Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Green
  3. Green Living

What is a Fallacy?

See also

When the premises of an argument fail to support its conclusion we say that the reasoning is bad; the argument is said to be fallacious. In one very general sense of the term, any error in reasoning is a fallacy. As logicians commonly use that term, however; it designates not any errors in reasoning, but typical errors—mistakes in reasoning whose common pattern can be detected.
In this narrow sense, each fallacy is a type of incorrect argument. As argument in which a mistake of that type appears is said to commit that fallacy. Different arguments may contain or commit the same fallacy, that is, they may exhibit the same kind of mistake in reasoning. We also say that a regiment that commits a fallacy of a given type is itself a fallacy—because it is an example of that typical mistake.
There are many kinds of mistakes in argument—but fallacies are of special interest because they are known to be deceptive; any of us may be fooled by them. We therefore define a fallacy as a type of argument tha ,may seem to be correct but that proves, on examination, not to be so. The traps that fallacies set can be avoided when the kinds of reasoning mistake they make are well understood.

Advertisement

Life

  • Randy Travis
    Randy Travis returns with 'Influence Vol. 2: The Man I Am' in August
    Today's Buzz
  • Alternative medicine
    Alternative medicine: Remedies to make the bugs in your body go away for good
    Camera
    7 Photos
  • Beach body
    Fitness: Earn your beach body badge with bootcamp classes
    Camera
    10 Photos
  • Back to school
    These 10 items are sure winners on your back-to-school shopping trip
    Camera
    12 Photos
  • Izabel Goulart
    Izabel Goulart walks the runway with Studio F at Colombia Moda
    Camera
    19 Photos
  • Ombre' technique
    Go for the gusto: What ombre' technique are you?
    Camera
    5 Photos