A timely and accessible guide to 100 of the most infamous logical fallacies in Western philosophy, helping readers avoid and detect false assumptions and faulty reasoning
You'll love this book or you'll hate it. So, you're either with us or against us. And if you're against us then you hate books. No true intellectual would hate this book.
Ever decide to avoid a restaurant because of one bad meal? Choose a product because a celebrity endorsed it? Or ignore what a politician says because she's not a member of your party? For as long as people have been discussing, conversing, persuading, advocating, proselytizing, pontificating, or otherwise stating their case, their arguments have been vulnerable to false assumptions and faulty reasoning. Drawing upon a long history of logical falsehoods and philosophical flubs, Bad Arguments demonstrates how misguided arguments come to be, and what we can do to detect them in the rhetoric of others and avoid using them ourselves.
Fallacies--or conclusions that don't follow from their premise--are at the root of most bad arguments, but it can be easy to stumble into a fallacy without realizing it. In this clear and concise guide to good arguments gone bad, Robert Arp, Steven Barbone, and Michael Bruce take readers through 100 of the most infamous fallacies in Western philosophy, identifying the most common missteps, pitfalls, and dead-ends of arguments gone awry. Whether an instance of sunk costs, is ought, affirming the consequent, moving the goal post, begging the question, or the ever-popular slippery slope, each fallacy engages with examples drawn from contemporary politics, economics, media, and popular culture. Further diagrams and tables supplement entries and contextualize common errors in logical reasoning.
At a time in our world when it is crucial to be able to identify and challenge rhetorical half-truths, this bookhelps readers to better understand flawed argumentation and develop logical literacy. Unrivaled in its breadth of coverage and a worthy companion to its sister volume Just the Arguments (2011), Bad Arguments is an essential tool for undergraduate students and general readers looking to hone their critical thinking and rhetorical skills.
Notes on Contributors
Scott F. Aikin is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. He works primarily in epistemology and pragmatism. Aikin is author of two books: Epistemology and the Regress Problem (Routledge, 2011) and Evidentialism and the Will to Believe (Bloomsbury, 2014). He and John Casey have co-authored a number of articles on fallacy theory.
Robert Arp is a researcher for the US Army and has interests in the history of Western philosophy. With Jamie Watson, he treats fallacies in the 2nd edition of his book, Critical Thinking: An Introduction to Reasoning Well (Bloomsbury, 2015). See robertarp.com.
Marco Antonio Azevedo is a physician and doctor in philosophy, and teaches in the Graduate Program in Philosophy at Unisinos (University of Vale do Rio dos Sinos, Brazil). He is interested in issues in metaethics, bioethics, and philosophy of medicine. His students know well how much he is bothered by the lack of appreciation for argument in any field.
Kimberly Baltzer is a lecturer at King's University College (at Western) for the departments of Philosophy and Social Justice & Peace Studies. Although her expertise lies in Munich Phenomenology and Existentialism, her interests are vast: metaphysics, epistemology, hermeneutics, Dadaism, WWI history, and tattoo aesthetics and culture.
Steven Barbone is an associate professor of philosophy at San Diego State University. He enjoyed working on this volume as well as on Just the Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Arguments in Western Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) with Michael Bruce.
Gregory L. Bock is Senior Lecturer of Philosophy and Religion at The University of Texas at Tyler, where he teaches logic, among other things. His research interests include ethics and philosophy of religion.
Jack Bowen teaches philosophy at Menlo School in Atherton, California. He is the author of four books in philosophy including The Dream Weaver: One Boy's Journey through The Landscape of Reality (Pearson, 2006), If You Can Read This: The Philosophy of Bumper Stickers (Random House, 2010) and Sport, Ethics, and Leadership (co-authored, Routledge, 2017). He has written on fallacies in his book A Journey through the Landscape of Philosophy (Pearson, 2007).
Michael Bruce is a software consultant in San Francisco and specializes in the history of Western philosophy. Along with Steven Barbone, he was a contributing editor to Wiley-Blackwell's Just the Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Arguments in Western Philosophy (2011).
Dan Burkett is a doctoral student in philosophy at Rice University. He specializes in social and political philosophy, morality, freedom, and the philosophy of time. He has recently contributed chapters to Futurama and Philosophy (Open Court, 2013), Homeland and Philosophy (Open Court, 2014), and The Ultimate Star Wars and Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016).
John Casey is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Northeastern Illinois University. Trained as a medievalist, he now works primarily in argumentation theory. He and Scott F. Aikin have co-authored a number of articles on fallacy theory and are currently working on a book on the straw man fallacy.
