Fallacy  

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 This page Fallacy is part of the reason series Illustration: The Heart Has Its Reasons (c.1887) by Odilon Redon, a phrase from the Pensées by Blaise Pascal
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This page Fallacy is part of the reason series
Illustration: The Heart Has Its Reasons (c.1887) by Odilon Redon, a phrase from the Pensées by Blaise Pascal

"To argue that a thing is good _because_ it is ‘natural,’ or bad _because_ it is ‘unnatural,’ in these common senses of the term, is therefore certainly fallacious: and yet such arguments are very frequently used. But they do not commonly pretend to give a systematic theory of Ethics. Among attempts to _systematise_ an appeal to nature, that which is now most prevalent is to be found in the application to ethical questions of the term ‘Evolution’--in the ethical doctrines which have been called ‘Evolutionistic.’ These doctrines are those which maintain that the course of ‘evolution,’ while it shews us the direction in which we _are_ developing, thereby and for that reason shews us the direction in which we _ought_ to develop. Writers, who maintain such a doctrine, are at present very numerous and very popular; and I propose to take as my example the writer, who is perhaps the best known of them all--Mr Herbert Spencer. Mr Spencer’s doctrine, it must be owned, does not offer the _clearest_ example of the naturalistic fallacy as used in support of Evolutionistic Ethics. A clearer example might be found in the doctrine of Guyau[ Esquisse d’une Morale sans Obligation ni Sanction ], a writer who has lately had considerable vogue in France, but who is not so well known as Spencer." --Principia Ethica (1903) by G. E. Moore

Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A fallacy is the use of invalid or otherwise faulty reasoning, or "wrong moves" in the construction of an argument. A fallacious argument may be deceptive by appearing to be better than it really is. Some fallacies are committed intentionally to manipulate or persuade by deception, while others are committed unintentionally due to carelessness or ignorance. The soundness of legal arguments depends on the context in which the arguments are made.

Fallacies are commonly divided into "formal" and "informal". A formal fallacy can be expressed neatly in a standard system of logic, such as propositional logic, while an informal fallacy originates in an error in reasoning other than an improper logical form. Arguments containing informal fallacies may be formally valid, but still fallacious.

Etymology

From Middle English, from Old French fallace, from Latin fallacia (“deception, deceit”), from fallax (“deceptive, deceitful”), from fallere (“to deceive”).

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Fallacy" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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