Form A Stronger Argument By Steering Clear Of These Logical Fallacies

If you have strong beliefs on a topic, chances are that someday you'll find yourself arguing your point. When you do so, it can be tempting to commit logical fallacies: errors in reasoning that might seem to strengthen your argument, but actually make it much weaker. For example, you'll be more likely to convince someone not to vote for a political candidate if you point out an undesirable policy position than if you say they're a know-nothing windbag -- and commit the classic ad hominem fallacy. Learn about some other fallacies in the videos below.

The Most Common Fallacies In Every Argument

You'll get your point across more effectively if you avoid these pitfalls.

The Sunk Cost Fallacy

Think about the future instead of ruminating on what you've done in the past.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. The sunk cost fallacy applies when you stay in an unfulfilling career because of how much time you've already put into it. 00:38

  2. The sunk cost fallacy means making a choice based on a desire not to see your past investment go to waste rather than based on the best outcome for your future. 01:15

  3. Sunk costs are painful, so it may take time to admit to yourself that there's no reason to stick to something you've been working on for a long time. 02:21

The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy

Good evidence is important for any argument.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy is when an argument is made and confirmed using the same set of information. It's named after a story of a Texan who shoots at the side of a barn, then paints a bullseye over the holes to make it look like he's a great shot. 00:18

  2. A Texas Sharpshooter ignores information outside of a desired result. Only things which have hit a target drawn after the fact are considered worthy. 00:51

  3. The Texas Sharpshooter is related to confirmation bias, where people people tend to interpret things in ways that confirm their own beliefs while ignoring information that challenges them. 02:06

Written by Curiosity Staff August 19, 2016

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