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Logical Fallacies: a new tool for fisking

In 1985 Madsen Pirie wrote The Book of the Fallacy. It was an entertaining read, explaining different types of logical fallacy and… er… how they can be used effectively. It found itself on many philosophy course reading lists. According to Dr Gary Curtis of Fallacy Files:

This book is the closest thing to an encyclopedia of logical fallacies to have been published, and it is a shame that it has gone out of print.

The good news is that, as of this week, the book has now been brought back to life – as a tool for fisking. It is available at www.adamsmith.org/logicalfallacies and is designed so that when you accuse someone of a priorism, you can link to the definition.

9 comments to Logical Fallacies: a new tool for fisking

  • You can also find a simple version of the most common fallacies on my Blog that is easily printed. I’ll even e-mail the file to anyone who wants it: Logic Lesson(Link)

  • Guy Herbert

    Glad of that. I ordered a copy from The Alternative Bookshop when it first came out, but it never arrived. :( Now I can see what I missed.

  • Thanks for the link. I try to keep my blog on the nature of debates and the methods used. This will be invaluable.

  • Mike

    Good find. The quaternio terminorum page is pure triple-refined gold.

  • How come it doesn’t have “slippery slope”? I’ve seen that one on other lists of logical fallacies. I’m guessing there’s a proper latin term for it. Anyone know what it is? Thanks

  • Is slippery slope a logical fallacy? I don’t see anything illogical in saying that x action will eventually have y consequence.

  • The best fallacy list I’ve come across is here:

  • Delmore Macnamara

    Don’t waste your time. Knowing the latin name of every fallacy in no way helps your ability to spot faulty reasoning. You would be far better buying a good book on modern logic & making sure you have a good knowledge of first order predicate calculus.

  • J

    I’d recommed ‘Thinking from A-Z’ by Nigel Warburton, also along these lines, but highly readable by a lay person (i.e. without a philosophy degree).

    One of the things that always amuses me is people who spot logical fallacies in other people’s arguments then go on to say that since they have made a mistake in their reasoning, their conclusions must be wrong – which is of course not the case. Such people usually go on to say that because they have made a mistake in their reasoning, they are stupid, blind to truth, bigots, and not only are their conclusinos wrong, but so are all the other related conclusions they might have now or later.

    Gotta love the Internet – the best thing to happened to Sophistry since Theaetetus.