Монологи на английском языке с текстом и переводом. №58. Тема: Заблуждения - это ошибки в рассуждениях.

What would you say if I told you all humans are cats?
I might say you're crazy.
Ha ha. OK. Fair enough. That statement does seem kind of crazy. Why does it seem crazy? Because we know it's wrong. We all know it's wrong. Today, we're going to look at fallacies. Fallacies are errors in reasoning, umm, wrong thinking, if you will.
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An argument that contains a fallacy is said to be invalid or unsound - or "crazy" as some of you might put it. Now, we can test the validity of an argument by checking to see if it contains any fallacies. The ability to test for fallacies is essential to critical thinking, and critical thinking is essential to earning a high grade in this class, so pay close attention. Now, we will look at one category of fallacy - umm, formal fallacies.
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Formal fallacies are only found in one, uh, particular kind of argument - the deductive argument. The simplest kind of deductive argument has two statements or assumptions and then a conclusion. It's called a syllogism. That's S-Y-L-L-O-G-I-S-M. Now don't get confused by big terms like this; remember, a syllogism is an argument with two assumptions and a conclusion... it's simple stuff, really.
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OK, now, if the two statements or assumptions are true AND provide complete support for the conclusion, then we say the argument is valid, and there is no error in reasoning, no formal fallacy. However, even when the two statements are true, if they don't provide enough, umm, support for the conclusion, then we say the argument contains a formal fallacy and is invalid.
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More simply put, the argument contains errors in the reasoning, or if you prefer, it's "crazy." Here's an example of a syllogism containing a formal fallacy:
1. All humans are mammals... that's a true statement.
2. All cats are mammals... that's a true statement, too.
3. Therefore, all humans are cats... that's an incorrect, or crazy, conclusion. We already know this.
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You see, each statement is true... all humans ARE mammals, and all cats ARE mammals. But these two statements do not completely support the conclusion. The conclusion: "Therefore, all humans are cats," is clearly false. The fact that humans and cats both belong to the same family of animals that we call mammals DOES NOT mean that humans and cats are the same thing.
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There is a formal fallacy in the argument. Remember, formal fallacies are mistakes in the logic of a, uh, deductive argument, and a deductive argument with two statements and a conclusion is called a syllogism. It's very important to remember, then, when you are making arguments for my class... or for any of your other classes... to check for and avoid formal fallacies.
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