Why Fallacies Appear to be Better Arguments Than They Are

Douglas Walton


This paper offers a solution to the problem of understanding how a fallacious argument can be deceptive by “seeming to be valid”, or (better) appearing to be a better argument of its kind than it really is. The explanation of how fallacies are deceptive is based on heuristics and paraschemes. Heuristics are fast and frugal shortcuts to a solution to a problem that sometimes jump to a conclusion that is not justified. In fallacious instances, according to the theory proposed, this jump overlooks prerequisites of the defeasible argumentation scheme for the type of argument in question. Three informal fallacies, argumentum ad verecundiam, argumentum ad ignorantiam and fear appeal argument, are used to illustrate and explain the theory.



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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22329/il.v30i2.2868

ISSN: 0824-2577