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Section to be merged with [[Logical fallacies]].
=== tiktaalik ===
Section to be merged with [[Logical fallacies]].
If the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiktaalik Tiktaalik] fossil had no kids, how could he be the ancestor of anybody?
If the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiktaalik Tiktaalik] fossil had no kids, how could he be the ancestor of anybody?
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* We don't know where the organism died , it could have died 500miles away and was fossilized in a huge flood somewhere else.
* We don't know where the organism died , it could have died 500miles away and was fossilized in a huge flood somewhere else.
* We have no written records older than 5000 years.(''check this pending'')
* We have no written records older than 5000 years.(''check this pending'')
=== circularity ===
Robert D. Coleman, PhD © 2006 rcoleman@mba1971.hbs.edu
What Is Circular Reasoning?
Logical fallacies are a type of error in r
easoning, errors which
may be recognized and
corrected by observant thinkers. There are a
large number of informal
fallacies that are
cataloged, and some have multiple names. The frequency of occurrence is one way to
rank the fallacies. The ten most-frequent
fallacies probably cover the overwhelming
majority of illogical reasoning. With a Pareto
effect, 20% of the major fallacies might
account for 80% of fa
llacious reasoning.
One of the more common fallacies is circul
ar reasoning, a form of which was called
“begging the question” by Aristotl
e in his book that named the fa
llacies of classical logic.
The fallacy of circular reasoning occurs
when the conclusion of an argument is
essentially the same as one of the premises
in the argument. Circular reasoning is an
inference drawn from a premise that incl
udes the conclusion, and used to prove the
conclusion. Definitions of words are circul
ar reasoning, but they are not inference.
Inference is the deriving of a conclusion in
logic by either induction or deduction.
Circular reasoning can be quite
subtle, can be obfuscated when intentional, and thus can
be difficult to detect.
Circular reasoning as a fallacy refers to reas
oning in vicious circle
s or vicious circular
reasoning, in contrast to reas
oning in virtuous circles or
virtuous circular reasoning.
Virtuous circular reasoning is sometimes used
for pedagogical purposes, such as in math
to show that two different statements are eq
uivalent expressions of the same thing. In a
logical argument, viciously circular reasoni
ng occurs when one attempts to infer a
conclusion that is based upon a premise that
ultimately contains
the conclusion itself.
Why is vicious circular reasoning unacceptabl
e and fatal? Genuine method proceeds from
the known to the unknown. Vicious circular
reasoning proceeds from the known to the
equally known. Vicious circul
ar reasoning, therefore, viol
ates genuine method. Vicious
circular reasoning does not a
dd anything new, it does not advance learning, and it does
not add to knowledge. Vicious circular re
asoning goes nowhere and leads nowhere --
hence, its descriptive name “circular”. It
literally moves in a circuit or a circle.
Most people do not study logica
l fallacies as part of their formal education. Those who
study them typically do so as part of a course
in logic, maybe calle
d critical thinking, in
the philosophy department. The rest of us have
to learn about them on our own in order to
make and detect sound arguments. Note that
the word argument applies to all reasoning
regardless of form, and thus it includes
hypotheses, models, arguments and studies.
Here are the citations for a classical te
xt and for a modern text about logic.
Prior Analytics and Topics
, Aristotle
The Logic of Real Arguments
, Alec Fisher, Second Edition, 2004, Cambridge
University Press.
Robert D. Coleman, PhD © 2006 rcoleman@mba1971.hbs.edu
The following is a list of Internet sites with
information about the fallacies of informal
logic including the fallacy of circular reas
oning, begging the question, or petitio principii.
