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  1. #1
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    Default The Fallacy Fallacy Argument

    The Argument from Fallacy (AKA the Fallacy Fallacy Argument) is a method of argumentation in which a person's claim is dismissed simply on the basis that it is a fallacious claim. To be a fallacious claim in this context is to commit an error in reasoning and not an error in fact.

    The reason that pointing out someone's fallacy can be a fallacy itself has to do with the fact that the other person may have a good point despite the logical fallacy committed while making it.

    For example, "As an authority on Hegelian dialectic, I can tell you with fullest certainty that Hegel did not consider the master-slave dialectic an absolute of human social relationships."

    While much of what Hegel says is very abstract and debatable, claiming his argument to be true and certain on the basis of authority (this is known as the fallacy of argumentum ad authority) does not render his claim false.
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    Guardian of Ga'Hoole Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post

    The reason that pointing out someone's fallacy can be a fallacy itself has to do with the fact that the other person may have a good point despite the logical fallacy committed while making it.
    Sure, they might. But they also might not.
    A path is made by walking on it.

    -Zhuangzi



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    "Ce que nous connaissons est peu de chose, ce que nous ignorons est immense."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julius_Van_Der_Beak View Post
    Sure, they might. But they also might not.
    The point is that it is invalid to always dismiss someone's argument on that basis. What I wrote above is only part of the reason. The deeper reasoning is that most fallacies are only figurative fallacies, for example, the argumentum ad authority and the slippery slope fallacy. An example of the slippery slope fallacy:

    If the government takes away one right (e.g., the right to own an AK-47) they will eventually take away all rights.

    That may or may not be true. But the argument has more emotional impact than logical, although logic can sometimes be led aside by emotions. And it pretends to predict the future in terms of causality or experience. It could still be true, we just don't know it yet.

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    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    It's really obvious that an assertion is not automatically false just because a person making it used a logical fallacy. If I used a logical fallacy to argue that the earth orbits the sun, that would not mean the earth doesn't orbit the sun. *Duh.*

    But if someone's argument is predicated on a fallacy, that does invalidate that particular argument, which means it does nothing to evidence that their assertion is correct. It may be, but the person's argument gives you no additional reason to believe it is. So when you're arguing for a point with the intention of bringing the idea to an audience that does not already believe what you're saying is true, the audience would be justified in disregarding your points if the only ones you have are fallacious.

    So if a person does not believe in what you are saying, or already believes what you are saying is wrong, and they dismiss your argument for using a fallacy, they are being perfectly reasonable in doing that. And I honestly don't know if I've seen anyone spell out the idea that they think a statement must *not be true* because someone used a fallacy to argue for it. This seems like smoke and mirrors, a complaint about something that basically never happens, which frankly I suspect is just a pretentious excuse to get away with using fallacious arguments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    It's really obvious that an assertion is not automatically false just because a person making it used a logical fallacy. If I used a logical fallacy to argue that the earth orbits the sun, that would not mean the earth doesn't orbit the sun. *Duh.*
    The Randroids I used to debate with would use the "duh" argument, usually in terms of Kant's transcendentalism. Any time I quoted Kant on their forum, it was either wrong because he was (allegedly) a subjectivist, or it was something very obvious therefore correct by mere assertion. So being obvious was itself basis for criticizing Kant. As a result, almost anything I quoted was either false, or not worthy of consideration because of the "Duh, obviously!" argument. (The truth is that they hated Kant merely because Rand hated Kant.)

    And your assertion, "It's really obvious that an assertion is not automatically false just because a person making it used a logical fallacy" is incorrect. A fallacy is either formal or figurative. A formal fallacy invalidates the argument (not 'assertion' as you said, we're talking about arguments here). A formal fallacy renders an argument wrong; a figurative fallacy pretends to use logic when it is in fact a different kind of appeal, one designed to give only the appearance of logic. And I usually consider the argument's conclusion (unless the person is being an irritant). But with fallacies in general, it can be very easy to use them to pull the wool over the eyes of average people.

    The way to deal with a formal fallacy is to point it out, and then ask the other person to reconsider their logic and come back later. The way to deal with a figurative fallacy is to say, "While I disagree with your method of argumentation, I still believe your conclusion to be worthy of consideration" (unless, as I said, the other person is being an irritant at which point I will simply use the fallacy to end the discussion).

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    But if someone's argument is predicated on a fallacy, that does invalidate that particular argument, which means it does nothing to evidence that their assertion is correct. It may be, but the person's argument gives you no additional reason to believe it is. So when you're arguing for a point with the intention of bringing the idea to an audience that does not already believe what you're saying is true, the audience would be justified in disregarding your points if the only ones you have are fallacious.

    So if a person does not believe in what you are saying, or already believes what you are saying is wrong, and they dismiss your argument for using a fallacy, they are being perfectly reasonable in doing that. And I honestly don't know if I've seen anyone spell out the idea that they think a statement must *not be true* because someone used a fallacy to argue for it. This seems like smoke and mirrors, a complaint about something that basically never happens, which frankly I suspect is just a pretentious excuse to get away with using fallacious arguments.
    I haven't known anybody to be perfectly reasonable about anything, particularly since we are all emotionally attached to our beliefs and will use any method to justify them. The INTJ, for example, will use Fi-tertiary to justify their beliefs on a humanistic basis. It soon becomes evident to a person such as myself that the INTJ is more faith-bound than rational, and that they think in broad terms in order to avoid dealing with particulars. The INFJ, on the other hand, uses Ti-tertiary to bombard me with very specious reasoning which is only convincing to the average person.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Julius_Van_Der_Beak View Post
    Sure, they might. But they also might not.
    The point is to give the other person the benefit of the doubt (unless they are being an irritant).

  8. #8
    Guardian of Ga'Hoole Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post
    The point is to give the other person the benefit of the doubt (unless they are being an irritant).
    Ummm......
    A path is made by walking on it.

    -Zhuangzi



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    Quote Originally Posted by Julius_Van_Der_Beak View Post
    Ummm......
    For example, I cite an article for others to peruse. Nobody reads it, or they only read the last paragraph believing that this will suffice. If someone responds negatively toward the article without reading it, I find this irritating and I will not engage in conversation with that person.

    This happens a lot.

    Committing the Fallacy Fallacy saves me a lot of headaches.

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    Another major problem I often see is people confounding deduction and persuasion. The arguments given by a person might not forcibly lead to the conclusion they suggest but they are points in favor of it. Very often in life, in science and in politics the debate is about probability and credibility of claims. And when it comes to politics and ethics, many if not most arguments come down to core values that are subjective and engrained during childhood.

    Especially young NTs are often very proud to have learned the classic online debate list of fallacies and then use it in the "to a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail" kind of way.

    To illustrate: I have recently argued that learning from history is very important for human progress and mentioned that my boyfriend is a history teacher, so this is personal to me and we often talk about how much this matters to him. The reply I got was basically "This is a fallacious argument from authority because you are referring to a teacher who is an authority - so your point is false!" Where to even start?!?!?
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