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Welcome! This is the place to ask the community of experts and other fallacyophites (I made up that word) if someone has a committed a fallacy or not. This is a great way to settle a dispute! This is also the home of the "Mastering Logical Fallacies" student support.


Dr. Bo's Criteria for Logical Fallacies:

  1. It must be an error in reasoning not a factual error.
  2. It must be commonly applied to an argument either in the form of the argument or in the interpretation of the argument.
  3. It must be deceptive in that it often fools the average adult.

Therefore, we will define a logical fallacy as a concept within argumentation that commonly leads to an error in reasoning due to the deceptive nature of its presentation. Logical fallacies can comprise fallacious arguments that contain one or more non-factual errors in their form or deceptive arguments that often lead to fallacious reasoning in their evaluation.

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Sarah Turnbull

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Sarah Turnbull


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Tue, Jan 29, 2019 - 05:47 PM

Help to understand the disjunction fallacy

www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/79/Disjunction-Fallacy

I am having trouble grasping the disjunction fallacy. I understand the concept of it, but I can't imagine when people would actually be making this mistake.

The examples given seem forced, as though they were designed by researchers to trip people up. I would never look at a bloke in the street and wonder "Is it more likely that he is a basketballer, or that he is either a basketballer or a jockey?"

Is there an example of a person committing the disjunction fallacy in an everyday situation, or in a real argument, rather than in response to a contrived scenario/quiz question?

Thank you,
Sarah



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William Harpine, Ph.D.

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William Harpine, Ph.D.


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Print Wed, Jan 30, 2019 - 08:43 AM
We encounter this fallacy quite often. You must either be a Democrat or a Republican - wrong, there are other choices. You must buy this car now or it will be gone and you won't be able to get a car - wrong.

But it's not always a fallacy. Sometimes there are only two choices.


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Bo Bennett, PhD
Author of Logically Fallacious

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Bo Bennett, PhD

Author of Logically Fallacious

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About Bo Bennett, PhD

Bo's personal motto is "Expose an irrational belief, keep a person rational for a day. Expose irrational thinking, keep a person rational for a lifetime."  Much of his charitable work is in the area of education—not teaching people what to think, but how to think.  His projects include his book, The Concept: A Critical and Honest Look at God and Religion, and Logically Fallacious, the most comprehensive collection of logical fallacies.  Bo's personal blog is called Relationship With Reason, where he writes about several topics related to critical thinking.  His secular (humanistic) philosophy is detailed at PositiveHumanism.com.
Bo is currently the producer and host of The Humanist Hour, the official broadcast of the American Humanist Association, where he can be heard weekly discussing a variety of humanistic issued, mostly related to science, psychology, philosophy, and critical thinking.

Full bio can be found at http://www.bobennett.com
Print Tue, Jan 29, 2019 - 08:47 PM
Case in point. Many people will scoff at the idea of "magic." If an adult were to say the universe appeared by magic, others would likely see that person as having some kind of intellectual disability. However, if one were to say that the universe is here by God (like billions of people do), others wouldn't flinch. What is God? Magic + other characteristics. So what is more likely to exist... God or magic? Most people would say God, but the logical answer is magic. This is the disjunction fallacy in action.
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Jacob

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Jacob


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Print Wed, Jan 30, 2019 - 02:43 AM
I will try to make some.

My car was broken into... What is more likely? The thief was a homeless guy? Or the thief was a homeless guy who was on crack? It was more likely a homeless guy because there are more homeless guys than homeless guys who are also on crack.

The phone rings... What is more likely? The caller is a woman? Or the caller is a woman calling about the money you owe the IRS? It is more likely a woman because there are more women than women collecting taxes.

What is more likely? A man taking a woman? Or a man talking to a beautiful woman? Beautiful women are women so he is more likely talking to a woman.


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Registered User Comments

Sarah Turnbull
Monday, February 04, 2019 - 04:48:41 AM
@Jacob: Aha, so the second choice does not have to be "A or B", it can be "A and B?

I get that "He is a basketballer" is more likely than "He is a basketballer and a jockey" :-)

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Jacob
Monday, February 04, 2019 - 10:21:20 AM
That is how I understand the conjunction fallacy. The example I read in a book was, "What is more likely? A female or a female bank teller?" Females are vastly more common than female bank tellers.

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Sarah Turnbull
Monday, February 04, 2019 - 04:50:07 AM
@William Harpine, Ph.D.: Sorry, William, I accidentally replied privately twice.

Isn't this the false dilemma?
https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/94/False-Dilemma

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Jacob
Monday, February 04, 2019 - 10:18:45 AM
This is a false dilemma

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Sarah Turnbull
Monday, February 04, 2019 - 04:46:15 AM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: Thank you, I will think about that a bit more.

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