I always enjoyed good argument. The one that have a good atmosphere, good audiences and good understanding about the topic.
To have a good argument the participant must understand the possibility of fallacies. Fallacies is a term in the philosophical world that explain some common errors in reasoning. Fallacies has a lot of categories so I will try to write the most common fallacies as a simple guidelines for those who want to conduct a discussion or to give an argument or just want to evaluate something.
These fallacies could be specifically called “Fallacies of Relevance”. Here they are:
Argumentum ad verecundiam Appeal to Authority. Using an argument base on authority and/or traditions which can not be proven right.
Example: “Why change the way to do it? We always do it like this for twenty years.”
Argumentum ad populum Appeal to Majority. Using popular attitude instead of relevant material.
Example: “Most people are using Windows. That means Windows is the best operating system.”
Argumentum ad ignoratiam
Ignorance. Assuming that something it’s true because it can not be proven otherwise. This particular argument is mostly related to any religion and beliefs.
Example: “Aliens exist since no one has proven they don’t.”, it could also applied to “Aliens don’t exist since no one has proven they do.”
Argumentum ad baculum
Appeal to Fear/Force. Using an implict or explicit threat of physical or psychological violence against others.
Example: “The people that think like that should be punished”
Argumentum ad misericordiam
Appeal to Pity. Using an argument by evoking pity and sympathy either with their situation or with the situation of some third party.
Example: “How come you are not agree with me? I am your best friend”
Argumentum ad hominem
Argument to a man. Using an argument directed to a person which is irrelevant to the topic. This is the most common fallacy of all.
Example: “His argument is not valid because he is using a free email services” – Hi Roy™
As you can see, it is very easy to get trapped into these fallacies. People are using these fallacies to get what their want and since most people are not aware of this kind of fallacies, those people, who are using fallacies, usually get it and get by with it.
So, beware of these fallacies, don’t using them if you want to have a good discussion and do remind people when they are starting to use these fallacies.
Have a good argument!