Back in Aristotle’s day he confronted a group called the Sophists. The Sophists sought to use rhetoric solely as a tool to convince another that their argument was accurate. (kind of like advertising) While Aristotle used rhetoric to find the Truth as it stood by itself.
So I collected common logical fallacies and used them in my search to find what I gleaned to be the truth. In my quest I found these fallacies in my posts. For example, when I asked the question, “What is your opinion on abortion?” the most common response was “It’s a woman’s choice.”
That response is known as ignoratio elenchi or missing the point or irrelevant conclusion. I asked A and they answered B. Since my goal is to find out information to base my opinions on using a logical foundation, this fallacy helped me delineate both the question and the way people think; in this case illogically.
Another fallacy is the Tu quoque which translates to “you too.” In this fallacy rather than respond to the question you attack the person as a hypocrite. In fact the person may be a hypocrite but this particular argument may be true.
Another fallacy is the red herring. This is where the person changes the argument to something favorable to their view. Let’s use a most common argument. “President Obama is really taking us down a path of destruction in foreign policy.”
“Oh what about the path that President Bush and his mad dog Cheney did.” I read versions of this on FaceBook daily.
I am writing these posts for my benefit. I don’t want to be a sophist and use rhetoric to convince you how clever or knowledgeable I am. I simply want to walk away from my computer with a logical, thoughtful explanation to myself on how I come to have a belief.
By using these fallacies as road signs, I can actually put my ideas on a page and see if they fit a logical pattern. In this process, I have learned much about myself particularly as it relates to another person’s way of thinking. I have to ask myself questions like, “Do I want to correct their statement? (always a bad idea) How do I keep a straight face? Did she say what I thought she said? Isn’t that contrary to what she just said? How do I walk away with us remaining friends?
I can no longer listen to political speeches without naming the fallacy. The kicker, to me, is the fact check afterwards. They missed the rhetoric that shifted a correct piece of information, because it was correct, and how it was meant to sway the following lies.
The HUFFINGTON POST is the most egregious at writing rhetorical pieces that are misleading at best. I still read it because their misinformation tells me to go looking for the truth. Make no mistake, you have to be a good writer to put across these fallacies. To an unknowing public this can be detrimental.
I still don’t know how to address the person who illogically reasons what I have found to be a logical conclusion. For example, taking a hot topic – abortion; I could sit here and write syllogism after syllogism, using inversions, converses and contrapositives proving my point and disproving another thought process. (add to that – ethos) I will never change the thinking of another on this topic. I get it. Move on. Nothing changes. But then you have the far right guy who says abortion is wrong because God deemed it so. Now I’m stuck holding a logical thought process next to a person proselytizing what I found to be elementary. Makes me think of changing my opinion, but that would be illogical.