A common fallacy- identifying and correcting fallacies

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A common fallacy is a fault in thinking or a bogus assumption that seems incredible but demonstrates nothing literally. According to Hurley (2014), a fallacy is reasoning assesses as “logically incorrect and that undermines the logical validity of the argument and permits its recognition as unsound.” Fallacies at times are unplanned for but based on the general rule, individuals find it applicable in debates, arguments, and presented as an effective way of deceiving person(s) into consideration or action. Fallacies are different conviction which depends on false assertions originating from coherently inaccurate thoughts that undermine the legitimacy of anargument. One would conclude that most decent people hold very authoritative positions, but the presumption is that the position is a result of their level of honesty. The person then can use his authority or position to influence others into activity. Appeal to authority or argumentum ad verecundiam is a fallacy that suggests that“an assertion is deemed true because of the position of authority of the person asserting it.” But, Bassham, Irwin, Nardone & Wallace (2013 describes trust in authority as “basic honesty and reliability.”

Take an instance of Gerald Levin, the chairman of Time Warner, who in 2000 let his overconfidence consume him in the deal to merge with America Online such that he foregone a collar on the transaction (Hansell, 2000). The collar was to allow Time Warner to reconsider the terms and conditions of the deal in the case where the stock prices of the buyer dropped below a given floor level. Soon after the merger, AOL shares plunged 50%.  Appeal to authority had doomed the company.

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The potential implications of believing something without analysis is that the person remains stagnant on a particular idea or perception such that he fails to consider the truth and flaws within that thought or opinion. As a result, the costs of the follow-up actions eventually result in dreadful and regretful consequences. For the case of Mr. Levin, his thoughts and actions were a demonstration of fallacy based on the slippery slope and cost of the company. Misconceptions have a series of links, and the implication would call for one mistake after the other. But what remains constant is that the results of such initiative are damaging. It is uniquely easy to slip and commit a fallacy, especially when the party has a secure connection to the topic emotionally or mentally, and when the conclusion seems obvious. This is often the time when the truth is assumed an individual recklessly handles the evidence.

As a manager, I can help others become more aware of and able to identify and correct fallacies in their thinking by applying fundamental approaches, according to Le Bon & Arnaud (2001). People should:

  1. Ask themselves about the kind of “sample” they are using. Are their thoughts reliant on their own and other few people’s opinions or experiences on situations?
  2. Explain the process being presented. Is there logic in the assumption or thought rather than depending on “that’s just how it is?”
  3. Check the arguments for chains of consequences and make reasons out of each.
  4. Identify the most significant properties of the claim being presented and compare and contrast between the properties.
  5. Ensure that the authorities cited are experts on the particular field being argued or debated. Try to elucidate the reasoning or evidence of the authority towards a specific opinion to the matter rather than just considering their reputation that could result in bias.
  6. Ensure that the recommendations are not just for the audience to believe in the conclusion because everyone else thinks it right, as opinions could be wrong.
  7. Stay focused on the rationales of the opponents instead of their personal character.
  8. Lay out your premises and conclusion in an organized manner
  9. Identify the essential words and phrases in the argument that make the best of sense.

These go handy with the incorporation of creativity and innovation can help avoid fallacies in thinking. It is possible to identify mistaken beliefs in the reasoning behind a conclusion when we are critical thinkers.


Bassham, G., Irwin, W., Nardone, H., & Wallace, J. (2013). Critical Thinking; A Student’s Introduction. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Hansell, S. (2000, January 11) Media Megadeal: The Overview; America Online Agrees to Buy Time Warner for 165 Billion; Media Deal is Richest Merger. New York Times p. A00001.

Hurley, P. J. (2014). A Concise Introduction to Logic. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Le Bon, T., & Arnaud, D. (2001). Practical philosophy. Toward Wise Decision Making III: Critical and Creative Thinking, 4(3), 24-32.

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