Be Cautious of the Fallacy Fallacy
There’s a danger to learning about cognitive biases and logical fallacies and so on which is that you end up with this tool kit of ways to reject other people’s arguments.
While it’s really valuable to be able to notice rhetorical fallacies in other people’s arguments, it’s possibly even more valuable to be able to notice them in your own arguments.
And the reason is that there’s a danger to learning about cognitive biases and logical fallacies and so on which is that you end up with this tool kit of ways to reject other people’s arguments. And if you don’t turn that tool kit on yourself then you just end up more and more entrenched in the beliefs that you already had.
There’s this term that I like called the fallacy fallacy which refers to when you notice some fallacy in something someone’s saying and you use that as an excuse to ignore their point altogether even though, in fact, they might have many good points despite the one fallacy in their argument.
And if you’re smart you should be especially cautious of the fallacy fallacy because research shows that smart people have greater ability to notice flaws in other people’s arguments and don't look for flaws in their own arguments. So, you really have to want to figure out the right answer, to figure out the truth more than you want to prove yourself right or to win a particular argument.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.
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- At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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You can say 'no' to things, and you should. Do it like this.
- Give yourself permission to say "no" to things. Saying yes to everything is a fast way to burn out.
- Learn to say no in a way that keeps the door of opportunity open: No should never be a one-word answer. Say "No, but I could do this instead," or, "No, but let me connect you to someone who can help."
- If you really want to say yes but can't manage another commitment, try qualifiers like "yes, if," or "yes, after."
Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.
- Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
- Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
- Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
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- Research suggests that most human brains take about 25 years to develop, though these rates can vary among men and women, and among individuals.
- Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments within the prefrontal cortex and other regions still take pace well into one's 20s.
- The findings raise complex ethical questions about the way our criminal justice systems punishes criminals in their late teens and early 20s.
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