3.2 Identifying and avoiding flawed lines of reasoning
3 min read•february 3, 2023
AP English Language ✍🏽
This guide will be going over how to identify and avoid flawed lines of reasoning.
What is a flawed line of reasoning?
A flawed line of reasoning is an argument or line of thinking that contains logical errors or mistakes that prevent it from being sound or convincing. It is a reasoning that does not meet the standards of good reasoning. Examples of flawed line of reasoning include:
Hasty generalization: drawing a broad conclusion based on a small and unrepresentative sample.
False Cause: Assuming that because one thing happens after another, the first must be the cause of the second.
Ad Hominem: attacking the person instead of the argument
Straw man: misrepresenting an opponent's argument in order to make it easier to attack
False Dilemma: presenting only two options when there are more alternatives available.
How to avoid using flawed lines of reasoning
Be aware of common logical fallacies: By understanding the most common types of flawed reasoning, such as those listed above, you will be better equipped to identify them in your own thinking and in the arguments of others.
Use critical thinking skills: By applying critical thinking skills such as analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing information, you can better assess the strengths and weaknesses of an argument.
Gather information from multiple sources: By seeking out information from a variety of sources, you can gain a more well-rounded understanding of an issue and be less likely to fall victim to flawed reasoning.
Be open to other perspectives: Avoiding flawed reasoning also involves being open to different perspectives and being willing to consider alternative viewpoints.
Be willing to revise your opinions: Being willing to revise your opinions when presented with new information or logical arguments is important in avoiding flawed reasoning.
Applying identifying flawed line of reasoning
Here is an example of how you might identify flawed line of reasoning in this text:
Text: "All teenagers are irresponsible. Therefore, they should not be allowed to drive."
Look for the main argument or claim: The main argument or claim in this text is that teenagers should not be allowed to drive.
Identify supporting evidence: The text provides no evidence to support the argument that teenagers are irresponsible.
Look for logical connections: The text makes a hasty generalization, implying that all teenagers are irresponsible based on a small and unrepresentative sample.
Identify counterarguments: There is no counterargument provided in the text, but one possible counterargument could be that not all teenagers are irresponsible, and that many are responsible and capable of driving safely.
Pay attention to the conclusion: The conclusion of the line of reasoning is that teenagers should not be allowed to drive, which is not logically supported by the premise that all teenagers are irresponsible.
This text presents a flawed line of reasoning because the conclusion that teenagers should not be allowed to drive is not logically supported by the premise that all teenagers are irresponsible. Instead of being a sound argument, it is based on a hasty generalization and assumptions.
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🥇Unit 1 – Claims, Reasoning, & Evidence
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