Critical Thinking; AS Level Unit 2 - Flaws in Reasoning

Flaws in reasoning

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  • Created by: Lalala
  • Created on: 10-01-11 21:40

Appeal to Authority

Claiming your conclusion must be right because an expert or someone in authority supports it. 

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Appeal to Popularity

A form of argument which justifies a conclusion by its popularity

E.g. Most people are in favour of capital punishment, so the government should bring it back.

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Appeal to Tradition

A form of argument which supports a conclusion by saying it's tradition.

E.g. 'We've always left weak infants on the mountainside to die, so we should carry on doing it - it's our tradition.'

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Appeal to History

A form of argument which supports a conclusion by reference to history.

E.g. 'I've always passed exams without putting much effort in, so I'll breeze through my A-levels too.'

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Two wrongs don't make a right

An attempt to justify one harmful thing on the basis of another, different, harmful thing.

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Tu Quoque

An attempt to justify an action on the basis that someone else is doing it

E.g. My friends are going, why can't I?

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Generalisation

Drawing a general conclusion from specific evidence.

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Restricting the options

Pretending a false and limited version of the choices available to encourage a particular course of action.

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Flaw of Causation

A flaw in reasoning which assumes that if two things occur together or in quick succession, one of them must cause the other.

However, there may not be enough to infer a casual link.

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Slippery Slope

Reasoning from one minor event through a series of unlinked events to an extreme consequence.

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Circular argument

an argument that starts and ends with the same point.

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Confusing necessary and sufficient conditions

Reasoning which confuses necessary and sufficient conditions does not support a conclusion.  Something which is necessary is not always enough.  Something which is enough is not always necessary.

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Attacking the arguer

Attacking the person putting forward an argument rather than their argument.

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Straw person

Dismissing a distorted version of an opposing argument.

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