Fallacious arguments should not be persuasive, but they too often are.Fallacies may be created unintentionally, or they may be created intentionally in order to deceive other people.In the series as a whole, you learn how to analyze and evaluate arguments and how to avoid common mistakes in reasoning.These important skills will be useful to you in deciding what to believe and what to do in all areas of your life. Politicians, salespeople, and children commonly use fallacies in order to get us to think what they want us to think.You might not need to take more than one version of the exam if you do well enough on your first try. However many versions you take, we hope that all of the exams will provide additional learning experiences.Duke University has about 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students and a world-class faculty helping to expand the frontiers of knowledge.Think Again: How to Avoid Fallacies will show how to identify and avoid many of the fallacies that people use to get us to think the way they want us to think.
To refute an argument is to show that the argument is unsuccessful.Even if you are able to identify a fallacious argument as a fallacy, you might still not be able to prove to others that it is a fallacy.In this week, you will learn a variety of techniques for proving to others that the argument is a fallacy.Part of what makes these fallacies so common, and so difficult to avoid, is that many ad hominem arguments, and many appeals to authority, are actually not fallacies at all! And figuring out which of them are fallacies is more of an art than a science.There is no simple recipe, but there are some rules of thumb you can use.When we use vague or ambiguous phrases in our reasoning, it is very easy for us to make a number of different kinds of fallacies.This week will teach you what these different kinds of fallacies are, and give us some practice in spotting them, so you can make sure to avoid them in the future. This course is the fourth in a series of four courses jointly titled Think Again: How to Reason and Argue.We are excited that you are taking this course, and we hope that you will take all four courses in the series, because there is a great deal of important material to learn.It also clarifies some peculiarities you may find with this course.We encourage you to watch the "Introduction to the Course" video first as it will help you learn more from the materials that come later.