My last blog, which was posted on September 15th, featured an overview of logic and how it has influenced presented ideas or opinions in proper (or improper) ways. Listed here are addition fallacies of logic. These arguably appear occur in email far more frequently than most people think. Many email senders inadvertently make these mistakes. Sometimes, these make sense when written in haste, but they can often backfire as well, with poor results for the sender.
1. Argumentum ad numerum—This is a deduction that, since a majority of people believe something, it is true: Eighty percent of our employees do not believe we have to answer customer emails within twenty-four hours, so our corporate policy should be to reply within one week.
2. Argumentum ad ignorantiam—This fallacy specifically assumes something is correct because it has not been proven otherwise: My emails are well written, because no one has ever complained about them.
3. Tu quo que—This is the “you too” argument that counters a mistake or fallacy by claiming the accuser has done the same: You claim my emails are rude in content, but so are yours. Although the statement may be true, it does not make the mistake correct simply by stating that someone else does it.
4. Begging the question (petitio principii)—This logic abuse uses the same statement in a premise as in its conclusion: Our company’s employee emails are great because we studied the best email tutorials and we write great emails.
5. Moral equivalence—This argumentative fallacy begins with a statement and concludes with a moral exaggeration: We will win because our side is more caring.
6. Hasty generalization—This is a theory or conclusion made with a paucity of collaborative information. This has been a very cool summer, so there is no such thing as global climate change.
7. Cum hoc, ergo propter hoc (with this, therefore because of this)— This asserts that because two loosely related items occur simultaneously, each has a direct causal effect on the other: During the last five years, whenever our team has had a lead in the last quarter, we have won. We are now leading starting the last quarter, so we will win.
8. Fallacy of a complex question—These are forms of wrong dilemmas that only offer one solution: Is it true you’ve stopped spanking your children?
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