Refraction (Bent Thinking) # 2

  1. Psychogenetic Fallacy: Rejecting an argument just because you do not like the associations of the speaker or because you know their mindset on matters in general. (e.g. “I disagree with John Behner’s solution to the current debt crisis because he is a Republican and their solutions protect the rich.” Again, a common error. Refutation: You are equating the person and his reasoning when you reject someone because you know their basic mindset.  People are not arguments and arguments are not people. Example: Just because he is a Republican and Republicans in general are characterized as protecting the rich, that does not mean that his proposed solution to the debt crisis is without merit. It is possible that he got it right this time! I don’t know how probable, but it is possible.
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1 Response to

  1. jshaul says:

    Straw Man Argument (Fallacy Of Extension/Caricature Fallacy) = Taking what someone thinks is a weakness in the other person’s argument and blowing it out of proportion, then acting like this “caricature” is the real position of the other person. Then they attack that created position (something they never even said). This can be used against individuals or groups. When used against groups, it often accompanied but the Fallacy of Division (which says that what is true of the whole of something must be true of each of its parts). I will bring this to y’all tomorrow. Refutation: 1) Make sure that you state your positions clearly so that it makes it less likely that others will be able to mis-state your position and make claims about your exact position that you simply do not hold and never stated by you anywhere. 2) If you are NOT being inconsistent, demonstrate why – show why your two positions are not contrary to one another. 2) If you are inconsistent, then thank the other side for pointing out your error … and commit yourself to using better critical reasoning next time.
    Real Example: “The religious, conservative, group which consistently reiterates the need for government to get out of people’s lives are, in a stroke of almost sheer irony, the ones who want to use the legal arm of the law to do the opposite [keep marriage only for opposite gender].” The weakness is perceived inconsistency of arguing for less government while also arguing for more government intrusion. Of course, if this is the case, it would be logically inconsistent and open to attack and ridicule. People who want less intrusion should be specific about what they do and don’t want. If you want less intrusion in business or tax regulation, state that. One the other hand, it is slightly disingenuous to label keeping existing laws as they are as wanting more government.

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