Introduction to Fallacies: How to spot poor reasoning

Learn how to avoid poor and unreasonable arguments with applied philosophy and logic. Find grip on slippery slopes!
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  • Lectures 21
  • Contents Video: 1 hour
    Other: 3 mins
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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About This Course

Published 9/2014 English

Course Description

A fallacy is a poorly reasoned argument and those are all around us and even unintentionally come out of our own mouths sometimes!

Avoiding fallacies is a crucial skill, especially in the age of information we live in! The internet is full of debates. Full of arguments. And full of fallacies and tricks!

After this short course you will no longer have to look up what people are talking about - after this course you will be explaining and pointing out what has been wrongly argued and why.

In just 3 days, you will have a strong setting in the art of spotting and avoiding poor arguments. This will in turn make your arguments stronger!

  • On Day 1 we will have a look at the most common and easy to understand fallacies.
  • On Day 2 we will approach some of the more complex fallacies.
  • On Day 3 we will be talk about some more implications of your new-found knowledge and where you can take things from here.

You can naturally also pace the course however it fits your schedule: You get lifetime access to everything in this course! Of course, you will be provided both real life and abstract examples of the fallacies at hand, while fun quizzes will test and review the stuff you have learned so far!

Complete transcripts and downloadable slides of all course lectures available in the supplemental materials of each video.

I am always available to answer questions and contribute to discussions about the course material and beyond!

And as a special bonus, further readings and media recommendations (books, movies, etc.) will be made for aspiring philosophers. Come join our group of students today!

What are the requirements?

  • The course is self-contained and intended for a wide range of age groups (though I will give out some book recommendations for the especially eager).

What am I going to get from this course?

  • By the end of this course, you will be able to efficiently spot fallacies in the arguments of others and avoid making them yourself.
  • You will learn all about the (in)famous fallacies, such as: the "strawman argument", the "gambler's fallacy", the "red herring", the "slippery slope" and "appeals to authority and/or popular opinion".
  • You will be presented with example situations and talks, involving even some of the more sophisticated and complex fallacies, such as: the "fallacy fallacy", "tu quoque fallacy", "Shifting the burden of proof" and the "No true Scotsman fallacy".

What is the target audience?

  • People who often find themselves in discussions.
  • People who prefer not to be tricked by language or the mind.
  • People who enjoy philosophy, especially analyzing arguments.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

03:00

"What are fallacies and why should we care to avoid them?"

This will get quick answers in this introductory video and along the way, we explain the basic structure of the upcoming lectures.

Section 1: Rooting out the basic fallacies
06:30

The first fallacy we will explore is also one of the most commonly encountered: The Strawman Argument.

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6 questions

Let's ask a few quick questions about Strawmen.

05:23

With the Strawman Argument behind us, we move on to one of the more abusive fallacies: The Ad Hominem Attack.

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8 questions

Try answering these questions about the "Ad Hominem" Fallacy.

05:04

The third fallacy we will look at is the Appeal to Popular Opinion.

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9 questions

In this quiz, we'll test your memories on the Appeal to Popular Opinion Fallacy.

04:56

This lecture deals with the very broad fallacy known as the "Red Herring".

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6 questions

All the example questions in this quiz were taken from http://www.redherringexamples.com/ and judged by me. Let's see if we agree.

04:17

In this lecture we are going to talk about the False Dichotomy - a fallacy that often comes out of a dualistic way of thinking.

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7 questions

In this short quiz, we'll review some things we've learned about False Dichotomies.

05:02

In the seventh video lecture, we will have a joint look at one of the more unpronounceable fallacies: "Tu Quoque".

5 questions

A quiz about Tu Quoque, to test your understanding of this fallacy.

7 questions

In this quiz, you will be able to put your knowledge to the test: Are you able to spot the traps and point out which fallacy has been committed? (Tests understanding of Fallacies discussed in Section 1)

Section 2: Delving deeper into the forest of fallacies
02:14

A short break from our usual routine: This video lecture will speak about patience and politeness despite an opponent having used one or more fallacies.

04:24

This is another big player in the realm of the most common fallacies. Let's explore the Appeal to Authority in this video lecture.

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6 questions

Let's review the Appeal to Authority Fallacy.

04:41

You've heard me make a lot of semi-puns about the Slippery Slope but what is it actually? This video lecture explains.

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8 questions

Caution: Road is slippery when wet.

03:24

The Burden of Proof is not a fallacy, however there is a fallacy involved that often occurs surrounding the Burden of Proof.

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7 questions

With examples taken from the web, both real and abstract. See if you can determine who carries the Burden of Proof!

02:35

The 12th lecture addresses the No True Scotsman Fallacy.

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4 questions

No true Scotsman would fail this quiz.

02:51

Our 13th video lecture speaks about the Gambler's Fallacy. Lucky 13?

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7 questions

Committing the Gambler's Fallacy by guessing in this Quiz would be ironic, wouldn't it?

Section 3: The forest of fallacies turns out to be a jungle
01:42

In this Video Lecture of this course on Fallacies we will learn that the Fallacy Fallacy is a Fallacy. If that wasn't enough "Fallacy" in one sentence, then I don't know what else to do.

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7 questions

Quick quiz to review your understanding of the Fallacy Fallacy.

02:03

Quite possibly the longest fallacy name out there - in this lecture we will discuss the "Falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus" Fallacy.

4 questions

A quiz about the Fallacy with the longest name.

03:05

This lecture covers the "Appeal to the Stick", more widely known as the Ad Baculum Fallacy.

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6 questions

A quiz to review your understanding of the Ad Baculum fallacy.

13 questions

Now that you have learned a lot about how not to argue - can you point out why these arguments don't work?

01:48

We have put it off long enough: Let's have a short chat about what Intellectual Honesty is and why we should all value it greatly.

1 page

This list is the promised further readings recommendations. I consider all the books on this list excellent and hope you will choose to stay with Informal Logic and Philosophy. There is much more for you to explore in this wide-ranging subject.

If you wish to get recommendations for more specific branches of philosophy, feel do not hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to share more of my personal recommendations with you.

1 page

This list will tell you about a few movies, one tv series and a series of video games which I consider an entertaining way to have more contact with what we have learned in this course. I consider all the recommended media excellent but I am aware that it is subjective. I hope some of you will find some enjoying moments in those while re-discovering some of what we talked about.

If you have recommendations of your own, let me know, so I can add them to my list.

02:11

In the final lecture of this course, we quickly go over the Non Sequitur (latin for "it does not follow", since no lecture follows this one) and then I give you a quick summary of what you could do to make further progress in understanding fallacies beyond the scope of this introductory course. Also be sure to check out the recommended readings in lecture 18.

1 page

A little message from me, for you.

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Instructor Biography

Timon Salar Gutleb, Philosophy and Physics Student at the University of Vienna

I am a student of Philosophy and Physics, my focus of studying is in Philosophy of Science, Epistemology and Formal Logic and Theoretical Physics respectively.

As an aspiring scientist and philosopher, the art of keeping one's thoughts straight to the point and logically valid is essential and crucial and I have been studying it for many years, having completed a number of courses in both formal and informal logic.

I've spent a volunteer year taking care of children and teenagers after school, where it was among my responsibilities to help them with their studies and explain what had not been properly explained to them. During this experience, I have found a joy in sharing what I have learned with others and with the power of the internet at our fingertips, I can think of nothing more fulfilling than sharing my passion for philosophy and reasoning with other interested people all across the world.

Humans thrive by communicating - let my knowledge and experience in the subject guide you around common traps.

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