How informal fallacies, long considered to be argumentative sins, appear to be quite similar to cognitive heuristics

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In Research Brief 3 and class session 17, we explored how informal fallacies, long considered to be argumentative sins, appear to be quite similar to cognitive heuristics. In light of our discussion and study, should we reconsider viewing these argument tactics as “fallacies” always to avoid? Why or why not? Compose an argument with a strong thesis. Support your argument with critical reasoning as you engage with our course texts.

Consider the question in light of two terms: effective and appropriate. Here, “effective” refers to achieving an intended result and “appropriate” means achieving the result in ways that are suitable for the circumstance. As we discovered in class, we can think of many situations where using informal fallacies in an argument will prove effective. Yet even if a “fallacy” is effective, is it ever appropriate to use? If the goal of an argument is to reach practical consensus, then isn’t any rhetorical tactic that results in an agreement we can act on both effective and appropriate? If not, why?

Soldier/scout mindsets, S1/S2, heuristics, skepticism, etc.—ruminating on our previous coursework may help you discover an argument.

Format

Typography: Typed using a 12-point standard font (Times, Arial, Cambria, Calibri, etc.)

Length: Minimum of 3 full double-spaced pages presented in MLA format with 1-inch margins. Most students won’t write more than five pages.

Citations: Cite at least two sources. Chapters 6 and 7 of Critical Thinking are one likely source. The argument of your thesis will determine what other sources are also relevant. Cite the sources of your information using MLA in-text citations with a Works Cited page. See our MLA citation guide.

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