This week’s readings from Ruggiero’s Beyond Feelings (BF) discuss the nature of opinions and evidence. In BF chapter 2, you have read about the definitions of “uncritical thinkers” and “critical thinkers” on page 21 and the important ways that people rely and depend on opinions and evidence. These readings relate to an important topic: Logical Fallacies. Logical Fallacies are faulty ways of thinking that are often self-serving and reflective of cognitive bias and manipulation. Logical fallacies can often be humorous, but they can also have severe consequences, which we have examined this semester in our readings and discussions of faulty thinking and skewed perception.
Unfortunately, as the YouTube clip assigned this week reminded us, logical fallacies are often used in elections. When politicians use logical fallacies, potential consequences include presenting false or misleading information and truths, stereotyping groups of people and promoting systemic prejudice, and encouraging fear-based decision-making.
A. Depending on your last name, select a logical fallacy from the list below, find it in the Beyond Feelings text, chapters 9-11, and understand it.
B. Then, choose one current political advertisement (or political campaign speech, statement, or debate from a politician) from television, YouTube, a social media platform, etc. from this last year that demonstrates that logical fallacy. Describe the advertisement. Discuss how the advertisement reflects the logical fallacy and the consequences on the “uncritical thinker” defined in BF chapter 2, page 21. (“An “uncritical thinker” would see this advertisement and…”)
C. Then, use Ruggiero’s definition of a “critical thinker” in chapter 2, page 21 to analyze how a critical thinker should perceive such an advertisement.