Critical Thinking Across the Curric
ulum Project: Informal Fallacies
Table of Contents (17 Fallacies)
Fallacies of Deception:
Fallacies of Distraction:
Fallacies involving Counterfeit:
False Dilemma
Affirming the Consequent
Slippery Slope
Denying the Antecedent
Straw Man
Begging the Question
or Circularity
Fallacies which use Emotion or Motive in place of Support
Appeal to Pity
Appeal to Authority
Appeals to Tradition
Prejudicial Language
Appeal to Force
Appeal to Mass Opinion
Fallacies which employ both (Double Trouble):
Ad Hominem - Abusive
Ad Hominem - Ridicule
Ad Hominem - Circumstantial
Tu Quoque - Two wrongs
Fallacy Tutorial Pro 3.0, 1995, Dr. Mich
ael C. Labossiere (42 fallacies)
Introduction. Description of Fallacies.
In order to understand what a fallacy is, one
must understand what an argument is. Very
briefly, an argument consists of one or more
premises and one conclusion. A premise is a
statement (a sentence that is either true or
false) that is offered in support of the claim
being made, which is the conclusion
(which is also a sentence that
is either true or false).
There are two main types of arguments:
deductive and inductive. A deductive argument
is an argument such that the premises provide
(or appear to provide) complete support for
the conclusion. An inductive argument is an argu
ment such that the premises provide (or
appear to provide) some degree of support (b
ut less than complete support) for the
conclusion. If the premises actually provide
the required degree of support for the
conclusion, then the argument is a good one. A good deductive argument is known as a
valid argument and is such that if all its pr
emises are true, then its conclusion must be
true. If all the argument is va
lid and actually has all true
premises, then it is known as a
sound argument. If it is invalid or has one or
more false premises, it will be unsound. A
Robert D. Coleman, PhD © 2006 rcoleman@mba1971.hbs.edu
good inductive argument is known as a strong (o
r "cogent") inductive
argument. It is
such that if the premises are true,
the conclusion is likely to be true.
A fallacy is, very generally, an error in reasoni
ng. This differs from a factual error, which
is simply being wrong about the facts. To be mo
re specific, a fallacy is an "argument" in
which the premises given for the conclusion do not provide the needed degree of support.
A deductive fallacy is a deductive ar
gument that is invalid (it is
such that it could have all
true premises and still have a
false conclusion). An inductive
fallacy is less formal than a
deductive fallacy. They are simply "arguments
" which appear to be inductive arguments,
but the premises do not provided enough suppor
t for the conclusion. In such cases, even
if the premises were true, the conclusion
would not be more likely to be true.
The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (164 fallacies)
A fallacy is a kind of error in reasoning. Th
e alphabetical list be
low contains 164 names
of the most common fallacies, and it provide
s explanations and examples of each of
them. Fallacies should not be persuasive, but
they often are. Fallacies may be created
unintentionally, or they may be
created intentionally in order to deceive other people. The
vast majority of the commonly identified
fallacies involve argu
ments, although some
involve explanations, or definitions, or othe
r products of reasoning. Sometimes the term
"fallacy" is used even more broadly to indicate
any false belief or cause of a false belief.
The list below includes some fallacies of this
sort, but most are fallacies that involve
kinds of errors made while argui
ng informally in natural language.
The discussion that precedes th
e list begins with an account of
the ways in which the term
"fallacy" is vague. Attention then turns to
the number of competing and overlapping
ways to classify fallacies of argumentation.
For pedagogical purposes, researchers in the
field of fallacies disagree about the followi
ng topics: which name of a fallacy is more
helpful to students' understanding; whether so
me fallacies should be de-emphasized in
favor of others; and which is the best taxonomy
of the fallacies. Researchers in the field
are also deeply divided about
how to define the term "falla
cy," how to define certain
fallacies, and whether any general theory of
fallacies at all should
be pursued if that
theory's goal is to provide necessary and sufficient conditions for distinguishing between
fallacious and non-fallacious reas
oning generally. Anal
ogously, there is doubt in the field
of ethics regarding whether researchers s
hould pursue the goal of providing necessary
and sufficient conditions for distinguishing moral actions from immoral ones.
The first known systematic study of fa
llacies was due to Aristotle in his
De Sophisticis
(Sophistical Refutations
), an appendix to the
. He listed thirteen types.
