Our new writing resource for this installment is The Taxonomy of Fallacies located at fallacyfiles.org. Let’s jump right in!
For starters, what are fallacies? Simply put, fallacies are arguments with poor reasoning that are often misleading and unsound, logically. Fallacies are incredibly important to avoid when making an argument because they can hurt credibility and jeopardize the reliability of entire ideas. Even a tiny bit of fallacious reasoning within an otherwise sound, well-supported argument can compromise the validity of the whole thing.
Therefore, it is easy to see how important it is to be able to identify and avoid committing a fallacy.
The Taxonomy of Fallacies is an incredibly useful resource for learning about fallacies. However, to unlock its full potential, it must be used correctly. This is not a resource that one can use to diagnose whether an argument is fallacious or not and it does not immediately provide clear answers. However, you should find it helpful when used in one of the following ways:
- Simply read it! Browsing through it and looking at the examples can be a very easy way to quickly learn about each fallacy. Also, if you’re still having troubling understanding exactly what something means after reading what is provided, try clicking on another point that is connected to it in the giant web; this can provide contextual information that might clear everything up.
- You can use this resource sort of like you would a dictionary, referencing it whenever you run across a word (or in this case, a logical fallacy) that you’ve never encountered before.
The sheer amount of information can be intimidating at first, but knowing all of this it you should find it to be a very useful tool.
Of course, if you want to talk more in-depth about fallacies and argument structure, you can come see us at The Writing Center @ MSU!