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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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Jacob

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Jacob


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Sat, Jan 19, 2019 - 01:31 AM

This must be fallacious reasoning...

I saw a meme which said this...

Men who aren't trash understand
the statement men are trash
doesn't apply to them.

My first reaction is that this is sexism. It is a trick. This is a way to defame a whole group and slyly claim that only specific members of the group are really targeted. Does this qualify as a specific fallacy?



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Abdulazeez Alabbasi

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Print Sat, Jan 19, 2019 - 01:39 AM
I would classify that as a conflicting conditions fallacy. The statement contradicts itself by stating that men are trash but somehow that specific men who know that it doesn't apply to them aren't trash. But how exactly can there be an exception to the statement 'men are trash' when the statement itself is general?


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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 Sat, Jan 19, 2019 - 06:59 AM
Women who aren't bitches understand
the statement women are bitches
doesn't apply to them.

If your intent it is get people to see that their statement/meme/belief is problematic, sometimes the best technique is to use the same statement/meme/belief on them with the subject changed to go against their ideological position. I learned this technique and the effectiveness of it, when a former theist once told me the moment they became an atheist (which is quite rare to have a "moment")... their go to argument was always "How can you be an atheist when you stroll through the forest on a spring day?" to which someone replied, "How can you be a theist when your stroll through the cancer ward at a children's hospital?" What happens is the person automatically and unconsciously starts to argue against your claim and realizes that their claim no longer makes sense either.

If there is a fallacy, it reminded me of the No True Scotsman fallacy...

When a universal (“all”, “every”, etc.) claim is refuted, rather than conceding the point or meaningfully revising the claim, the claim is altered by going from universal to specific, and failing to give any objective criteria for the specificity.

... but there is actually some objective criteria for specificity which is "men who understand that all men aren't trash, aren't trash." "Trash" is being redefined to mean "interpreting 'men are trash' to mean 'all men are trash'." This might be the definist fallacy if the purpose is to make it easier to defend the claim that "all men are trash." Otherwise, I would say this is just factually wrong. I am sure men such as Harvey Weinstein, who most would consider the embodiment of human "trash," don't think that ALL men are trash so according to this new definition they wouldn't be trash and that is "absurd" (informally speaking, via reductio ad absurdum).
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Michael Chase Walker
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Michael Chase Walker

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About Michael Chase Walker

Michael Chase Walker is an actor, author, screenwriter, producer, and a former adjunct lecturer for the College of Santa Fe Moving Images Department, and Dreamworks Animation. His first motion picture was the animated classic, The Last Unicorn.
Michael was an in-house television writer for the hit television series: He-Man, She-Ra, Voltron, and V, the Series. In 1985, he was appointed Director of Children's programs for CBS Entertainment where he conceived, shaped and supervised the entire 1985 Saturday Morning line-up: Wildfire, Pee Wee's Playhouse, Galaxy High School, Teen Wolf, and over 10
Print Sat, Jan 19, 2019 - 09:53 AM
Or conversely, Men who are trash don't understand they are trash, because they don't know what they don't know. This is an example of a cognitive bias Dunning-Kruger effect. In medical terms it's referred to as Anosognosia (/æˌnɒsɒɡˈnoʊziə/, /æˌnɒsɒɡˈnoʊʒə/; from Ancient Greek ἀ- a-, "without", νόσος nosos, "disease" and γνῶσις gnōsis, "knowledge") is a deficit of self-awareness, a condition in which a person with some disability seems unaware of its existence. It was first named by the neurologist Joseph Babinski in 1914.


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max espinoza

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Print Sun, Jan 20, 2019 - 07:48 PM
You write:

If your intent it is get people to see that their statement/meme/belief is problematic, sometimes the best technique is to use the same statement/meme/belief on them with the subject changed to go against their ideological position.

That is one of my go to arguments. Challenging the belief by changing the subject for the sole purpose of going against the ideological position.

Typically, in your example of strolling through the woods with strolling through a cancer ward, the person you direct that to will mock you for bringing up a cancer ward when no one was speaking of a cancer ward. And 'STRAWMAN" is hurled at me when, in fact, they will refuse to see the point your making because it will confuse or challenge them.


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Jacob
Monday, January 21, 2019 - 01:02:05 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: I can see the no true scotsman fallacy. It helps me if I put them right next to each other.

Men who aren't trash understand
the statement men are trash
doesn't apply to them.

No True Scotsman
All X are Y.
(it is clearly refuted that all X are not Y)
Then all true X are Y.

Definist Fallacy
A has definition X.
X is harmful to my argument.
Therefore, A has definition Y.

There is another one which is not in your book, even in the pseudofallacies section. The Motte and Bailey Argument.

This is from the rational wiki
Motte and bailey (MAB) is a combination of bait-and-switch and equivocation in which someone switches between a "motte" (an easy-to-defend and often common-sense statement, such as "culture shapes our experiences") and a "bailey" (a hard-to-defend and more controversial statement, such as "cultural knowledge is just as valid as scientific knowledge") in order to defend a viewpoint. Someone will argue the easy-to-defend position (motte) temporarily, to ward off critics, while the less-defensible position (bailey) remains the desired belief, yet is never actually defended.
In short: instead of defending a weak position (the "bailey"), the arguer retreats to a strong position (the "motte"), while acting as though the positions are equivalent. When the motte has been accepted (or found impenetrable) by an opponent, the arguer continues to believe (and perhaps promote) the bailey.

Jacob again. I this this one is close because two different arguments are being offered at the same time.

All men are trash
Some men are trash

I think the person who made this meme believes that all men are trash. The people who believe this agree and the meme gets a lot of likes and shares. When the meme is called out as sexist or factually wrong the meme is defended by arguing that it actually argues that only some men are trash. If you are not trash then you know that the meme does not refer to you. But the meme says "Men are Trash" which means "All Men are Trash". "All men are trash" means all men, categorically, even the best ones, are trash. In the comments under the meme I saw men saying "Men are Trash", these men "knowing" that this did not refer to them... This meme was meant to trick men into saying that they were trash. It is similar to the Emperors New Clothes as well. Only fools believe that the statement "Men are Trash" refers to all men. The meme was eventually flagged as hate speech and taken down fortunately.

After the Gillette commercial aired I saw similar arguments. The commercial argued that men need to do better. People on facebook were unsure if this meant all men or some men. The some men camp argued that the commercial only targeted the most problematic men. But the commercial said "men need to do better". In logic, men means all men. So this ad is saying all men need to do better, which is the same all saying women or Mexicans or black people need to do better, which is sexist or racist, which is the fallacy of special pleading.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
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Monday, January 21, 2019 - 07:38:42 PM
I was thinking of doing a Dr. Bo Show on the Gillette commercial and the strong opinions on it :)

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