Different types of fallacies (false arguments)

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fluffy bunny
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Different types of fallacies (false arguments)

Post by fluffy bunny » 15 Aug 2008

Fallacies, otherwise known as "the Art of Mental Trickery and Manipulation". See, "The Thinker’s Guide to Fallacies: The Art of Mental Trickery and Manipulation" (Free download versions).
Dr Richard Paul and Dr Linda Elder wrote:The word ‘fallacy’ derives from two Latin words, fallax (“deceptive”) and fallere (“to deceive”). This is an important concept in human life because much human thinking deceives itself while deceiving others. The human mind has no natural guide to the truth, nor does it naturally love the truth.

What the human mind loves is itself, what serves it, what flatters it, what gives it what it wants, and what strikes down and destroys whatever “threatens” it.

How can humans create within their own minds such an inconsistent amalgam of the rational and the irrational? The answer is self-deception. In fact, perhaps the most accurate and useful definition of humans is that of “the self-deceiving animal.” Deception, duplicity, sophistry, delusion, and hypocrisy are foundational products of human nature in its “natural,” untutored state. Rather than reducing these tendencies, most schooling and social influences redirect them, rendering them more sophisticated, more artful, and more obscure.

To exacerbate this problem, not only are humans instinctively self-deceptive, they are naturally socio-centric as well. Every culture and society
sees itself as special and as justified in all of its basic beliefs and practices, in all its values and taboos.

The over-whelming preponderance of people have not freely decided what to believe, but, rather, have been socially conditioned (indoctrinated) into their beliefs. They are unreflective thinkers. Their minds are products of social and personal forces they neither understand, control, nor concern themselves with. Their personal beliefs are often based in prejudices. Their thinking is largely comprised of stereotypes, caricatures, oversimplifications, sweeping generalizations, illusions, delusions, rationalizations, false dilemmas, and begged questions.

Their motivations are often traceable to irrational fears and attachments, personal vanity and envy, intellectual arrogance and simple-mindedness. These constructs have become a part of their identity.

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Mistake versus fallacy

Post by fluffy bunny » 16 Aug 2008

The philosopher Schopenhauer, in commenting on tricks of persuasion,
once remarked:
Schopenhauer wrote:It would be a very good thing if every trick could receive some short and obviously appropriate name, so that when an individual used this or that particular trick, they could at once be reproved for it.
Dr Richard Paul and Dr Linda Elder wrote:Unfortunately, there are an unlimited number of maneuvers one can make in camouflaging poor reasoning, making bad thinking look good, and obscuring what is really going on in a situation. Furthermore, most people are resistant to recognizing poor reasoning when it supports what they intensely believe.

It is as if people subconsciously accept the premise “all is fair in the scramble for power, wealth, and status.” Any argument, any consideration, any mental maneuver or construction that validates emotionally-charged beliefs seems to the believer to be justified.

The more intense the belief, the less likely that reason and evidence can dislodge it.
Also from, "The Thinker’s Guide to Fallacies: The Art of Mental Trickery and Manipulation" above. Its actually a very good read.
Mistakes Versus Fallacies

“What about mistakes?” you might ask. Isn’t it possible that some of the time we commit fallacies inadvertently, unintentionally, and innocently? The answer is, of course, yes. Sometimes people make mistakes without any intention of tricking anyone.

The test to determine whether someone is merely making a mistake in thinking is relatively simple. After the mistake is pointed out to the person, and the person is explicitly faced with the problems in the thinking, observe to see whether he or she honestly changes.

In other words, once the pressure to change is removed, does the person revert to the original fallacious way of thinking, or does he
demonstrate that he has truly been persuaded (and modified his thinking accordingly)?

