Informal Fallacies: A Guided Tour

Slippery Slopes, Red Herrings, Straw Men and More!

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NOTE: This course is included in the site-wide bundle which unlocks every course in the Academy.


Students love learning to recognize fallacies and faulty reasoning. There’s just something empowering about it, I think.

There is a small industry devoted to identifying and classifying informal fallacies of reasoning. A comprehensive list of recognized fallacies would run into the hundreds.

This course introduces the concept of an informal fallacy and discusses some common fallacy types, but it in no way aims to be comprehensive. Instead the focus is on how any given fallacy can be understood using the basic concepts of argument analysis introduced in earlier courses.

What Will I Learn in This Course?

In this course you'll learn:

  • what a fallacy is, how to distinguish formal fallacies from informal fallacies, and how both are different from fallacies that involve violations of the rules of rational argumentation
  • how to recognize a number of important fallacy types, including ad hominem, straw man, slippery slope, begging the question, and many more
  • how to analyze what is wrong with these arguments in terms of more fundamental properties of good and bad arguments

What Do I Get With This Course?

When you enroll in this course you get

  • 14 video lectures, totaling 1 hour and 28 minutes of viewing time
  • Full transcripts for each of the lectures, embedded below the videos
  • Discussion comments for each of the lectures, allowing you to ask and respond to questions and comments
  • A pdf ebooks suitable for printing or viewing on a desktop computer or tablet device
  • Quiz questions to help you review and test your understanding of the material

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