In traditional philosophy and logic, a non sequitur is classified as a logical fallacy because it involves flawed reasoning. This fallacy occurs when it is readily apparent that there’s no connection between a given premise and the conclusion drawn.
Today, the term non sequitur is also used to describe remarks that have no relation to what was previously said and remarks that come out of the blue, indicating that the speaker was not paying attention.
When an argument’s premise assumes the truth of the conclusion, as opposed to supporting the argument being made, this indicates a begging the question fallacy. In its interrogative form, that is, when posed as a question, a begging the question fallacy is known as a complex question fallacy. In either form, the error in logical reasoning remains the same.
You can identify a common fallacy in an argument by pinpointing any instances of irrelevance and/or flawed logic. There are several types of common fallacy and they are categorised according to how they function and the principles of logic. However, each type of common fallacy has a commonality in that all fallacies involve errors in reasoning.
Common fallacies involve errors in reasoning. Studying fallacies teaches you to identify these errors in other people’s arguments and avoid them in your own. Learning how the different types of common fallacies are defined and categorised also means you’re equipped with a convenient way to critique and describe arguments.
The purpose of common fallacies is to persuade others that an argument or conclusion is valid, even when it is not supported by sound logic and reasoning. Fallacies are employed by all manner of speakers and writers, from advertisers and television presenters to the friendly neighbour down the street. People may be aware or unaware that they are making a fallacious argument.
Amphiboly is a type of informal common fallacy that involves grammatical ambiguity. The fallacy of amphiboly occurs when the grammar of a statement, be it written or spoken, leaves the statement open to multiple interpretations. Amphibolous statements in writing are often the result of poor sentence structure.
The best way to argue a point without falling into the trap of common fallacies is to know your subject well and be equipped with plenty of evidence to support each statement or proposition that leads to your conclusion.
It’s also helpful to understand common logical fallacies and how they function to ensure you do not unintentionally rely on fallacious arguments. Presenting a well-structured argument is a matter of applying logic and sound reasoning, to do this, you need to avoid fallacies.
While the terms logical thinking and critical thinking are often used interchangeably, there are differences between the two. Logical thinking is the process of evaluating truth conditions and the legitimacy of connections between statements by applying formal deductive logic. Critical thinking pays heed to logical thinking processes yet allows for less rigid evaluations while remaining analytical.
One of the best ways to develop critical thinking skills is through ongoing education. Although it sounds funny – given that we think constantly – in many ways, we have to be taught how to think critically.
Outside formal education, you can develop critical thinking skills by questioning what you read and hear. Don’t accept statements or interpretations at face value, instead, research the topic itself and related topics to learn more and draw your own conclusions. Remember to approach a topic from different viewpoints and angles to gain a well-rounded perspective.
A logical argument is one that relies on the principles of classical logic to establish veracity. An excellent example is this classic: If A = B and B = C, then A = C. We can replace these placeholders with any number of options. For instance: Dogs are canines, canines are mammals, therefore all dogs are mammals.
Each proposition, or statement, in this example follows a logical order, the hallmark of a logical argument. If we removed the middle proposition (canines are mammals), the argument would be: Dogs are canines, all dogs are mammals. While we might know this is true, the missing proposition means the argument is no longer presented logically.