How to Evaluate and Critique Logical Arguments

Can You Spot Flaws and Fallacies in Logical Arguments?

Knowing what an argument is and how it is structured is only the beginning. You can't properly evaluate and critique logical arguments without understanding the ways in which those arguments can go wrong. These problems are known as flaws and fallacies: a fallacy is a specific kind of defect in an arguments reasoning or inferences while a flaw is some other background defect in attitude, presentation, or reception. Can you recognize flaws and fallacies in arguments?

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Assuming that we have established that we have an actual argument, the next step is to examine it for validity and soundness. There are two points on which an argument might fail: its premises or its inferences. Because of this, it is necessary to distinguish between valid arguments and sound arguments.

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What is Occam's Razor?

Many people have heard of 'Occam's Razor,' but not everyone understands how it is supposed to work or why it is useful when evaluating claims and arguments. That is a pity because it is one of the most useful tools available in a skeptic's toolbox.

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Fallacies are defects in an argument — other than false premises — which cause an argument to be invalid, unsound or weak. By understanding what fallacies are, you can avoid making them and more easily detect them in the work of others.

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Known logical fallacies listed in categories and explained as to why they are defects in arguments as opposed to valid reasoning. Multiple examples are included so that you can see what is happening in the sorts of arguments you may encounter in real life.

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When a person's argument is flawed, usually those flaws can be traced back to identifiable fallacies. Not all flaws, however, can be technically labeled as fallacies. Some of these flaws might represent very specific errors in the reasoning process while others are better described as flaws in a person's attitude or how they approach the subject matter.