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Fallacies and Assumptions – Psychology

Assumptions are a part of human cognitive processes that are framed by knowledge and contemplations in relation to the leading out reasons or potentially factual information. There are times when assumptions are true or false and can be based on real facts or made up information. Usually, a person assuming something does it out of an educated guess or logical thinking. This would be the best case scenario, as it will constitute probable knowledge. It is different from a fact because it is not supported by any strict laws. For example, the fact that the sun will rise the next morning can be called a physical law but in case it is supposed that there is a possibility of a major cataclysm, then it could be thought of as an assumption. There is a slight chance that something will change in the law but the fact that there is a very small chance makes this factual knowledge.

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Very often, assumptions are based on illogical information and lack of knowledge. They are constantly made about people and their qualities. It would certainly be wrong to assume that all people are the same in their personality but more importantly, the actions and attitudes that follow assumptions can be harmful and damaging. In order to avoid making assumptions, an individual must support their thinking by concrete information and logical reasoning. Even though there is always a possibility that some knowledge is not absolutely unchanging or unaffected by exterior forces, there is a great percentage that it will stay the same in almost all instances in time.

Even though logic and reasoning can be relied on for clarity and truth, sometimes there are cases when they can be used in a vein or to the advantage of someone’s interests. These instances produce fallacies and there are several types that pertain to language and reasoning processes. One fallacy comes to life when begging the question—the argument has and supposes the answer in itself. For example, it is certain that people did not create Earth and all the stars, which means that it must have been God or other intelligent beings. Straw man argument is meant to create a false argument in order to blame someone for something non-existent. It is often used in politics, for example, if someone says that the current government should focus more on international relations, the opponent will accuse the speaker that they are criticizing the present government, in saying that it is unable to make things better in its own country. The manipulation of information or omission is also a wrong practice. When using a questionable premise, the whole argument is based on faulty logic.

There is also an appeal to ignorance, arguing something that cannot be proved or disproved. There is no evidence to say that it is false and that does not make it true and vice versa. For example, it could be said that people have originated on another planet and arrived on Earth. Language fallacies take place when reasoning is based on words that have controversial or unspecific meaning. It could be due to a person’s inability to correctly express themselves or to purposefully mislead the audience. Visual fallacies are based on the perspective of the viewer and the manipulation of the physical laws. To avoid fallacies, one must only define things by their true characteristics and re-check the qualities that define an object or a concept (Tindale, 2007).

Reference

Tindale, C. (2007). Fallacies and Argument Appraisal. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Web.

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