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Fallacy Summary And Application

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Abstract

An argument is fallacious when it contains one or more logical fallacies. A logical fallacy is an argument that contains a mistake in reasoning (2002). When using critical thinking to make decisions, an individual or group needs to be aware of logical fallacies and how they relate to decision-making. Logical fallacies can be used to manipulate a situation and if a person or group does not recognize logical fallacies, the person or group can be manipulated during the decision-making process. This paper will discuss three common logical fallacies and how they can be used in the decision-making process between management and subordinates in a business setting.

The Management Guru website states that, in logic, a fallacy is more than a mistaken belief; it is a flaw in the argument. Fallacies can be created intentionally because a person has an agenda or can be created by simple error. Because a fallacy is not a sound argument, critical thinking requires that we be cautious of arguments that attempt to persuade us to an action or belief that intuitively is uncomfortable (www.mgmtguru.com). At a small local company when the problem of excessive use of Internet access on company servers arose, managers and their subordinates used fallacious arguments to express their concerns during the problem solving and decision-making process.

During a discussion group meeting that was arranged to address the problem of excessive use of the companies Internet access, managers used a logical fallacy know as hasty generalization to make their point. The Nizkor Project describes a hasty generalization as a fallacy that is committed when a person draws a conclusion about a population based on a sample that is not large enough (www.nizkor.org). The managers that were involved in the discussion group stated that the entire staff should have their Internet access removed because they were all misusing at time, or would at some point in the future. Because only a few individuals have actually misused the company resource, it was hasty generalization by the managers to state that all of the employees have or would misuse the company's Internet access.

The subordinates responded to the managers' use of the hasty generalization fallacy, with a fallacy of their own. The subordinates stated that if the company removed a tool such as Internet access that is used to complete company business, what would the managers remove next. The phones, office supplies, or possibly their computers? The subordinates stated that if their Internet access were removed, they would eventually be unable to do their jobs. The subordinates to form their argument for not removing Internet access from the staff used the slippery slope fallacy. The logical fallacy known as the slippery slope occurs when we claim, without sufficient evidence, that a seemingly harmless action, if taken, will lead to a disastrous outcome (2002).

The managers having listened to their subordinates understood that it would be necessary for the company to keep the Internet access open and available to their employees. The managers decided that the answer would be to purchase a system to monitor and control access to the Internet. The managers used another logical fallacy to justify the need to spend money on a system to monitor Internet access. The logical fallacy used

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