What are the fallacy files?
I began collecting and studying logical fallacies about forty years ago, when I first became interested in logic. This collection took two forms:
- A collection of named fallaciessuch as "ad hominem"that is, types of bad reasoning which someone has thought distinctive and interesting enough to name and describe. This collection took the form, primarily, of the study and acquisition of books and articles on the named fallacies, especially textbooks and reference books. You can find individual files on the named fallacies via the Taxonomy of Logical Fallacies, or from the alphabetical index in the scroll bar to your left.
- A collection of fallacious, or otherwise bad, arguments, that is, examples of reasoning which may commit one or more of the named fallacies under 1, or are bad in some way yet to be classified. This collection took the form of clippings from newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, photocopies of pages of books, andin a few rare casesentire articles or books which were rich sources of bad reasoning. I have used selections from my collection as examples in many of the files on named fallacies, and additional examples can be found in the file: Stalking the Wild Fallacy.
Some years after I began to amass these files, I wondered just what I ought eventually to do with them, how best to organize the information within them, and in what form to make them available to others interested in fallacy studies. The present hypertext web version, The Fallacy Files, was first published on March 11th, 2001, and is the result of this score of years of research and fieldwork on the fallacies.
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You can contribute fallacies and examples to the files by sending them to me. Examples that can be documented in some way are preferable to anecdotes. Comments, questions, and suggestions are also always welcome.
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