Fallacies and how to refute them


So let’s say someone commits the fallacy of changing the goal posts or commits a red herring. How do we respond? Is there a list on how to respond to fallacies?




Do you have an example


Depends on the person. If she’s a student of logic and you have a good relationship with her, suggesting she committed a falacy won’t upset her. She’ll probably laugh and say, “Yeah, you’re right! Let me try again.”

If the person isn’t familiar with fallacies calling her out for them won’t help, but instead of saying, “You’re committing a straw man fallacy” you could say, “You make a goodnight point! But it seems I did a poor job of communicating and you misunderstood the argument I was making. Sorry for being clear as mud! Please let me try again.” That way you’re saying you’re the one to blame, not just her, so she doesn’t feel like ahe’s being put on the defensive.

I also find that asking questions (the Socratic Method) is a great way to keep a conversation from getting heated.

Tone and attitude is the key. If you’re being kind and respectful and showing you’re really interested in listening and finding the truth together, and you’re not interested in getting to your next point and trying to win some debate, you’ll reach her with your behavior as well as your words.

Make sense?


If on a forum, post one of these:

If in person, pull it up on the phone.

To be serious for a little bit, though: If they understand logic and philosophy, just call them out on it. If they don’t, then explain the problem in layperson’s terms. For instance, if it is the strawman, say, “I never claimed X, so that isn’t relevant.”

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