I imagine it may be increasingly evident that I find logic and a study of fallicious argument structures to be most interesting. This is somewhat in part do to my personal beliefs which are rooted significantly in philosophical and scientific studies. I am personally studying philosophy and psychology in college, and in my free time I like to watch various debates on You-Tube, study scientific origins, quantum mechanics, and other sort of strange things which I could list as my set of "hobbies." As such, I find myself writing on here so as to share some of the knowledge I have come across. I have written a few articles on fallicious arguments which you may find interesting in the future! Hopefully you are able to learn something and apply it to your own discourse with others!

5 Logical Fallicies:


1). The Moving Goalpost

The "moving goalpost" fallacy dips its feet into a few other fallicious argument types. However, this is a very easy to grasp fallacy do to the analogy of the moving goalpost which will inadvertently sit very well with many sports fans.

The basis of this argument consists of arbitrarily moving the criteria for "proof" or acceptance out of range of current evidence. This is a sly fallacy in that this is generally done when new evidence is unveiled which would prove a particular oppositional standpoint to be "true" (or at least provide evidence for said viewpoint). One could imagine this occurring a lot as individuals are out to prove the existence of supernatural entities such as ghosts and demons. If one is provided with evidence (such as an EVP - electric voice phenomena), a skeptic could "move the goalpost" and change the requirement under which something would be accepted as proof.

Of course, it is important to acknowledge the research methods of ghost-hunters; and to say that EVP's are inherently proof would also be false as the environment is not structured and these voices could potentially be faked or voices of other, unaccounted for, and living, individuals. This is sort of irrelevent to the nature of the moving goalpost, however I thought I would add this in for clarification purposes. The premise does not always have to be accurate. In fact, the entire discussion can be inaccurate if the premise is flawed; and the requirement for proof is moved into the realm of absurd. In this scenario, both individuals debating would be in the wrong.

2). Tu Quoque

Tu quoque literally translates into the words "you too." This is a poor argument which attempts to justify a wrong action by indicating that someone else is doing it. One can easily examine this in many scenarios. "Murder is acceptable because someone else has done it." Though this example is fairly straight-forward and easy to grasp because most of us agree that murder is morally apprehensible, there may be other conditions in which this fallacy is less evident and slipped into another argument.

3). Tautology

Tautology is another fallicious argument which relies heavily on circular reasoning. Circular reasoning is a flawed logical construction in which the conclusion merely restates the premise, generally in a slightly different way. A tautology essentially follows the nature of circular reasoning to a T. An example logical argument structure in which a tautology is utilized would be as follows: A = B, therefore A = B. The reason tautologies are possible to miss is when the separation between both the premise and the conclusion (which are essentially one in the same) is filled with jargon and what would qualify as ranting and rambling.

Note: This argument is not merely stating a premise than restating the premise at the end of the argument. This is not like a thesis in an introduction paragraph, then restating the thesis in the end. Rather, the premise and the conclusion "drawn" from the premise is one and the same. This typically will occur when an individual is making an assumption about something that lacks evidence. Again, returning to the subject of the supernatural and ghosts, one may state in the premise that "Ghosts exist because there is evidence." They will then provide no evidence for ghosts in the body of the argument. They will finally reach their conclusion and state as evidence for ghost that, "Ghosts exist because there is evidence." Psychologically, this can be tricky to pick up on, especially if you are compelled by the non-evidence provided between the premise and conclusion.

4). Ad-Hoc Reasoning

Ad-hoc reasoning is also refered to as "special pleading." When an individual uses the fallacy of special pleading, they add arbitrary (and often hard to notice) details to a premise which is typically thought of as false. This fallacy, like many others mentioned in my articles, occurs when individuals are attempting to verify the existence of supernatural occurances. For example, when discussing ESP an individual may point out that ESP has never been demonstrated scientifically. Because of this, their is no reason to believe that ESP is a genuine phenomena. Ad-Hoc reasoning is often utilized by defenders of ESP when they respond with phrases such as, "ESP does not occur in the presence of skeptics."

In many respects, this argument latches on to the psychological idea of "cognitive dissonance", where an individual will constantly look for alternative methods to latch onto beliefs which have no scientific grounding.

5). Genetic Fallacy

The genetic fallacy refers not to genetics in a formal sense, but rather to genetics in a historical sense. This is easily explained through an example of language and words. Those who argue using a genetic fallacy argument imply that the original meaning of a word is the only meaning it can have, and they, more or less, ignore alternative meanings which have been developed over time. This is evident if we consider the word "sunrise." There is a connotative meaning by which many of us refer to this word as meaning "the sun coming up." This is a rather arbitrary but useful use of the word "sunrise." Some may, however, argue that historically the term "sunrise" is meant to refer to the geocentric model of the universe, where the Earth is at the center of the galaxy. From this perspective, the sun will literally "rise" over the Earth during our perceived morning ours.