Chapter 13

Behaving Like a Rational Animal

In This Chapter

arrow In This Chapter

arrow Looking at the laws of logic

arrow Seeing successful arguments and finding fallacies

arrow Making valid points when debating

It is important to remember that the informal fallacies are just ‘rules of thumb’. If violating the informal fallacies is necessary in order to describe social systems, then a decision is required. Should traditions concerning the form of arguments limit the scope of science? Or, should the subject matter of science be guided by curiosity and the desire to construct explanations of phenomena?

Stuart Umpleby (‘The Financial Crisis: How Social Scientists Need to Change Their Thinking’, 2010, www.gwu.edu/~umpleby/recent.html )

Professor Stuart Umpleby is a social scientist rather than a philosopher (otherwise he'd never use a fallacious argument). He's sounding a cautionary note about the too literal, too narrow use of logical rules, a view that I clarify in this chapter.

This chapter is about how to use logic to strengthen your own arguments and help you spot weaknesses (or indeed strengths) in other ...

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