Win your Next Argument in a Spectacular Fashion

Saturday September 02, 2017 Written by Ronan

brain peach wide

If it's raining (p) then the streets are wet (q).

The streets are wet (q).

Therefore, it's raining (p).

This is an example of a ‘logical fallacy’. It’s a statement that appears to make sense, but it’s actually fallacious, wrong, nonsensical baloney.

A philosophy lecturer by the name of Gary N Curtis has created a website called The Fallacy Files which contains an interactive taxonomy containing all the logical fallacies that might be thrown your way in the heat of an argument. It’s basically a self-defense course in warding off nonsense.

The idea goes that a conclusion is only as strong as the propositions and premises that underlie it. A handy way to test out whether someone's conclusion is sound is to hunt around and gleefully unearth any logical mistakes, or ‘fallacies,’ within it.

A special type of fallacy is the ‘logical fallacy’: one that involves a mistake of reasoning. The wet street example at the top, for instance, is a ‘propositional’ logical fallacy:

If p then q.


Therefore, p.

Obviously rain isn’t the only way a street could become wet. It could equally have resulted from an erupting geyser, an incontinent camel, or the salty tears of someone losing an argument unnecessarily. This is where self-defence comes in: if you can learn how to swiftly identify logical fallacies, you’re far less likely to be hoodwinked or defeated in an argument. This could not only change your life, it could make the world a fairer, more just place. Especially if you’re an incontinent camel who’s just copped the blame for urinating in a street that was actually just rained on.

Head over to the site to get the knowledge and win more arguments.