by phil on Sunday Dec 7, 2003 6:04 PM
Idea Archive, logical fallacies

I wonder how effective a matrix listing one's tendencies to commit logical fallacies can be at determining someone’s personality, character, and propensities for certain behavior, and therefore shape their destiny.

Logical fallacies are common failures that humans make when analyzing arguments. Some examples are things like, “comparing apples and oranges” or making a quick leap from correlation to causation. A fairly comprehensive list appears here.

Assuming that one’s grades on a logical fallacies test were predictive of their nature, then, the other question I have is: how much are our propensities to commit logical fallacies shaped by our experience.

For example, are programmers, who are used to solving deterministic problems and focus attention on cause (code) and effect (binary executable), more inclined to commit causal fallacies. And maybe it’s not necessarily their programming experience that shapes them, but their propensity to be a programmer could be linked to their propensity to see things in a certain way.

Abstract painters, may be more in tune to things like indeterminism, and not see things so black and white.

Celebrities who are badgered to pontificate even if they lack evidence may be habitual fallacy criminals.

Once I’m done understanding that long list of fallacies, I might sit down and grade myself to see, comparatively, which fallacies I’ve been most prone too. Afterwards, I’d then try to draw connections between that and whatever parenting or shaping I’ve had growing up to see if there are parallels.


Chazz said on December 9, 2003 12:52 PM:

Interesting observations. You're on to something. I think anyone's background and chosen education has a direct influence on their logical fallacies (depending on the focus of their activities). When one chooses a career path or ideology, I think one tries to adopt the logic behind it, and that logic bleeds into everything else. It's how a person rationalizes the idea that their trade is "the best" trade -- if its ideology is universal then it must be the best... which is a logic fallacy in and of itself.

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