6 - Chapter 6: Reasoning Errors I Know What I Think....

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Chapter 6: Reasoning Errors I Know What I Think. Don’t Confuse me with Facts
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The Goal of this Chapter Chapter 6 is designed to help you assess the quality of reasoning and evidence used to support a conclusion by recognizing common reasoning errors, or fallacies.
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After covering this chapter… You will find yourself consciously, or subconsciously, listening more keenly to what people are saying, from now onwards, in the hope that you will find errors in their reasoning and point it out to them…but I have added cautionary statements in subsequent slides to help discourage you from solely doing this. Why is “help” highlighted? You’ll see as you read your texts. Also, you will find yourself watching everything you say, much more carefully, from now onwards trying not to commit reasoning errors in your speech. This can be quite burdensome. In the weeks following our first class in reasoning, my friends and I found ourselves searching everything that was said, written or mentioned around us hoping to spot fallacies; it didn’t matter if they were committed by our parents or girlfriends…we still pointed them out!!! But ultimately, more than anything else, it is hoped that covering Chapters 6 and 7 will make you understand arguments better thus making you a better critical thinker.
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Be Aware!!! Studying fallacies (or errors in reasoning) can help you think critically, make better arguments yourself, and better evaluate arguments made by others. But it has its own dangers, be aware of the following: First , you might get into the habit of only looking for errors in other people’s arguments. Critical thinking and argument analysis should involve finding both the strengths and weaknesses in arguments. Focusing on fallacies tends to prevent people from recognizing what is good in arguments which also can lead people to quibble over the exact way arguments are expressed instead of dealing with the core substance of the arguments.
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Second , sometimes subconsciously, you could become rigid in the way you apply the knowledge. You may notice a fallacy in an argument and dismiss everything else in the argument because of that fallacy. One fallacy, the fallacy fallacy , happens when someone decides that the conclusion of an argument must be wrong because there was a fallacy in the reasoning. A fallacy in argument does weaken the argument, and finding one should reduce your confidence in the conclusion, but an argument with fallacies may still include enough support to accept the claim and may still come to a correct conclusion without support. Recognizing a fallacy should be a warning sign indicating that
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course PSCI 1050 taught by Professor Fodeibatty during the Summer '06 term at Western Michigan.

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6 - Chapter 6: Reasoning Errors I Know What I Think....

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