If the person reverts, or invents a new rationalization for his behavior, we can conclude that the person was using the fallacy to gain an advantage and not making a simple mistake.
Most people deeply believe in — but are unaware of — the following
premises:
  • 1) IT’S TRUE IF I BELIEVE IT.
    2) IT’S TRUE IF WE BELIEVE IT.
    3) IT’S TRUE IF I WANT TO BELIEVE IT.
    4) IT’S TRUE IF IT SERVES MY VESTED INTEREST TO BELIEVE IT.
The human mind is often myopic, inflexible, and conformist, while at the same time highly skilled in self-deception and rationalization. People are by nature highly egocentric, highly sociocentric, and wantonly self-interested.

Their goal is not truth but advantage. They have not acquired their beliefs through a rational process. They are highly resistant to rational critique.

Blind faith, fear, prejudice, and self-interest are primary organizers of much human thinking. Self-delusion, in conjunction with lack of self-command, characterize much human thinking. A highly compromised integrity is the result.

If you point out a mistake in thinking to most persons, you may silence them momentarily. But most, like rubber bands that have momentarily been stretched and let go, will soon revert to whatever it was they believed in the first place.

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44 Foul Ways to Win an Argument

Post by fluffy bunny » 16 Aug 2008

Interesting by "striving to appear before others in a way that associates themselves with power, authority, and conventional morality" (see below), one would say "Royal" and underline the use of the concept of "being Royal" in BK Speak. Lekhraj Kirpalani's observation of and obsession with what his clients had ... power, authority.
The Foundation for Critical Thinking wrote:Skilled Manipulators (weak-sense critical thinkers)

There is a much smaller group of people who are skilled in the art of manipulation and control. These people are shrewdly focused on pursuing their own interest without respect to how that pursuit affects others ... They have greater command of the rhetoric of persuasion. They are more sophisticated, more verbal, and generally have greater status.

They are accustomed to playing the dominant role in relationships. They know how to use the established structure of power to advance their interests. Since they are fundamentally concerned, not with advancing rational values, but with getting what they want, they are careful to present themselves as sharing the values of those they manipulate.

Skilled manipulators are rarely insightful dissenters, rebels, or critics of society. The reason is simple. They cannot effectively manipulate members of a mass audience if they appear to that mass to be invalidating their beliefs. Manipulators do not use their intelligence for the public good. Rather they use it to get what they want in alliance with those who share their vested interests. Manipulation, domination, demagoguery, and control are their tools.

Persons skilled in manipulation want to influence the beliefs and behavior of others. And they have insight into what makes people vulnerable to manipulation. As a result, they strive to appear before others in a way that associates themselves with power, authority, and conventional morality. This impetus is evident, for example, when politicians appear before mass audiences with well-polished, but intellectually empty, speeches.

There are a number of alternative labels for the roles that “manipulators” play, including: the spin master, the con artist, the sophist, the propagandist, the indoctrinator, the demagogue, and often, the “politician.” Their goal is always to control what others think and do by controlling the way information is presented to them. They use “rational” means only when such means can be used to create the appearance of objectivity and reasonability. The key is that they are always trying to keep some information and some points of view from being given a fair hearing.
44 Foul Ways to Win an Argument

Accuse Your Opponent of Doing What He is Accusing You of
Accuse Him of Sliding Down A Slippery Slope
Appeal to Authority
Appeal to Experience
Appeal to Fear
Appeal to Pity (or sympathy)
Appeal to Popular Passions
Appeal to Tradition or Faith
Assume a Posture of Righteousness
Attack the person
Beg the Question
Call For Perfection
Create a False Dilemma
Devise Analogies (and Metaphors) That Support Your View
Question Your Opponent’s Conclusions
Create Misgivings
Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
Create A Straw Man
Deny or Defend Your Inconsistencies
Demonize His Side Sanitize Yours
Evade Questions, Gracefully
Flatter Your Audience
Hedge What You Say
Ignore the Evidence
Ignore the Main Point
Attack Evidence
Insist Loudly on a Minor Point
Use the Hard-Cruel-World Argument
Make Sweeping Glittering Generalizations
Make Much of Any Inconsistencies in Your Opponent’s Position
Make Your Opponent Look Ridiculous
Oversimplify the Issue
Raise Nothing But Objections
Rewrite History
Seek Your Vested Interests
Shift the Ground.

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