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Logical Fallacies

Being bombarded with information is one of the biggest problems in our modern age. The world that our parents and ancestors lived in was one with a steady, but manageable flow of information. Before the internet, people primarily relied on traditional media; newspapers, radio, and television for their information needs. In the recent past, the internet has revolutionized the way we access and consume information, providing us with an unprecedented amount of information at our fingertips. With the internet, we are bombarded with a constant stream of news, opinions, and updates from our friends and family on social media. It can be difficult to separate fact from fiction and to determine which sources of information are trustworthy and reliable. The internet has also made it easier for individuals and organizations to disseminate misinformation and propaganda. With the rise of social media, false information can quickly spread and become widely accepted as truth. This can lead to confusion and mistrust and can have serious consequences for our democracy and society as a whole.

The world as we experience it today is absolutely full of ideas. The online space has become as much a part of our daily reality as the rooms in our homes. Unlike in decades past the sheer volume of sometimes contradictory information can be overwhelming. We end up tentatively holding lots of half-understood beliefs that have infected us via internet osmosis. I have often felt that I didn’t even know where to begin breaking down and organizing the information that I hear. Thankfully for us, there are ways to cut through the constant swarm of unrelenting pseudo-facts and ideas, it's the first place I turn to in times of need. Philosophy.

More precisely one of the five major branches of philosophy; Logic. The first and vital thing to understand about Logic is that in philosophical terms it isn’t a synonym for “common sense” or “something that makes seems intuitively correct”, Logic is a discipline of philosophical thought that has rules and functions. As an example mathematics is a form of Logic, mathematicians manipulate numbers and variables using the rules and principles of Logic to gain a new understanding of the world around us. By using Logic ourselves we will be able to overcome this most potent of hurdles and cut the facts from the falsehoods.

While a full understanding of Logic and its principles would solve our problems that herculean task would not be easily done. Instead, I suggest that we learn the common ways that our fallible, all too human brains trip up in the attempt of using Logic. The best way that we can manage this problem is to gain an understanding of Logical Fallacies. When people talk and discuss topics intending to persuade or explain something as true, we are engaging in delivering an argument (in the philosophical sense). These arguments must follow the laws of Formal Logic to be both true and valid. A logical fallacy is a mistake or issue with a part or parts of an argument. The goal then is to turn our focus to understanding logical fallacies and learning to identify them in ourselves and others.

By learning about logical fallacies, we can avoid making errors in our reasoning and arguments, leading to more accurate conclusions. We can improve the way we think through challenging questions and gain better critical thinking skills. We will be able to form compelling arguments, developing stronger arguments by avoiding fallacious reasoning and presenting clear and logical evidence. Recognizing logical fallacies can help us understand other people's arguments better and respond to them more effectively, leading to clearer communication. Additionally, this understanding helps us avoid deception from advertisers, politicians, and religious apologists. So let's begin with some of the most common logical fallacies.

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