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    Critical Thinking about Fallacies

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    Fallacies are everywhere. They can be so common that they hide from even the savviest reader. Ideally, now that you've familiarized yourself with the common fallacy types, you will be able to think of applications in your own life. For this log, reflect upon a recent encounter you had - this could be with a person, a text, or a piece of media. Did you encounter any fallacies? If you believe that you might have, but you can't assign a specific name to the behavior that you witnessed, do your best to describe what went wrong. If these common fallacies don't quite fit, the exercise of finding fallacious logic still has merit.

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    Our world is increasingly filled with all kinds of data. It comes from every direction, all the time; from media that until very recently, was unimagined. Mainstream media, indie media, fringe media, radio, social media, blogs, text messages, email chain letters, urban legends, rumors, and other people. We absorb enormous amounts of data every day, and on occasion act on that data, with or without the requisite level of research, analysis and skepticism, which would allow us to convert data to information. There is simply not enough time. In this light, if one is to make sense of the world around them in a rational manner, a high level of skepticism is becoming increasingly important. For it is only with the skeptical mindset that one may become aware of errors in judgment or reasoning in the thought processes of others, often "informal fallacies".

    The word "informally" is used because it is important to distinguish between informal and formal logic, since arguments in the latter may be evaluated as true, even if based on formal fallacy. In addition, formal logic does not need to be rationally persuasive to remain logical. In the human realm, we are most concerned with interaction, engagement and the persuasion of others to get what we want or need - in a word, influence. Engaging in fallacy as a means of persuasion is one form of influence, and one that the skeptic should be aware of. Fallacies are often used as a last resort, when ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution addresses a personal experience of fallacy occurring in every day conversation and skepticism in general.