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4.5.6: Searching Your Essays for Fallacies

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    18 Searching Your Essays for Fallacies32

    When it comes to writing your own arguments and finding fallacies, it can be hard to spot them yourself. It is often very helpful to have someone else read through it and spot fallacies for you (assuming they have training in logic). However, if you are attempting to find and resolve any fallacies for yourself in your own essays, you should do the following:

    1) Whenever you are making an argument, clearly identify the conclusion you are trying to reach and the premises you are using to arrive at the conclusion. 2) Check the premises to see if they are actually relevant in the argument you are making and if they all connect to each other. 3) Check to see that the premises actually lead to the conclusion in the right ways to support it.

    Going through your essay slowly and carefully in this fashion can help you find and fix any fallacies before others even see them. Mostly, you just need to be sure that what you’re saying actually does properly lead to the conclusions you are attempting to convince others to accept. Usually you’ll go wrong by bringing in claims that just don’t matter for what you’re saying. Here’s the most important thing to remember about relevance of the claims when it comes to writing argumentative essays: If you say something that doesn’t relate to your argument, I really don’t care. Why, you ask? Because it would be irrelevant. Like if I say, “My friend Steve Weimer is the best fantasy baseball player I know because he always wins, he follows every game, he’s won major tournaments, and he’s six feet tall.” Being six feet tall has nothing to do with being good at fantasy baseball – at least I truly hope not, or I’m doomed to failure.

    This page titled 4.5.6: Searching Your Essays for Fallacies is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Noah Levin (NGE Far Press) .