Avoid Fallacies Thesis

Avoid Fallacies Thesis-47
Students often have a feel for whether an argument is valid, but they can’t rely on gut sense alone in a culture that takes a no-holds-barred approach to argument.Advertising, politics and student writing assignments all require rhetorical devices to convince people that their arguments are valid.Learning to identify these fallacies can help them ensure that their own persuasive pieces use the best possible evidence with as few flaws as possible.

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One of my favorite exercises is called “Fallacy in the wild.” I challenge students to search for these errors in logic before our next class meeting.

I encourage them to bring these examples to class, where we discuss their findings — from the news to television to commercials.

While arguers should strive for fallacy-free persuasion, sometimes logical fallacies rear their ugly heads anyway.

When it happens, readers should be able to identify and understand the fallacy, but they should also know it may be one flaw in an otherwise well-constructed argument.

Showing students short clips of political interviews or debates from a variety of politicians can help them see that logical fallacies are human and common.

Ultimately, students need to understand that the presence of a fallacy does not necessarily negate an argument.

It can be eye-opening for students to see that these persuasive commercials often have little data or content.

Instead, they rest their entire argument on our emotional connection with certain music and images.

Ideally, persuaders use facts, reasoning and logic to prove their points, but they’re always tempted to take a shortcut and make their case with logical fallacies — assertions that seem plausible but collapse under scrutiny.

Understanding logical fallacies can help students evaluate the credibility of marketing messages, activists’ appeals and research sources.


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