After the Dark Ages, fallacies were again st
udied systematically in Medieval Europe.
This is why so many fallacies have Latin na
mes. The third major period of study of the
fallacies began in the later twentieth century
due to renewed interest
from the disciplines
Robert D. Coleman, PhD © 2006 rcoleman@mba1971.hbs.edu
of philosophy, logic, communication studies
, rhetoric, psychology, and artificial
The term "fallacy" is not a pr
ecise term. One reason is that
it is ambiguous. It can refer
either to (a) a kind of error in an argume
nt, (b) a kind of error in reasoning (including
arguments, definitions, explanations, etc.), (c) a
false belief, or (d) the cause of any of the
previous errors including what are norma
lly referred to as "rhetorical techniques".
Philosophers who are researcher
s in fallacy theory prefer
to emphasize meaning (a), but
their lead is often not followed in
textbooks and public discussion.
Informal Fallacies (71 fallacies in 11 categories)
You simply cannot properly begin to properly
read the various texts without first being
grounded in the basics of clear thinking. By
familiarizing yourself with these forms of
reasoning you may guard yourself from making th
e same sorts of errors (as well as to
catch errors in the thinking
of others who purport to be
speaking the truth). A brief
introduction of the subject included.
An informal fallacy is an attempt to persuade
that obviously fails to
demonstrate the truth
of its conclusion, deriving its
only plausibility from a misuse
of ordinary language. Most
scholars categorize informal fallacies as: (1)
fallacies of relevance
: appeal to ignorance,
appeal to authority, ad hominem arguments,
appeals to emotion, force, etc., irrelevant
conclusions, and appeals to pity; (2)
fallacies of presumption
: accident, converse
accident, false cause, begging the qu
estion, and complex question; (3)
fallacies of
: equivocation, amphiboly, accent,
composition, and division.
Stephen’s Guide to the Logi
cal Fallacies (53 fallacies)
Adam Smith Institute Logical Fallacies (76 fall
acies, incuding Petito Principii, Circulus
in Probando, and Blinding with Science)
A Database of Informal Fallacies
, 1987, Dr. Charles Ess (28 fallacies)
Logical Fallacies and the Art
of Debate (21 fallacies, in
cluding Petitio Principii and
Circulus in Demonstrando)
The Fallacy Files (155 fallacies, including
Circular Argument,
Circulus in Probando,
Petitio Principii, Question-
Begging, and Vicious Circle)
Wikipedia: Logical fallacy (111 falla
cies, including Begging the Question)
Robert D. Coleman, PhD © 2006 rcoleman@mba1971.hbs.edu
Wikipedia: Circular reasoning
begging the question
is the term for a type of
occurring in
in which the
to be
is assumed implicitly
or explicitly in one
of the
. For an example of this, cons
ider the following argument: "
Only an
untrustworthy person would run for office. The
fact that politicians are untrustworthy is
proof of this.
" Such an argument is fallacious, because it relies upon its own
proposition—in this case, "politicians are
untrustworthy"—in order
to support its central
premise. Essentially, the argument assumes th
at its central point is already proven, and
uses this in support of itself.
Begging the question is also known by its Latin name
petitio principii
and is related to
the fallacy known as
circular argument
circulus in probando
vicious circle
. As a concept in
the first known definition in the West is by the
350 B.C.
, in his book
Prior Analytics
, where he classified it
as a
material fallacy
The term is usually not used to
describe the broader fallacy th
at occurs when the evidence
given for a proposition is as much in need
of proof as the proposition itself. The more
accepted classification for such arguments is as a
fallacy of many questions
modern usage controversy
, below, over a common usage of "begs the question" with
the meaning "raises the question".
Wikipedia: Causal fallacies
This category is for
questionable cause
fallacies, arguments where a cause is incorrectly
Wikipedia: Informal fallacies
This category is for arguments that are fa
llacious for reasons ot
her than structural
("formal") flaws, such as due to ambigu
ity or a common error in their premises.

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