The Fake, the Flimsy, and the Fallacious: Demarcating Arguments in Real Life

Footnotes to Plato

logical fallaciesI recently co-authored a paper — together with Maarten Boudry and Fabio Paglieri — on the topic of so-called “informal” fallacies. These are instances of bad inductive reasoning (as opposed to formal fallacies, which are far fewer in number, and concerning strictly deductive reasoning).

The problem that Maarten, Fabio and I write about is that accusations of informally fallacious reasoning (“ad hominem!”, “red herring!”) are actually too easily hurled around during debates, when in fact many times the alleged fallacy is a pretty reasonable heuristic, or a first approximation at tackling a problem.

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