their daily life. The different types of fallacies are hasty generalization, false cause, weak analogy, missing the point, ad populum, circular reasoning, either/or reasoning, ideological reasoning, appeal to authority, appeal to pity, slippery slope and the list goes on. In the below paragraph details about slippery slope has been mentioned.

Slippery Slope Argument or SSA is a form of a logical or formal fallacy that states that the larger premise of an argument is true just because a minor fact of that argument is true. It does not consider any other facts and proof in order to justify the argument. So the claim of the arguer is basically like a chain reaction that states that a dire consequence is taking place, but he has no evidence or assumption for the same. The arguer states that even if one takes a single step in the slippery slope, he or she will end up landing at the bottom without being able to stop anywhere in between. The base of a slippery slope is that any debatable decision will be resulting into unintended consequences. This kind of fallacious arguments accepts a series of events without any direct evidences that the events will actually happen or not. Few examples of slippery slope can be stated as follows:

i. If children are allowed to choose their movie at a particular time, then they are also going to expect to choose their schools and doctors as well.

ii. If a child is allowed to enter a class late, then it is useless for setting any kind of deadlines for him ever again.

iii. If a cat is given a cookie, it is also going to ask for a fish.
iv. If one is given an inch, they will seek for a mile.
v. Slippery slope is experienced in real life. While sharing foods, it is very often in groups that many friends say that “I am sorry but if I share a piece with you then I will have to share the rest of the pieces with others and I will have nothing left with me”.

From the above statements at, it is clear that the slippery slope argument is constructed like – “If A happens, then B will happen and thereafter C and so on.” The chain will go on.

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