August 20, 2011

Saturday Learning Series - Argument Fallacies

After a short summer recess, the Saturday Learning Series is back with a timely look into debate fallacies, just in time for primary season getting under way.

 We've often heard President Obama using Straw Man arguments in his talking points or debates.  What exactly are they?  There's a little more to that type of argument as well as Ad Hominem attacks and other types of argument points than meets the eye (or ear). Kevin deLaplante of The Critical Thinking Academy has an excellent series on fallacies that is well worth understanding.

Step back from the specific examples he uses if you don't agree with them, but notice the points he's trying to make.  These are salient and well-reasoned explanations of things you are likely to see over the next year and a few months from politicians of every stripe.  Not being aware of them and knowing how to spot them is to do yourself a disservice.

Keep this page handy when watching debates.

Ad Hominem Fallacy

Straw Man Fallacy

Red Herring Fallacy

Appeals To Hypocrisy Fallacy

Affirming the Consequent: A Formal Fallacy (a subtle trick to keep watch for in a debate)

Slippery Slope Fallacy

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