Sunday, September 02, 2007

Success Tools: Guide to The Logical Fallacies

This post is related to my ongoing fascination with the thought of Billionaire Charlie Munger.

One of the general categories of Charlie Munger’s thought appears to be the area of “human misjudgment”. Day after day we make choices for all the wrong reasons. Our minds, which are supreme gifts, are also fallible: easily misdirected, in much the same way that a magician misdirects us. In our too-fast and media-soaked world, we are bombarded by quick sound-bites that attempt to move us to believe things, buy things or do things.

This can also happen to us with our friends, family, at work, or anywhere someone is trying to convince us of something. And, of course, we can also generate misdirect ourselves in order rationalize our own behavior.

Luckily, our minds are, amenable to help. Over the centuries, rhetoricians and logicians have catalogued the logical fallacies…tangled arguments that lead us away from careful thought…that take advamntage of our weaknesses and eagerness to believe the easy or alluring answer.

Stephen Downes, expert in online learning, content syndication, and new media, has put together a terrific Guide to the Logical Fallacies .

Here is Downes’ description of his collection:

Each fallacy is described in the following format:
Name: this is the generally accepted name of the fallacy
Definition: the fallacy is defined
Examples: examples of the fallacy are given
Proof: the steps needed to prove that the fallacy is committed

The fallacies are themselves
grouped into categories of four to six fallacies each. This grouping is somewhat
arbitrary and is for the sake of convenience only.

I intend to use this guide as a checklist (another Munger recommendation), and to refer to it frequently whenever I feel that some thought or argument just doesn’t “ring true”.



Priscilla Palmer said...

You have been tagged for The Personal Development List. Thanks for letting me know about your blog. I would love for you to participate.

Manny said...

Thanks, Priscilla. Please let me know how I may participate.