Logical Fallacies

If you've paid attention to the kind of discourse that's become increasingly popular over the past few years, you may have noticed that it seems we have made the unfortunate choice to collectively sacrifice evidence and reason in favor of ideology and irrational persuasion. Instead of striving for wisdom, as good philosophers do, it seems we've become obsessed with winning arguments... at any cost, even at the cost of our own intellectual integrity. For some of us, that cost is just too high.

There is an ocean of people and institutions out there (politicians, advertisers, religions, corporations, etc.) who depend on your acceptance of their ideas, and in many cases they'll manipulate you in any way they can in order to gain your support. Sometimes you may have a gut feeling that an argument advanced by some party doesn't quite make sense, but you may lack the technical expertise to fully understand why that argument doesn't really work. Or worse, you might find an argument convincing for all the wrong reasons.

I've put together the following hierarchical slideshow presentation on a number of popular informal logical fallacies to help you navigate through these stormy waters. These are specific kinds of reasoning mistakes that we ought to be able to identify and avoid. There are many more, and sometimes they can get quite technical, but this should be a simple introductory lesson for intelligent non-experts.

Click the play button to load (give it a minute or two... there's a lot of stuff in there), and then switch to full-screen mode for a better viewing experience.

Logical Fallacies on Prezi

And the following is an amusing introduction to logical fallacies with great sound effects.

The audio comes from the sadly discontinued Logically Critical podcast.

And if you are interested in a more thorough analysis of fallacies (though not as fun), check out fallacy files.org :)
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