Week 3: Fallacies and Logic
She’s rich, so she should be the president of our club.
Our police really know what they’re doing, so if they arrested him, he must be guilty!
You should turn to Channel 9 for the news. It’s the most watched channel this year.
Wow, this quarter has come up heads five times in a row now, so tails is due on the next toss.
What do all of these statements have in common? In each example, the individual has applied faulty logic in deriving his or her own conclusion. This is called a logical fallacy. In this type of thinking, there is a flaw in the argument, making the whole assertion invalid. Consider a time when you had reached an invalid conclusion because of faulty thinking – i.e., when you made a decision based on a fallacy. What were the consequences of that decision? Think about how this could impact a manager in the decision-making process.
There are a variety of different types of logical fallacies and they are actually quite common. This week you will learn more about fallacies and how they hinder critical thinking. You will also begin to formalize your thinking through the avoidance of such fallacies. Finally, you will learn to apply a logical process of developing arguments using categorical syllogisms.
Course Text: Kirby, G., & Goodpaster, J. (2007). Thinking (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
- Chapter 8, “Organizing”
Chapter 8 introduces strategies for organizing the results of creative thought. Various organizational structures are presented to assist in organizing thinking.
Focus on the definitions provided throughout the chapter. Review and think about the importance of organizing your ideas and how different organizational strategies are implemented in real life. Consider how organizing your thoughts is similar to organizing your computer files. Ask yourself what unique value a manager who is able to organize his or her thoughts brings to an organization.
- Chapter 9, “Logical Thinking”
In this chapter, the importance of thinking logically and identifying fallacies as a part of critical thinking is introduced. A variety of syllogisms and reasoning errors that can impede or skew logical reasoning are also discussed. This chapter also provides an in-depth discussion about inductive thinking and causation as well as their effects on logic.
Focus on the definitions provided throughout the chapter. Review and think about the many types of categorical syllogisms and other factors that can have an influence on logical thinking. Think about the impact of illogical thinking on decision making. Consider what strategies a manager can use that support logical thinking.
Course Text: Weston, A. (2009). A rulebook for arguments (4th ed.). Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company.
- Chapter 6, “Deductive Arguments”
- Appendix I, “Some Common Fallacies”
Chapter 6 continues the discussion on syllogisms, examining the structure of deductive arguments. Appendix I further examines fallacies—however, from the argument perspective. How fallacies break the rules for good arguments is presented.
Focus on the definitions provided throughout the chapter. Review and think about the examples and anecdotes provided in the chapters that illustrate the major ideas being conveyed. Consider the impact of understanding the rules for these types of arguments. What are the benefits for managers? How do these arguments enhance critical thinking?
Assignment 1: Fallicies
Based on your reading for this week:
Select a news or public affairs program on television or the Internet to watch. Watch the program listening for logical fallicies. Then, complete the following:
- Report the program you watched, the date of the program and purpose of the program.
- Share with your classmates a fallacy that you heard and who made the statement.
- Share the context (i.e. what was the argument the speaker was making).
- Why did the speaker use the fallacy?
- What effect might it have had on non-critical thinkers?
Discussion: Categorical Syllogisms
This week, you have learned about the importance of logical thinking and how it is foundational to critical thinking. Particular focus was given to inductive and deductive logic. The basic form of deductive thinking, the syllogism, was explored in depth. Reflect on all that was presented about categorical syllogisms. Based on your reading for this week:
- Develop a categorical syllogism. Discuss the meaning of the terms and/or propositions with a goal of understanding the importance of shared meaning.
Be sure to support your work with specific citations from the Learning Resources and any additional sources.
Assignment 2: Reflection
Post your Reflection assignment which summarizes what you learned from the readings, research, and Discussion activities. Detailed instructions and a template are provided in the Reflection Instructions and Template document located in the Doc Sharing area. Use references with APA formatting as needed. You may also want to review the Reflection Assignment Rubric located on the Course Information page before posting your assignment.
While you are not required to read and respond to your classmates’ postings, you are encouraged to do so.