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Fallacy - Section 1
The Circular Argument Fallacy
This is what Anna’s manager said about her bid to be promoted:'I will not be supporting Anna for promotion to management level. She doesn’t have enough visibility or backing at management level.' The problem with this reasoning is that it’s circular...a kind of logical fallacy.
Bias - Section 1
Fundamental Attribution Error
We're going to examine a cognitive bias called the Fundamental Attribution Error. It’s called ‘fundamental’ because it’s really basic and common…. ‘attribution’ because it’s about attributing blame… and ‘error’ because it’s a big mistake to make. Watch the video to discover more...
Fallacy - Section 2
This name comes from the Latin and translates as 'On The Man'. So instead of attacking the argument we attack the man who makes it.
Straw Man Fallacy
A 'Straw Man' is a pretend or imaginary enemy. Soldiers training for battle may use a human figure made of straw as a target for practice. Unsurprisingly, they find it easy to destroy the man made out of straw. in an argument, a straw man is a false version of your opponent’s position...
Bias - Section 2
Confirmation Bias is the tendency to look for – and accept – evidence that seems to support our existing beliefs and to dismiss evidence against. Examples have been found in every professional area…
Reversion to the Mean
If you have a background in statistics you’re probably familiar with the concept of reversion (return) to the mean (or average) as something we are likely to see over time. In business we have to beware of setting store by this phenomenon.
Fallacy - Section 3
The Gamblers Fallacy
Perhaps the most common fallacy in our reasoning about probability is the Gambler’s Fallacy which is the belief that if something hasn’t happened for a long time it's bound to happen soon. But is this true?
Causes and Correlations
When two things occur together, that is called correlation. However, It may be that neither of the two things causes the other, and in fact are both being caused by some third force. This video looks at how making an incorrect assumption of the cause of something at work, can lead to errors being made.
Bias - Section 3
The Self-fulfilling Prophecy
We all need to be aware of the phenomenon of the self-fulfilling prophecy – a prediction that causes itself to come true – it's well attested, with countless examples in practice.
Fallacy - Section 4
A False Dichotomy - Part 1
Speakers use False Dichotomy when they want to shake people out of a neutral position by saying that a neutral position is impossible. Of course, they know that a neutral position IS possible. What they're really saying is that the neutral position is unacceptable...
A False Dichotomy - Part 2
A False Dichotomy also lies at the root of the problem when people are being unassertive. To be unassertive is to feel that you have to choose between saying what you think and keeping people happy. That’s a false dichotomy because those are not the only two choices...
The Baltimore Stockbroker
The Baltimore Stockbroker is a scam that you are most likely to fall for by pulling in on yourself. The reason why people fall for it is their tendency to see causal relationships in random events.
Argument from Anecdote
An Argument from Anecdote is at once one of the weakest arguments you can use as well as being one of the most powerfully persuasive arguments – which sounds like a contradiction. But the fact is our logical minds and emotional minds have different ways of working and we need to be aware of basing our general beliefs on just one story – as this video illustrates.
The Missing Premise
Now in this video we’re going to look at something that is common to many fallacies, and also explains why most of the time we're not sure when faced with fallacious reasoning, which fallacy it actually it is.
Appeal to Nature
The Appeal To Nature is when someone claims that something is good because it's natural, or bad because it's unnatural. This video examines how this can occur in the workplace.
False Linear Thinking
Be careful of any conclusion that says ‘If current trends continue…’. The whole point about trends is that they rarely continue. They are current trends. This video explains how to avoid the error and to look for evidence to help you decide whether the rising trend you’re looking at is a small part of a straight line, a small part of a curve, or even just a random blip.
No True Scotsman
The No True Scotsman argument is one where we have made a generalisation and then, when someone comes up with a counterexample, we dismiss it by saying that the counterexample is not a real example of the kind of thing we were talking about.
Bias - Section 4
The Halo Effect
The Halo Effect is when someone is good in one area, we naturally assume they will be good in another, and vice-versa – even if there is no good reason to make that assumption.
Fallacy - Section 5
Necessary and Sufficient Conditions
The word ‘IF’ in the English language is ambiguous. 'Marcus will go to the party if Stephanie goes'. Surely that means that whether Marcus goes to the party depends on if Stephanie is going, and if she doesn’t go, Marcus won’t? However, Marcus will also go to the party IF Marianne goes. That's why it's important to make clear whether we’re talking about necessary or sufficient conditions.
The Slippery Slope Fallacy
A Slippery Slope Argument (also known as a Thin End of the Wedge Argument) is when we say that by taking such and such a step we will tread on a slippery slope and slide all the way down to the bottom. Some Slippery Slope arguments are fallacies – you need to know how to tell which.
Bias - Section 5
Here's a loaded question: 'Have you stopped lying on your tax return?' If you answer 'Yes', it sounds as if you’ve been lying on your tax return. And if you say 'No', it sounds as if you still do it. Clearly, loaded questions can be hard to spot and to defend yourself against.
Social Proof is a cognitive bias that states that what a large number of people believe must be correct. The trouble is, it can also be a logical fallacy.
This final video summarises what we’ve covered in the videos. First of all, critical thinking means looking for possible sources of error – in your own thinking, just as much as other people’s. Things we should look out for are: Bias, Fallacy, Causes, Confirming your own false beliefs, Being a good listener...
- How to think critically
- To recognise & challenge false assumptions
- To identify a range of cognitive biases
- To effectively challenge the status quo
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