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What an argument is, for purposes of this book. Examples of definitions. Purposes that arguments serve. Notable arguments in history. Argumentation as reasoning and conversely. Why another book on argumentation?
What is a fallacy? Types of fallacies. Relativity of fallaciousness. Formal and linguistic difficulties and confusions. Ambiguity. Difficulties with syllogisms. Atmosphere and other effects. Non sequitur reasoning. Stereotyping. Reification. Proof by analogy. Rationalization.
Teaching higher-order cognitive skills. Teaching fallacies. Reducing biases. Collaborative learning. The basics of formal logic. Principles of informal reasoning. A perspective. Some grandfatherly advice. A metaphor. Final thought.
Oversimplification. False dichotomies. Misleading truths. Failures of omission. The principle of invariance. Overweighting the here-and-now. Failure to write off sunk costs. Failure to consider opportunity costs. The myth of objectivity (in journalism, historical reporting, in science).
Appeal to tradition, common knowledge, ignorance, vanity. Proof by selected instances, frequent repetition, obfuscation, blatant assertion. Straw man. Diversion. Incredulity and ridicule. Exploitation of linguistic ambiguity. Linguistic preemption. Selective use of statistics. Ploys and entrapment. Misleading (not necessarily false) claims.
What makes a claim (premise of an argument) plausible? Knowledge and metaknowledge. Believed/assumed relationship and perceived strength of the relationship between antecedent and consequent. Awareness of alternative causes or preventatives. Unawareness of counterexamples. Believed credibility and believed intention of source. Framing effects. Diversity of evidentiary support. Emotions, preferences, and other variables. Global fit. Plausibility theory.