Rhetoric: Deceiving with Logical Fallacies

Making sense out of a bunch of nonsense.

“Not all fallacies are easy to spot.”

-Jay Heinrichs, from Thank You For Aruging chapter 14

In my blog post Rhetoric in Everyday Life, you learned about what rhetoric was. I gave you examples from both my life and from Jay Heinrich’s book, Thank You For Arguing. Today, you will learn how logical fallacies can or cannot be used for persuasion.

What is a Logical Fallacy?

Logical Fallacies are used to persuade people. Sometimes they work, but they are normally nonsense. In other words, they are false logic. They trick others into believing something to be true.

“Elephants are animals. You’re an animal. That makes you an elephant. ”

Heinrich gives an example of a logical fallacy:

This example uses false logic that saying just because both humans and elephants are animals, it means we are the same. This is a logical fallacy that is easy to spot.

Be Careful When Using Logical Fallacies

If you use a logical fallacy in your arguments and it is obvious, Heinrich warns that you can harm your ethos. Your ethos, remember, is your credibility. If you have low credibility, it will be hard, in the future, to ever convince your audience of something ever again. It is best to avoid logical fallacies in this case.

In fact, no one should use logical fallacies because it does not make your argument stronger. It makes your arguments weaker because you have to lie in order to get people to side with you. Sadly, there are a lot of companies that use this technique and a lot of people who fall for the obvious ones.

Make sure you are aware of the fact that you are being deceived. For more information on fallacies, click this link, read Heinrich’s book, or read other people’s posts on this blog.

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