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Logical Fallacies Series Part 15

Scott CunninghamFeb 14, 2019, 6:52:11 PM

Hey there! I want to talk to again you about logical fallacies! There are oh so many and I'd like to go over them. We are now on to part 15 of my series on here. In this series, we are only covering the actual fallacies and what they are, not the application of them or anything outside of the basics.

Remember for your argument to be logical, THOU MUST NOT COMMIT LOGICAL FALLACIES! Instead of just pointlessly copying and pasting, I will describe these in my own words for you, if that isn't your thing, check out the bottom for references. Otherwise, kindly read on...


Lying With Statistics

This is the fallacy where someone misuses factual and accurate statistics in order to prove unrelated claims to those statistics. For example it would be fallacious to say that because at a company appears to have hired a certain race more so than another race, that they are racist because the statistics show that they aren't hiring with equality in mind. Actually, they just hired the most qualified people for the job and didn't consider race. This is one mediocre example of how you can lie with statistics to achieve a favored outcome and it happens a lot in politics and debate.

Magical Thinking Fallacy

This is typically religious, but can just be categorized as magical thinking as someone who isn't religious could use any type of miracle like luck. Essentially what happens here is someone believes if they have enough faith, perform a ritual, say the right words, or do whatever the need to for a miracle that it will in fact happen even if impossible. This fallacy denies the existence of a rational or predictable universe and denies any possibility to make a valid argument against it. For example someone says if I pray really hard I will win the lottery. You can't argue with them here because they have a fallback, if they don't win, they can say they just didn't pray hard enough. Also given their premise isn't a logical one, you can't really break it down for them because it was never on the basis of rational thinking to begin with. Things don't happen because we wish really hard, they happen because we try hard and put in the effort to make them happen via action.

Mala Fides a.k.a. Sophism

Sophism is where someone makes an argument they them self know is not valid. For example a lawyer is arguing for the innocence of someone they know is guilty. This is something you see quite often. Typically this is done to further one's own goals and objectives and done somewhat in bad faith. The lawyer example isn't in bad faith, but they are doing this to further their career and make a living wage. It's not really fair to say the lawyer was being fallacious given they have an ethical duty to defend anyone, but it is still fallacious logically to argue something in bad faith when you know it to be false or don't believe it to be true.

The Tiny Percentage Fallacy

The tiny percentage fallacy claims that because something which may be very significant is a small percentage of a larger portion, that is insignificant and not a concern. For example we see this all the time in politics where in the US for example, they say look we want to launch some massive overhaul or some huge new project and it's only going to cost a tiny percentage of your tax dollars. It would only cost 1% of all our tax dollars to fix this huge problem! People think wow only 1% and we can fix the problem? Well 1% is a fancy way of saying we want more than 30 billion dollars of the tax payer's money, which would be a huge demand.

Motivational Truth And Self Deception Fallacies

These are somewhat similar so I'm sharing these together. This is where someone deliberately lies to gain support in order to motivate them to do some certain action they want to achieve. For example a politician may make promises they know they won't keep because they believe this evil means will end up achieving up with a positive end. They think maybe my false promises are bad, but the ones I will keep will benefit everyone more than the other candidate so this justifies my actions. Similarly self deception is the same thing, but it's only done to yourself not others. This is where someone tries to lie to them self in order to help them achieve a desired goal. This isn't necessarily always bad, but it's not strictly speaking logical. For example you might lie to yourself about a trauma to overcome the feelings of anxiety and keep your peace of mind during that struggle. A more malicious example could be convincing yourself you aren't guilty so that when taking a lie detector test you avoid the triggers that would detect your lying.


Check out these 2 resources I like to use and often refer to:



If you love philosophy as much as I do, feel free to give me a thumbs up and share your thoughts.

If you want to make sure people aren't committing logical fallacies be sure to REMIND them!

Check out the previous logical fallacies blog part 14


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