Fallacy Discussions

Each discussions post should be 75-150 words in length

1. Faulty Inferences

While there are various kinds of fallacies, all share one common feature: they are errors of reasoning. We engage in fallacious reasoning when we fail to satisfy the three requirements of cogent reasoning (see Chapter 1 in your textbook).

This week, you will write about a time in which you were persuaded by fallacious reasoning.

  • What was the fallacious reasoning?
  • Why was it fallacious?
  • Why were you convinced?
  • How did you discover that the reasoning you were initially persuaded by was in fact fallacious?

2. Inductive Fallacies

Statistics carry with them the air of authority. The accuracy and precision they offer makes a given position more credible and believable. But statistics can also be misused to convince us of things that aren’t true.

This week, you will write about a time in which you were persuaded by faulty statistics.

  • What was the faulty statistic?
  • Why was it faulty?
  • Why were you initially convinced?
  • How did you discover that the statistic was in fact faulty?

3. Your Cognitive Biases

Despite our rational nature, we are not perfectly rational. We often fall prey to non-rational biases that affect our judgement on certain matters. These biases are an impediment to cogent reasoning because they lead us away from what is true and good.

This week, you will write about your own cognitive biases.

  • What are some cognitive biases that you currently have or used to have?
  • How have these biases affected the way you view things?

4. Trust, But Verify

We are surrounded by news and media. It has never been easier to access information about any given topic or world event. Yet despite living in an age where information-on-demand is only a click away, misinformation abounds. News programs mislead, pundits exaggerate, and articles distort.

Select a recent news article and identify its key claims. Essentially, you will be acting as a fact checker for the news. Make sure that what you’re analyzing is a news article, not a blog post or social media post.

  • Post a link to the article you chose.
  • Attempt to find corroborating information that verifies the article’s claims.
  • Use primary sources whenever available.
  • Post links to the information you find.
  • If information is found that disproves the key claims of the article, post that instead.

5.Bad Reasoning on Social Media

Social media offers a powerful means of communication. With just a click, we can broadcast our thoughts to the entire world. But like the news, social media is even more prone to misinformation and distortion of various kinds. A lie can spread halfway around the world before the truth comes out to correct it.

Last week, you acted as a fact checker for a news article. This week, you’ll be doing much the same. Head over to Twitter and locate a tweet about current events from a politician, celebrity, or any user with a “verified” status. Note: You are not required to make a Twitter account to complete this assignment. Please pick a user whose posts are publically available. Do not share private posts.

  • Share your chosen post in this week’s Discussion Forum by copying and pasting it into your initial discussion response.
  • Make sure the tweet makes a factual claim.
  • Attempt to fact-check that tweet by including independent evidence to corroborate its content.
  • If information is found that disproves the key claims of the tweet, include that as well.

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