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Argumentative Mistakes Guide | What are they and how to recognize them

Philosophy and psychology are related to each other in many ways, for example, both disciplines deal with the world of thought and ideas. When these processes enter the arena of debate, it is possible to appeal to the use of argumentative fallacies.

According to the Center for Reading, Writing and Orality (LEO), Universidad de los Andes, an argumentative fallacy is a statement that appears to be valid but is not and differs from a logical error. common fallacy because intentionally or not, its invalid.


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Regardless of whether the conclusion wins the debate, gives strength to a text or weight to the speech, if a mistake has been made in the development, it makes the argument wrong and violates at least one logical rule, explains Adrián Triglia , psychologist and editorial director. of the network of psychology and the mind.

types of errors

Javier Murillo, Laura Ramírez and Lina Calle are the authors of ‘The Spelling of Tarzán’, a college writing guide, where they accurately describe the most common types of errors and how they are seen in the practice.

  • Authority –ad verecundiam: This occurs when an authority unrelated to the topic to be developed is cited or a postulate is assumed to be true only because an expert says so.

Lawyer says vaccines are not effective because they are unreliable

  • Overgeneralization: Investigating a position based on multiple cases strengthens an argument, however, it is not a reflection of reality. Let’s take a few representative examples to generalize quickly.

All people who practice a certain religion are fanatics.

  • Straw man: it modifies or distorts an argument because the distorted version is easier to attack than the original version. Occurs when the author twists the plot, often ridiculing it

The theory of the evolution of species is wrong because it would say that human beings are descendants of apes.

  • direct attack – ad hominem: seeks to disqualify or offend the contestant with contrary or inconsistent statements against what is being defended, in this way argumentative verification is diverted to offense.

You can’t talk about parenthood because you don’t have children.

  • Call for mercy: ITry to persuade based on moving reasons that are not consistent with what is being said.

35 million pesos in salary is not enough because I have to ask for addresses every day and pay 3 million rent

  • Appeal to Fear: reasons are replaced by threats to convince.

If they vote for this political party they will deliver the country to crime

  • appeal to popularity announcement popolum: try to validate a position based on the majority support it may have.

The hair product must be good because whoever sells it has many followers on social networks

  • False pattern – post hoc, ergopropter hoc: it assumes that one event is the cause of another because the two are related in some way, although it is usually a temporary relationship or it is also a relationship causal.

I prayed for this job, so praying got me there.

  • smoke screen – ignore the elenchi: purposely presents a different argument from the one in question. You deliberately change the subject because you don’t have enough evidence to prove your original argument.

Same-sex marriage should not be legalized because the family is the essential unit of society.


Read also: ‘Corporate washing’, the strategy of brands to wash their image with social causes

Were you aware of this type of sophistry, do you use it or have you been denied during a debate or discussion on the networks? Tell us in our group Facebook and don’t miss the live feed of Let’s explore, a space to learn.

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