Fallacy Summary and Application

Fallacy Summary and Application
Throughout this paper, we will discuss the relative meanings of fallacies and the importance they have in regards to critical thinking and the decision-making processes. Within the process of critical thinking, fallacies tend to play a very large part of this process. By definition, a fallacy is a statement or an argument based on a false or invalid reference (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language). As you will read on further into this paper, we will begin to define the significance that fallacies play with the role of critical thinking and decision-making.
Fallacy Summary and Application
From the master list of logical fallacies, I have chosen four different fallacies in which I will go into detail and discuss further. As I mentioned in the abstract, fallacies play a key role in the critical thinking and decision-making processes. We use fallacies everyday to persuade individuals to one side of an argument versus the other. We also use fallacies to appeal to people in different ways such as emotions, authority, and ignorance. The four fallacies that I will be discussing throughout this paper are the slippery slope fallacy, the false dilemma fallacy, the post hoc ergo propter fallacy, and the straw man fallacy.
Slippery Slope Fallacy
We can recognize a great deal of importance when dealing with the slippery slope fallacy. In business, it becomes very important for us to realize that there are no gray areas or in between areas. When dealing with business, many times our decisions and the critical thinking process is well defined and clear cut. On the other hand, are they really that clear cut? Are they really that defined?
In an article by K.B. Battaglini (2004), the difference between puffery and deception among people who purchase a franchise for their business is a hot topic. There is obvious difficulty in distinguishing between exaggeration of facts and mere expressions of opinion, and that is why the trail from puffery to fraud is a slippery slope. For example, a franchisor describes a prospective business opportunity as having a ?high profit potential.? To the franchisor, this means that there are no promises in regards to profits, but that high profits could result from the hard work and enthusiasm of the franchisee. To the franchisee, the expression ?high profit potential? means that the franchisor is in a superior position and must have some basis to know whether the opportunity has profit potential, the franchisor would not be promoting the opportunity unless it had profit potential, and the franchisor must possess data or information supporting the expression that the profit potential is high.
I feel that this example shows that there is a possibility of having gray areas within business decisions and the critical thinking process as it relates to businesses. It all comes down to the individual perception of one person compared to another person.
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Post hoc ergo propter hoc is also an argument offering an explanation that confuses co-occurrence with causality based on a temporal ordering of the events: A comes before B, so A causes B. In fact, the temporal ordering of the two events is likely to have been merely coincidental, or the result of some further causal factor (http://www.cuyamaca.net/bruce.thompson/Fallacies/posthoc.asp)
Within business, post hoc ergo propter hoc is one thing causing another. In this case, the old saying comes into play here: ?Which came first, the chicken or the egg?? This statement fits post hoc ergo propter hoc very well. It is a matter of which occurrence caused the other occurrence to happen? In business, the same is true in many critical thinking arguments or decision-making problems. When involved with making business decisions, we often look into the cause of those problems to gather information. It is this information that allows us to make well-informed decisions.
Let us say, for instance, that a decision made by oil companies to reduce the price of gasoline at the pumps caused other companies to make some decisions of their own regarding this situation. It goes down the line and eventually, everyone is making decisions based off the decision by the oil companies. However, the oil companies had to have something spur them to make their original decision. There are many businesses that will make decisions and rely upon the decisions made by other businesses to survive. In this business climate, it is all a matter of cause and effect.
False Dilemma
One article (?Capitalism vs. Socialism: A false dilemma,? 2003) noted that the false dilemma fallacy lies among the choice between a capitalist society and a socialist society. As is stated in the description of this fallacy, it assumes that we must choose between the capitalist society and the socialist society. However, as the article mentions, both systems are flawed beyond redemption. Socialism and capitalism are not the only modes of economic production to have ever existed. Many other systems existed hundreds of thousands of years and continue to exist this day.
This is exactly what is discussed within this fallacy. The fallacy is about getting you to think that there are only two choices. You must pick one of them. However, as the article proves, there are many other choices available to us. The same is true within a business world. The need for critical thinking is obvious within this fallacy. We need to be able to look at things in detail and examine the possibilities that exist before making an irrational decision. The quicker we make business decision; there will be a greater opportunity for that decision to fail.
Within all of the fallacies that we discussed, the need for critical thinking and smart decision-making is evident. Without it, we would have a large amount of businesses that are unsuccessful because they are not taking the time to make educated and informed decisions about their problems or issues. The more time you put into the critical thinking process to evaluate your position, the better off you will be when it is time to make those urgent decisions.

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