Christian Cotton is an independent scholar, author, and game developer who has published in the areas of moral and political philosophy. His current interests lie in the philosophies of anarchism and primitivism and the critique of civilization.
Jennifer Culver is an instructional tech specialist at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Her main interests lie in the intersections of rhetoric, story (particularly pop culture), and ritual.
Charlene Elsby is an assistant professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, specializing in ancient philosophy and realist phenomenology. She is the editor of Essays on Aesthetic Genesis (UPA, 2016) and co-author of Clear and Present Thinking (Northwest Passage Books, 2013) with Brendan Myers and Kimberly Baltzer-Jaray.
Galen Foresman is an associate professor of philosophy at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He is a co-author of The Critical Thinking Toolkit (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016) with Peter Fosl and Jamie Watson.
Brett Gaul is an associate professor of philosophy at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota. His philosophical interests include ethics, philosophy of sport, and popular culture and philosophy. He does his best to avoid committing the fallacies explained in this book.
A.G. Holdier holds an MA in the philosophy of religion from Denver Seminary and currently teaches both ethics courses for Colorado Technical University and theology courses for a local high school. His research interests lie at the intersection of philosophy, theology, and aesthetics with a focus on the ontology of creativity and the imagination and the function of stories as cultural artifacts. His latest work concerns the construction of a phenomenological model of the afterlife.
Alexander E. Hooke is a professor of philosophy at Stevenson University. He is editor of Virtuous Persons, Vicious Deeds and co-editor of Encounters with Alphonso Lingis. In addition to writing occasional op-ed essays for The Baltimore Sun, he has several contributions to the forthcoming Perry Mason and Philosophy book.
Jason Iuliano is currently a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a PhD candidate in the Politics Department at Princeton University. His research interests are in empirical constitutional law and consumer bankruptcy. Some of his recent articles have appeared in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, Michigan Law Review, and Indiana Law Journal. Previously, he earned a JD from Harvard Law School where he was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Harvard Business Law Review.
David Kyle Johnson is Professor of Philosophy at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He has three courses for The Great Courses (Exploring Metaphysics, The Big Questions of Philosophy and Sci-Phi: Science Fiction as Philosophy) and is the author of The Myths That Stole Christmas (Humanist Press, 2015). Most of his professional and popular work is available (for free) on his academia.edu page.
Leigh Kolb is an instructor at East Central College in rural Missouri, where she teaches English, journalism, and mass media. Her film and TV criticism has appeared in various publications, and her chapters on feminist philosophy have appeared in the texts Sons of Anarchy and Philosophy: Brains Before Bullets (Wiley, 2013) and Philosophy and Breaking Bad (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). She also has chapters in the upcoming Amy Schumer and Philosophy and Twin Peaks and Philosophy (Wiley, 2018).
Rory E. Kraft, Jr. is an assistant professor of philosophy at York College of Pennsylvania. Most of his work is in ethics and pre-college philosophy. He is co-editor-in-chief of the journal American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy and Editor Emeritus of Questions: Philosophy for Young People.
David Vander Laan is Professor of Philosophy at Westmont College. He has research interests in metaphysics and philosophy of religion. His publications include articles in Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Faith and Philosophy, Religious Studies, Philosophical Studies, and Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic.
David LaRocca is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Cinema Department at Binghamton University and previously was Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the State University of New York College at Cortland. Educated at Buffalo, Berkeley, Vanderbilt, and Harvard, he is the author and editor of several books, including Emerson's English Traits and the Natural History of Metaphor, Stanley Cavell's Emerson's Transcendental Etudes, The Bloomsbury Anthology of Transcendental Thought, and The Philosophy of Documentary Film: Image, Sound, Fiction, Truth. More details at www.davidlarocca.org.
Bertha Alvarez Manninen is an associate professor of philosophy at Arizona State University. Her primary areas of research and teaching are applied ethics and philosophy of religion.
Tuomas W. Manninen is a senior lecturer at the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. He regularly teaches courses that address issues in social/political philosophy, metaphysics, and critical thinking, with a particular focus on overlapping issues. His recent publications have focused on metaphysical topics as portrayed in popular culture. He earned his PhD in Philosophy in 2007 from the University of Iowa; his dissertation focused on the social ontology of personhood.
Benjamin W. McCraw teaches philosophy at the University of South Carolina Upstate. His research focuses primarily on epistemology and philosophy of religion - especially their intersection in religious epistemology. He has published articles in the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy and Theology, Social Epistemology, and Logos and Episteme. He is also co-editor of The Concept of Hell (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Philosophical Approaches to the Devil (Routledge, 2015), and The Problem of Evil: New...